January 1, 2013
Val Kilmer and Lucy Gutteridge
It all sounds like some bad movie
Over the years people have always asked me one question.
They always ask me, "Hey Mario, out of all the movies you
have seen in your life, which one have you seen the most times?"
Since I am a well known OCD movie-obsessor, people always
want to know which movie I have obsessed over the most.
Well to be honest, this is an easy question because it really isn't
even close. If there is one movie I have seen more often than
any other movie over the past 38 years, it is Top Secret. I
can honestly say I have watched Top Secret somewhere in the
neighborhood of 200 times.
Now here is the catch. I know that most of the people who are
reading this page (especially if you are under 21) have probably never
even heard of Top Secret. And that is a shame.
Because I feel it was easily one of the ten best comedies of
the 80's. In fact, not only was it one of the ten best
comedies of the 80's, I could make a case that it is actually the
funniest comedy of the 80's. It was one of the main reasons I
wanted to put together this collection of movies that I think deserve
What is Top Secret about? Well before I answer that question
I need to give you a little history lesson. Because that will
help you understand what kind of a movie it is and why I think it is so
Have you ever seen the movie Airplane? Of course you have.
According to a poll conducted a couple of years ago on
Entertainment Weekly, Airplane was named one of the five best comedies
of all time. It is a movie that almost everyone knows and
loves. Which, of course, means that it will never make
this webpage. It is popular and it deserves every
bit of popularity that it gets.
Well the guys who made Airplane (the Zucker Brothers) made four amazing
comedies during their prime. Airplane is the best of them
all, of course, but there were three other Zucker comedies that were
nearly as good. Most everyone knows The Naked Gun (1988) of
course, but the two that hardly anyone remembers these days are The
Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) and Top Secret (1984).
The Kentucky Fried Movie was the first Zucker Brothers comedy and...
well... we will come back to that one later. Suffice it to
say it will also be making this list of great movies that deserve more
love. I will write a lot more about it later.
Airplane (1980) was the second Zucker Brothers movie and of
course it was a smash hit. To this day I bet you can
walk up to any person who is my age (38) and you can quote them an
Airplane line. And I bet they will know the punchline before
you get there. That is what a big deal it was.
And then, in 1984, the Zucker Brothers made their third movie.
They made Top Secret. It was the follow up to
The only way I can describe Top Secret is "well it is a lot like
Airplane." It is just puns, sight gags, wordplay jokes, irony
jokes, funny musical numbers, and absurd visual jokes galore.
And I have never understood why Airplane became so beloved
and Top Secret became so forgotten. I mean, they are
practically the exact same movie. Same style, same directors,
same type of humor, same everything. The only difference is
that Airplane is a parody of a disaster movie and Top Secret is a
parody of an Elvis movie. Other than that, if you love one
you will love the other one. And considering that everyone
and their mother already loves Airplane, well you can see where I am
going with this.
Top Secret came out in 1984 (when I was 10 years old) and man, I just
obsessed over it. My brother and I both obsessed over it.
We thought it was the funniest thing we had ever seen.
I had a VHS copy of Top Secret that I taped off of Showtime
and I swear to god, that thing was on an endless loop in our living
room just about every day. I always had it on in the
background, whether I was studying, reading, playing computer games, or
whatever. Whenever I was home, Top Secret was one of the
movies that was almost always playing somewhere in the background.
Just because I wanted to be able to memorize it through the
process of audio osmosis.
I still watch Top Secret from time to time, and I think that
it holds up as well as Airplane does. And it always amazes me
that THIS was the first movie that Val Kilmer ever did. And
that he was so freaking good in it! Do you know that he sang
his own songs in the movie? Aside from the Doors I'm not sure
he ever had a movie where he had to sing like that.
If even one person reads this page and decides to give Top Secret a
chance, and it turns out that they love it, I will consider this
website a success. This was the movie that inspired me to
make a list of 200 movies out there that deserve more love.
And I am thrilled that it is the first movie that I get to
My Favorite Top Secret Quotes:
You see, a year ago, I was close to perfecting the first magnetic
desalinization process so revolutionary, it was capable of removing the
salt from over 500 million gallons of seawater a day. Do you realize
what that could mean to the starving nations of the earth?
Wow. They'd have enough salt to last forever.
General Streck [talking
on the phone]: What is the condition of Sergeant Kruger?
Very well, let me know if there is any change in his condition.
Well, Mr. Rivers, it seems that you have become... how do you say
That's what I thought.
favorite IMDB user reviews about Top Secret:
Best laughs per minute
movie there is - 6 June 1999
is great in that it goes for laughs EVERYWHERE. It's not afraid to grab
smart humor or fart humor. Some of it is tasteless, but it has more
moments to laugh at than any other movie I've seen. Val Kilmer is
amazingly funny in his first movie. My personal favorite scene is the
book store scene. There's an old joke that Swedish movies sound like
the dialogue is being played backwards, so what do you do in the
Swedish bookstore? You shoot the scene backwards. Great comedy!
Sets a standard for funny
movies - 10 January 2006
This is simply Marx brothers in the 80's. So many remarkably
intelligent gags that are simply so laughable to think of days after
the movie is unique. Where other funny movies rely on one-liners to
carry the movie, this stays funny also in the 2nd and 3rd view. More,
the movie builds itself up to become more and more funny and crazy, and
never loses pace. What is wrong with you guys. This deserves a much
better ranking than a mere 6.8. See it over a few beers with some good
friends and you will have a most enjoyable evening. Omar Sharif in the
crushed car, and the unlikely detailed model of the castle followed by
the funniest prisoner freeing scenes of all times simply makes you
laugh to tears. Val Kilmer was never in my list of top-actors, but he
does a remarkable job in this comedy. He can sing like Elvis, and dance
like Travolta. I'm surprised he never got a similar role where those
skills could be expressed further.
Brilliant, in an eighties
adolescent kind of way - 14 December 2005
This is one of three movies I would consider 'The best I've ever seen'.
I'll happily admit that this movie is very silly, but the first time I
saw it I roared and cried with laughter. Well, I was fifteen ;-) I've
seen it more than 20 times and only after about 15 times I really
believed I've spotted all the jokes.
This movie is far from a piece of art, but I cannot think of any other
movie I enjoyed more and that's what it's all about isn't it? More
jokes per minute than you'll ever see and probably tailored to eighties
adolescents but I don't care. 10 out of 10. If you find a girl who
likes it, marry her.
One Scene in the Movie that Always Kills Me:
There are so many great scenes and quotes and subtle sight gags in Top
Secret (aka the janitor closet containing the actual janitor) that it
is almost impossible for me to pick one. But if I had to pick
one favorite, I will go with the scene where the Ford Pinto blows up
towards the end. That moment will never not make me laugh.
Especially because it was common knowledge among any kid in
the 80's that if a Pinto got hit from behind, it would
explode. The movie just took that to the next logical (and
Special mention to the scene where the German guards are goose stepping
through the castle and their boots come flying off. Classic.
at the IMDB
Secret at Wikipedia
Back to 200
Movies That Deserve More Love