Almost Heroes

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Not to be confused with Almost Heroes, the 2011 Canadian comedy series.
Almost Heroes
Almost Heroes poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Christopher Guest
Produced by Denise Di Novi
Written by Mark Nutter
Tom Wolfe
Boyd Hale
Starring Chris Farley
Matthew Perry
Narrated by Harry Shearer
Music by Jeffrey C.J. Vanston
Cinematography Adam Kimmel
Kenneth MacMillan
Edited by Ronald Roose
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
  • May 29, 1998 (1998-05-29)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $6.1 million[1]

Almost Heroes is a 1998 adventure comedy film directed by Christopher Guest, narrated by Guest's friend and frequent collaborator Harry Shearer, and starring Chris Farley and Matthew Perry. This was Farley's last leading film role and was released following his death in 1997.


Leslie Edwards (Matthew Perry), a foppish, wealthy, high-society aristocrat, and the loud, low-brow Bartholomew Hunt (Chris Farley) are competing against the renowned Lewis & Clark to be the first to chart and make it across the United States to the Pacific Ocean. In the beginning of the film, Edwards has high hopes to head the first expedition to make it across the U.S., but while he has ambition and funding, he has grown up sheltered and knows little of the wilderness he seeks to cross. To aid in his journey, he hires the services of a supposedly knowledgeable wilderness-man and tracker, Hunt, who, once they get underway, turns out to be less than advertised.

Aided by a crew of varied, rugged and gristled frontiersmen, they are also joined by their group's version of Sacagawea, a young Indian woman by the name Shaquinna (Lisa Barbuscia), who is integral in helping them find their way across the dangerous and unknown terrain ahead, as well as, eventually becoming Edwards' love interest. Along the way, the group goes through various mishaps and ordeals from having to deal with quirky, indigenous Indian tribes to vicious eagles, to running out of food and romantic snafus, as Hunt's ineptness often causes more problems than it solves. Along the way, Edward and Hunt's shared journey helps Edwards shed his aristocratic, snooty ways and learns camaraderie and honor, as well as a more humble view of a world he thought he understood. Hunt finds true friendship in Edwards and a sense of self-confidence he had not known before.

After many hardships and setbacks, they eventually make it to the Pacific coast just minutes before Lewis and Clark's expedition. Once the celebration is over, however, they find that they don't necessarily want to go back to their old lives and collectively decide to continue their adventure, leading Edwards and Hunt's expedition to further explore the great uncharted world.



Critical reception of Almost Heroes has been generally negative. The film currently has an 8% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 40 reviews. However, it was rather well regarded by the audience, receiving a "fresh" score of 65%.[2]

James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film one out of four stars and wrote: "This is a dreadful motion picture - a lowbrow example of period piece comedy with terrible production values and an exceptionally poor laughs-to-jokes ratio. There's a kind of desperation in the movie's approach to humor that reveals the film makers' uncertainty about how entertaining the material is; the manic style betrays itself as a last-ditch attempt to hide the flaws of a failed script."[3] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly wrote: "Almost Heroes [...] gives off the discomfiting reek of desperation. ... How could director Christopher Guest [...] have reduced himself to staging gags such as Farley's slap-fest with hostile Injuns, Eugene Levy (as a nasty pirate) speaking in a zany French accent, or Farley stealing an egg from an eagle's nest, punching out the bird, and then falling to the ground with an epic thud? Almost Heroes goes thud too. Despite his compulsion to trash everything in his midst, including himself, Chris Farley deserved better."[4] John R. McEwen of Film Quips Online wrote: "It's clear, his death notwithstanding, that Farley is the funniest thing about this... As expected, there is little here but sight gags and low humor, but if you're in the mood (and I must have been), it has its laugh-out-loud moments. ... Perry also has a few good bits, but he is obviously a distant second banana. Additional appearances by people like Eugene Levy and Kevin Dunn, and others, add to the hilarity, although many of the jokes fall flat...I doubt if anyone ever expected Chris Farley to win an Academy Award. But it is a fitting tribute to him that his last outing, while not a great work of American cinema, can provide a good dose of chuckles, and more than a few belly laughs."[5]


  1. ^ "Almost Heroes". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2011-11-29. 
  2. ^ "Almost Heroes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-11-29. 
  3. ^ "Almost Heroes - A Film Review by James Berardinelli". Retrieved 2011-11-29. 
  4. ^ "Almost Heroes - Reviewed by Owen Gleiberman". 1998-06-12. Retrieved 2011-11-29. 
  5. ^ "Almost Heroes - Review by John R. McEwen". Retrieved 2011-11-29. 

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