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414 Ratings


Directed by Elaine May
United States, 1987
Comedy, Adventure


Two terrible lounge singers get booked to play a gig in a Moroccan hotel but somehow become pawns in an international power play between the CIA, the Emir of Ishtar, and the rebels trying to overthrow his regime.

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Ishtar Directed by Elaine May
Filled with great physical comedy and songs that are so awful they’re great, “Ishtar” is a movie whose time is now.
January 21, 2019
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I didn’t catch up with this film maudit until 2013, seeing it at BAM with a friend (and coeval) who, far wiser than I, had long been a fan. That screening remains one of the most memorable of my life, an event that provided the rare opportunity to discover a wildly unpredictable movie more than a quarter century removed from its initial ignominy.
January 18, 2019
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It hardly seems possible that Elaine May’s Ishtar (1987) is about to celebrate its 30th anniversary. I first saw the film on its original release, and have returned to it many times over the years, always with pleasure and delight. But in my mind, it has yet to take on the status of a revered classic, instead retaining that sense of freshness one associates with recent discoveries.
April 24, 2017
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