Gotcha! (film)

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Gotcha! film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJeff Kanew
Produced byPaul G. Hensler
Written byDan Gordon (screenplay)
Paul G. Hensler
Dan Gordon (story)
Music byBill Conti
Randy Newman
Theme sung by Thereza Bazar
CinematographyKing Baggot
Edited byMichael A. Stevenson
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
May 3, 1985
Running time
101 min.
CountryUnited States
Budget$12.5 million
Box office$10,806,919

Gotcha! is a 1985 comedy-action film, starring Anthony Edwards and Linda Fiorentino and directed by Jeff Kanew, who also directed Anthony Edwards in Revenge of the Nerds in 1984.[1]

Jonathan Moore (Edwards) is a shy UCLA veterinary student and the reigning champion at "Gotcha," a campus-wide paintball game. While on vacation in West Germany, he's seduced by an older woman, the sexy and mysterious Sasha (Fiorentino) who turns out to be an international spy. When he returns home to LA, there's a strange canister of film in his backpack and a team of KGB agents on his back. Suddenly he's in the middle of a real life-or-death game of "Gotcha."


UCLA college student Jonathan Moore (Anthony Edwards) is playing a game called "Gotcha" (popular on mid-1980s college campuses as "Assassin" or "Tag"), wherein the players are all assigned a mock "hit" on another player by use of a harmless paintball gun. Moore and his apartment roommate Manolo go on a vacation to Paris, France. After touring some of Paris, in a cafe Moore meets Sasha Banicek (Linda Fiorentino), a Czechoslovakian girl. Eventually, Jonathan has sex with Sasha, losing his virginity.

Jonathan decides to leave Manolo (who is heading to Spain) and go with Sasha to West Berlin to spend more time with her. Jonathan believes that he is in love with Sasha. There, Jonathan and Sasha continue to have sex and even go to an Oktoberfest beer gathering. One night, Sasha tells Jonathan that she has to go to East Berlin to pick up a package, as she works as a courier. One night after arriving in East Berlin, Sasha leaves their hotel room and walks to dark street corner. There, Sasha meets a German man who tells her the location of the pickup of her package. Meanwhile, Sasha was being monitored by a Soviet agent, who was sitting in a car at a distance. During the day, Sasha tells Jonathan that if she gives him a certain message, it means that he must immediately leave East Berlin. At a cafe, Sasha gives Jonathan a package and says that a strudel is inside. A little later, Sasha tells Jonathan to meet her at the butcher shop near their hotel. All of a sudden, a Soviet agent begins to chase after her. She is ordered by the German man to use Jonathan to unknowingly get the package over to West Berlin, so the next time they are together she slips an object into his backpack. Later, Sasha is taken by the Soviet agent and East German secret police.

Jonathan goes to Checkpoint Charlie to cross the heavily fortified border into West Berlin. At the East German customs search, Jonathan is stripped of his clothes and his backpack is searched (but the unknown object is not found). Meanwhile, Sasha is stripped and searched for possible espionage evidence. The Soviet agent arrives at the border crossing to search for Jonathan, however he had crossed the border safely before he could be captured. Once in West Berlin, Jonathan feels liberated by the Westernized society. In the hotel, Jonathan receives a message from Sasha to meet him at a specified location. Jonathan finds out that his hotel room was broken into and robbed of his traveler's checks. Soviet agents eventually find Jonathan in West Berlin at the location Sasha gave him, where he meets a woman who asks for the object Sasha gave him, so he gives her the strudel. She tells him that is not the object, but is shot by the Soviets, who chase him throughout a public park. Jonathan jumps into a water canal and manages to escape from the Soviets and stumbles upon a German rock group headed for Hamburg, who offer him a ride to the airport.

The rock group successfully get Jonathan to the airport (using full-face makeup to sneak him past a checkpoint) and Jonathan finally arrives in Los Angeles Tom Bradley International Airport and to his apartment. Soon, a band of Soviet agents also arrive in Los Angeles. Once home, Jonathan stumbles upon a film canister in his backpack - the object planted by Sasha. Jonathan visits his parents and tells them what happened in Germany but they do not believe any of it and think Jonathan is on drugs. Jonathan decides to call the FBI, who refuse to help him and tell him to call the Central Intelligence Agency for help. He does this, telling them about Sasha and the film. Jonathan returns to find his apartment broken into and looted.

The CIA officer tells Jonathan to give them the photo film canister. At the Los Angeles headquarters of the CIA, Jonathan spots Sasha who looks like she was working there. Jonathan is able to arrange a meeting with Sasha, and uses Manolo's help to separate her from the CIA agents. Sasha admits that she is Cheryl Brewster, a CIA agent originally from Pittsburgh. Out of nowhere, the Soviet agents begin to chase Jonathan and Sasha on the UCLA campus. Jonathan eliminates all the Soviets with a tranquilizer gun which he gets from the campus veterinary sciences building. The Soviets are arrested, the CIA agents thank Jonathan for his (indirect) help in obtaining the film, and Cheryl/Sasha tells him she wants to continue their relationship.

After they part, Jonathan talks to a pretty student who rebuffed him at the start of the movie, and she rebuffs him coldly. As she walks away, he aims the tranquilizer pistol and shoots her in the rear.



Gotcha! is set in the United States and foreign locations. It was filmed in October 1984, with principal photography around Los Angeles, United States; Paris, France and West Berlin (for East and West Berlin scenes).[2]


The Original Soundtrack album for Gotcha! was released in 1985 under the MCA Records label, and features the main theme song "Gotcha!" by the British singer Thereza Bazar, her song was specifically recorded for the film; however the single did not chart. The album also included songs by Giuffria and Nik Kershaw, among others.[3]

Three songs used in the movie were not included on the MCA Soundtrack LP: "Two Tribes" and "Relax" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and "I Love L.A." by Randy Newman.


Gotcha! received mixed reviews from critics. Vincent Canby of The New York Times noting the film "... is a small but elaborately overproduced comedy-melodrama." He went on to deride the lack of flair in the film; "... as devoid of personality as it's possible for a narrative movie to be."[1] In a similar vein, Leonard Maltin commented that Gotcha! was, "very nearly a good movie, with some sharp dialogue to start but loses its appeal as it loses credibility."[4] Roger Ebert gave the film 2 stars out of a possible 4. He described the European sequences as "a well-directed cat-and-mouse game" that lost its way in the final act after returning to the US, with the film's main flaw being a focus on Edwards's character when Fiorentino was far more intriguing: "I'll bet the men who made this movie just assumed it had to be told from his point of view, and never considered hers. Too bad. I think they missed their best chance."[5] Gotcha! currently holds a 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 11 reviews.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

Gotcha! later spawned a game for the Nintendo Entertainment System for use with the Zapper light gun called Gotcha! The Sport! (1987). A line of toys based on the game and film was also released.

In the television series Chuck, the name "Sasha Banicek" is used for a character played by guest-star Melinda Clarke in the episode "Chuck vs. The Seduction" that aired on October 6, 2008.[7]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ The descriptive line from the 1948 film, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, "we don't need no stinkin' badges" was an oft-referenced line that was in this film.


  1. ^ a b Canby, Vincent. "Screen: The 'Gotcha!' Game."The New York Times, May 3, 1985.
  2. ^ "Gotcha! (1985) Filming Locations." IMDb, October 11, 2013.
  3. ^ "Gotcha! 1985 Original Soundtrack"., October 11, 2013.
  4. ^ Maltin 2009, p. 545.
  5. ^ Roger Ebert Gotcha!, The Chicago Sun-Times, May 3, 1985; accessed 13 November 2017
  6. ^ "Gotcha! (1985)" – via
  7. ^ " Chuck Season 2 Episode 2." TV Fanatic, 2014.


  • Maltin, Leonard. Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide 2009. New York: New American Library, 2009 (originally published as TV Movies, then Leonard Maltin’s Movie & Video Guide), First edition 1969, published annually since 1988. ISBN 978-0-451-22468-2.

External links[edit]