Top Secret!

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Top Secret!
Top secret ver1.jpg
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
Edited by Françoise Bonnot
Bernard Gribble
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • June 8, 1984 (1984-06-08)
Running time 90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $9 million[1]
Box office $20,458,340[2]

Top Secret! is a 1984 action comedy film directed by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker, whose previous picture had been the highly successful Airplane! 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 both the musicals starring Elvis Presley and spy films of the Cold War era. The original music score was composed by Maurice Jarre.

Plot[edit]

Nick Rivers (Kilmer), a United States rock star, has the number one song in America ("Skeet Surfing"). He travels to East Germany to perform at a cultural festival, and at a dinner, he sees the beautiful Hillary Flammond (Gutteridge), a member of the resistance movement, attempting to avoid the authorities. He pretends to be her date to get to know her, and performs an impromptu song and dance ("Tutti-Frutti") mistakenly thinking that he was asked to do so, to the delight of Hillary and the crowd but to the annoyance of the emcee who intended to introduce someone else. He later sees Hillary at a ballet, where she is trying to meet with a resistance contact, but is met by the police instead. Nick saves her and they try to escape, but Nick turns himself in so that Hillary can get away. He is taken to a prison where he is questioned and tortured, but he knows nothing and does not break. In an escape attempt, he ends up in the secret lab of Dr. Paul Flammond (Gough), a brilliant scientist developing the "Polaris naval mine", a device that can destroy the entire NATO submarine fleet; he is forced to work by the threat of killing his daughter Hillary. Nick is recaptured and scheduled for execution.

The East Germans decide that Nick must perform to avoid an international incident, and he does so to the rapturous joy of the local girls ("How Silly Can You Get"/"Spend This Night With Me"). He is rescued by Hillary at the end of his performance after which they spend the night in the loft of a Swedish bookstore. Nick plays for her ("Are You Lonesome Tonight?") and they make love. They are moved to the "Potato Farm" where they meet members of the French Resistance, led by Nigel "The Torch" (Villiers), who was a lover of Hillary from when they were stranded on an island as youths. Nick is upset by Hillary's residual love for Nigel, but accepts that they must work together for the cause. After fighting off an attack by the Germans, they move to a soda shop where Nick proves that he's not a traitor by performing for the locals ("Straighten Out the Rug")

The resistance group stages a rescue of Dr. Flammond, where Nigel and Du Quois, a resistance leader, dress up in a fake cow outfit to disable the defenses. As the other members successfully infiltrate the prison, Nigel reveals himself as the traitor, but is thwarted by an amorous bull. Dr. Flammond is rescued, but Nigel makes off with Hillary, and Nick is forced to rescue her in an underwater barroom fight. With their flight about to leave, Hillary chooses to go with Nick and her father to America, giving a tearful farewell to her resistance friends.

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

Cast[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Artist Length
1. "Skeet Surfing" (Parody mix based on Little Honda, Surfin' U.S.A., Fun, Fun, Fun, California Girls, and Hawaii) Brian Wilson, Mike Love,
Chuck Berry
Val Kilmer 2:58
2. "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"   Lou Handman, Roy Turk Val Kilmer 1:32
3. "How Silly Can You Get"   Phil Pickett Val Kilmer 2:48
4. "Straighten Out the Rug"   Paul Hudson Val Kilmer 2:56
5. "Tutti Frutti"   Dorothy LaBostrie, Richard Penniman Val Kilmer 1:38
6. "Spend This Night With Me"   David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, Mike Moran Val Kilmer 3:26

Reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, Top Secret! has an overall approval rating of 76% and a weighted average of 6.6/10.[3] Roger Ebert rated it 3.5/4 and applauded the humour, noting that "To describe the plot would be an exercise in futility" and "This movie will cheerfully go for a laugh wherever one is even remotely likely to be found." [4] "Weird Al" Yankovic considers this his all-time favourite movie.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]