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Top Secret trivia

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The 1984 film Top Secret! was created by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker, the same guys who did the comedy spoof Airplane! They really like exclamation marks.

Top Secret! is the same sort of film: madcap jokes, no pretense of seriousness, and existing in order to cram as many jokes as possible into a spoof of a common movie genre. This time, they took on two of them: it’s both a spoof of World War II spy movies, and a spoof of Beach-Boys-style boy band films. I think it’s even more fun than Airplane, since the genres it spoofs are more fun. At any rate, the IMDB trivia page on it is fascinating, and explains even more jokes and fun facts behind the film.

The sight gag of Peter Cushing and the magnifying glass is a parody of a similar shot of Cushing from Terence Fisher’s The Curse of Frankenstein. (Seen here: The Curse Of Frankenstein theatrical trailer.)

The idea of skeet surfing came out of the Zucker brothers trying to outdo each other at press junkets. They would specifically concoct outlandish stories to amuse themselves and bewilder journalists.

When Nick Rivers is in jail, a head shot of Cher can be clearly seen on the wall of the cell several times. Val Kilmer was dating Cher at the time.

Directors were very happy that Omar Sharif accepted the role of British agent, so they invited him to a dinner after he completed his scenes. Sharif accepted the invitation, and a very special dinner was prepared for him. But he didn’t show up, and soon it was found out he already left England. When he was later asked why he didn’t come, he replied, “It’s a tradition in my culture not to ‘refuse’ any offer. Example: someone offers you a drink, you should accept it even though you won’t drink it.” Unaware, ZAZ enjoyed a very expensive dinner, all by themselves.

The “German” phrases Nick was learning on the train were basically gibberish. The translations for those phrases include, “I want a schnauzer with my weinerschnitzel,” and, “There is sauerkraut in my lederhosen.”


The scene in which Lucy Gutteridge looks down from the balcony onto the street to see hamsters and mice was in fact a miniature from Superman. The Zucker Brothers and Jim Abrahams stated in their DVD commentary that they found it in the old Shepperton studios and thought it would be a great idea to use it in somewhere in the movie.

Cows hate having things put on their feet, so to get one to wear two pairs of Wellington boots, the bottoms had to be cut out and then the boots were attached to the cow’s legs with Velcro.

The film had a budget of $8 million and came in a million under.

~Top Secret IMDB trivia page


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