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Top Secret!

328 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The second of Zucker-Abraham-Zucker's theatrical-feature spoofs (Airplane was the first, discounting the patchwork Kentucky Fried Movie), Top Secret! lampoons practically every film genre. Specifically, however, this is a hybrid of an "Elvis" movie and a World War II "underground resistance" thriller. In his film debut, Val Kilmer plays Nick Rivers, a Presley-like American rock idol sent behind the Iron Curtain on a goodwill tour. Before long, he is involved in a complex espionage scheme thanks to beautiful Lucy Gutteridge, the daughter of a scientist (Michael Gough) held captive by the Communists. Also essential to the action is flamboyant resistance leader Christopher Villiers, who behaves like Victor Mature in Betrayed (1954) and talks like James Mason. Adhering to Z-A-Z's cheerful disregard for people, places and events, the East Germans are depicted as Nazis, while the Underground is comprised of Frenchmen. The plot is mainly an excuse for the Z-A-Z team's fondness for joke-a-minute lampoonery, skewering cinematic targets ranging from The Blue Lagoon (1980) to The Wizard of Oz (1939). As in Z-A-Z's other efforts, Top Secret! scores its biggest yocks when invoking cliches that we never realized were cliches-and falls on its face whenever attempting a too-obvious gag (the biggest clinker: that pigeon statue in the park). Everyone has his or her favorite bits in this film: our faves include the resistance fighter named Deja Vu ("Haven't we met somewhere before?"), Kilmer's horrible nightmare while being tortured (he arrives too late to take final exams), the army-booted cow, the sensitive Pinto, and the East German National Anthem, sung to the tune of the Shorewood (Wisconsin) High School marching song. But let's say no more: comedy of this nature is designed to be seen, not written or read about.


Special Features

  • Four alternate scenes
  • Storyboards

Product Details

  • Actors: Val Kilmer, Omar Sharif, Jeremy Kemp, Warren Clarke, Tristram Jellinek
  • Directors: David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams
  • Writers: David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, Martyn Burke
  • Producers: David Zucker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: July 16, 2002
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (328 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000066C6Z
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,310 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Top Secret!" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By C. T. Mikesell on June 2, 2004
Format: DVD
Top Secret! - the Jim Abrahams/Zucker Bros.' follow-up to Airplane! - does for (or is that *to*) Elvis movies and WWII espionage films what the earlier feature did for/to the airborne disaster genre. The gags are slightly more immature (not necessarily a bad thing, but in some cases may have been better had they been allowed to age a little before being put into production), but some, like the forced-perspective oversize phone or saying farewell to the Scarecrow, rival anything the ZAZ team has ever done.
The music is a mixed bag. "Skeet Surfing" and the Macy's jingle are great. "Tutti-Fruitti" and "Straighten the Rug" are less so (not that every song in an Elvis movie was worthy of screen time, either). Kudos to Val Kilmer, though; even when he's camping it up, the musical numbers remain watch- and listenable.
The only thing I don't care for on the disc is the audio commentary. The production team really rips the movie apart as if they had tried to make a "serious" film that fell apart. In that case, learning why/how it failed would be interesting and instructive. To shred a spoof film, especially a sophomore and sophomoric effort like Top Secret!, is entirely unwarranted. Sure there are plot holes. Sure it makes no sense that submarine would crash into a prison dungeon. Sure some things are only mildly amusing. Drawing undue attention to them is doubly pointless. Sheesh! If you're a big fan, skip the commentary.
I really enjoyed this movie and really (mostly) enjoyed its presentation on the DVD. There aren't a lot of extras, but be sure to hunt for the Easter Egg - it's definitely worth finding.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 15, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Just barely nudging out their own "Airplane!," I think Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker's "Top Secret" is the best slapstick comedy ever. It's got all a film should have: action, comedy, romance, great songs. This is unquestionably Val Kilmer's best movie, and he is perfect as Nick Rivers, the Elvis-like troubadour who is so famous that not even Frank Sinatra fits on the bill. The sight gags and puns are horrendously funny. I could spend hours recalling my favorite scenes. The film is a postmodern masterpiece, successfully intertwining and spoofing cliches from just about every film in the genre (most notably James Bond films and Elvis movies). The film openly points outs its flaws ("it's like the plot to some bad movie"), and celebrates film flubs. It breaks all the rules of "classic" cinema, and has made other spoof films basically impossible to be funny (films like "Spy Hard" and "Loaded Weapon").
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By I. Hsieh on December 29, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
The ZAZ team (Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker) doesn't disappoint in the laugh department with this movie. This is mainly slapstick and visual gags, but it's the best of them. If you want some stupid, no-brain, sexual innuendo, parody comedy then this is the greatest!
This movie made me laugh like no other movie has. Val Kilmer has a wonderful performance as a rock-star and foreign dignitary. The parodies of popular Beach Boys and Elvis songs are hilarious. The best scene and most creative I thought would have to be in the bookstore. You HAVE to see it to believe it. It made me laugh incredibly hard. You may have to pause the movie every once in a while so you can breathe. Although that may be exaggerating a bit it isn't far off.
This movie is well worth the money you pay for it. The laughs it delivers are tremendous and timeless. Have fun and don't laugh too hard!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Alan Olsen on April 20, 2002
Format: DVD
This film was done by the same people who made "Airplane" and the "Police Squad" movies. I enjoy this film more. It is just as silly as the others, if not more so. I think the jokes work better in this film.
The film takes place in some unnamed East German-like country. The time is something between today, the 50s, the 40s and somewhere in between. It parodies teen rock-and-roll movies, french resistance films, Blue Lagoon and a bunch of other stuff thrown in for good measure. Val Kilmer plays a rock-and-roll teen idol named Nick Rivers. He gets involved with a bunch of resistance fighters in a represive soviet block country that plans on taking over the world. Funnier than it sounds. Surreal comedy at its best. (The guard falling off the castle wall is one of my favorite gags.)
How can you argue with a movie that starts with a Beach Boys parody called "Skeet Surfing"? ...
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kyle Tolle on July 19, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
From the wacky Zucker brothers that brought you the Airplane and Naked Gun spoofs, we now have a total laugh fest with Top Secret. This movie sits right there at the top when it comes to sight gags, one-liners and a hilarious script.
What do you get when you combine an American rock and roll star with totally inept Nazi's, resistance fighters named after French foods, a fight scene in a saloon under the water, and more comedy mayhem than you can handle? You've got a 3 ring circus of total insanity that never quits!
If you're a fan of any spoof film (Naked Gun, Hot Shots, Airplane, etc.), this is definitely the movie for you and it will not disappoint. Just make sure you pay attention during the movie because there is a lot of subtle but hilarious gags and props in the background while the main action is happening.
It's fantastic to see this movie finally make it to DVD. Some of the nice things on the disc are the the commentary by the directors, the 5.1 Surround sound track, alternate scenes, and storyboard compilations. Highly recommended and enjoyable!
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