A Fish Called Wanda Movie Review

A Fish Called Wanda

A tale of murder, lust, greed, revenge...and seafood.
A Fish Called Wanda Picture
John Cleese stars in the movie he also co-wrote.


John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin

Maria Aitken, Tom Georgeson, Patricia Hayes, Geoffrey Palmer, Cynthia Cleese, Mark Elwes, Neville Phillips, Peter Jonfield, Ken Campbell, Al Ashton, Roger Hume, Roger Brierley, Llewellyn Rees, Michael Percival Update Cast


Packed with both great visual and verbal style and the most tasteless (yet effective) humor, 'A Fish Called Wanda' is a transatlantic riot not to be missed.

Wanda (Curtis) is an ambitious American confidence trickster in Britain, who uses every feminine wile to get in on a jewel heist led by her gangster lover George Thomason (Georgeson).

Wanda romances George's henchman, Otto (Kline), and the pair plot against George and George's flunky, the stuttering animal-lover Ken (Palin) to swipe the loot for themselves, and rat George out to the cops. What the duo did not bargain for was George moving the diamonds to another secret place just before getting 'nicked'. The pair need to find out where those rocks are stashed...and fast!

Wanda, the obvious brains of the outfit, thinks the best way to find out is by getting close to George's lawyer. Enter the uptight, conventional, tight-laced married Barrister Archie Leach (Cleese).

A monumental reader of character, Wanda knows just how to get what she wants out of Leach. Flattery will get her everywhere, almost. Wanda repeatedly seduces Archie (who is bored with his marriage and amazed that someone like Wanda would be interested), trying to get the information.

Yet, she falls into her own trap by falling in love with the very man (or, one of them) she is conning. Archie cannot divulge anything about the case, as Wanda is a material witness. Meanwhile, poor bumbling Ken is ordered to kill the old lady who witnesses the robbers' escape, and manages to eliminate the woman's small dogs (accidentally, of course) before laying so much as a bruise on her!

Otto is fuming over Wanda's physical involvement with Archie; creating a love/lust/greed triangle of the most hilarious variety. To help ease his stress, Otto relentlessly torments Ken, from pretending he's gay and hitting on him, to finally, eating Ken's fish!!

Love triumphs, as Archie realizes he wants more out of life, namely, Wanda. The pair escape with the loot to South America, but not before leaving George in the lurch, and throttling Otto, who is then left to vengeful Ken's devices.

Author: Kimberley A. WrenUpdate This Review



If you have not seen this film, you are missing out! A perfect blend of British and American humor, with something for everyone.

John Cleese co-wrote the story, and it shows... The film is reminiscient of Cleese's 'Fawlty Towers', as Cleese is 9 times out of ten the butt of his own jokes!

The four principal players work well together and independently in their four very different roles, and Kline is especially a joy to watch as the misguided Otto.

Outstanding film all around
Not a negative thing to report here -apart from some may be a bit put off by the humor, or simply not GET the humor.

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The Movie Data

Key Crew

Director: Charles Crichton
Writer: John Cleese, Charles Crichton
Producers: Steve Abbott, John Cleese, John Comfort, Michael Shamberg
Locations Manager: William Lang

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Release Date: 15 Jul 1988
MPAA Rating: R
Studio: MGM
Production: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Prominent Features Inc., Star Partners Limited Partnership
Genre: Comedy

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The Movie Trailer
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1988 MGM
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