A Fish Called Wanda (1988) - Charles Crichton


Director: Charles Crichton
ProduceR: Michael Shamberg
Writer: John Cleese
John Cleese
Jamie Lee Curtis
Kevin Kline
Michael Palin
Music by John Du Prez
Cinematography Alan Hume
Edited by John Jympson
Production Company
Prominent Features
Distributed by
United International Pictures
Release date
July 15, 1988
October 14, 1988
Running time
108 minutes
United Kingdom
United States

A Fish Called Wanda is a comedy from 1988 that was released by MGM Pictures. It’s directed by Charles Crichton and stars a lot of big names like John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Palin and Kevin Klein. The movie was an extremely popular around the time of its release. I remember my mom and her friends liking it when it came out. Unfortunately, it has faded from most people's memory in recent times.

The film is set in a relatively modern London (1987). It features two American criminal lovers Otto (Kevin Kline) and Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis), who are planning to double-cross their boss George Thomason (Tom Georgeson) and his right hand man, Ken (Michael Palin), following a jewel heist that would get them over ten thousand British pounds. The plan involves a schlub British barrister (John Cleese), that gets involved with Wanda eventually driving this entire plan off a cliff. Hilariously.

The entire project started as a discussion between John Cleese and veteran director Charles Crichton back in 1969. The two had wanted to work together, but couldn’t come up with a viable plan. However, that desire to work alongside one and other never died, and in 1987 the two linked up to begin work on A Fish Called Wanda. A fantastic mix of smart comedy and great character work from a tremendous cast. The film direction is sold considering MGM had their doubts with the 78 year old director. Although John Cleese was alongside and picked up a Co-Direction credit.

This is a movie that I would definitely recommend to anyone looking for something smart to laugh at. John Cleese and Michael Palin are known for their work in the Monty Python series. However, this is a pretty far jump from that comedy troupe. I had a great time watching it and I think you would too. It’s not obscene or raunchy, but entertaining and clever. A damn fine movie that shouldn’t be forgotten.