- Movie Rating -

Top Secret! (1984)

| June 22, 1984

So, where do I go with a review of Top Secret?  It’s kind of critic-proof.  I can only report that I laughed or that I didn’t laugh.  And yes, I laughed.  I laughed a lot actually.  I think I may have laughed more at this movie than I did at Airplane, I can’t be sure.  But they weren’t just smiles, they were big belly laughs. 

I think I may have laughed more at this movie than any comedy I’ve seen since Tootsie, and that was a different kind of comedy.  I was on board for this kind of spot gag, parody humor.  The movie is a cross-parody of WWII spy pictures and Elvis Presley movies.  Let’s put it this way, if you’ve ever seen an old movie with a Nazi in it, then you already know the territory.

The story?  What story?  There’s some nonsense about a kidnapped scientist, an Elvis-like celebrity travelling through Nazi-occupied German.  A beautiful women who escaped America in a ballon during the Jimmy Carter administration who is currently trying to rescue the scientist and runs into several people who (hilariously) turn up dead for their efforts.  The best of these is Omar Sharif (very game) who gets caught in a car crusher and shows up later wearing the car.  It’s funnier than it sounds.

Like Airplane! the directors have employed every kind of gag that they can think of, be it word play, double-play entundres, sight gags, puns and some gags that defy description.  A trip to the ballet gives you a new perspective on the tights worn by the male dancers.  There’s even a scene that I found mesmerizing when the singer and the woman enter a Swedish bookshop and the whole thing is filmed backwards.  It’s a really neat trick, especially the payoff.

I can’t really say too much except that the movie made me laugh out loud quite a bit.  Your experience may vary but I gained a new appreciation for the person who has to occupy the rear-end of a horse costume.  You had to be there.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1984) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy