A Fish Called Wanda (1988) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)



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

A Fish Called Wanda Trailers & Photos

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, Cleese's former Monty Python cohort, plays a stuttering mob flunkey who continually messes up his one big assignment: killing a little old lady (it isn't that he has any qualms about knocking off the old dear; it's just that her pet dogs keep getting in the way). A Fish Called Wanda was scripted by star John Cleese.more
Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Comedy
Directed By: ,
Written By: John Cleese, Charles Crichton
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 1, 1998


John Cleese
as Archie Leach
Jamie Lee Curtis
as Wanda Gerschwitz
Maria Aitken
as Wendy Leach
Patricia Hayes
as Mrs. Coady
Peter Jonfield
as Inspector
Mark Elwes
as Shop Customer
Neville Phillips
as Shop Manager
Al Ashton
as Warder
Roger Hume
as Locksmith
Kate Lansbury
as Magistrate
Jeremy Child
as Mr. Johnson
Pamela Miles
as Mrs. Johnson
David Simeon
as Court Clerk
Tia Lee
as Prosecution Counsel
Robert Putt
as Police Officer
Anthony Pedley
as Irate Driver
Robert McBain
as Hotel Clerk
Clare McIntyre
as Airline Employee
Charu Bala Chokshi
as Indian Cleaner
Stephen Fry
as Hutchison
Tom Piggot-Smith
as Johnson Child, 13
Katherine John
as Johnson Child
Sophie Johnstone
as Johnson Child
Sharon Twomey
as Junior Barrister #1
Patrick Newman
as Junior Barrister #2
Waydon Croft
as Prison Officer #1
John Dixon
as Prison Officer #2
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for A Fish Called Wanda

Critic Reviews for A Fish Called Wanda

All Critics (59) | Top Critics (13)

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.

Full Review… | July 30, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | July 30, 2013
Orlando Sentinel
Top 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.

Full Review… | July 30, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top 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.

Full Review… | July 30, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | April 27, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top 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.

Full Review… | April 27, 2009
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for A Fish Called Wanda

Kevin Kline is one of my all time favorites and he shines alongside Cleese, Curtis and Palin in an all time classic comedy.

John Manard

Super Reviewer

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.

Daniel Perry

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!

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

A Fish Called Wanda Quotes

– Submitted by Jayathra L (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Daniel R (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Daniel R (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Daniel R (3 years ago)

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