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Still shot from the movie: The Great Muppet Caper.

The Great Muppet Caper

The famous amphibian Kermit the Frog (voice of Jim Henson), and his assorted friends get caught up in a jewel heist and attempt to foil the plans of the thief.

Overall Grade: B+
Violence: B
Sexual Content: A-
Language: A-
Drugs/Alcohol: B
Release Date: 25 Jun 1981
Run Time: 95
MPAA Rating: G

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In-Depth Review

If you can suspend reality long enough to believe a frog and a bear could be identical twins, that a pig could be accepted as a fashion model, and that an eclectic mix of unusual creatures could integrate themselves into the regular citizenship of a big city, then this is the movie for you!

In this big screen adventure, Kermit the Frog, Fozzie the Bear and Gonzo the whatever (brought to life by Muppet performers Jim Henson, Frank Oz and Dave Goelz), play newspaper journalists trying to redeem their jobs after bungling a headline story. Specifically, they need to know who stole Lady Holiday's (Diana Rigg) jewels while they were distractedly taking pictures of a chicken on the other side of the road.

In order to interview the successful fashion designer, the trio needs to go to her head office in London. Keeping expenses as low as possible, the chums travel in an airplane's baggage compartment and seek accommodations at the rundown Happiness Hotel. Best known as a place where they can "park their carcasses for free," the money-strapped reporters fit right in with the establishment's local residents (composed of the other Muppet characters we've all grown to know and love).

But the investigation gets off on the wrong foot when Kermit mistakes Miss Piggy (voice of Frank Oz), a model-wannabe who is working as a receptionist, for her fabulously famous employer. Smitten by his amphibian charm, the pretty pork-chop doesn't correct the identity mix-up until the real Lady Holiday falls victim to another robbery.

Then, as all fingers point at the ambitious swine as the perpetrator of the crime, Miss Piggy turns to Kermit and his friends to clear her name by solving The Great Muppet Caper and nabbing the real culprits.

Like all other Muppet movies, this one relies on the popularity of the zany personalities, crazy antics and running gags. Scenes where the puppets ride bicycles and motorcycles, operate taxis and buses, as well as swim and dance, also showcase the incredible skills of their creator Jim Henson and his crew. Tossed in for good measure are cameo appearances by the likes of Robert Morley, Peter Ustinov, Jack Warden, Peter Falk, John Cleese and Oscar the Grouch (voice of Carroll Spinney).

Although the plot does include depictions of theft, property damage, telling falsehoods, and gunplay, none of them are ever anymore believable than Kermit and Fozzie's striking resemblance. Nor are the brief moments of supermodels in skimpy costumes, some water ballet performers, or a comment about infidelity any more alluring than Miss Piggy in a swimsuit.

Silly from the get go, The Great Muppet Caper is not really about good guys and bad guys. Instead, it's just good fun and bad puns. And the only mystery the movie ever reveals is the magic called The Muppets.

Content Details: Beyond the Movie Ratings...

Property damage, law-breaking and slapstick violence punctuate this caper, but are always depicted as silly and harmless. Robberies and a gun pulled during a heist are also part of the plot. Sexual content is limited to costumes, a comment about infidelity and Miss Piggy kissing Kermit. Name-calling and one term of deity used as an expletive, some social drinking, as well as a character that smokes, are the only other concerns.

Discussion Ideas: Talk About the Movie...

When Miss Piggy is accused of stealing Lady Holiday’s necklace, Fozzie is willing to believe she is guilty because he knows that she previously lied about her identity. Why does a history of past wrongs cast doubt on someone’s future reputation? Kermit comes to Piggy’s defense and says lying and stealing are two different things. Do you agree?

Muppet creator Jim Henson has a cameo appearance in the film—look for him in the restaurant scene.

Video alternatives

You can catch other performances of these puppet wonders in The Muppet Christmas Carol and The Best of the Muppet Show

Home Video Notes

Home Video Notes: Muppet Treasure Island & The Great Muppet Caper: Of Pirates & Pigs Collection

Release Date: 10 December 2013

Disney has paired together the movies Muppet Treasure Island and The Great Muppet Caper, in an Of Pirates & Pigs Collection. This Blu-ray package includes:

- Frog-E-Oke Sing-Along: Sing, howl and croak along with Kermit and the gang.

-Muppet Treasure Island – “Cabin Fever”

-The Great Muppet Caper–“Steppin’ Out With A Star”

DVD Release Date: 29 November 2005

In commemoration of Kermit’s 50th Anniversary, Buena Vista Home Entertainment is releasing to DVD in a restored and re-mastered format The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and Muppet Treasure Island. Sold individually, each film offers a Pepe Profiles Present interview with one of the Muppet stars. The Muppet Christmas Carol also features a gag reel, a Christmas Around the World music video and audio commentary by Brian Henson. All of the discs provide the movie in full and wide screen, with audio tracks in English and French.

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About the Reviewer: Donna Gustafson

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