Top Secret!


1h 30m 1984
Top Secret!

Brief Synopsis

An Elvis-like singer falls for a French resistance fighter during World War II.

Film Details

Also Known As
Top Secret
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Comedy
Music
Musical
Spy
Release Date
1984
Production Company
Paramount Pictures
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures; United International Pictures
Location
Los Angeles, California, USA; England, United Kingdom

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m

Synopsis

A rock-and-roll star touring Germany becomes embroiled in a nutty spy caper.

Crew

Jim Abrahams

Executive Producer

Jim Abrahams

Screenwriter

Jim Abrahams

Lyrics ("Spend This Night With Me")

Nick Allder

Special Effects

Derek Ball

Sound

Joy Bayley

Production Assistant (United Kingdom)

Chuck Berry

Song ("Surfin' Usa")

Peter Best

Sound Editor (United Kingdom)

Frantoise Bonnot

Editor

Martyn Burke

Screenwriter

David Campling

Sound Editor Supervisor

Christopher Challis

Director Of Photography

Freddie Cooper

Camera Operator

Jackie Cooper

Stunts

Sally Cruikshank

Animator

Clive Curtis

Stunts

Jerry Daly

Assistant Director

Ron Davis

Sound Editor (United Kingdom)

Ron Davis

Sound Editor

Jon Davison

Producer

Nick Dudman

Animatronics Technician

Ray Evans

Music ("Bonanza")

John Fenner

Art Direction

Joe Fitt

Special Effects Technician

Kay Freeborn

Makeup

Stuart Freeborn

Special Makeup Effects Supervisor

Norma Garment

Production Assistant (United Kingdom)

Gerry Gavigan

Assistant Director (2nd Unit)

Robert Gavin

Sound Editor (United Kingdom)

Jeff Goldner

Animator

Martin Grace

Stunts

Gillian Gregory

Choreography

Verner Gresty

Animatronics Technician

Bernard Gribble

Editor

Lou Handman

Song ("Are You Lonesome Tonight?")

Bob Hathaway

Music Editor (United Kingdom)

Frank Henson

Stunts

Mike Higgins

Assistant Director

Bones Howe

Musical Consultant (Usa)

Paul Hudson

Song ("Straighten Out The Rug")

Gerry Humphreys

Sound Rerecording

Tom Jacobson

Associate Producer

Allan James

Location Manager

Maurice Jarre

Music; Music Director

Howard Kaylan

Additional Lyrics

Eddie Kidd

Stunts

Val Kilmer

Song Performer ("Straighten Out The Rug")

Dorothy Labostrie

Song ("Tutti Frutti")

Michael Lamont

Art Direction

Peter Lamont

Production Designer

Barry Langley

Assistant Director

John Lennon

Song ("A Hard Day'S Night")

Little Richard

Song ("Tutti Frutti")

Jay Livingston

Music ("Bonanza")

Mike Love

Songs ("Fun Fun Fun" "Little Honda")

Hunt Lowry

Producer

Paul Mccartney

Song ("A Hard Day'S Night")

John Mcgoldrick

Special Effects Technician

Gareth Milne

Stunts

Mike Moran

Music

Valentino Musetti

Stunts

Tiny Nicholls

Wardrobe

Robin O'donoghue

Sound Rerecording

Sue Oakes

Animatronics Technician

Christopher Palmer

Special Assistant (To Maurice Jarre)

Robert Parker

Production Assistant (Los Angeles)

Phil Pickett

Song ("How Silly Can You Get")

Emma Porteous

Costume Designer

Eddie Powell

Stunts

Joe Powell

Stunt Arranger

Trevor Puckle

Assistant Director

Eric Rattray

Production Supervisor

Doug Robinson

Stunts

Crispian Sallis

Set Decorator

Terry Schubert

Special Effects Technician

Ernest F. Smith

Scenic Artist

Sandy S Smith

Other

Vic Smith

Location Manager

Jacqueline Stears

Scenic Artist

Richard Stone

Music Editor (Usa)

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Music ("The Nutcracker Suite")

Eric Tomlinson

Sound Recording (Music)

Donald Toms

Production Manager

Roy Turk

Song ("Are You Lonesome Tonight?")

Mark Volman

Additional Lyrics

Peter Voysey

Sculptor

Andrew Warren

Assistant Director (2nd Unit)

Bruce Welch

Musical Consultant (United Kingdom)

John Williams

Music ("Theme From Jaws")

Brian Wilson

Song ("Surfin' Usa"--Basis Of "Skeet Surfin'") ("Fun Fun Fun") ("Little Honda") ("California Girls") ("Hawaii")

David Zucker

Lyrics ("Spend This Night With Me")

David Zucker

Screenwriter

David Zucker

Executive Producer

Jerry Zucker

Screenwriter

Jerry Zucker

Lyrics ("Spend This Night With Me")

Jerry Zucker

Executive Producer

Film Details

Also Known As
Top Secret
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Comedy
Music
Musical
Spy
Release Date
1984
Production Company
Paramount Pictures
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures; United International Pictures
Location
Los Angeles, California, USA; England, United Kingdom

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 30m

Articles

Top Secret!


How many movie spoofs can you name which poke fun at World War II espionage dramas AND rock 'n' roll musicals? There's only one and it's also notable as Val Kilmer's screen debut - Top Secret! (1984). The follow-up film to Airplane! (1980), their enormously successful parody of disaster flicks, Top Secret! was the third collaboration between Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and his brother Jerry and employs the same anything goes style of that previous hit and their first film, The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977). In other words, outrageous sight gags, terrible puns, anachronisms, broad slapstick, politically incorrect humor and silly pop culture parodies. As a result, the convoluted storyline which has rock star Nick Rivers (Kilmer) going behind enemy lines in West Germany to rescue an imprisoned scientist (Michael Gough), merely serves as the framework for serving up a running stream of blackout sketches periodically interrupted by rock 'n' roll numbers. Among the musical highlights are the opening credit sequence (a Beach Boys parody entitled "Skeet Surfing"), goofy original compositions like "Spend This Night With Me," and Kilmer performing cover versions of "Tutti Frutti" and "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

According to an interview with Janet Maslin for The New York Times, Kilmer auditioned for the lead role by showing up in an Elvis Presley outfit with a James Dean hairdo. Despite the fact that he wasn't a singer, dancer or musician and had only appeared previously in stage productions, he won the part and immediately threw himself into the spirit of things by watching Elvis movies and studying concert footage of fifties rock icons like Gene Vincent. As for Kilmer's on-set impressions of the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker working relationship, he said it resembled "the Marx Brothers directing traffic." Jerry Zucker would serve as cameraman while Jim Abrahams and David Zucker would screen the action on a remote video screen. Kilmer recalled that "after each take, Jerry would say: 'Wonderful. Perfect. Wait a minute.' Then he'd go check with the others."

Yet out of indecision and chaos can emerge something unique and exhilarating. While Top Secret! didn't enjoy the commercial success of Airplane!, there are those who find its schizophrenic tone and scattershot approach irresistible. Depending on your sense of humor, you may find it screamingly funny or stare at it without cracking a smile. Among the renowned critics who succumbed to its sense of the absurd was Roger Ebert who probably said it best when he wrote, "This movie will cheerfully go for a laugh wherever one is even remotely likely to be found. It has political jokes and boob jokes, dog poop jokes, and ballet jokes...It contains a political refugee who fled America by balloon during the Carter administration, a member of the French underground named Escargot, and Omar Sharif inside a compacted automobile...The dance sequence in the East Berlin nightclub develops into something Groucho Marx would have been proud of. The malt shop musical number demolishes a whole tradition of Elvis Presley numbers. And how the ballerina makes her exit in Swan Lake will, I feel confident, be discussed for years wherever codpieces are sold."

Producer: Frederick Zollo, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Jon Davison, Jim Abrahams, Hunt Lowry
Director: David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams
Screenplay: David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Martyn Burke, Jim Abrahams
Art Direction: John Fenner, Michael Lamont
Cinematography: Jack Lowin, Christopher G. Challis
Editing: Bernard Gribble
Music: Maurice Jarre
Cast: Val Kilmer (Nick Rivers), Lucy Gutteridge (Hillary), Christopher Villiers (Nigel), Omar Sharif (Cedric), Peter Cushing (Bookstore Owner),Warren Clarke (Colonel Von Horst), Michael Gough ( Dr. Paul Flammond).
C-91m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Jeff Stafford
Top Secret!

Top Secret!

How many movie spoofs can you name which poke fun at World War II espionage dramas AND rock 'n' roll musicals? There's only one and it's also notable as Val Kilmer's screen debut - Top Secret! (1984). The follow-up film to Airplane! (1980), their enormously successful parody of disaster flicks, Top Secret! was the third collaboration between Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and his brother Jerry and employs the same anything goes style of that previous hit and their first film, The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977). In other words, outrageous sight gags, terrible puns, anachronisms, broad slapstick, politically incorrect humor and silly pop culture parodies. As a result, the convoluted storyline which has rock star Nick Rivers (Kilmer) going behind enemy lines in West Germany to rescue an imprisoned scientist (Michael Gough), merely serves as the framework for serving up a running stream of blackout sketches periodically interrupted by rock 'n' roll numbers. Among the musical highlights are the opening credit sequence (a Beach Boys parody entitled "Skeet Surfing"), goofy original compositions like "Spend This Night With Me," and Kilmer performing cover versions of "Tutti Frutti" and "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" According to an interview with Janet Maslin for The New York Times, Kilmer auditioned for the lead role by showing up in an Elvis Presley outfit with a James Dean hairdo. Despite the fact that he wasn't a singer, dancer or musician and had only appeared previously in stage productions, he won the part and immediately threw himself into the spirit of things by watching Elvis movies and studying concert footage of fifties rock icons like Gene Vincent. As for Kilmer's on-set impressions of the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker working relationship, he said it resembled "the Marx Brothers directing traffic." Jerry Zucker would serve as cameraman while Jim Abrahams and David Zucker would screen the action on a remote video screen. Kilmer recalled that "after each take, Jerry would say: 'Wonderful. Perfect. Wait a minute.' Then he'd go check with the others." Yet out of indecision and chaos can emerge something unique and exhilarating. While Top Secret! didn't enjoy the commercial success of Airplane!, there are those who find its schizophrenic tone and scattershot approach irresistible. Depending on your sense of humor, you may find it screamingly funny or stare at it without cracking a smile. Among the renowned critics who succumbed to its sense of the absurd was Roger Ebert who probably said it best when he wrote, "This movie will cheerfully go for a laugh wherever one is even remotely likely to be found. It has political jokes and boob jokes, dog poop jokes, and ballet jokes...It contains a political refugee who fled America by balloon during the Carter administration, a member of the French underground named Escargot, and Omar Sharif inside a compacted automobile...The dance sequence in the East Berlin nightclub develops into something Groucho Marx would have been proud of. The malt shop musical number demolishes a whole tradition of Elvis Presley numbers. And how the ballerina makes her exit in Swan Lake will, I feel confident, be discussed for years wherever codpieces are sold." Producer: Frederick Zollo, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Jon Davison, Jim Abrahams, Hunt Lowry Director: David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams Screenplay: David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Martyn Burke, Jim Abrahams Art Direction: John Fenner, Michael Lamont Cinematography: Jack Lowin, Christopher G. Challis Editing: Bernard Gribble Music: Maurice Jarre Cast: Val Kilmer (Nick Rivers), Lucy Gutteridge (Hillary), Christopher Villiers (Nigel), Omar Sharif (Cedric), Peter Cushing (Bookstore Owner),Warren Clarke (Colonel Von Horst), Michael Gough ( Dr. Paul Flammond). C-91m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer June 22, 1984

Completed shooting May 1984.

Released in United States Summer June 22, 1984