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The Muppet Movie [1979] (1 disc)
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Director:James Frawley
Writer:Jack Burns
Jerry Juhl
Composer:Paul Williams
Songs:Kenny Ascher
Length:95 minutes
(1 hour 35 minutes)
MPAA Rating:G
Sorting Category:Family
IMDB Rating:7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:89%
Amazon Rating:4.5/5 stars
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Classifications:
  • Comedy
  • Kids
  • Family
  • Puppets
  • Fantasy
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Synopsis: Kermit heads out to become rich and famous and, like a snowball, picks up quite the entourage on the way.


Reaction: Pretty good. A bit uneven at times, but this movie opens up the way for all the Muppet movies to follow.


Personal Rating: 8/10

Select Cast and Crew
James Frawley => Director
Jack Burns => Writer
Jerry Juhl => Writer / Muppet Performer (voice) (uncredited)
Paul Williams => Composer / El Sleezo Pianist
Kenny Ascher => Songs
Austin Pendleton => Max
Bob Hope => Ice Cream Vendor
Carol Kane => Myth
Caroll Spinney => Big Bird (voice)
Charles Durning => Doc Hopper
Charlie McCarthy => Himself - dummy
Cloris Leachman => Lord's Secretary
Dave Goelz => Doglion / Zoot / Dr. Bunsen Honeydew / Pig (voice) / The Great Gonzo / Iraqian in El Sleezo Cafe
Dom DeLuise => Bernie the Agent
Earl Kress => Ernie (uncredited)
Edgar Bergen => Himself
Elliott Gould => Beauty Contest Compere
Frank Oz => Sam the Eagle / Motorcycle Guy (voice) / Animal / Swedish Chef / Fozzie Bear / Marvin Suggs / Miss Piggy / Doc Hopper's Men
H.B. Haggerty => Lumberjack
James Coburn => El Sleezo Cafe Owner
Jerry Nelson => Lew Zealand / Crazy Harry / Robin the Frog / Dr. Bunsen Honeydew (voice) / Floyd Pepper / Camilla
Jim Henson => Dr. Teeth / Swedish Chef (voice) / Rowlf / Link Hogthrob / Kermit the Frog / Doc Hopper's Men / Waldorf
John Landis => Grover (uncredited)
Madeline Kahn => El Sleezo Patron
Mel Brooks => Professor Max Krassman
Michael Earl => Dr. Teeth / Big Bird / Scooter (as Michael Davis) (voice) / Beaker / Janice / Animal / Fozzie Bear
Milton Berle => Mad Man Mooney
Orson Welles => Lew Lord
Richard Hunt => Statler / Fozzie Bear (assistant) (voice) / Scooter / Beaker / Sweetums / Janice
Richard Pryor => Balloon Vendor
Scott Walker => Frog Killer
Steve Martin => Insolent Waiter
Steve Whitmire => Scooter (voice) / Fletcher Bird
Telly Savalas => El Sleezo Tough
Tim Burton => Muppet Performer (unconfirmed) (voice) (uncredited)

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • The film was an analogy for Jim Henson's rise to fame.
  • Orson Welles plays a studio executive named Lew Lord who draws up a standard rich-and-famous contract for The Muppets - a reference to real-life producer [?] Sir Lew Grade (later [?] Lord Grade). When Jim Henson was trying to find a producer to make [The Muppet Show] happen, no American network understood or was interested in the concept, Grade recognized Henson's vision and made the show possible.
  • In a 2004 interview, John Landis revealed that he was the puppeteer for Grover during the final sequence, as Frank Oz was busy operating Miss Piggy. Landis also noted that Tim Burton was also among the many puppeteers in the finale.
  • This was the last movie to feature famed ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his wooden sidekick, Charlie McCarthy; Bergen died shortly after his scene was shot in 1978. It held particular meaning for Jim Henson, who cited, on many occasions, how Bergen and McCarthy were the major reasons he took an interest in puppetry. A dedication to Bergen is included in the end credits.
  • Austin Pendleton originally turned down the role of Max. James Frawley had the role expanded because he really wanted Pendleton for the role.
  • The character of Doc Hopper is a parody of [?] Harland Sanders, the founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken (now "KFC") restaurant chain, who was known for his attire of a white suit and bolo string tie.
  • The first Muppet project to take place in the real world.
  • Kermit playing the banjo while sitting on a log took five days to shoot. Jim Henson had to sit in a 50-gallon steel drum submerged in a pond to operate the Kermit puppet for the sequence.
  • The illusion of Fozzie driving the Studebaker was achieved by having a midget drive the car via remote control from the trunk, using a television monitor to guide his steering. The puppeteers would lay on the seat or floor and couldn't see a thing. The first time they tested it, the television monitor went on the blink, and the driver had to be talked through the scene by an assistant director on a walkie-talkie ("A little to the right, now, to the left...hold it...").
  • Jim Henson was determined to use the larger budget of a feature film to push the technological limits and capabilities of puppetry. One of the most difficult feats (and one that appears deceptively easy on-screen) was making Kermit ride a bicycle.