Best Movies to Watch by Steve Ubels

Staff & contributors

Before he was Jim Morrison, Iceman, or Batman, Val Kilmer made his big screen debut as Nick Rivers, the doltish American rock 'n' roll idol who is unwittingly embroiled in an East German underground resistance plot in Top Secret!. Skewering everything from WWII romances and Cold War spy thrillers to ‘60s popstar musicals, this delightfully silly spoof from the team behind Airplane! is jampacked with sight gags, double entendres, and multi-layered setpieces delivered at such a manic pace that you’ll need several rewatches to exhaust all of its comedy. Its lowbrow style means that some jokes are undoubtedly dated, but there’s a lot of timeless wit on display here, including zinging one-liners, tongue-in-cheek lampooning of cinematic clichés, and slapstick gags in the vein of masters of the form like Jacques Tati and Buster Keaton. Top Secret! is blessedly under no illusions as to what we want from a movie like this, so the fact that there’s no comprehensible plot in sight only adds to the enjoyment here.

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Actor: Andrew Hawkins, Billy J. Mitchell, Billy Mitchell, Charlotte Zucker, Christopher Villiers, Dimitri Andreas, Eddie Powell, Eddie Tagoe, Harry Ditson, Ian McNeice, Jeremy Kemp, Jim Carter, John Sharp, Lucy Gutteridge, Mac McDonald, Michael Gough, Nicola Wright, Omar Sharif, Peter Cushing, Steve Ubels, Tristram Jellinek, Val Kilmer, Warren Clarke

Director: David Zucker, Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams

Rating: PG