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A Fish Called Wanda Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    One of the best-constructed, funniest, and most clever comedies to grace motion picture screens in recent years. It's outrageous, offensive, and even a little sick -- and all the more enjoyable because of it.

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  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    The funniest movie I have seen in a long time.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    This crumbled-caper comedy is the funniest movie ever from a film maker late in his eighth decade. [22 July 1988, Life, p.4D]

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Dave Kehr

    Contains some gaspingly funny moments. [29 July 1988, Friday, p.A]

  • See all A Fish Called Wanda reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Crime caper has a wicked edge; not meant for kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this fast-paced heist comedy from some of the folks behind Monty Python's Flying Circus isn't intended to provide positive messages or role models -- just to be funny. Much of its humor is of the envelope-pushing variety: There's sadistic treatment of a stuttering character, dogs and fish are killed, guns are wielded, and characters are roughed up and targeted for murder. There's also a fair bit of strong language (including "f--k" and "s--t"), some simulated sex, infidelity, kissing, explicit sex talk, and a scene in which a man is shown naked from behind. Characters frequently betray and double-cross each other; they also get away with crimes without being punished. But it's all presented in a comic way, so as long as they're ready for edgy, British-flavored humor, mature teens should be able to handle it.

  • Families can talk about the characters. Are any of them intended to be role models? If not, are they still sympathetic? Why? How do movies get us to root for "bad" guys?
  • What kind of consequences would these characters face in real life for their actions?
  • Do you find this movie funny or over the top? Why do you think different people find different things funny?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: There's not really any positive message to be found here, unless it's that love can be found in unexpected places. But that's secondary to the constant double-crossing, lying, stealing, cheating, betraying, and other iffy stuff.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: The characters aren't meant to be admirable, and they fully fulfill that intention. Characters commit crimes, cheat, and lie; some are punished, others aren't. Wanda is a strong female character, but she uses her sexuality to get ahead and shows no qualms about double-crossing whoever it takes to get ahead. A character with a stutter is repeatedly mocked. Archie is a barrister, but he's quick to disregard the law when lust proves stronger than ethics. Otto is violent, short-tempered, and crass.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Mostly cartoon-ish gunplay, but it sometimes gets a bit brutal. Lots of threats. One character tries to engineer situations in which an old woman will be killed; when the schemes go awry, her dogs pay the price. Some hitting/tackling and rough treatment of characters.

  • sex false4

    Sex: Simulated sex, with frequent allusions to sexual attraction and arousal. Lots of kissing and making out; in one scene, a male character is shown naked from the rear (he's also shown from the front, but there's a strategically placed object blocking his groin). Infidelity.

  • language false4

    Language: Language is strong and colorful ("f--k," "a--hole," "s--t," etc.) but not constant.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Limited casual drinking and smoking by adults.