|Directed by||Mel Brooks|
|Produced by||Mel Brooks|
|Written by||Mel Brooks|
Dick Van Patten
|Music by||John Morris|
|Editing by||Conrad Buff IV|
|Distributed by||Metro-Goldwyn Mayer|
|Release date(s)||June 24, 1987|
|Running time||96 min|
|Budget||US $22,700,000 (estimated)|
|All Movie Guide profile|
Spaceballs is a 1987 science fiction parody film co-written, directed by, and starring Mel Brooks. It was released on June 24, 1987, and earned only modest returns, but it has gone on to become a cult classic on video.
Its plot and characters contain numerous parodies of elements from the original Star Wars and Star Trek in particular, as well as other popular science fiction films. The script was written by Mel Brooks in only six months, and was approved by George Lucas, as he was a big fan of Brooks's previous films. Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic was also involved in the special visual effects for the film. As of 2007, an animated sequel TV series is in preparation.
Plot[edit | edit source]
Planet Spaceball, led by President Skroob (Mel Brooks), has wasted all of its oxygen and, desperate to find more, aims at the extortion of all the air from planet Druidia. They plan to kidnap the Druish Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga), who is about to marry the narcoleptic Prince. Resenting this marriage, Vespa runs off from the altar with her Droid of Honor, Dot Matrix (Joan Rivers), and escapes into space, where she is attacked by the Spaceballs under the command of Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis).
Vespa's father, King Roland (Dick Van Patten), hires Captain Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) and his mawg Barf (John Candy) who are desperate for money to pay back their debts to the Mafioso Pizza the Hutt (Dom DeLuise), to rescue his daughter. They manage to rescue her and escape the Spaceballs, but crash-land on a desert planet. There, they meet Yogurt (Mel Brooks), who introduces Lone Starr to The Schwartz. However, the Spaceballs trick Vespa and capture her again. Lone Starr and Barf rescue the Princess again, but not before the Spaceballs have succeeded in forcing King Roland to reveal the entry code to Druidia's atmosphere. Their spaceship Spaceball I transforms into Mega Maid with a vacuum cleaner, which starts to extract the air from Druidia. Lone Starr uses his Schwartz rin] to reverse the procedure, defeats Dark Helmet in a duel using lightsaber-like weapons emanating from their Schwartz rings, and causes Mega Maid to self-destruct.
Lone Starr returns the Princess to Druidia and, since his creditor Pizza the Hutt "ate himself to death" while locked in his car, leaves without taking the agreed payment, a million spacebucks, instead taking 248 spacebucks. Shortly afterwards, on finding out that he is a "certified Prince", he returns in time to interrupt the marriage and marry Vespa.
Cast[edit | edit source]
|Mel Brooks||President Skroob/Yogurt|
|John Candy||Barfolemew (Barf)|
|Rick Moranis||Lord Dark Helmet|
|Bill Pullman||Captain Lone Starr|
|Daphne Zuniga||Princess Vespa of Druidia|
|George Wyner||Colonel Kernel Sandurz|
|Dick Van Patten||King Roland, Ruler of Druidia|
|Michael Winslow||Radar Technician|
|[Joan Rivers||Dot Matrix (voice)|
|Lorene Yarnell||Dot Matrix|
|JM J. Bullock||Prince Valium|
|Dom DeLuise||Pizza the Hutt (voice)|
|John Hurt||(John Hurt's character from Alien)|
Box Office[edit | edit source]
The budget for Spaceballs was $22,700,000 (estimated). The film grossed $38,119,483 during its run in the United States, taking in $6,600,000 on its opening weekend.
Cultural Context[edit | edit source]
The plot is deliberately evocative of fairy tales, as are the scenes on the planet Druidia. Throughout the film, the Spaceballs characters regularly break the fourth wall, often to promote their merchandise, and they are aware that they are making a movie, and the events are not real life, for example, at one point the villains succeed in capturing the main characters' stunt doubles, while at another accidentally kill one of the filming crew during a fight scene. In fact, in one scene, they pull out the video version of Spaceballs being shown in real time, as it is being filmed and temporarily take a look at the scene they're in: "now".
The majority of the scenes and characters are parodies of Star Wars, although the film parodies other movies as well, most notably:
- Jaws (gigantic shark-like space ship with Jaws-like music)
- Transformers (Spaceball One; during the merchandising scene with Yogurt, Spaceballs The Coloring Book has Optimus Prime on the cover, the lunch box is also from the Transformers The Movie product line, except with "SPACEBALLS" on it.
- Battlestar Galactica
- Superman: The Movie (musical score)
- The Police Academy movies (Michael Winslow sound effects; Winslow has a cameo in the film as a Spaceball officer)
- The Sir David Lean films The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia
- The Wizard of Oz (first meeting with Yogurt)
- Planet of the Apes (crashed remains of Spaceball One)
- Star Trek The beaming sequence with the character Snotty (a parody of Scottish character Scotty), and the scene where Lone Starr attempts to knock out a Spaceball by performing (at first, unsuccessfully) the Vulcan Neck Pinch. Also, the interior of Lone Starr's Winnebago is very reminiscent of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- Max Headroom
- Back to the Future
- Rocky (including its supposed continuation up to "Rocky Five ... Thousand")
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- It Happened One Night
- Alien (John Hurt reprising his famous death scene from that movie, and even groaning in despair, "Oh no! Not again!"; the chestburster emerges from the victim, screams, smiles, puts on a straw boater hat with a miniature cane in one hand, and begins dancing and singing like Michigan J. Frog, performing Hello! Ma Baby)
- Dumbo (Yogurt saying to Lone Starr that he doesn't need the ring)
Spaceballs 2: The Search For More Money[edit | edit source]
Yogurt Makes a comment about this to Lone Starr and actually there is an animated series based on Spaceballs... so in truth there is a Spaceballs 2.
See also[edit | edit source]
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