The second of Zucker-Abraham-Zucker's theatrical-feature spoofs, Airplane as the first, while discounting the patchwork Kentucky Fried Movie, Top Secret! lampoons practically every film genre. Specifically, 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, who is 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 played by Michael Gough, who is being held captive by the Communists. Also essential to the action is the 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 to exhibit their fondness for joke-a-minute lampoonery and skewering of cinematic targets, which range all the way from The Blue Lagoon (1980) to The Wizard of Oz (1939). As in Z-A-Z’s other efforts, Top Secret! scores its biggest laughs when invoking clichés that we never realized were clichés, and falls on its face whenever attempting a too-obvious gag, the biggest clinker being the pigeon statue in the park. Everyone has his or her favorite bits in this film, but our faves include the resistance fighter named Deja Vu (“Haven’t we met somewhere before?’’), Kilmer’s horrible nightmare about arriving too late to take final exams while being tortured, the army-booted cow, the sensitive Pinto, and the East German National Anthem which is sung to the tune of the Shorewood Wisconsin High School marching song. Let’s say no more, comedy of this nature isn’t to be written or read about, it’s designed to be seen.

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Ratings and Reviews


Silly spy spoof delivers near-nonstop stream of laughs.




English (Stereo, Dolby)

Dutch (Subtitled), German (Subtitled, Stereo)

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