Top Secret!: Wikis


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Top Secret!

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jim Abrahams
David Zucker
Jerry Zucker
Produced by Jon Davison
Hunt Lowry
Written by Jim Abrahams
David Zucker
Jerry Zucker
Martyn Burke
Starring Val Kilmer
Lucy Gutteridge
Omar Sharif
Peter Cushing
Michael Gough
Jeremy Kemp
Christopher Villiers
Music by Maurice Jarre
Cinematography Christopher Challis
Editing by Francoise Bonnot
Bernard Gribble
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) June 8, 1984[1]
Running time 90 min.
Country United States
Language English

Top Secret! is a 1984 comedy film directed by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker. It stars Val Kilmer (in his first feature film), Lucy Gutteridge, Omar Sharif, Peter Cushing, Michael Gough and Jeremy Kemp. The film is a parody of WWII-era and Elvis films. The original music score is composed by Maurice Jarre. The film is marketed with the tagline "Movie? What movie?"


Plot summary

Nick Rivers (Val Kilmer) and Hillary Flammond (Lucy Gutteridge) break the fourth wall after Hillary says, "It all sounds like some bad movie".

The film tells the story of Nick Rivers (Kilmer), an American pop singer (whose songs sound suspiciously like those of Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys and Little Richard whose songs did not exist until the 1950s and 60s), who goes to East Germany (but the film also parodies films set in Nazi Germany) to perform at a cultural festival. While there, he becomes involved in a resistance movement and helps the beautiful Hillary Flammond (Gutteridge) rescue her father (Gough), a brilliant scientist being held by the Germans and forced to build the deadly Polaris mine.

The film also features short performances by Omar Sharif as Agent Cedric, and Peter Cushing as a Swedish bookstore proprietor, in a scene filmed completely in reverse.


References and parodies

  • The film features an homage to the Pac-Man craze of the early 80s, at the end of a traditional trip-plotting scene across Europe.
  • In reference to The Sound of Music, Nick Rivers exits the stage during a concert to flee the soldiers pursuing him.
  • In one scene a London taxi is destroyed in a car crusher with Omar Sharif inside, a take on a scene from Goldfinger where a henchman is disposed of in a similar fashion.
  • The flashback scene where Hillary Flamond recounts her discovery of emotional and sexual maturity, shipwrecked in Nigel's arms on a deserted island, is a spoof of The Blue Lagoon.
  • Nick Rivers' line, "Seems as long as I know my way around that prison, I'll never be lonely" is a direct reference to Casablanca, where Humphrey Bogart says, "It seems as long as I have those letters, I'll never be lonely." There are many other less obvious references to Casablanca'' throughout the film, particularly in the scene where Nick and Hillary meet in the cafe, which makes reference to 'Rick's', what with the sunken floors and Gutteridge only being shot from her left side as per Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca.
  • Nick Rivers rides a motorcycle through a field, then winks to the camera and jumps the motorcycle over a fence, in a scene reminiscent of Steve McQueen in The Great Escape.
  • The first shot of Peter Cushing, peering through a magnifying glass to make one eye look huge, was based on a similar shot from 1965's The Skull. The joke here was that when Cushing lowered the glass, his eye really was huge (accomplished via prosthetic makeup).
  • At the end of the movie, Hillary Flamond says goodbye to each resistance member in turn, and finishes off with a hug to a living scarecrow (who materializes out of nowhere); she holds him in her arms and says "And I'll miss you most of all, Scarecrow!" This is as obvious as a nod can be to The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy says to Scarecrow "I think I'm going to miss you most of all".
  • In one scene, a Ford Pinto is rear ended but in fact is barely touched - at which point it blows up - a reference to Ford Pinto's poor safety record in this type of accident.
  • A part of Weird Al's music video Amish Paradise was filmed in the same way as the backwords scene.

Production notes

  • This was Val Kilmer's first film role.
  • Val Kilmer actually sings the songs in the movie,[2] he would subsequently perform songs in The Doors (1991).
  • Michael Gough and Val Kilmer starred together eleven years later as Alfred and Bruce Wayne respectively in Batman Forever (1995).
  • The song the horse sings is "Du, Du Liegst Mir Im Herzen", a North German folk song (c. 1820).
  • The East German national anthem music is from the Zucker brothers' high school alma mater.
  • The scene in the bookstore with Peter Cushing is filmed with the actors moving entirely in reverse and then played backwards in the movie giving the appearance of normal movement, allowing Val Kilmer to "throw" books onto shelves and a dog run backwards across the floor with apparent ease.

See also


External links

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