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A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

John Cleese , Jamie Lee Curtis  |  R |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (340 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin, Cynthia Cleese
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: March 23, 1999
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (340 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305161879
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,819 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Fish Called Wanda" on IMDb

Special Features

  • 8-page booklet featuring trivia, production notesand a revealing look at the making of the movie

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Tour-de-force performances from an unparalleled comic cast highlight this much-loved hit that Roger Ebert calls "the funniest movie I have seen in a long time!" Monty Pythoners John Cleese and Michael Palin (Search For The Holy Grail, The Meaning Of Life) join OscarÂ(r) winner* Kevin Kline (In & Out) and Jamie Lee Curtis (True Lies) in an entertainment so impeccably timed and executed that Time Magazine hailed it as: "Geniu[a film that] Redefines a great comic tradition!" Four conniving jewel thieves...three Yorkshire terriers...two heaving bosoms and one proper British barrister. It all adds up to "a non-stop barrage of...outrageous plot twists and over-the top performances" (L.A. Weekly) when a girl called Wanda (Curtis) tries to deceive her Nietzche-quoting boyfriend (Kline), an animal-loving hitman (Palin) and an embarrassment-prone counselor (Cleese) out of a fortune in jewels in this hilariously funny farce! *1988: Best Supporting Actor, A Fish Called Wanda

Kevin Kline took home an Oscar for his performance as a self-absorbed lothario who prepares for lovemaking by drinking in his own "manly" musk, but it would be hard to single him out as the best thing about the film. The fact is, the entire cast of this hilarious comedy is perfect: John Cleese as the conservative barrister defending a member of sexy Jamie Lee Curtis's gang, Ms. Curtis as the conniving crook out to grab the haul for herself, and Michael Palin as the stuttering, animal-loving hit man whose attempts to murder a little old lady only decrease the size of her poodle pack. Cleese cowrote the zingy script with British comedy veteran Charles Crichton (The Lavender Hill Mob), whose smooth direction balances Monty Python farce, hysterically tasteless gags, and an unexpectedly romantic subplot with style and confidence. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Are You Totally Deranged? June 10, 2002
Starting with the commonplace idea of a jewel robbery gone maniacally wrong, actor John Cleese and director Charles Crichton manage have created a madcap comedy that remains fresh, even after 10 years. George (Tom Georgeson), assisted by his girlfriend Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis), his best pal Ken (Michael Palin) and Wanda's 'brother' Otto (Kevin Kline) has orchestrated a robbery that has only one fatal flaw - none of the participants have any intention of sharing the loot. In short order, double-crosses seem to grow on trees and George finds himself under arrest. It is only fitting that Wanda and Otto simultaneously discover that the jewels have been moved 'for safekeeping.'
It doesn't take very long for Wanda to figure out that her only hope of regaining the loot is through George's barrister, Archie Leach (John Cleese). Wanda works at seducing Leach while fighting of Otto's psychotic fits of jealousy. Ken, in the meantime, attempts repeatedly to kill the only witness, an elderly woman. Unfortunately, he manages to assassinate all three of her dogs in the process.
This is a set up for the combination of slapstick, vulgarity, and tongue-in-cheek comedy that British films are noted for and Americans love and it is delivered with an almost evil verve. Cleese is determined to take no prisoners, and the landscape is littered with car crashes, fallen masonry, savaged canines (fake savaged canines, please) and hapless victims. Only the fish (also called Wanda) has no funny lines, and fares no better than her companion 'Lunch' does.
The film has an R rating, which I think is exaggerated. In reality, its vulgarity and sexual innuendo are hardly noticeable when compared to what is accepted today.
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76 of 95 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Love the film! DVD is atrocious! February 26, 2002
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
NOTE: This review is about the 1998 version of the DVD. Newer releases may be better quality.


This film is definitely on my top ten list of funniest movies of all time, with "Some Like it Hot," "National Lampoons Christmas Vacation" and the Monty Python masterpieces...

But this DVD is atrocious. The soundtrack is all in the center channel... haven't heard anything worse since I gave up watching a TV with a 3 inch speaker. The theme song is burbled and warbly. There is no separation -- even to the front speakers. The dialog is flat as a flitter.

The picture quality is a hair better than off the air, rabbit ear antennae reception. At times the picture is choppy and halting -- as if you were watching it on a rental video that has been viewed too many times.

The only extra is the film's trailer.

Wait for a re-release before buying!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All-time Classic July 22, 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Congratulations to the American Film Institute for recognizing the hilarity of this movie and voting it one of the 100 Funniest Movies. I saw "A Fish Called Wanda" at the theater when it was first released and my friend and I laughed so loudly that we were almost asked to leave. It's just a great at people won't stare at you.
The performances of all four leads are exceptional, not just Kevin Kline's Oscar-winning Otto ("It means eight"). I've been a fan of John Cleese and Michael Palin forever and, whether Python fan or not, they'll have you rolling on the floor. Palin's stutter is brilliant especially when he's trying to tell Cleese the name of the hotel ("Sing it, Ken! Sing it!"). John Cleese is subtle and surprisingly real (I know, I was surprised too) and Jamie Lee Curtis is terrific.
In this age of Political correctness, it's fun to watch a movie that doesn't take itself too seriously. This movie is what a comdey movie should be: hysterically funny.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie - OK DVD May 10, 1999
I love the movie "A Fish Called Wanda". It is one of my all time favorite movies. If you haven't seen it, go rent/buy it - there is no better time to see it, now that it is on DVD!
Therefore, this is a review of the DVD - not the movie. The DVD has a very good presentation of the movie - the best you can watch at home (as mentioned above). However, the sound is lacking - dull mono. Maybe this movie was originally recorded in mono, but I would be surprised.
Next there is the lack of extras - you get the trailer and "cast notes" but virtually nothing else... just a dumb fish screen saver.
I don't mean to be so down on this DVD, it isn't terrible, it is just a disappointment to think of all of the unrealized potential. First of all, there is the sound. Then, there was no behind the scenes featurette, no comentaries, no deleted scenes, nothing. With Kline, Cleese, Palin and Curtis in the cast, there could have been all kinds of killer extras. But there wasn't...
At this point I would give this DVD 3 stars. However, it earns an extra star because MGM bowed to pressure and put it out in Widescreen. They originally planned on P&S only.
So thanks a lot, MGM, but now get busy on a "Collectors Edition".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vulgar, insensitive, disgusting...I LOVE IT! February 2, 2003
There's nothing more to say about the crazy plot that hasn't been blabbed away before. Important here is that the great Charles Crichton was nominated for Best Director, after 50 years of respectability. Amusing is that, though Kevin Kline won the Oscar, he wasn't nominated by BAFTA (British Academy); they gave it to Palin. Both are great! Jamie Lee Curtis is perfect, and John Cleese used all of his "Monty Python" humor to create an Oscar nominated script (with Crichton).15 years later, this is fresh and fun and worthy of repeated viewings, and watching the British writers let the Americans make fun of them (they all end up looking stupid), you can't help but laugh. Unnoticed my many is the great performance of Maria Aitken (Wendy, Cleese's wife). She a totally committed insensitive beast. She was great. Also ignored, was the lovely score of John du Prez, most original. Give yourself a laugh, and forget the real world. This is fun! Oh, DO shut up, Portia.
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Topic From this Discussion
Actor John Cleese looks inbred!
Interesting. You don't often get Professors of Genetics commenting in these reviews. I've always wondered if 60 million people was a large enough population to prevent inbreeding, but apparently it's not.
Oct 24, 2008 by J. Keaty |  See all 2 posts
Collector's Vs Deluxe?
You would think that Amazon would actually try to explain what is on the disk that makes them "Deluxe" or Special Edition, wouldn't you? But NOOOoooo. We're left to ask each other what the deal is with these stupid disks. NOT BUYING until I sort out what's actually on there.
Jun 28, 2009 by Marion Ravenwood |  See all 2 posts
Release Date
Sony has moved the date to August 1st.

Hopefully in that time someone intelligent changes the lame US cover to match the better UK one with the faces in the bubbles, and is sure to include the movie's theatrical trailer.
Mar 19, 2006 by Tyler Foster |  See all 5 posts
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