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Five Great Spy Spoof Movies

With the 2008 Summer release of Get Smart, it prompted me to reflect on a few of my favorite spy spoof movies. This will certainly be open for discussion.

Five Great Spy Spoof Movies

Ever since the success of the James Bond series in the sixties, movies have been produced that spoofed the entire spy genre. Having the right mix of action, adventure and humor is the key to a good spy spoof movie regardless of the weak plot that so many of these movies seem to have. Here is a list of my top five Spy Spoof Movies.

Real Men

James Belushi is prototypical CIA super spy Nick Pirandello on a top secret mission. The mission? Bring a glass of water to Alien visitors in exchange for a secret formula to help clean the Earth before the Russians can get to them first and acquire the Big Gun. There is only one problem. The Aliens are expecting Nick’s partner to deliver the glass of water and he was just bumped off. No biggie! Nick finds a look-a-like replacement in suburbanite wimp Bob Wilson played by John Ritter. Together they learn from each other another side of them they never knew existed. This movie works because it does not rely on reference gags to any other spy movies nor do the characters pretend to be funny. Watching how calm and collected the over-confident Nick Pirandello is compared to the ever-paranoid Bob Wilson makes this movie fun to watch. The plot is silly, but not to the extent where it is stupid. Ok, maybe it is stupid, but in a funny sort of way. Real Men is just your average super spy and average Joe out to save the fate of the world. After all, saving the world is what real men do.

Best Line: “They’re trying to kill me. They know I can’t afford a loss like that.” – Nick Pirandello

Spies Like Us

With Ghostbusters being Dan Akroyd’s best work, Spies Like Us would certainly follow right behind it on the list. It seams Akroyd is at his best when teamed with another comedic actor. And with Chevy Chase playing his usual bumbling and confused character, it creates a perfect sidekick for Akroyd’s nerdy and intellectual personality. After they both stumble through the Spy Aptitude Test, they are recruited for a top secret mission. What they don’t know is that they are the decoys for the real spies assigned to the case. Austin Millbarge (Dan Akroyd) and Emmett Fitz-Hume (Chevy Chase) get tangled up in hilarious situations and eventually meet up with the real spies. With their assistance, World War III is averted. Akroyd and Chase work off of each other brilliantly to make Spies Like Us a classic comedy from two of the top comedy actors of the 80s.

Best Line:

Russian Interrogator: “Every minute you don’t tell us why you are here, I cut off a finger.”

Emmett Fitz-Hume: “Mine or yours?”

The Man Called Flintstone

Flintstone. Fred Flintstone. Ok, so we are talking about Fred Flintstone here. But this is not your average stone-age family. This movie starts out brilliantly with a Bond-like opening scene and a great title song. Fred is recruited to substitute for real spy Rock Slag when Slag becomes injured and unable to continue his mission. Fred seems like the perfect replacement because he looks like Slag. He thwarts henchmen and foils the Green Goose all while keeping his mission a secret from Wilma. The movie drags a bit when the Flintstone and Rubble family are featured, but there is enough action and adventure to keep the movie interesting. In the end, just when all looks hopeless for our stone-aged hero, Flintstone devises a plot that outsmarts and outmaneuvers the Green Goose once and for all. It’s Fred at his cartoon best and a spy spoof that really rocks. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

Best Line: “Is that a real, genuine imitation diamond necklace?” – Fred Flintstone, aka Rock Slag.

The Nude Bomb

The original Get Smart movie. While I agree that Steve Carell was a great choice to play the bumbling Maxwell Smart, Secret Agent 86 of Control, the Nude Bomb had one thing that the 2008 movie did not: Don Adams! Nothing will compare to the brilliance of the TV series, and this movie still didn’t come close, but with Don Adams in the role he was born to play, The Nude Bomb was enjoyable to watch. Recruited by a new organization, PITS, Smart must stop a madman bent on destroying all fabrics on earth to monopolize the clothing industry with his own fashion brand. Many of the action scenes are flawlessly and hilariously delivered by Adams, such as the chase scene with his Desk mobile and the Agent 22 rescue scene as Nino Salvatori Sebastiani’s lair is being destroyed. Let’s also not forget the comic genius of Bill Dana who helped write the script and delivered a truly Get Smart-like scene playing Jonathan Levinson Seigle. While this movie may have disappointed many loyal Get Smart fans, it still displays the incomparable Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, Secret Agent 86 of Control.

Best Line: “Just our luck, we gotta run into a poisonous Achtung.” – Maxwell Smart

The Man Who Knew Too Little

Wallace Ritchie, played by Bill Murray, is just your average Blockbuster Video clerk who gets himself tangled up in international espionage while visiting his brother in Europe. Wallace thinks he is just playing a part in a reality TV show. But the bullets are real and so is Boris “The Butcher” Blavasky, who is sent to kill him. Murray plays the ultimate unwitting character who everyone believes is an American Super Spy sent to foil the bad guys’ plans to assassinate a European diplomat. Murray is at his comedic best as he continues to thwart all attempts at stopping him on his mission. This movie has a good plot with good characters and keeps you interested through to the very end. While it relies heavily on Murray’s aloof style of acting, he plays the part perfectly with each new member of the assignment. If I had known any better, I would have thought they planned on that! The Man Who Knew Too Little is just too much.

Best Line: “You said kill Spenser, kill girl and get letters. You said nothing about American Super Man.” – Boris “The Butcher” Blavasky

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11 Comments
  1. jo oliver
    Posted September 16, 2008 at 1:13 am

    Agree with all except The Nude Bomb- never seen it. Chevy Chase has got to be the best confused wack job character player ever.

  2. NA Staffieri
    Posted September 16, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    Glad to see we have a similar taste in spy spoofs. Agreed with Chevy!

  3. Wackypete2
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 11:57 am

    WHAT?? No John Candy in “Who is Harry Crum”, or Chevy Chase in the Fletch movies (OK, he an investigative reporter, but it’s close). Of course, Fred Flintstone is da MAN!

  4. NA Staffieri
    Posted September 17, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Loved Who’s Harry Crum. It’s my favorite John Candy movie. He’s a detective, though. Not a spy. Fletch is awsome, but doesn’t fit the category either. Same with Inspector Clouseau.
    Hey, maybe that’s my next five list!

  5. Vic
    Posted September 23, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    What about the naked gun series? pink panther?

  6. puffrooster
    Posted November 22, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    I saw this movie where a field trip from some US high school goes to Paris, France and a kid with the same last name as an American secret agent (who gets killed at the airport of course) takes over his 1st class plane seat as well as his identity and eventually gets all these cool gadgets, a fast car etc; and goes through this hilarious adventure which he of course solves… saving Europe and possibly the entire world.

    I searched the IMdB but I cannot remember the title of the film or any of the actors! Can anyone help me out please!?

  7. Posted November 23, 2008 at 9:44 am

    There is a movie titled Top Secret. It’s one of Val Kilmer’s early films where he plays a Rock and Roll star during WWII and gets involved in espionage in Germany.
    I don’t think that’s the one you are referring to, though. I believe I saw the movie you are thinking about but do not remember much. I will work on it for you.
    PS – Top Secret was very similar and a great Spy Spoof Movie.

  8. Help
    Posted November 29, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Here you go the name of the movie is “If Looks Could Kill” and it stars Richard Greico. I tried looking for it but cant find it anywhere.

  9. Posted November 30, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Thanks for the help. “If Looks Could Kill” is the movie. IMdB has some good information on it.

  10. Posted February 5, 2009 at 12:16 am

    I have never seen any of these movies, but I always enjoy your work NA Staffieri!

    Blessings.

    Sincerely,

    -Liane Schmidt.

  11. AB
    Posted March 13, 2010 at 7:18 am

    props for mentioning the Fred Flintstone spy spoof, I agree, it was a memorable cartoon spoof ;)

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