84 From ’84: Top Secret!

Top Secret! header

Top Secret!

Top Secret! Poster

An American rock and roll singer is invited to a cultural festival in East Germany in order to distract from a plot to destroy NATO submarines, but he accidentally becomes involved in a resistance plot to rescue an imprisoned scientist.


  • Val Kilmer as Nick Rivers
  • Lucy Gutteridge as Hillary Flammond
  • Christopher Villiers as Nigel “The Torch”, Resistance Leader
  • Billy J. Mitchell as Martin, Nick Rivers’s agent
  • Jeremy Kemp as Gen. Streck
  • Omar Sharif as Agent Cedric
  • Peter Cushing as Bookstore Proprietor
  • Michael Gough as Dr. Paul Flammond

1984 viewing

I recall a few things about this movie from 1984. My dad rented it and I’m not sure how he picked it out. Maybe there was an actor he liked in it, maybe because it’s a World War II spoof or maybe it was the cover with the flying cows.

When I watched it with him I remember laughing along with the movie and my dad. My dad was laughing so hard he was crying. The scene when the commandos put on the cow suit to blend-in and then a calf comes up to suckle on the udder was funny. And later in that scene when the bull mounts the fake cow it was hilarious.

I don’t know why my dad rented the movie but we laughed together for over an hour while watching Top Secret! I might enjoy that memory more than the movie…

Let’s see if Top Secret! Is still as funny today.

40th Anniversary Re-watch

Top Secret! is brought to you by the comedy trio of Jim Abrahams and brothers David and Jerry Zucker, ZAZ for short. The same trio that made Airplane! in 1980 and would go on to make The Naked Gun and Hot Shots! franchises.

This movie is also notable for being the debut movie for Val Kilmer, an iconic 80s actor. Maybe best known as Iceman in Top Gun, Kilmer had a prolific career in movies like Real Genius, The Doors, , Willow, Batman Forever, Tombstone and many more.

Top Secret! Nick

I’ll say it until the end of time… Kilmer was robbed of an Oscar for his portrayal of Doc Holiday in Tombstone. The real shame was he didn’t even get nominated! The nominees were weak that year and Tommy Lee Jones won for The Fugitive. Jones was good in that movie, but no way was he better than Kilmer as Doc Holliday. I’ll end my rant now or we’ll never finish this.

Top Secret! is a goofy, zany movie. Exactly what you’d expect from the makers of Airplane!. (Why do all their movies in with a exclamation point??) It’s a spoof on the old World War II movies mixed with the old teenage Beach Party movies.

The plot is hard to explain. It’s really just 90 minutes of jokes, one after the other. Rock star Nick River (Kilmer) travels to East Germany and meets Hillary, a resistance fighter. From there it gets crazy and funny and crazier. There are numerous sight gags, like when Hillary says “I know a little German” and points to a German midget.

Favorite Line:

If they find out you’ve seen this, your life will be worth less than a truckload of dead rats in a tampon factory.

Tons of goofy jokes and sight gags make this movie great. The cow disguise scene still makes me laugh today as much as I did forty years ago.

Top Secret! was released on 22 June 1984 and is considered a box office bomb, which is odd. It made over $20 million on a $9 million budget. Must be “Hollywood accounting” at work.

I enjoyed Top Secret! and still find it funny. If you like Airplane! or and of the ZAZ movies you’ll enjoy Top Secret. “Weird Al” Yankovic calls this movie one of his all time favorites, so it must be worth watching.

Did you watch Top Secret!? If so let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on X(Twitter). The main Geekster channel is @TRNSocial and I’m @MileHighSamurai You can also find me on Bluesky @MileHighSamurai

6/10 stars

Check out the entire 84 From ’84 movie series

About Pitfall Gary 146 Articles
Just your average Gen X'er. Born in the 70s and raised in the Decade of Decadence! I rode my bike without a helmet and was home when the street lights came on. I love to reminisce about the good ol' days; Movies, TV, music, if it happened in my childhood I'll share it with you.

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