MovieChat Forums > Top Secret! (1984) Discussion > Top secret! is better than Airplane!

Top secret! is better than Airplane!


Why does Airplane! get more respect than Top Secret!? Airplane is constanly listed on the top comedy lists, but numerous people have told me they walked out of the theatre when watching Top Secret. Any thoughts...I personally love both, but Airplane isn't quite as random and truly unique as Top Secret.

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Top Secret! is just as good as Airplane!, if not better, in my opinion. However, when watching the DVD commentary, the ZAZ guys commented a lot on the reasons why Top Secret wasn't as good a movie. I don't remember much of what they said, but I remember feeling disappointed they didn't love their creation as much as I did.

"I don't shower much." Ted Nugent, Fletch

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I guess there's already a thread about ZAZ's thoughts on Top Secret. I missed that.

"I don't shower much." Ted Nugent, Fletch

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Top Secret! was funnier than Airplane! because it didn't have Stephen Stucker doing that annoying unfunny camp shtick which completely killed the last few minutes of the movie. And I must be one of the few people who didn't find the "Guess I picked the wrong day to give up drinking" gags very funny. Don't get me wrong, both are classics and among the funniest films ever made, but the Top Secret! gags are often more clever (e.g. Swedish bookshop) and not as topical, therefore less dated.

The main criticism seems to be the scattered, ahistorical plot, to which I say:

a) This is a comedy, you idiot, not a drama. It's meant to make you laugh, not to educate you, not to make you philosophise, and not to be the subject of an essay to assess the viewer's grades.

b) The idea that Elvis would go to East Germany and join the French Resistance only to be betrayed by the bloke from the Blue Lagoon is freaking hilarious!

While I'm on the topic, let me slaughter another sacred cow and say that on the whole, the ZAZ movies are funnier than the Monty Python movies. I say this as an Aussie, where Monty Python is very much understood and appreciated (perhaps even more than in England), not as an American, where the cultural gap tends to limit appreciation to a cult audience. The great bits in Python stand out because they are usually surrounded by long setups and many gags that fall flat. The joke density of ZAZ movies is incredible, and most are at least good. Python tend to go for long sketches and running gags taking the one idea to its logical conclusion, which kills the whole scene if it doesn't work.

Whereas ZAZ references tend to be exclusively popular culture references (save for the odd Jewish joke), Python tend to make far too much of their intellectual pretensions. Python displayed excessive class neurosis and too much of a "Beyond the Fringe" influence with their superfluous references to philosophers and European history and the like. Sometimes it works (e.g. Philospohers' Drinking Song) but you often wish they'd find a funnier target for their humour.

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"I say this as an Aussie, where Monty Python is very much understood and appreciated (perhaps even more than in England), not as an American, where the cultural gap tends to limit appreciation to a cult audience."

I love the fact that you had to point out that you were Australian and not American. It's almost as if you knew that someone would reply with "You're probably just a stupid American who's too dumb to understand our sophisticated English humor" God, I'm sick of hearing that crap on these boards. Not that I'm accusing you of such trite, your post just reminded me of all of it.

/rant

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ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? Stucker was the best thing that ever happenned to Airplane! The whole film is great, but Stucker lifted it to a higher level in comedy!

Uncle sandler went to the mall!!

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Oh, I dunno. I think it's a pretty close run but I have to give the edge to Airplane. I rate the top three funniest movies of all time:

1) Blazing Saddles
2) Airplane!
3) Top Secret

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I have to say that Top Secret never stops bieng funny! I love it and I think only ZAZ are capable of making spoofs this funny ( I can't watch Loaded Weapon, Scary Movie ect, they never hit the mark ). I certainly thinks it stands along side Airplane, it certainly holds it's own. My personal fave bit? The shoot out at the farm! A mass of feet scurry lef to right across the screen, then right to left, then stop and start to tap dance. It's an absolute gem!

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I can't believe you lot think these are the funniest movies ever made, there's countless British films which are much funnier. From America I would say Spinal Tap, The Odd Couple, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein are the best offerings.

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Nah, 3,1,2!

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You obviously have just seen American films.

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Actually I'll agree - I think Top Secret! was funnier as well. More creative. However, I will give Airplane! its credit for being somewhat of a progenitor.


"Hey, that's not a hamburger. That's a grenade!"

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Honestly Top Secret is far from Airplane. Top Secret has its moments, but sometimes it's just bad. Airplane is faaarrrr better, no contest

Omae wa mo shinderu

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1Life of Brian
2Top Secret
3Holy Grail
4Galaxy Quest
5Fawlty Towers

These are the things I can watch again and again and still laugh out loud. Not many things one can say this about. Top secret was so much more random than airplane, but another enjoyable one was Mafia. The vomiting scene was class!

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Personally I think Top Secret! is better than Airplane! because (IMHO) many years later it still feels very fresh where Airplane! comes over a bit outdated at some moments in the film.

Although it's only fair to say that Airplane! was indeed more progressive than Top Secret!. This last one only build further, where Airplane! layed the path.

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<sometimes it's just bad>

I can't think of one bad joke in the whole film!

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Airplane has a couple shortcomings to me:
1) There's virtually no plot. Ooh, some people get food poison. Pure entertainment!
2) Julie Hagerty's comic delivery is atrocious. Not a single thing she says is funny. Leslie Nielsen and Robert Hayes are excellent, and some of the lesser characters have funny bits too, but Hagerty nearly ruins it.

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My thoughts exactly....maybe Airplane! is just more polished, but Top Secret! is an underrated classic.

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First time i saw Top Secret I laughed so much that I vomited, I have never done that with any other move, not even Airplane, so that most make Top Secret the better of the two movies, but not by much.

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I love Top Secret! and both Airplanes. My own personal fave is Top Secret! if only for the much more "British" feel it has. Just too many classic scenes to mention, and I can forgive Val Kilmer pretty much every other film he has made thanks to his appearance as Nick Rivers.

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[deleted]

Both top secret and airplane! are good, but i think the 2 hot shots movies are the funniest

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Love Top Secret,have to watch it more than once to catch all the gags and like Airplane it has so many quotable lines.As others have said, an underrated film.

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Tough call to say which is funnier, a good case could be made for either. IMO, Airplane has the funnier dialogue, while TS has the better visual gags. I would also include Kentucky Fried Movie as an underrated comedy classic. But I still laugh the most at the 6 original Police Squad episodes. I think they are the best work by ZAZ.

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"..and Deja Vu."

"Have we not met before monsieur?"

"Uh..no. I don't think so?"

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If only they had Soufflé, Comsee Comsa, Monsieur hoiéhoi and leading them all, Manager trois.

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I enjoyed Airplane! and I'm glad that I saw it but Top Secret! always remains richer to me and my favorite.


| ''But where's the ambiguity?... It's over there, in a box!'' |

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Totally agree. "Airplane!" has more really silly scenes, "Top Secret!" has the better jokes and references to more familiar movies.

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when I first saw Airplane, it was the first movie of its kind to me and brought side-splitting laughter. Top Secret was the same as far as responses go. Looking back at both of them, Top Secret stands out as being the funnier of the two, but because Airplane was the first of it's kind (Didn't see blazing Saddles at this point) to me I laughed harder at that one.

As for ingeniousness:
The National Anthem:
"Hail, Hail, East Germany, land of fruit and Vine, land where you'll regret, any try to escape. Buy tunneling under or taking a flying leap at the wall, forget it, the guards will get you if the electric fence doesn't first!"

How can you not appreciate the look on the faces of the people in that scene? I don't think anyone of them were told as to what the translation would say but were told just to look serious and full of pride. What a trip! LOL

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Airplane's funniest moment = topless boobs waggling about during airplane crisis. (no complaints)
Top secret has the whole bookshop scene filmed backwards.

I think I know which movie the most thought went into.

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My thoughts are the same about this. While Airplane! is a damn good comedy I have trouble understanding why it is put in the elite division and not Top Secret!.

Some reasons why I think it is so:
-a much more convoluted and simple plot than top secret! And as such, easier to go along with.
-it came first. this is some psychological thingy, as one tends to like best the one you see first. although I wouldn't believe this is valid in this case, as the movies are quite different in many aspects.
-a more drama-like movie, with *gasp* actual character development (even if quite shallowly done) and real or real-ish people instead of the cartoon characters in Top Secret!
-great cast. well, now the arguments really starts going in favor top secret! here. I mean, Lucy Gutteridge! And Omar Sharif, i never knew he could be funny. And no one can doubt that Val Kilmer was destined to stardom after seeing Nick Rivers.
-in 23 years retrospect, the jokes and gags in top secret! holds up much better than the ones in airplane! and in top secret there are loads more of them as well
-to me it is a good thing that the plot is as wide open and as irresistibly absurd that it is. it allows ZAZ much more freedom to run wild with all their ideas and still be able to fit them neatly into the story. This makes for a richer, more clever, never know what to expect next-experience where nothing (well, amazingly close to nothing, that is) feels forced or breaks the feel of the story.


Don't breathe air. Birds *beep* in it!

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