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A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

tomatometer

93

Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 59
Fresh: 55 | Rotten: 4

Smartly written, smoothly directed, and solidly cast, A Fish Called Wanda offers a classic example of a brainy comedy with widespread appeal.

85

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 2

Smartly written, smoothly directed, and solidly cast, A Fish Called Wanda offers a classic example of a brainy comedy with widespread appeal.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 179,975

My Rating

Movie Info

In A Fish Called Wanda, Jamie Lee Curtis plays an ambitious con artist who uses every ounce of her sexual wiles to obtain a fortune in jewels stolen by her gangster lover Tom Georgeson. First, she romances Georgeson's dimwitted but deadly henchman Kevin Kline (who won an Academy Award for his performance). Then, to clear the path for her getaway with Kline, Jamie woos Georgeson's starched-shirt attorney, John Cleese -- and it's Cleese whom she genuinely falls in love with. Michael Palin,

R,

Comedy

,

John Cleese, Charles Crichton

Jan 1, 1998

MGM

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on A Fish Called Wanda

January 19, 2009:
John Cleese Preps Fish Called Wanda Musical
He's talked about doing it before, but it appears that John Cleese has finally gotten around to...
October 1, 2008:
EW Looks Back on 30 Unforgettable Nude Scenes
The MPAA doesn't like it, but America has never been able to get enough of naked people on the big...

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All Critics (59) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (55) | Rotten (4) | DVD (26)

Perhaps the most unusual aspect of what is surely the year's most original and daring comedy is that John Cleese is not the funniest performer in it. Believe it or not, that honor goes to none other than the usually somber Kevin Kline.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Somehow, the movie manages to do the impossible: It makes John Cleese less than hilarious.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Low comedy at high speed, it pretends to be a caper movie about a smooth London jewel heist and its infinitely complex aftermath. Actually, it's a smart farce about ingrained cultural differences.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie's basic joke holds that the overbearing, unselfconscious Americans will do anything and say anything (and usually as loudly as possible), while the timorous British are nearly too polite to breathe.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Wanda defies gravity, in both senses of the word, and redefines a great comic tradition.

April 27, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like many of the best English comedies, much of the humor here is based on character, good-natured high spirits, and fairly uninhibited vulgarity.

April 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A Fish Called Wanda is vintage black comedy, British-style -- a cruel, dastardly, down-and-dirty jewel-robbery romp that pits thief against thief, while entangling an innocent bystander in the web of greed, romance and decidedly cockeyed high jinks.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Cleese's cracking script gives it a solid foundation, but it's the supporting cast who make this movie wanda-ful.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Putting heart and heat into a film that could have easily slid by on silliness, Cleese proves himself a master actor.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

As in most of his Python parts... Cleese's character is an extended riff on the concept of pomposity. But Archie is more leavened with humanity than any of his other roles.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

This hilarious tale of criminal incompetence and transatlantic eccentricity is easily John Cleese's finest achievement since Fawlty Towers.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

There are a few hilarious moments, and a few more that are foolish and even disgusting.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

A Fish Called Wanda is at its most electric when it pits Cleese and Kline against each other.

July 12, 2013 Full Review Source: House Next Door
House Next Door

Kevin Kline won the Supporting Actor Oscar for this funny and enjoyable farce, based on original script by John Cleese and Charles Crichton

April 17, 2012 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Crime caper with a wicked edge. Not for kids.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Wacky farcical entertainment.

June 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It's a comedy classic.

April 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Although filled with clever twists and double-crosses, the film's storyline is less important than the opportunities it gives the actors to exploit their goofy characterizations.

April 27, 2009 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

This fish is swimming with laugh-out-loud moments.

February 6, 2007 Full Review Source: FulvueDrive-in.com
FulvueDrive-in.com

Audience Reviews for A Fish Called Wanda

It took me three attempts to get through this film, and everyone I've told about the challenge it presented me has looked at me like I have three heads. I think the movie shines in its plotting and its pacing, and I like that it's a heist movie with a comical twist, but to everyone saying "What are you talking about? IT'S HILARIOUS!", well, I disagree. Maybe it's just too dated now... or maybe Cleese left his best work in Monty Python or Fawlty Towers... something about the movie just didn't do it for me, and I wish that I could be more specific. The Kevin Kline aspect strikes me as a large part of it... the guy is just trying way too hard... his character's wacky, but not the least bit believable, and I think that's a problem when you're trying to play a crook: crime has to come from some real place inside, and to me, cartoony crooks always ring hollow. This being said, though, I think I can see this film re-watching well; my rating might improve on second viewing... or then again, as that would be my fourth attempt to enjoy this film, I'm not so sure it will.
September 11, 2013
danperry17

Super Reviewer

John Cleese penned this farce on Brit/American "friendly" relations to hysterical effect as a jewelry store robbery and a search for the missing booty lead to pretty funny complications. The entire cast is to be highly commended, but Kevin Kline's fascist pig Yankee snob is the real gem here. Still potent after all these years!
February 4, 2013
ApeneckFletcher

Super Reviewer

Terrible funny and clever, A Fish Called Wanda it's a great comedy film with outstanding performances. Fresh.
March 30, 2012
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

    1. Wanda Gerschwitz: Let me correct you on a couple of things, okay? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not every man for himself.
    2. Otto West: You read...
    3. Wanda Gerschwitz: The London Underground is not a political movement. Those are mistakes. I Iooked 'em up.
    – Submitted by Jayathra L (2 years ago)
    1. Otto West: Don't call me stupid.
    2. Wanda Gerschwitz: Right because calling you stupid would be an insult to stupid people!
    – Submitted by Daniel R (2 years ago)
    1. Otto West: Asshole!
    – Submitted by Daniel R (2 years ago)
    1. Otto West: What was the Middle part?
    – Submitted by Daniel R (2 years ago)
    1. Wanda Gerschwitz: You think you're an intellectual don't you ape?
    2. Otto West: Apes don't read philosophy!
    3. Wanda Gerschwitz: Yes they do, they just don't understand it!
    – Submitted by sean b (2 years ago)
    1. Wanda Gerschwitz: Aristotle was NOT Belgian!
    – Submitted by sean b (2 years ago)
View all quotes (11)

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