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L'As des As (The Ace of Aces, sometimes known as The Super Ace) is a 1982 French-German comedy film written and directed by Gérard Oury (director of The Sucker, La Grande Vadrouille and The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob) and starring Jean-Paul Belmondo.

In 1936, Georges "Jo" Cavalier (Belmondo) is a former World War I Ace Pilot turned professional boxer, and trains and accompanies the French boxing team at the Summer Olympic Games in Nazi Berlin. There, he is constantly followed by a ten year old Jewish boy, Simon Rosenblum (Rachid Ferrache), who is a fan of him. Jo finds out Simon's family is tormented by The Gestapo, and will go out of his way to save them and get them outside of Germany, with the help of Günther von Beckmann (Frank Hoffman), a German officer he befriended after a fierce and indecisive air duel during World War I, and Gabrielle "Gaby" Belcourt (Marie-France Pisier), a French journalist. The rescue includes infiltrating Adolf Hitler's own mansion in Berchtesgaden, of all things.

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Not to be confused with Ace of Aces, a pre-Code war film.


Tropes:

  • Ace Pilot: Jo and Günther von Beckmann were both flying aces during World War I, and they became friends after a comically indecisive battle.
  • Adolf Hitlarious: Big time. Hitler (played by Günter Meisner) is ridiculed on several occasions.
    • First and foremost, there's Günter Meisner's scenery chewing, with plenty of Trrrilling Rrrs and, naturally, some Milking the Giant Cow.
      Hitler: OBERLEUTNANT RRRROSENBLUM!!!
    • He is introduced as a clumsy soldier in the trenches during World War I, using the ammo belt of Oberleutnant Rosenblum (Simon's grandpa) to feed a machine gun while being distracted by the air duel between Jo and Günther, which causes Rosenblum's pants to fall.
    • When he declares the Olympic Games open, a flock of doves is unleashed, followed by cannon shots in the direction of the doves. Hitler ends up covered in feathers, including on his nose.
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    • He has a sister, Angelanote , who looks very much like him — and she is played by the same actor. She tries to get out of his influence by any mean, and falls in love with a very reluctant Günther von Beckmann.
    • He takes a liking to klezmer music without a clue of what it is.
    • He recognizes his former Oberleutnant (Grandpa Rosenblum) in the car during the final chase, and said guy makes fun of him while being disguised as him.
    • He ends up in a duck pond after Jo's clever Car Fu causes his car to go off the road.
  • Anachronism Stew: The car Hitler uses in the final chase? A Jeep, roughly five years before the first model was ever produced. And said vehicle was not to be seen in Germany until the country was occupied by the Allies in 1945.
  • Badass and Child Duo: Jo ends up accompanying and protecting Simon.
  • Bears Are Bad News: At one point, Jo and Simon stop to camp in a forest for the night and while they're sleeping, a bear cub is attracted by the rests of their dinner. When they wake up the following morning, they find it sleeping between them. Soon enough, the mother is heard roaring nearby and charges at them on two legs. Needless to say, Jo and Simon don't lose time staying there, get in the car and take the bear cub with them in the hurry. Jo later uses the bear cub as part of his Obfuscating Stupidity ploy at the road barricade, and names it "Beethoven" doing so.
  • Boxing Battler: Jo is a boxing trainer, and the Gestapo agents who trashed the Rosenblum family's bookshop find it out the hard way.
  • Butt-Monkey: Gaby, at the beginning of the film. She ends up laughed at twice the same day because of Jo, involuntarily.
  • Car Chase:
    • The first one is quite similar to that of La Grande Vadrouille, this time with Jo throwing the car's spare tires at the German police motorcyclists instead of pumpkins. He also uses the parachute to get rid of the last two pursuers.
    • The second one involves Hitler's own car, which has been stolen by Jo and the Rosenblum family to escape Berchtesgaden. Hitler is furious and thinks his sister took the car. Then, in the middle of the chase, he finds out his own World War I lieutenant (Simon's grandfather) is in it. Jo's Car Fu eventually makes Hitler land in a duck pond.
  • Coincidental Accidental Disguise: Jo brings Simon's family near what he thinks is the border between Germany and Austria... which turns out to be the barbwire fence of Hitler's mansion, the Berghof, in Berchtesgaden (Southern Bavaria). Since they are musicians and the butlers of the Berghof are waiting for musicians for the party that is happening, they are welcomed inside. Then they realize where they are, and comes the moment to play music... and to make it worse, the only type of music they know by heart is klezmer. Fortunately for them, Hitler seems to like it and doesn't know what it is, though he does have a really puzzled face at some point.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Simon's parents died prior to the film's story.
  • Cub Cues Protective Parent: Beethoven's mother charges at Jo and Simon instinctively thinking they threaten her cub.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Rather "Drawn Match Means Friendship". Jo and Günther von Beckmann became friends after their comically indecisive World War I air battle ended.
  • Dissonant Laughter: When the Badass and Child Duo is about to camp in a forest to spend the night, Simon tells Jo that he's afraid as someone may lurk in the shadows (he actually heard the bear cub). Jo then goes into full Large Ham mode, throwing a loud forced laugh, then tells Simon that there's no one around, and that laughing makes potential prying eyes aware that they're not afraid and will make said prying eyes afraid.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: During the party at the Berghof in Berchtesgaden, Jo knocks a SS officer out and steals his clothes.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: When Jo and Günther use a plane to get to Simon as quickly as possible in Bavaria, they fly by Ludwig II's castle, the world-famous Neuschwanstein.
  • False Teeth Tomfoolery: When fighting the Gestapo agents inside the Rosenblum bookshop, Jo knocks an agent's false teeth out of his mouth. Somehow, the false teeth then move on their own, saying "Heil Hitler!" and then some Gratuitous German.
  • Fan Boy: Simon is a total fan of Jo, collecting pictures or both his aviator and boxing careers, and considers him as an "adventurer".
  • Foreshadowing: During his interview by Gaby, Hitler lets her know that he intends to crush his European adversaries... at the Olympic games, of course.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Hitler is a nobody in the trenches during World War I. Fast forward twenty years or so later, he rules a country that persecutes Jewish people.
  • Gratuitous German: Jo doesn't speak German, and tries to talk his way out with gibberish on several occasions, with little results. Curiously, it works well when he dons a SS officer uniform at the Berghof.
  • Historical Domain Character: Well...
  • Instant Expert: One wouldn't expect a group of Bavarian dancers to be able to perform a Yiddish dance, much less so in Nazi Germany of all places, but strangely, they do, upon hearing the music performed by the Rosenblum family, and it gets mixed with their own Bavarian brass band music and folk dance.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: At a road barricade, Jo tries to pass for a simpleton. It doesn't work and a Car Chase ensues.
  • Oh, Crap!: When staying at the Berghof (not knowing where he is) after bringing the Rosenblum family there, Jo (not disguised yet) hears the results of an Olympic boxing match he couldn't attend on a radio in a room and stands by it, then rejoices when the young man he trained wins the gold medal. It turns out the room is Hitler's, and the Führer shows up right behind Jo, who turns back and realizes where he is.
    • Simon's grandmother has one and faints when she sees Hitler. Simon's whole family has one in fact, as they realize where Jo has mistakenly driven them.
  • Stock Footage: Some shots from Leni Riefenstahl's documentary film Olympia were used for the Olympic Games opening ceremony.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: In regards to the subject and one of the director's previous movies, it's a given.
    • The Gestapo officer treats Mein Kampf as a sacred object after mistakenly throwing it on the ground of Simon's parents' bookshop, which has been trashed.
    • Even a denture salutes Hitler after Jo punches it out of one of the Gestapo agents' mouth.
    • See also Adolf Hitlarious above, naturally.
  • Wrong Turn at Albuquerque: A Bavarian celebrational cart pulled by oxen inadvertently causes a Road Sign Reversal just as Jo is driving the Rosenblums down South, directly leading them to Hitler's house in Berchtesgaden instead of the Austrian border.

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