Club Paradise

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Club Paradise
Club paradise.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byHarold Ramis
Produced byMichael Shamberg
Screenplay by
Story by
Music by
CinematographyPeter Hannan
Edited byMarion Rothman
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
July 11, 1986 (1986-07-11)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million
Box office$12,308,521 (domestic)

Club Paradise is a 1986 American comedy film directed by Harold Ramis starring Robin Williams, Twiggy, Peter O'Toole, and Jimmy Cliff. The film reunites director / co-writer Ramis with most of his SCTV co-stars – SCTV cast members Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis, Joe Flaherty, and Robin Duke play supporting roles in the film, as does co-writer Brian Doyle-Murray, a former SCTV staff writer.

The movie follows a group of vacationers staying at the newly opened Club Paradise as a series of increasingly unlikely events takes place.


Jack Moniker is a Chicago firefighter who is injured on the job. Using his disability, he retires to the small Caribbean island of Saint Nicholas, and buys a small property. Anthony Croyden Hayes, appointed by the British crown as governor of St. Nicholas, is more concerned with vacationing than governing. Miss Phillipa Lloyd, who is visiting St. Nicholas with some friends, decides to stay permanently and becomes Jack's girlfriend.

Jack befriends financially troubled reggae musician Ernest Reed and they form Club Paradise, which they market as a Club Med-style resort complete with a brochure that features photographs of Jack in various disguises on every page. This attracts a handful of tourists, including Barry and Barry who are there for the marijuana and the women. Much of the film involves the tourists' comic misadventures adjusting to island life and the low-rent facilities of Club Paradise. Also traveling to the island is New York Times travel writer Terry Hamlin who ends up spending most of her time in the company of Governor Hayes. Adding to the fun is suburban housewife Linda White, who is vacationing with her husband Randy.

Voit Zerbe plays a key role, as a developer who wants to run Jack and Ernest off their property so he can build a massive high-end casino on the beach as part of a deal he's making with two business partners. To do that, he uses the help of the local prime minister Solomon Gundy and the prime minister's men to cause trouble and get Club Paradise to close "legally." Jack and Ernest go so far as to sneak aboard Zerbe's yacht to provide some "useful intelligence" for Governor Hayes by finding out what is going to happen to the future of Saint Nicholas. They skin dive to the yacht where they are captured by local police and thrown in jail. When Prime Minister Gundy's strong arm tactics don't work, he orders a military takeover of the island. Ernest builds up a resistance force, and St. Nicholas is soon threatened with the possibility of civil war, which is averted at the last minute with assistance from Jack and Governor Hayes. When Gundy's takeover fails, Zerbe and his partners leave Saint Nicholas and head for the Cayman Islands.


Harold Ramis' wife Anne Ramis also cameos as a travel agent.


Shooting took place from April[1] to July 1985.[2] Production company Warner Bros. planned to release it in early 1986, but held it back until July. [3]

Bill Murray turned down the film's lead role, which was eventually given to Robin Williams; his brother, Brian Doyle-Murray, ended up in the cast instead.[4] John Cleese was also slated to star, but immediately dropped out before Peter O'Toole signed on to replace him.[5]

"Ed Roboto" is a pseudonym for Harry Shearer, who was asked to do a rewrite with Tom Leopold. Only two words of what they wrote ended up in the film (the title). Shearer later commented that he was "so appalled by the movie" that he removed his name from the credits.[6]

Adolph Caesar died of a heart attack four months before the film's release.[3]


The film was given mostly negative reviews from critics with Rotten Tomatoes maintaining Club Paradise an 11% rating based on 27 reviews. Peter O'Toole's performance in the film earned him a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Supporting Actor, but lost to Jerome Benton for Under the Cherry Moon.

Ramis later said "We thought Club Paradise had a good chance" at the box office. "But we were the fourth Caribbean comedy out that year [1986], and none of them did any business. The casting ended up being diametrically opposed to what was intended. It was intended for Bill Murray and John Cleese, with Bill as the laid-back guy and Cleese as the over-the-top guy, and we ended up with Robin Williams and Peter O'Toole, with O'Toole as the laid-back guy and Robin the over-the-top guy. The polarities shifted, and it was probably not as interesting or as solid as it might have been if Bill and Cleese were there."[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Maples, Tina (April 5, 1985). "Offstage: Tropical capers". The Milwaukee Journal. Journal Communications. p. 3 (Accent; Weekend). Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  2. ^ Associated Press (AP) (July 18, 1986). "Harold Ramis Directs Robin Williams". The Mount Airy News TV Plus. p. 8. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Associated Press (AP) (March 8, 1986). "Death ends late-blooming career of 'Purple' actor Caesar". Wilmington Morning Star. The New York Times Company. p. 1D. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  4. ^ Pollock, Dale (October 23, 1984). "Bill Murray had reluctant backing for 'Razor's Edge'". Anchorage Daily News. 39 (297). Los Angeles Times. p. D-6. Retrieved January 3, 2011.
  5. ^ Sun wire reports (September 28, 1984). "Actor cleaning up his act". Gainesville Sun. p. 2A. Retrieved January 3, 2011.
  6. ^ Gurwitch, Annabelle (2006). Fired!: Tales of the Canned, Canceled, Downsized, and Dismissed. New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 65. ISBN 0-7432-9760-1. Retrieved January 3, 2011.
  7. ^ "Interview with Harold Ramis". AV Club.

External links[edit]