It’s criminal that, right to this day, the movie the Zucker Bros and Jim Abrahams made between the iconic Airplane and the sublime The Naked Gun still doesn’t get anywhere near the recognition it deserves. And yet Top Secret is one of the finest movie spoofs ever – ever! – committed to celluloid.
At heart, it’s a send up of World War II spy movies, but instead of writing a prolonged exposition of why it deserves to be seen and recognised as a huge slab of comedy gold, I’m going to do a list of just some of the reasons to love it.
1 It’s the only great Val Kilmer film. Ever. Fact. Only Kiss Kiss Bang Bang has come close.
2 “I know a little German. He’s sitting over there”.
3 The song Skeet Surfin’. “If everybody had a 12-gauge. And a surfboard too….”. Have the Beach Boys ever been covered better?
4 The bit where the hero jumps on the grenade, war movie-style, only for him to survive and everyone around him to blow up.
5 The ballet! The codpieces!
6 The East German national anthem, and the East German Women’s Olympic team.
7 “He’s just a little hoarse”.
8 Sergeant Kruger’s condition.
9 The escape tunnel.
10 “Die Sauerkraut ist in mein Lederhosen”.
11 The Blue Lagoon send up.
12 “Is this the potato farm?” “Yes, I’m Albert Potato”.
13 Peter Cushing’s eyes.
14 Deja Vu. And the names of the rest of the resistance…
15 The pantomime cow.
16 The train platform.
17 Drawing a picture from a moving train.
18 Omar Sharif.
19 Nick Rivers, explaining how he got his name: “My dad thought of it while he was shaving”.
20 “In women’s tennis, I always root against the heterosexual”.
21 The fake dog poo.
22 “They would have enough salt to last forever”.
Seeing as the film is on continuous loop, seemingly, on one of the Paramount Comedy channels, and seeing as the DVD can be picked up – replete with terrific commentary – for under a fiver, there is no longer any excuse for Top Secret to be neglected.
I could easily write another 22 reasons to love it if it now, off the back of this article, fails to shoot to the top of the Amazon DVD bestsellers’ list. Er, best consider that a threat…