Real Men (film)

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Real Men
DVD cover of the movie Real Men.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Dennis Feldman
Produced by Martin Bregman
Written by Dennis Feldman
Music by Miles Goodman
Cinematography John A. Alonzo
Edited by Malcolm Campbell
Glenn Farr
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
September 25, 1987
Running time
85 min.
Country United States
Language English
Box office $873,903

Real Men is a 1987 comedy/science fiction film starring James Belushi and John Ritter as the heroes: suave, womanizing CIA agent Nick Pirandello (Belushi) and weak and ineffectual insurance agent Bob Wilson (Ritter).[1]


After scientists have accidentally spilled a deadly chemical into the ocean, a group of aliens offer to help humans eliminate the chemical. Agent Pillbox (John Ritter), while preparing for a meeting with the aliens, is shot and killed in a forest by an unseen assassin.

The aliens have asked only a glass of water in return. However, the Russians, along with a rogue element in the CIA, would like to get to the aliens first because they have offered instead to provide a gun big enough to destroy a planet.

FBI computers have found Bob Wilson (also played by Ritter), who looks just like Pillbox, the only one the aliens trust. However, Wilson is a meek office worker who is easily pushed around by a group of local bullies and by a milkman who is trying to seduce his wife.

Tough guy government agent Nick Pirandello (James Belushi) is sent to recruit Wilson and escort him to the meeting. He meets Wilson at Wilson's home, with Russian agents close on his tail. Wilson thinks he's an intruder and tries ineffectively to attack him, culminating in a shoot-out with the Russians that devastates Wilson's house.

After Parindello explains about the aliens, the pair head off by an indirect route to meet them near Washington, D.C. Wilson believes that Pirandello is a crazy kidnapper, and repeatedly tries to escape until he is convinced after seeing a piece of alien technology. Wilson is then willing to do the job, but lacks skills and confidence.

When the pair meet corrupt CIA agents dressed as clowns, Pirandello tells Wilson that he's a sleeper "Super Agent". Wilson charges into battle and is knocked out with one punch. Pirandello defeats the clowns, but leads the waking/groggy Wilson to believe he did it. Wilson gains a new macho attitude.

Pirandello, weakened by love for a dominatrix he meets in a bar in Pittsburgh, abandons the mission, leaving Wilson on his own. During a final shootout between a rogue CIA element and Wilson, Pirandello comes to his senses and rejoins the mission; together they defeat the others, including Pirandello's boss. Wilson meets with the aliens and receives the "good package" to save humanity.

Wilson returns to his home, which has been repaired. With his new-found machismo, he deals with the bullies and the amorous milkman, bringing the film to an end.[2]


According to DVD Verdict, Real Men was barely released theatrically. The distributor, United Artists, was still suffering the aftereffects of the Heaven's Gate (1980) fiasco and financial troubles were still in full force.[3]


The film received mediocre to poor reviews. In particular, the plot was panned as not credible. [4][5]


  1. ^ New York Media, LLC (21 September 1987). New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. pp. 56–. 00287369.
  2. ^ "Real Men". HiDefDigest, July 14th, 2015. Matthew Hartman August 7th, 2015
  3. ^ Spears, Steve (14 July 2011). "Retro-review: Punching clowns, watering up aliens in 'Real Men'". Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Real Men". Radio Times, Alan Jones
  5. ^ Emmis Communications (June 1987). Orange Coast Magazine. Emmis Communications. pp. 159–. 02790483.

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