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Film / The Kentucky Fried Movie

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"It will knock your socks off."

"I'm not wearing any pants. Film at 11."

The Kentucky Fried Movie is a 1977 Sketch Comedy film directed by John Landis and written by Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker, based on their earlier work at the Kentucky Fried Theater. The film is affectionately remembered for its groundbreaking comedic style.

The film consists of a variety of sketches parodying different film genres. The segment "A Fistful of Yen" parodies Kung-fu movies of the style made famous by Bruce Lee, and takes up over a third of the film's 83-minute running time. None of the other segments are longer than six minutes: they include "A.M. Today", a satire of morning news; "Feel-a-Round", a satire of movie theater stunts like Smell-o-vision; "Zinc Oxide and You", spoofing '50s high school educational films; and "The Wonderful World of Sex", in which a couple uses a phonograph record sex manual.


Like all ZAZ works, parody is highly valued, and the fourth wall is almost nonexistent.note 

Not to be confused with Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The tropes you are reading have been vandalized. Film at eleven:

  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The song used in the opening and closing credits, "Carioca", is an actual recording from Jo Stafford and Paul Weston performing as "Jonathan and Darlene Edwards", who did a lot of intentionally off-key comedy records in the '50s and '60s. It wasn't written for the movie.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • The sex advice record's list of BIG JIM SLADE'S accomplishments: BIG JIM, former tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, is outfitted with various whips, chains, and a sexual appetite that will knock your socks off! BIG JIM has satisfied women throughout the world! And the capital of Nebraska is Lincoln!
    • Advertisement:
    • Klahn's nefarious activities: opium, weapons traffic, assassination, motion picture distribution.
  • Badass Bookworm: The ultraorthodox, Chasidic, Jew in Cleopatra Schwartz.
  • Battle Couple: Cleopatra Schwartz is firing away at enemies with a heavy machine gun.... and her husband is feeding the belt into the gun.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Implied in "Catholic High School Girls In Trouble"—the next scene after a nude woman gets hit in the rear with a pie, the same is done to a horse.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: The original "Big Jim Slade" skit in Kentucky Fried Theatre had Jerry Zucker playing the part with a comically huge Gag Penis. The film went a different route with stuntman Manny Perry in the role, who had been bodybuilding at the time.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The song played when Big Jim Slade bursts into the room is "Hevenu Shalom Aleichem", a Hebrew song used in the welcoming of people. So the soundtrack is literally welcoming him into the film.
  • Bland-Name Product: In various segments there are Willer (Miller) Beer, Barker (Parker) Brothers, "Feel-a-Round" (Sensurround), Nytex P.M. (Nyquil P.M.) and Nesson Oil (Wesson Oil).
  • Blatant Lies: The very first thing you see in the trailer is the white-stripe MPAA G card. As the trailer progresses, the film is revealed to be everything but G-rated.
  • Blaxploitation Parody: Cleopatra Schwartz.
  • Bowdlerise: There is an edited for TV version that aired frequently on USA Network back in The '90s and still shows up on Comedy Central sometimes. Of course, all the nudity in the 11:00 News sketch is edited out with pan and scan tricks, and "Catholic High School Girls in Trouble" is simply excised completely, even though credits for the sketch still show up at the end. Oddly, "The Wonderful World of Sex" was largely untouched.
  • Bread Milk Eggs Squick: The Household Odors sketch.
    1st Woman: Fish for dinner last night?
    2nd Woman: Phew! Harvey still smoking those cigars?
    3rd Woman: Christ! Did a cow shit in here?
  • The Cameo
  • Car Meets House: According to the narrator of "Zinc Oxide and You", without zinc oxide, the Housewife's car would have no emergency brakes. Cue the car crashing through the kitchen wall.
  • Carrying a Cake: Donald Sutherland's Clumsy Waiter does this schtick.
  • Catholic School Girls Rule: Catholic High School Girls in Trouble.
  • Courtroom Antic
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: During the "High Adventure" segment the French adventurer and explorer Claude LeMond is interviewed on the title talk show. During the segment the interviewer's heart stops beating and LeMond restarts his heart by pounding on his chest a couple of times. The interviewer is revived and has no further problems.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: "Carol" in the "Feel-Around" sketch.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: "Courtroom".
  • Depraved Dwarf: Whips a bunch of topless girls while wearing a clown suit in the "Catholic High School Girls In Trouble" sketch.
  • Disaster Movie: Parodied in That's Armageddon!
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Two news anchors. See The Television Talks Back below.
  • Exact Words: Invoked in the "Catholic High School Girls In Trouble"
    Narrator: And introducing Susan Joyce and Nancy Reems...
    Third woman on couch: Nancy, this is Susan. Susan, this is Nancy.
  • Fan Disservice: Played for laughs during the "Catholic High School Girls In Trouble" sketch - but it does include a great deal of straight-up Fanservice too.
  • Fox News Liberal: Shelia Hamilton in Count Pointer Count.
  • From Bad to Worse: The "Zinc Oxide and You" filmstrip sketch starts out with soap disappearing and ends with a woman's child shot, her husband dead of a heart attack, her car's brakes nonfunctional, her house burning down, and the housewife short a limb or two.
  • Game Show Appearance: Not once, but twice. Dr. Klahn's guards get punished by playing The Dating Game in "A Fistful of Yen", and there's a quick version of What's My Line? in the courtroom scene.
  • Happy Birthday to You!: The use of this song in the film cost the filmmakers $10,000.
  • Homage
  • Housewife: A parody of educational films (specifically, "A Case of Spring Fever") features one tortured by an omnipotent narrator because she took zinc oxide for granted, so he takes away everything made possible by zinc oxide; by the end of the skit her kitchen is on fire, everything from a fire extinguisher to a bucket of sand to deal with it no longer exist, her husband and son are dead or dying from the former's pacemaker disappearing and the latter's gun no longer having a safety, her car has knocked down one of the walls because it doesn't have brakes anymore, and her false leg has fallen off.
  • Kent Brockman News: The opening skit and several interstitials feature some of the weirdest newscasters ever, including an announcer who announces a Film at 11 for everything from his apparent lack of pants to missiles heading for New York in the same bored deadpan.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: All about Big Jim Slade...
    Big Jim, former tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, is outfitted with various whips, chains, and a sexual appetite that will knock your socks off! Big Jim has satisfied women throughout the world, and the capital of Nebraska is Lincoln!
  • Mega-Corp: Argon Oil. "At Argon, we're working to keep your money."
  • No Fourth Wall
  • N-Word Privileges: Spoofed aversion: Rex Kramer, Danger Seeker, plants himself in the middle of a group of African-American men playing dice in the street, shouts the word at the top of his lungs, and runs like hell.
  • Pants-Free: The quote at the top of this page is also at the top of this trope's page.
  • Pie in the Face: Inverted in Catholic High School Girls in Trouble; a woman's bare bottom is pied. So is a horse's rear flank immediately afterwards.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie: Catholic High School Girls in Trouble, That's Armageddon! and Cleopatra Schwartz. The DVD commentary reveals that the actress playing Cleopatra would take the job only if there was a contractual obligation that she would play the character in any full-length version of the material.
  • Retraux: "Courtroom", "Zinc Oxide and You"
  • Running Gag: Samuel L. Broncowitz produces every movie with a trailer featured in the film... and actually shows up in the trailer for The Kentucky Fried Movie.
  • Salt and Pepper: Cleopatra Schwartz is married to an ultraorthodox Jew.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Cleopatra Schwartz.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The movie theater patron, on finding out the second half of the "Feel-Around" double feature is Deep Throat.
  • Sex God: Big Jim Slade.
  • Shiksa Goddess: Cleopatra Schwartz is ostensibly a gentile African American woman (though she might have converted to Judaism to marry her husband) married to an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man who studies the Torah religiously.
  • Sketch Comedy: Given that none of the segments other than "A Fistful of Yen" top six minutes, the film is closer to this trope than to Anthology Film.
  • Spiritual Successor: Many consider Amazon Women on the Moon, in part also directed by John Landis, and that reaches for the same style of irreverent humor, to be this.
  • Take That!: Makeup artist and occasional gorilla portrayer Rick Baker plays a grouchy, sexually impotent gorilla named Dino — named for Dino De Laurentiis, whose King Kong (1976) remake the previous year featured Baker as Kong. It was not a happy experience for Baker.
  • The Television Talks Back: A TV news anchorman on a live broadcast apparently sees, and is distracted by, a young couple making out in front of their living room TV. As the action becomes hotter and heavier, the anchorman is joined by his colleagues and the camera crew, who also watch the couple intently. By the time the couple is engaged in full-on intercourse, the crowd in the TV is cheering wildly at the spectacle.
  • They Fight Crime!: Cleopatra Schwartz and her Hasidic Jew husband.
  • Wall Bang Her: "Catholic High School Girls in Trouble"
  • World of Pun
    • As with many ZAZ films, much of the humour is pun-derived. The "Catholic High School Girls In Trouble" segment has the following gems: a woman seductively asks a man to "show me your nuts," and in response the man makes silly faces and hand puppets, demonstrating his lack of mental stability. Two pornographic actresses are said to be introduced in the film in the credits - and a third has them both greet and shake hands with each other while in the nude. "Linda Chambers" is to recreate her classic role - she does a pencil roll across the grass.
    • The courtroom scene alone has almost too many puns to list.
    "Allow me to check my briefs." *Opens waistband and looks at his underwear* "They're fine."
    • The "Fistful of Yen" sketch opens with a nuclear explosion on the Isle of Lucy. Also counts as a Brick Joke, since the attacks on New York and Moscow referenced earlier by the newscaster are said to be connected to this event in the sketch.

The extended skit "A Fistful of Yen" (at 31 minutes, by far the longest sketch in the film) also features the following tropes:


Video Example(s):


Take him to Detroit!

You wouldn't be so cocky if you get sent to a place that bad.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (35 votes)

Example of:

Main / PlaceWorseThanDeath

Media sources: