Don't Drink the Water

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"They're caught in a security leak!"
  • G
  • 1969
  • 1 hr 40 min
  • 5.5  (955)

Don't Drink the Water is a comedy film from 1969, directed by Howard Morris and starring Jackie Gleason, Estelle Parsons, and Ted Bessell. The film is based on a successful Broadway play of the same name, written by Woody Allen. The film version was also written by Allen and is his first film as a director. The story takes place during the Cold War era and follows the Hollander family, who are American tourists travelling through an Eastern European country. After inadvertently taking a photo of a sensitive military installation, the family is pursued by the country's secret police and forced to seek refuge in the American Embassy.

However, due to a series of unfortunate events, the family finds themselves stuck in the embassy's basement, unable to leave for fear of being captured. The ambassador, the embassy personnel, and the Hollander family must find a way to escape before they are caught and thrown into a foreign prison.

Jackie Gleason, who plays the ambassador, delivers a stellar comedic performance, with his trademark sense of humor and impeccable timing. Estelle Parsons, who plays the Hollander family's mother, is delightful as the quirky and neurotic character, constantly fretting over the embassy's lack of amenities and her family's safety. Ted Bessell, who plays the family's father, is the calm and collected voice of reason, trying to keep everyone together and focused on finding a way out.

The rest of the cast is equally impressive, with Jerry Orbach playing the embassy's head of security, Sue Ane Langdon as Jackie Gleason's love interest, and Michael Constantine as the country's head of the secret police. The chemistry between the cast is superb, and their interactions are hilarious and cleverly written.

The film's humor is based on the absurdity of the situation, as the Hollander family tries to navigate through a foreign country without speaking the language or understanding the culture, while also trying to avoid being arrested. The embassy's basement becomes their makeshift home, and they use every resource available to survive, from cooking their meals on a hot plate to setting up a makeshift radio station to communicate with the outside world.

Don't Drink the Water also serves as a commentary on the political climate of the time, with the Cold War tensions and the fear of communism permeating throughout the story. However, the film avoids becoming too political and instead focuses on the absurdity of the situation and the characters' reactions to it.

The film's setting is also noteworthy, as it was shot in Spain and perfectly captures the look and feel of an Eastern European country. The embassy's décor is a mix of mid-century modern and traditional elements, adding to the film's charm.

Overall, Don't Drink the Water is a hilarious and entertaining comedy that highlights the talents of its cast and the clever writing of Woody Allen. The film is a perfect blend of absurdity, humor, and political commentary, making it a classic of the genre.

Don't Drink the Water is a 1969 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 40 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.5.

Don't Drink the Water
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 40 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.5  (955)