A Fish Called Wanda (1988) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Fish Called Wanda1988

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)



Critic Consensus: Smartly written, smoothly directed, and solidly cast, A Fish Called Wanda offers a classic example of a brainy comedy with widespread appeal.

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Movie Info

An ambitious and sexy con artist uses every tool at her disposal to obtain a fortune in jewels stolen by her mobster lover. To help in her plan, she woo's first her lover's deadly henchman and then his attorney, eventually falling in love with one of them.

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John Cleese
as Archie Leach
Jamie Lee Curtis
as Wanda Gerschwitz
Maria Aitken
as Wendy Leach
Patricia Hayes
as Mrs. Coady
Peter Jonfield
as Inspector
Mark Elwes
as Shop Customer
Neville Phillips
as Shop Manager
Al Ashton
as Warder
Roger Hume
as Locksmith
Kate Lansbury
as Magistrate
Jeremy Child
as Mr. Johnson
Pamela Miles
as Mrs. Johnson
David Simeon
as Court Clerk
Tia Lee
as Prosecution Counsel
Robert Putt
as Police Officer
Anthony Pedley
as Irate Driver
Robert McBain
as Hotel Clerk
Clare McIntyre
as Airline Employee
Charu Bala Chokshi
as Indian Cleaner
Stephen Fry
as Hutchison
Tom Piggot-Smith
as Johnson Child, 13
Katherine John
as Johnson Child
Sophie Johnstone
as Johnson Child
Sharon Twomey
as Junior Barrister #1
Patrick Newman
as Junior Barrister #2
Waydon Croft
as Prison Officer #1
John Dixon
as Prison Officer #2
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Critic Reviews for A Fish Called Wanda

All Critics (68) | Top Critics (17)

To those who appreciate Ealing comedy (which is to say all right-thinking people), watching the film is like chancing on a Hogarth sketch in grandmother's attic, clearly and unmistakably signed by the Master.

January 16, 2020 | Full Review…

Putting heart and heat into a film that could have easily slid by on silliness, Cleese proves himself a master actor.

July 30, 2013

Perhaps the most unusual aspect of what is surely the year's most original and daring comedy is that John Cleese is not the funniest performer in it. Believe it or not, that honor goes to none other than the usually somber Kevin Kline.

July 30, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Somehow, the movie manages to do the impossible: It makes John Cleese less than hilarious.

July 30, 2013

Low comedy at high speed, it pretends to be a caper movie about a smooth London jewel heist and its infinitely complex aftermath. Actually, it's a smart farce about ingrained cultural differences.

July 30, 2013 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

The movie's basic joke holds that the overbearing, unselfconscious Americans will do anything and say anything (and usually as loudly as possible), while the timorous British are nearly too polite to breathe.

July 30, 2013 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for A Fish Called Wanda

It took me three attempts to get through this film, and everyone I've told about the challenge it presented me has looked at me like I have three heads. I think the movie shines in its plotting and its pacing, and I like that it's a heist movie with a comical twist, but to everyone saying "What are you talking about? IT'S HILARIOUS!", well, I disagree. Maybe it's just too dated now... or maybe Cleese left his best work in Monty Python or Fawlty Towers... something about the movie just didn't do it for me, and I wish that I could be more specific. The Kevin Kline aspect strikes me as a large part of it... the guy is just trying way too hard... his character's wacky, but not the least bit believable, and I think that's a problem when you're trying to play a crook: crime has to come from some real place inside, and to me, cartoony crooks always ring hollow. This being said, though, I think I can see this film re-watching well; my rating might improve on second viewing... or then again, as that would be my fourth attempt to enjoy this film, I'm not so sure it will.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

John Cleese penned this farce on Brit/American "friendly" relations to hysterical effect as a jewelry store robbery and a search for the missing booty lead to pretty funny complications. The entire cast is to be highly commended, but Kevin Kline's fascist pig Yankee snob is the real gem here. Still potent after all these years!

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Terrible funny and clever, A Fish Called Wanda it's a great comedy film with outstanding performances. Fresh.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

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