Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982) - Rotten Tomatoes

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Affectionately spoofing 1940s film noir and detective dramas, this comedy follows a private investigator's attempts to solve the murder of a scientist. The central gimmick allows the film's modern-day stars to, through clever editing, interact with scenes and characters from actual period thrillers.more
Rating: PG
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Steve Martin, George Gipe, Carl Reiner, George Gipe
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 16, 1999
Runtime:
Universal Pictures

Cast

Steve Martin
as Rigby Reardon
Rachel Ward
as Juliet Forrest
Reni Santoni
as Carlos Rodriguez
Carl Reiner
as Field Marshall VonKl...
George Gaynes
as Dr. Forrest
Britt Nilsson
as Poppy Secretary
Jean Beaudine
as Duty Secretary
John Easton Stuart
as German Henchman
Ron Spivey
as German Henchman
Bob Hevelone
as German Henchman
Dieter Curt
as German Henchman
Phil Kearns
as German Henchman
Kent Deigaard
as German Henchman
Eugene Brezany
as German Henchman
Brad Baird
as German Henchman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

Critic Reviews for Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | August 8, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A parlor trick, but the kind -- an inquiring jester making his way through the ghosts of cinema's past -- that gets Godard at the Moviola to layer Histoire(s) together

Full Review… | September 6, 2009
CinePassion

Hilarious and seamless!

November 2, 2004
7M Pictures

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid is a thoroughly entertaining spoof of Hollywood private eye movies.

Full Review… | February 4, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

Too clever for its own good when it should be worried about being funny.

November 24, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

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.

FrizzDrop
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

½

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.
Clintus Maximus

Super Reviewer

This film noir spoof takes footage from the old movies and mixes them with scenes of Steve Martin as a detective. It's very interesting to watch, and very funny too.

ajv2688
Aj V

Super Reviewer

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid Quotes

Rigby Reardon: Here's three bucks if you can get this cab to 46 Bay Court in ten minutes.
Rigby Reardon: Follow that cab!
– Submitted by Christopher B (2 years ago)
Rigby Reardon: I always carry my harmonica: it's lighter than an accordion and more powerful than a sleeping pill.
– Submitted by Christopher B (2 years ago)
Juliet Forrest: We wouldn't have to have kids.
– Submitted by Christopher B (2 years ago)
Juliet Forrest: Oh, you poor dear. I don't blame you for strangling me - I'll never say it again.
– Submitted by Christopher B (2 years ago)

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