The Great Muppet Caper

The Great Muppet Caper

Infobox Film | name = The Great Muppet Caper

caption = "The Great Muppet Caper" DVD cover
director = Jim Henson
producer = David Lazer
Frank Oz
writer = Tom Patchett
Jay Tarses
Jerry Juhl
Jack Rose
starring = Jim Henson
Frank Oz
Dave Goelz
Jerry Nelson
Richard Hunt
music = Joe Raposo
cinematography = Oswald Morris
editing = Ralph Kemplen
distributor = Universal Pictures
Associated Film Distribution
released = June 26, 1981
runtime = 95 minutes
language = English
budget =
preceded_by = The Muppet Movie
followed_by = The Muppets Take Manhattan
imdb_id = 0082474

"The Great Muppet Caper" is the second of a series of live-action musical feature films, starring Jim Henson's Muppets. This film was produced by Henson Associates, ITC Entertainment and Universal Studios, and originally released in movie theatres in 1981. The movie was released shortly after the final season of The Muppet Show. It was shot entirely in England.


In the story, Kermit the Frog (performed by Jim Henson, who also directed the film), Fozzie Bear (performed by Frank Oz), and Gonzo the Great (performed by Dave Goelz) play the role of newspaper reporters for the Daily Chronicle and are eventually assigned to investigate the theft of a valuable diamond necklace from fashion designer Lady Holliday (Diana Rigg). They travel to London to interview her, but without any money for travel, they're forced to fly in the baggage hold of an aircraft and are thrown out of the plane as they arrive over Britain. They stay at the ramshackle (but free) Happiness Hotel, run and populated by the likes of Pops, Scooter, Rowlf, and the Electric Mayhem. When Kermit seeks out Lady Holliday in her office, however, he instead finds her receptionist, Miss Piggy and mistakes her for the fashion designer. Piggy masquerades as Lady Holliday, even going so far as to sneak into a ritzy townhouse (located at 17 Highbrow Street) in order to impress Kermit with her dwellings, much to the surprise of the true British residents (one of whom is John Cleese).

In fact, the jewel theft was orchestrated by Lady Holliday's nefarious brother Nicky (Charles Grodin), assisted by Carla, Marla and Darla, three of her put-upon fashion models. Despite Nicky's instant attraction to Miss Piggy, they successfully frame her for the theft and proceed to steal an even more valuable prize--the coveted Baseball Diamond, which is on display at a local gallery, the Mallory Gallery. Kermit's crew, along with their friends from the Happiness Hotel, have no choice but to intercept and catch the thieves themselves in order to clear Miss Piggy's good name. Piggy, meanwhile, has escaped from prison and, in a bout of serendipity, finds a motorcycle which she uses to literally crash into the film's climax, knocking Nicky, who is holding Kermit hostage, out in the process. Carla, Marla and Darla confront Piggy, only to be quickly dispatched by a flurry of furious karate chops. The Muppets then return to America the same way they departed, being thrown out of the cargo hold and parachuting back to Earth.


*Gonzo's classification as a "whatever" was officially cemented in this film, as this is the label affixed to his shipping crate en route to Great Britain. This classification lasted until "Muppets from Space". (He is also popularly known as a "weirdo" due to Muppet Babies.)
*A running gag throughout the film is that Kermit and Fozzie are said to be identical twins, though they look nothing alike and are different species. Passers-by often get them mixed up. Their father is shown in a photograph in the beginning, depicted as a bear who looks like Fozzie, but is green with frog eyes and Kermit's neck frill.
*A live-action double plays the role of Miss Piggy during some of the scenes in which she appears to ride a motorcycle.
*After Ms. Piggy is found out not to be Lady Holiday, she runs away. Kermit sees she's lost her glass slipper as she had ran away, a reference to the midnight climax of Cinderella.
*The fourth wall is completely demolished by the Muppets during the course of the film. Fozzie comments on the opening credits as they appear on screen; Kermit talks directly to the audience about the roles that he and Fozzie and Gonzo will play; Lady Holiday tells Piggy all about her brother for no reason and then says that it's plot exposition, it has to go somewhere; Piggy angrily tells Charles Grodin's character "you can't even sing! Your voice was dubbed!"; Kermit later reminds one of the guest stars (Peter Falk), after a meandering monologue, that they need to get back to the story; and at one point, Kermit and Miss Piggy break character and start arguing over her acting technique.
*The film boasts numerous star cameos, including those of John Cleese, Peter Ustinov, and Jack Warden. Muppet performers Henson, Oz, Richard Hunt, and Jerry Nelson (with his daughter) also make background appearances. Additionally, Oscar the Grouch (Caroll Spinney) of "Sesame Street" fame appears in the movie in a self-described "very brief cameo."
*The film is almost a "film within a film", a film being made by the characters from The Muppet Show. This is seen in the comments made by members of the cast about the credits, the script, and even the acting. The film takes place in an alternate reality from The Muppet Movie, as the characters are all meeting for the very first time.
*The film earned an Academy Award nomination for the song "The First Time It Happens."
*Two numbers referenced Fred Astaire and Esther Williams. The first was the number, "Steppin' Out with a Star", when Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo are singing before Kermit's date. Kermit starts dancing with a hatrack, which is a parody from Fred Astaire's "Sunday Jumps", which Astaire danced with a hatrack in Royal Wedding. The other was "Miss Piggy's Fantasy," sung by Kermit and Nicky Holiday (was dubbed), during Miss Piggy 's water ballet sequence which parodies swimming movie star Esther Williams' film Bathing Beauty. Highly choreographed musical numbers involving chorus girls in attractive geometric patterns were popularized in motion pictures by Busby Berkeley (who directed Esther Williams).
*Jim Henson makes a cameo appearance as one of the people Gonzo takes a picture of in the restaurant scene.
*John Cleese and Joan Sanderson (the British couple whose London house Miss Piggy tries to pass off as her own) had appeared opposite each other previously, in the Fawlty Towers episode "Communication Problems"
* Peter Falk, who as Colombo played one of television's greatest detectives (one known for using small bits of evidence to solve problems) attempted to deduce Kermit's problem using evidence and after stating his opinion was ironically told by Kermit "you are 100% wrong, nothing you've said has been right."
*Richard Hunt makes a cameo appearance as the taxi driver during the "Hey, A Movie!" sequence.
*Jerry Nelson and his daughter Christine make a cameo in the park where Christine exclaims, "Look Dad! It's a bear!" when she sees Kermit sitting on the park bench. Her father Jerry then corrects her by saying, "No Christine, that's a frog. Bears wear hats."

The Muppet Performers

*Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog / Rowlf / Dr. Teeth / Waldorf / Swedish Chef
*Frank Oz as Miss Piggy / Fozzie Bear / Animal / Sam the Eagle
*Dave Goelz as The Great Gonzo / Beauregard / Zoot / Dr. Bunsen Honeydew
*Jerry Nelson as Floyd / Pops / Lew Zealand
*Richard Hunt as Scooter / Statler / Sweetums / Janice / Beaker
*Steve Whitmire as Rizzo the Rat / Lips
*Louise Gold and Kathryn Mullen with
*Bob Payne
*Robert Bartnett
*Brian Muehl
*Hugh Spight
*Mike Quinn
*Brian Hensonand
*Carroll Spinney as Oscar the Grouch

Guest stars

There are a large number of guest stars and cameos in the movie. Some notables ones include:
*Charles Grodin as Nicky Holiday
*Diana Rigg as Lady Holiday
*John Cleese as Neville
*Robert Morley as British Gentleman
*Peter Ustinov as Truck Driver
*Jack Warden as Mr. Tarkenian
*Peter Falk as Tramp (uncredited)
*Chai Lee (uncredited)


*Directed by Jim Henson
*Produced by David Lazer and Frank Oz
*Written by Tom Patchett, Jay Tarses, Jerry Juhl and Jack Rose
*Executive Producer Martin Starger
*Director Of Photography Oswald Morris
*Edited by Ralph Kemplen
*Production Designer Harry Lange
*Choreographer Anita Mann
*Music by Joe Raposo


# "Main Title Theme" (2:49)
# "Hey, A Movie!" (2:42)
# "The Big Red Bus" (1:26) (Score)
# "Happiness Hotel" (3:05)
# "Lady Holiday" (1:12) (Score)
# "The First Time It Happens" (4:12)
# "The Apartment" (0:53) (Score)
# "Night Life" (2:57)
# "Steppin' Out With A Star" (2:31)
# "Couldn't We Ride" (3:07)
# "Miss Piggy's Fantasy" (3:58)
# "The Great Muppet Caper" (3:48)
# "Homeward Bound" (0:52)(Score)
# "Finale: Hey, A Movie! (reprise)" (1:30)
# "The First Time It Happens (reprise)" (1:30)

core cues left off the soundtrack

# Stop the Presses!
# Splash Landing
# Lobby
# "Happiness Hotel" (Full version)
# Applying For a Job
# Kermit Meets Piggy
# Taxi
# Getting Ready
# You Can Come/17 Highbrow Street
# A Pig and a Lizzard
# Dubonnet Club (Instrumental of "Steppin' Out With a Star")
# I Think I’ve Got a Picture of the Thief
# The Cookie Jar Just Busted/In the Park
# Would You Like to Buy a Watch?
# Kermit and Piggy Argument
# I’m Sorry I Left You
# I Can’t Be Responsible For What Might Happen
# Fashion Show
# Framed
# The Baseball Diamond Will Be Ours
# We Don’t Want the Bad Guys to Win
# Pig In the Pokey
# I Love You, Rosenthal
# The Heist (Full version, much longer with many short cues)


Kermit: Excuse me...
Pops: What?
Kermit: We'd like a room.
Pops: Really?
Kermit: Yeah, we'd like to check in.
Pops: Hey, some-body's checking in!
Muppets: Somebody's checking in?!

Englishman on bench: Welcome to Great Britain.
Fozzie: Oh, we'll never get to England!

"Beauregard is driving Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo to the hotel."
Kermit: How long have you lived in London?
Beauregard: All my life.
Kermit: How come you don't have an english accent?
Beauregard: Hey, I'm lucky to have a driver's license.

"Everyone is talking at once. All characters suddenly become silent except for Janice."
Janice: ...Look mother, it's my life, OK? If I want to live on a beach and walk around naked- (notices other Muppets staring)Oh.

Kermit: Now we're about to embark on a potentially dangerous mission. There could be physical violence, there could be gun play, and there's the slightest chance that somebody might even get killed. So if anybody wants out, now is the time to say it.
Floyd: I'm out.
Rowlf: Me too.
Bunsen: Ditto.
Beaker: Meep-meep.
Zoot: Hey, uh, don't we have a gig around here or something, or... somewhere.
Pops: Yeah, sorry I got a dental appointment.
Janice: It's like this Kermit, I have to go to work all day, and have alfalfa sprouts and all sorts of good things...

Kermit: We'll catch the crooks red-handed.
Beauregard: What color are their hands now?

(after the Happiness Hotel song)Sam the Eagle: You are all weirdos!


The Great Muppet Caper was a modest critical and commercial success. As of 2008, Rotten Tomatoes reported that 71% of critics gave positive reviews based on 17 reviews. The film grossed $31,206,251 during its run at the box office behind the grosses of The Muppet Movie and Muppet Treasure Island.

External links

* [ Muppet Movies Lyric Archive]

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