A Fish Called Wanda was released in 1988. Instead of following, a tried and tested formula this film was quite inventive. It did suffer, somewhat, from over exposure, at the time, which caused some disappointment to viewers. The trouble is that when the press extol a film's virtues so much, it is hard for the film to live up to its review. All in all, though it is a great film.

A little of the plot.

The plot revolves around a visit to England by an American couple. The woman, Wanda, a rather sexy creature come con artist and the man, Otto, a jewel thief have planned what they think will be the perfect robbery. It will be diamond robbery, which is to take place London. The plot has all the necessary ingredients for an hilarious farce. It involves double cross, deceit, quirky characters and personalities, a good cast and murder. It all takes place in utterly ludicrous circumstances.

British actor, comedian, Michael Palin, who is best known for Monty Python, and more recently Pole to Pole, plays Ken. Ken appears to be a stuttering character but he is not as foolish as his opponents may think he is.

As an ordinary sort of man, Michael Palin portrays this character well. For me, Ken is the funniest character in the whole film, although there a few close runners up. There are some really funny scenes involving Ken, that include him having fried chips inserted into his nostrils, and a poor neighbour's dog being squashed to death. As a dog lover I laughed, but felt guilty, throughout the dog scenes.

John Cleese, also of Python fame but of Fawlty Towers success too, plays Archie, a pompous British lawyer, to perfection. Cleese makes for an unusual, but rather funny, nude, in one scene.

This is a typical quote from the film. It is in a scene, which takes place between Otto and Archie:

Archie -I used to box for Oxford.

Otto-Oh, yeah?

(Otto points a gun)

Otto-I used to kill for the CIA.

This humorous banter is constantly occurring throughout the film.

Jamie Lee Curtis plays Wanda, one-half of the criminal, American couple. Her other half, Otto, is played by Kevin Kline. They fit together brilliantly. One of Otto's typical, classic statements is, 'We didn't lose Vietnam. It was a tie!'

There is little wonder that Kevin Kline won Best Actor, In A Supporting Role, for playing Archie, at the 1988 Oscars.

Around these four main characters exists a web of intrigue. There are many other well-known performers, some with minor roles, such as Stephen Fry and Geoffrey Palmer, to name just two.

A Fish Called Wanda succeeds, where many others have failed. It comes across as a modern day farce. The comedy at times is subtle, and at other times as subtle as a sledgehammer. There is a smattering of bad language and it is not really a family film. It is a grown up farce in every sense of the word.

The plot twists and turns a little, although many outcomes are fairly predictable. This film has many classic elements, but just has a modern twist. It was written by John Cleese and Charles Crichton. John Cleese's quirky, humour is evident throughout.

A Fish Called Wanda is classified A and has a running time of one hour and 48 minutes.


I have only given a brief outline of the plot, so that the viewing experience will not be spoilt, if you have not watched this film before. You will enjoy the film so much more, the less you know about the plot.

If you think you would enjoy a crime caper, with more than a touch of humour, A Fish Called Wanda could be perfect for you. It is hilarious in parts and has a decent plot. The characters are all ridiculous but believable in equal measure.

A Fish Called Wanda must rank high in any Top Twenty of comedy films. It has so many successful elements, such as the cast, plot performances, humour and its unusual style.

It is available on DVD from £4.97 at Amazon.