A Fish Called Wanda is a 1988 British-American action comedy film directed by Charles Crichton and John Cleese and produced by Michael Shamberg. The screenplay was written by John Cleese and is based on the story by John Cleese and Charles Shamberg.
Rated: R (movie contains sexual content, language, crude humor and mature themes)
Run Time: 1h 48min
Release Date: August 5, 1988 (USA)
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Crime, Action
Director: Charles Crichton and John Cleese
Budget: $8 Million
Box Office: $62.5 Million
A Fish Called Wanda is the story of four unlikely thieves who team up to plan and execute a large diamond heist in London worth £13 million. George Thomason (Tom Georgeson), a British gangster and his right-hand man Ken Pile (Michael Palin) recruit two arrogant Americans, Wanda Gerschwitz (Jamie Lee Curtis) a grifter and Otto West (Kevin Kline), a weapons expert to steal the diamonds.
When the job goes badly, Wanda and Otto plan to double cross George by having him arrested for the heist, while they abscond with the jewels. With an anonymous tip, they are able to get George arrested with him not knowing who tipped the police off. In the process, George is being implicated by an elderly eye witness named Eileen Coady (Patricia Hayes) who saw the whole thing.
With George in jail, Wanda and Otto go to the agreed upon hiding place only to discover that he in turn has protected his investment by moving the jewels to a different location with Ken being the only other person who knows where they are. While in custody, George tasks Ken, an animal lover with an extreme stuttering problem, with killing Mrs. Coady before she is able to testify against him, as she is the crown’s primary witness.
Meanwhile, Wanda has a plan of her own and she attempts to seduce George’s stuffy defense Barrister, Archie Leach (John Cleese), to find out where George hid the diamonds so she can double cross everyone and make off with the loot.
“To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! I’ve known sheep who could outwit you. I’ve worn dresses with higher IQ’s. But you think you’re an intellectual don’t you, ape” – Wanda
“Apes don’t read philosophy.” – Otto
“Yes they do, Otto. They just don’t understand it.” – Wanda
“Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not ‘Every man for himself.’ And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up.” – Wanda
“Avoid the green ones. They’re not ripe yet.” – Otto
“Wanda, do you have any idea what it’s like being English? Being so correct all the time, being so stifled by this dread of, of doing the wrong thing, of saying to someone “Are you married?” and hearing “My wife left me this morning,” or saying, uh, “Do you have children?” and being told they all burned to death on Wednesday. You see, Wanda, we’re all terrified of embarrassment. That’s why we’re so… dead. Most of my friends are dead, you know, we have these piles of corpses to dinner. But you’re alive, God bless you, and I want to be, I’m so fed up with all this. I want to make love with you, Wanda. I’m a good lover – at least I used to be, back in the early 14th century. Can we go to bed?” – Archie Leach
Official Movie Trailer
John Cleese as Archie Leach
Jamie Lee Curtis as Wanda Gershwitz
Kevin Kline as Otto
Michael Palin as Ken Pile
Tom Georgeson as Georges Thomason
Maria Aitken as Wendy
Cynthia Cleese as Portia
Patricia Hayes as Mrs. Coaty
Geoffrey Palmer as Judge
Stephen Fry as Hutchison