A Fish Called Wanda: Movie Review

A fish called Wanda. Release date: 1988. Duration: 1h 48m. Director: John Cleese and Charles Crichton.


A gang of British diamond thieves pull of a massive heist, and then try to double cross one another to find the loot. Barrister Archie Leach is responsible for representing heist leader Georges Thomason. Wanda tries to seduce Leach to learn the whereabouts of the diamonds.

Que: Probably one of the best British comedies from Monty Python John Cleese and Michael Palin. In my top 10 favourite films. A sequel “Fierce Creatures” was released in 1997 ( I will review soon ).

It is quintessential British comedy viewing. Full of fantastic actors and a fantastic storyline, coupled with genius wit and a genuine feel for the art of movie making.

To start I want to talk about the actual filming of the movie. It is clear and crisp and the audio is brilliant. The blu-ray version even more so. This is timeless in that it looks and feels like a modern movie, however there is little to give away the fact it is from the 80’s and it is gripping and entertaining enough not to focus on that!

A diamond heist masterminded and pulled of by Georges Thomason, Ken Pile, Otto and Wanda. Soon the diamonds go missing and it becomes a game of trying to double cross one another in order to find them! Ken is on a bet to assassinate an old lady who witnessed them escaping the crime scene. Otto the psychopath is just up to his eyes in crazy whilst passing himself off as Wanda’s brother. Wanda is busy trying to seduce Archie Leach, the barrister trying to defend Thomason from prison.

It is the chemistry of the actors that bring the film to a new level. All are brilliant but it is Otto (Kevin Kline) who brings things to a completely different dimension. In one of the funniest scenes in the film (out of many), Archie (Cleese) is becoming seduced by Wanda (Curtis) when Otto decides to break in to Leach’s house and hide behind a bedroom door, in order to stop Wanda from having sex with Leach. Soon Leach’s wife comes home with his daughter and then Wanda is hiding too. I won’t go on because you have to see it to believe it…

Ken is still trying to kill the old lady, and hilariously failing. Being an animal right activist, it adds another layer when he accidentally kills her beloved dogs instead. We can really feel the Monty Python humour shining through a during a few scenes the music score briefly plays the theme from the opening of The Meaning of Life.

Of course in the end, things start to get serious as the diamonds are found and who takes them is up to you to see for yourself by watching it!

A great film and a great tribute to British comedies. We don’t see films like this anymore which is a shame.

Rating: 5/5

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