The Cheap Detective

1 h 32 min1978PG
Peter Falk is Lou Peckinpaugh who finds himself accused of killing his partner, with whose wife Georgia Merkle he has been having an affair. Amidst this confusion, the sultry Mrs. Montenegro (Madeline Khan) stumbles into Lou's office to search for an ancient treasure. Soon Lou finds himself having to deal with a collection of unsavory characters also looking for the diamonds.
Robert Moore
Peter FalkAnn-MargretEileen Brennan
English [CC]
Audio languages

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Supporting actors
Sid CaesarStockard ChanningJames CocoDom DeLuiseLouise FletcherMadeline KahnJonathan BanksJames CromwellDavid Ogden StiersPaul WilliamsScatman CrothersAbe VigodaMarsha MasonNicol Williamson
Ray Stark
Sony Pictures
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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4.1 out of 5 stars

279 global ratings

  1. 61% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 12% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 9% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 8% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 10% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Charles DawsonReviewed in the United States on July 2, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
You Gotta Be in the Mood For This
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This should be called 'the Silly Detective'. First off, this is broad comedy, nothing subtle or sophisticated about it. Think Airplane or Police Academy. It is a parody of Humphery Bogart movies - Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon - with just a tinge of Raymond Chandler. Written by Neil Simon, without his usual repartee. Peter Falk mimics Bogie, not Columbo, and other actors mimic Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet !! A great cast, scads of faces you'll know instantly from much better movies. But, if you're in the mood for a silly send-up of Bogart, this will be a lot of fun.
25 people found this helpful
KerriDeeReviewed in the United States on June 15, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
“I’m using rented bullets for my gun. We all got problems.”
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A little bit of Maltese Falcon with some Casablanca thrown in and what about that cast! Peter Falk, Ann-Margret, Eileen Brennan, Sid Caesar, Stockard Channing, James Coco, Dom DeLuise, Louise Fletcher, John Houseman, Madeline Kahn, Fernando Lamas, Marsha Mason...what’s not to love!
16 people found this helpful
GreystokeReviewed in the United States on December 29, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Fantastic Movie, Great Fun
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If you enjoy movies replete with "Easter eggs", do not pass go, stop right here and add this to your watchlist.
From the hidden easter-eggs in the opening credits, through the end of the movie, if you keep your eyes and ears open this film will offer a ton of references to older movies, songs ("Who is this?": ...."Georgia? I just had you on my mind"
Peter Falk turns in an absolutely stellar performance as do Madeline Kahn, Abe Vigoda, Sid Caesar, John Houseman, James Coco, Dom DeLuise, EIllien Brennan and the rest of the cast of formerly great movie stars (prior to the current crop of self absorbed cretins)
The plot is simple, but convoluted. The twists and turns are fast and furious. The outcome is unimaginable.
The cast must have had a blast with this, although it had to be a tough slog for Peter Falk to maintain that raspy 'Columbo' voice through so many lines. That is NOT his normal speaking voice by the way.
We will be back to watch this again at some point, without fail, there have to be more easter-eggs I missed.
7 people found this helpful
TupliptreeReviewed in the United States on May 15, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Slapstick Comedy--Funny
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Lots of known actors and actresses. Very funny slapstick comedy. Loved it!
12 people found this helpful
SBC97223Reviewed in the United States on July 25, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Parody of Film Noir Detective that misses due to lack of subtlety
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The cast here is great. The script makes sense. The plot is nothing complicated and flows all the way through which is pretty amazing given the satirical humor or parody nature of The Cheap Detective. Given the power of the cast and what should have been a solid script from the accomplished Simon we have to assume that something misfired between conception and completion on this one. This is a about average film at three stars as it works and flows, but the humor become almost slapstick which is lost in the otherwise almost gritty noirish setting. That disparity hurt the film while the well delivered acting by the many stars involved. It is watchable to see how many faces and voices are recognized and the references to other famous movie scenes are plentiful. This movie would have worked way better for me with a far more subtle and dry approach to the humor.
4 people found this helpful
August CanailleReviewed in the United States on June 29, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
I think the one-star reviewers don't understand "spoof."
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But I'm sure they're looking it up now, in some Googled list, so that they may sound erudite and classically learned on the subject, when in fact everyone knows it went over their head, and it embarrasses them.
11 people found this helpful
D. StricklandReviewed in the United States on June 17, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
One of the worst movies
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Can't believe so many liked this one. I like plenty of dumb movies but this isn't funny in the least. Just awful. Now how can I get it to never appear in my feed so I'm not reminded I ever wasted time watching it.
8 people found this helpful
richard guttenbergReviewed in the United States on May 6, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Made me laugh
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9 people found this helpful
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