Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid 1982

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

Critics Consensus

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid is more eleaborate pastiche than uproarious comedy, but the farce works thanks to the sly lampooning of Hollywood noir and Steve Martin's performance as a goofy gumshoe.

79%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 24

72%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 10,078

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Movie Info

When a famous cheese maker dies in a freak car crash, his daughter (Rachel Ward) is convinced that it was no accident. She thinks he was murdered for his top-secret cheese recipes. To prove her theory, she hires detective Roy Reardon (Steve Martin). His quest to find out what happened to the missing man brings him face-to-face with movie legends, actors such as Humphrey Bogart, Alan Ladd and Burt Lancaster, via footage from classic film noir and crime films.

Cast & Crew

Steve Martin
Rigby Reardon
Rachel Ward
Juliet Forrest
Carl Reiner
Field Marshall VonKluck
Reni Santoni
Carlos Rodriguez
George Gaynes
Dr. Forrest
Britt Nilsson
Puppy Secretary
William McEuen
Producer
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Critic Reviews for Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

  • Jul 23, 2013
    The concept for "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" sounds interesting at first, but it gets old after the first couple of minutes. Overall, the film has its moments and can be funny, and Steve Martin is solid as Rigby Reardon, the lead detective investigating the case of a missing cheese maker, but even he can't totally save this one trick pony.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Jul 09, 2013
    Carl Reiner's homage to film noir has Steve Martin as a detective on a case, acting and reacting to selected bits of classic noir. If only there was a method to the madness ... but there isn't. You've heard of Mel Brooks Young Frankenstein, yes? But this film is not celebrated like that, is it? Well, there's a reason. This isn't that good, is all.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 03, 2012
    An underrated Steve Martin classic, it's a bit much of a concept and surely goofy throughout, but it's wildly entertaining. Steve Martin portrays a gumshoe named Rigby Reardon, a noiresque detective on the case of a murdered man with the help of his daughter Juliet (Ward). Intercut in the fantastical story of Martin's character are scenes from classic mystery and noir films. Rigby himself has a very oddball approach to these characters, and there are several stand in body doubles to take on the backside persona of such greats as Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Burt Lancaster, and Veronica Lake. The writing for Martin's character into these elemental scenes is nothing short of positively goofy, but the tone is correct, the ambiance if you will. The language is the best part because though the noir metaphors are in the same category as everything else, it's all odd and willfully cool. My favorite idea was making the famous Philip Marlowe of the Raymond Chandler books and several films (played by Humphrey Bogart) into his willful stooge and incompetent hired hand; Watson to his Holmes. The first clip throws you off at first but eventually the change in sound, the obvious body doubles, and the funny give and take between the different films; it really is a guilty pleasure kind of experience. Though it's not an obvious winner and surely takes liberties, this film is a lot of fun in seeing the different icons on the screen as well as watching the ludicrous plot unfold one piece at a time.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer
  • Mar 30, 2012
    This may be my favorite Steve Martin movie and one of my favorites ever. I consider it one of the funniest, most inventive films ever and years ahead of its time. As most of you know, this is a send-up or spoof of film noir detective movies interlacing live action with film clips. This is Forrest Gump meets Chinatown, sort of. The plot involves the mysterious death of a scientist and cheesemaker and subsequent investigation by Rigby Reardon (Martin) and his beautiful daughter (Ward). The story's actually only a setup for the brilliant and hilarious combination of movie clips and new footage. Director and co-writer Carl Reiner worked with Steve Martin in The Jerk, and if you're a fan of that film, you'll love this one too. Gorgeous Rachel Ward is the bombshell here who plays it straight. She has great comedic timing. The films used for footage here include many of the greatest of the 1940s, including: Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep, Sorry Wrong Number, and The Postman Always Rings Twice. Humphrey Bogart (as Rigby's partner) plays a larger role than the other noir-era actors. Probably my favorite blended scene combines Martin (and a puppy) with Jimmie Sue Alfeld's father (Edward Arnold), "It's all soft and steamy" will leave you rolling in the aisle. I can't get enough of the film noir era and its style, so "Dead Men" has enticed me to see many of the classic films that contributed clips here. Further stunting my development, I cannot hear the term "cleaning woman" without laughing. This was the last film for Oscar-winning designer Edith Head and composer Miklos Rozsa. Sorry, Terre Haute, IN.
    Clintus M Super Reviewer

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