Jumpin' Jack Flash (film)

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Jumpin' Jack Flash
Jumpin jack flash.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Penny Marshall
Produced by Lawrence Gordon
Joel Silver
Screenplay by David H. Franzoni
J.W. Melville
Patricia Irving
Christopher Thompson
Story by David H. Franzoni
Starring Whoopi Goldberg
Music by Thomas Newman
Cinematography Matthew F. Leonetti
Edited by Mark Goldblatt
Lawrence Gordon Productions
Silver Pictures
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • October 10, 1986 (1986-10-10)
Running time
100 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $18 million
Box office $29,844,101

Jumpin' Jack Flash is a 1986 spy comedy film starring Whoopi Goldberg. The film was directed by Penny Marshall in her theatrical film directorial debut.[1]

The film was one of the first to feature online communications as a key part of the plot.

The soundtrack includes two versions of the song "Jumpin' Jack Flash": the original by The Rolling Stones, and a remake by Aretha Franklin heard over the end credits. Franklin's version was not included on the film's soundtrack album but was released as a single.


Teresa "Terry" Doolittle (Whoopi Goldberg) transfers funds for the First National Bank in Manhattan, New York. She does not quite fit with the bank's corporate image, despite being a good employee and popular with her coworkers. She is often chastised by her no-nonsense boss James Page (Peter Michael Goetz).

Set against the backdrop of the pre-Glasnost Cold War, Terry is contacted by a man calling himself "Jumpin' Jack Flash" who turns out to be a British Intelligence agent in Eastern Europe who is being pursued by the KGB. After being given a riddle for his password, Terry determines the password to be B-flat, after the key in which "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is supposedly written (as the actual song by The Rolling Stones is recorded in the key of B-flat). Jack sends her to the British Consulate to deliver the message "Dog's barking, can't fly without umbrella" to Department C. Despite feeling ludicrous, Terry delivers the message to Jeremy Talbot (John Wood) who is apparently puzzled and informs her there is no Department C. Jack then asks her to enter his apartment in New York to retrieve a frying pan, on which are Jack's CIA contacts to acquire a passport. Meanwhile, Marty Phillips (Stephen Collins) arrives at First National Bank as a new coworker and, unbeknownst to her, Terry is being watched.

A computer technician (Jim Belushi) shows up at the bank to repair her terminal, but when Terry calls Sperry Corporation to confirm his identity, the technician vanishes. As she enters the taxi upon leaving Jack's apartment, she is frightened to find him as the driver. His plans to abduct her fail when she knocks him out with the frying pan and flees the cab.

Using the contacts on the frying pan, Terry attempts unsuccessfully to contact Peter Caen, but does reach Mark Van Meter (Jeroen Krabbé), who meets her at the docks. After being stunned to realize Terry is a civilian and has no relationship at all with the intelligence community, Van Meter notices they are being watched and pushes Terry off the docks and into the East River to save her life, but is shot and killed himself. The police dismiss Terry's claim of the murder and Marty comes to the station and takes her home. Jack then tells her how to break into the British Consulate central computer. Conning her way in under the guise of an entertainer, she manages to enter the mainframe, but Talbot deactivates the computer link before Jack receives a contact. Going through one of Jack's romantic contacts, Sarah Billings (Sara Botsford), Terry is rebuffed and then captured by the KGB, who lock her in a phone booth and drag her around the city. After escaping when the booth is knocked over, Terry is injected with truth serum by the computer tech, this time posing as a police officer, but escapes after trapping his arm in a car window and rolling the car into traffic. In a drug-induced haze, Terry again contacts Sarah and makes an impassioned plea for her help. Sarah tells Terry she would rather let Jack be killed than risk losing face. A disgusted Terry chastises Sarah for her indifference to Jack's plight and walks out. She then stumbles into work and after embarrassing Mr. Page by yanking off his fake hairpiece in front of the entire office, passes out.

Terry awakens at home and is dropped in on by Sarah who has had a change of heart and gives her a contact. After passing the contact to Jack, she is again captured by the KGB and learns that Talbot is a KGB mole and the contact he provided (via Sarah's husband, head of MI5) is a setup to kill Jack. After nearly being tortured with a power sander, Terry escapes and is caught by police. After realizing the police are arresting her rather than protecting her, Terry escapes. She rushes to the bank to warn Jack, but the KGB and Talbot are already there. Terry tries to send Jack a warning, but one of Talbot's henchmen opens fire on the office with an Uzi, sending everyone diving for cover. Terry manages to type out her warning about the contact being a setup to Jack, but Talbot grabs her before she can and the two begin fighting. Talbot's other henchman, Carl grabs Terri and is about to kill her when he is shot down by Marty. After Marty kills the gunman with the Uzi. Terri manages to bite Talbot's groin and send Jack the message, saving him. Marty then reveals to Teri that he is really Peter Caen, one of the CIA contacts on the frying pan and gives Jack the correct contact to insure his safe return.

That same evening, Terry arrives at the restaurant she and Jack had planned to have dinner together, but she becomes despondent when Jack never shows up. As the restaurant is closing, Peter arrives and tells Terry that Jack isn't coming because of another engagement. Terry is crushed, but Peter comforts her, saying how much Jack wanted to see her. The next morning, Terry's co-workers are discussing the news that Mr. Paige is being promoted and transferred to Silver Springs and that she will be taking over his old position. Terri is still depressed about the night before, but Jack (Jonathan Pryce) appears in her office to thank her personally by taking her out to dinner again. Terry introduces him to her co-workers, who are all greet Jack warmly, including Mr. Page (now sans hairpiece), who now seems to have a newfound respect for Terry. The movie ends with Terry and Jack leaving the office with the entire office applauding as they exit and the credits roll.


  • Whoopi Goldberg as Teresa "Terry" Doolittle, the film's protagonist, a bored bank worker adored by her colleagues for her sarcastic attitude and outspoken views, who gets involved with helping Jack escape his pursuers and return home safely.
  • Jonathan Pryce as "Jack", a DIS agent trapped in an unnamed Eastern Bloc country who is being pursued by KGB agents. For most of the film, only his voice is heard when speaking to Terry over the computer. In the final scene of the movie he meets Terry at First National Bank where she works.
  • Stephen Collins as Marty Phillips, a CIA agent (whose real name is Peter Caen) and friend of Jack's that has gone undercover as a new employee at First National Bank.
  • John Wood as Jeremy Talbott, the film's primary antagonist. He is a KGB sleeper agent who works undercover at the British Consulate in New York City. He attempts to use Terry to lure Jack into a deadly ambush.
  • Jeroen Krabbé as Mark Van Meter, one of the contacts of Jack
  • Jim Belushi as Sperry Repairman / Furious Cab Driver / Injured Cop
  • Sara Botsford as Sarah Billings, one of Jack's romantic contacts
  • Peter Michael Goetz as James Page, the manager of First National Bank and Terry's often frustrated, no-nonsense boss
  • Vyto Ruginis as Carl, another KGB agent; Talbot's menacing silent henchman
  • Carol Kane as Cynthia, a co-worker of Terry's at First National Bank
  • Jon Lovitz as Doug, a co-worker of Terry's at First National Bank
  • Lynne Marie Stewart as Karen, a co-worker of Terry's at First National Bank
  • Phil Hartman (credited as Phil E. Hartmann) as Fred, a co-worker of Terry's at First National Bank
  • Tracey Ullman as Fiona
  • Michael McKean (uncredited) as Leslie
  • Annie Potts as Elizabeth Carlson


Production of the film, originally conceived as a vehicle for Shelley Long, was problematic. The script was troubled and would often be rewritten on the set. It began with Howard Zieff as director. However, he was replaced early in the production by Penny Marshall.[1]


The soundtrack album was released on LP and cassette by Mercury Records, and later reissued on compact disc by Spectrum.

  1. "Set Me Free" - The Pointer Sisters (4:23)
  2. "A Trick of the Night" - Bananarama" (4:37)
  3. "Misled" - Kool And The Gang (4:21)
  4. "Rescue Me" - Gwen Guthrie (4:32)
  5. "Hold On - Billy Branigan (4:04)
  6. "Jumpin' Jack Flash" - The Rolling Stones (3:37)
  7. "Window to the World" - Face to Face (3:21)
  8. "You Can't Hurry Love" - The Supremes (2:44)
  9. "Breaking the Code" - Thomas Newman (3:41)
  10. "Love Music" - Thomas Newman (2:47)

The original versions of "Set Me Free" (by The Pointer Sisters) and "Rescue Me" (by Fontella Bass) are heard in the film, rather than the covers on the soundtrack album.


Jumpin' Jack Flash received generally negative reviews from critics, earning an approval rating of 28% on Rotten Tomatoes. The audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes is 58% (2.8/5).[2]


The film was released on Blu-ray by Anchor Bay Entertainment[3] on May 28, 2013.


  1. ^ a b Abramowitz, Rachel (2000). Is That a Gun in Your Pocket? Women's Experience of Power in Hollywood. New York: Random House, ISBN 0-679-43754-1, pp. 296–298
  2. ^ http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/jumpin_jack_flash/
  3. ^ "Jumpin' Jack Flash Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 

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