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107 min
Action | Adventure | Comedy | Music | Thriller
IMDB rate:
Elaine May
1 win & 2 nominations
Country: USA
Release Date: 1987-05-15
Filming Locations: Kaufman Astoria Studios - 3412 36th Street, Astoria, Queens, New York City, New York, USA
Budget: $51,000,000
Opening Weekend: $4,331,817 (USA) (17 May 1987)
Gross: $12,715,192 (USA) (7 June 1987)
Warren Beatty
Lyle Rogers
Dustin Hoffman
Chuck Clarke
Charles Grodin
Jim Harrison
Jack Weston
Marty Freed
Tess Harper
Carol Kane
Aharon Ipalé
Emir Yousef
Fijad Hageb
Abdul (as Fuad Hageb)
David Margulies
Mr. Clarke
Rose Arrick
Julie Garfield
Cristine Rose
Siri Darma (as Christine Rose)
Robert V. Girolami
Bartender (as Bob Girolami)
Abe Kroll
Mr. Thomopoulos
Hannah Kroll
Mrs. Thomopoulos
Herb Gardner
Rabbi Pierce
Bill Moor
U.S. Consul
Edgar Smith
Prof. Barnes
J.C. Cutler
Bill Bailey
Gen. Westlake
Ian Gray
Manager Chez Casablanca
Maati Zaari
Larbi Bouhaddane
Taxi Driver (as Bouhaddane Larbi)
Fred Melamed
Caid of Assari
Ron Berglas
CIA Agent (as Ron Berglass)
Neil Zevnik
CIA Agent
Matt Frewer
CIA Agent
Alex Hyde-White
CIA Agent (as Alex Hyde White)
Stefan Gryff
KGB Agent
Alexei Jawdokimov
KGB Agent (as Alexei Jawdocimov)
Phillip Schopper
Aziz Ben Driss
Waiter Chez Casablanca
Maitre D'Chez Casablanca
Eddy Nedari
Mohamad. the Camel Seller
Nayef Rashed
Mohamad. the Camel Seller (as Adam Hussein)
George Masri
Mohamad. the Camel Seller
Warren Clarke
English Gunrunner
Arthur Brauss
German Gunrunner
Sumar Khan
Ishtari Gunrunner
Jon Paul Morgan
Djellabah Seller
Nadim Sawalha
Rug Shop Owner / Camel Seller
Haluk Bilginer
Guerrilla leader (as Haluk Belginer)
Mark Ryan
Screamin' Honkers
Stuart Abramson
Screamin' Honkers
John Freudenheim
Screamin' Honkers
Bruce Gordon
Screamin' Honkers
Paul Standig
The Swing
Joseph Gmerek
The Swing
John Trumpbour
The Swing
Marie Jean-Charles
Teacher's Daughters
Patrice Jean-Charles
Teacher's Daughters
Danielle Jean-Charles
Teacher's Daughters
Tony Head
Street Person (uncredited)
Frank Patton
Rescue Cop (uncredited)
Michael Vaccaro
Marty Freed's assistant (uncredited)
Did you know?
While the credits indicate that a soundtrack was available on CBS Records a soundtrack was never released. According to an interview with Paul Williams a soundtrack was recorded and produced but never released due to the movie's box office failure.
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The film's reception was so awful it helped coin a new Hollywood term in relation to director Elaine May: "movie jail". The term referred to someone whose perceived failure as a director was so profound, they would not be allowed to helm a movie again for a very long time, if ever again. In fact, May has not directed a single new movie since Ishtar (1987).
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Despite the film's reputation as one of the biggest box office failures of all time, Ishtar (1987) did, in fact, hold the #1 box office position in its first week of release. However, in its second week, with the release of Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), the film quickly dropped to fourth place.
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By the chandelier when Jim talks to the Emir.
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AS the helicopter lowers to give the CIA agent a level shot at the duo, his wood stock, single shot, bolt action rifle turns into a black automatic weapon with a banana clip.
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When Marty Freed is sitting with Chuck and Lyle, after he first hears their act, he puts his hand up to his mouth ("Let me tell you what I told Tony Bennett..."). In the next shot, the hand is on the table.
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Lyle Rogers: Are these breasts?
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Chuck Clarke: [Chuck and Lyle are writing a song] Shit man, when you're on you're on.
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Chuck Clarke: And now, a song dedicated to a lovely lady... of the Left.
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Photos from cast
Isabelle Adjani