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The Independent Critic

John Cleese, Michael Palin, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Patricia Hayes
Charles Crichton
John Cleese (Story by/Written by), Charles Crichton (Story by)
Rated R
108 Mins.
Arrow Films

 "A Fish Called Wanda" Gets Arrow Films Blu-ray Release 
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I had a friend visit over the holidays and, strangely enough, we sat down to watch A Fish Called Wanda all over again. It was just as fresh and funny as it had been the first time I watched it sitting in a theater as a young man in 1988. Considered a classic of British comedy, A Fish Called Wanda stars John Cleese as Archie Leach, described in the film's press materials as "a weak-willed barrister who finds himself embroiled with a quartet of ill-matched jewel thieves" – two American con artists played by Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline, Michael Palin’s animal-loving hitman and London gangster Tom Georgeson – when Georgeson is arrested. Only he and Palin know the whereabouts of the diamonds, prompting plenty of farce and in-fighting as well as some embarrassing nudity and the unfortunate demise of some innocent pooches.

A Fish Called Wanda is absurd and funny and absurdly funny and a reminder of why we fell in love with Kevin Kline, whose performance here resulted in an Academy Award win for Best Supporting Actor as the psychopathic Otto. Jamie Lee Curtis, another performer whom we don't see nearly enough, is also an absolute joy here and the film entertains on both an intellectual and just plain silly level. With a budget of right around $7.5 million, the film proved to be a box-office success here in the U.S. with a gross of just over $63 million. In addition to Kline's Oscar win, the film also received two additional nominations - Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. Both Cleese and Palin picked up BAFTA Awards for their work here. 


  • Brand-new 4K restoration from the original negative, produced by Arrow Films exclusively for this release 
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation 
  • Original English mono audio (uncompressed LPCM) and 5.1 DTS-HD soundtracks 
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
  • Commentary by writer and star John Cleese 
  • John Cleese’s Final Farewell Performance, a 1988 documentary on the making of A Fish Called Wanda featuring interviews with actors Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Palin, Kevin Kline and director Charles Crichton
  • Something Fishy, a 15th anniversary retrospective documentary featuring interviews with Cleese, Curtis, Kline and Palin, producer Michael Shamberg, executive producer Steve Abbott and director of photography Alan Hume
  • On Location, a documentary on the film’s locations hosted by Robert Powell
  • Brand-new appreciation by Vic Pratt of the BFI National Archive 
  • Brand-new interview with production designer Roger Murray-Leach 
  • 26 deleted/alternative scenes with introductions by Cleese 
  • A Message from John Cleese, a tongue-in-cheek introduction recorded for the film’s original release 
  • Gallery 
  • Trivia track
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jacey

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic