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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> June 2000 >> Top Secret!

Top Secret!

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
5 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
June 2000
IMDB Name:
Top Secret! (1984)
David Zucker
Jim Abrahams
Jerry Zucker
comedy, musical, zucker-abrahams-zucker
MPAA Rating:

Too Well Kept

When people reminisce about the team of David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker, the first movies they'll mention will almost certainly be Kentucky Fried Movie, Airplane, or Naked Gun. These are all very funny movies, but their 1984 effort, Top Secret! is every bit their equal. Val Kilmer shows definite comic ability and formidable dancing skills as American rock star Nick Rivers. He can sing, too, as evidenced by his performances of songs in the style of both Elvis Presley and The Beach Boys.

Top Secret! is perhaps the ZAZ team's most technically challenging venture. There are several scenes that are clearly extremely awkward to stage, but they don't shy away from it. There is a ninety-second unbroken shot done entirely in reverse. I can't imagine the practice needed to make it look so fluid. There is also a large-scale underwater fight scene, a park set with a giant statue and lots of fly space, and a submarine hull to break through a wall on cue. Heck, this one even has a stunt cow! References to other movies abound, including a quick homage to the motorcycle work in The Great Escape, which I saw only yesterday!

Freeze Frame Fun

As with most of their movies, the Zuckers and Abrahams have populated almost every shot with a joke. Witness the title of a book prominently on display in the bookstore. Check the motto on the telegram at the beginning. It's also vital to not stop watching when the credits start. Although not as grandiosely absurd as some of the entries in, say, Naked Gun 2 1/2, there are some doozies.

Cast Coincidences

Did Dr. Flammond look familiar? It's Michael Gough, the notary in Sleepy Hollow and Alfred from Batman. In case you were wondering, Gough rhymes with "cough" and the "G" is hard. John Sharp is the maitre'd in Top Secret, but he was the doctor in The Wicker Man. I'd swear I've seen him in something else, too, but I can't figure it from his filmography.

Copyright 2000-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.