Herbie Goes Bananas (1980)

G | 93 mins | Comedy | 6 August 1980

Director:

Vincent McEveety

Writer:

Don Tait

Producer:

Ron Miller

Cinematographer:

Frank Phillips

Production Designers:

John Mansbridge, Rodger Maus

Production Company:

Walt Disney Productions
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HISTORY

       A 19 Sep 1979 Var news brief reported that principal photography would begin 9 Oct 1979 in Mexico and South America.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, locations included the Mexican cities of Puerto Vallarta, Tijuana, and Guadalajara. The Panama Canal Zone was the site of complicated stunt work involving twenty-six “specially equipped Volkswagen bugs.” In an 8 Oct 1979 DV article, Danny Lee, director of Disney’s mechanical effects department, stated that the Herbie special effects cost $334,000. Lee’s staff designed the necessary configurations to make Herbie bow, stand up on his hind wheels and pirouette as a matador. The team also worked on the sequences in which Herbie “walks the plank” and prevented a small engine plane from taxiing down the runway. In sequences where Herbie was in water, a Volkswagen without an engine was used. Herbie’s passage through the Panama Canal was powered with an outboard motor because the fear was if the vehicle was towed the chains might snag the canal’s machinery.
       A 4 Jan 1980 HR news item announced the completion of principal photography after a fifty-four day shooting schedule. The film’s budget was $10 million.
       Reviews were mixed. A 12 Sep 1980 NYT review by Janet Maslin and a 14 Jul 1980 Box review by Gerald Laurence found the performances entertaining. In contrast, a 6 Aug 1980 LAT review by Sheila Benson and a 2 Jul 1980 Var review (by Mac.) criticized the film’s weak script, characterizations, comedy and direction. Benson, in particular, faulted the filmmakers for portraying tired clichés regarding gender ... More Less

       A 19 Sep 1979 Var news brief reported that principal photography would begin 9 Oct 1979 in Mexico and South America.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, locations included the Mexican cities of Puerto Vallarta, Tijuana, and Guadalajara. The Panama Canal Zone was the site of complicated stunt work involving twenty-six “specially equipped Volkswagen bugs.” In an 8 Oct 1979 DV article, Danny Lee, director of Disney’s mechanical effects department, stated that the Herbie special effects cost $334,000. Lee’s staff designed the necessary configurations to make Herbie bow, stand up on his hind wheels and pirouette as a matador. The team also worked on the sequences in which Herbie “walks the plank” and prevented a small engine plane from taxiing down the runway. In sequences where Herbie was in water, a Volkswagen without an engine was used. Herbie’s passage through the Panama Canal was powered with an outboard motor because the fear was if the vehicle was towed the chains might snag the canal’s machinery.
       A 4 Jan 1980 HR news item announced the completion of principal photography after a fifty-four day shooting schedule. The film’s budget was $10 million.
       Reviews were mixed. A 12 Sep 1980 NYT review by Janet Maslin and a 14 Jul 1980 Box review by Gerald Laurence found the performances entertaining. In contrast, a 6 Aug 1980 LAT review by Sheila Benson and a 2 Jul 1980 Var review (by Mac.) criticized the film’s weak script, characterizations, comedy and direction. Benson, in particular, faulted the filmmakers for portraying tired clichés regarding gender and Americans with no ability to speak Spanish. In the 17-23 Sep 1980 Village Voice, Stuart Byron’s column “Rules of the Game” designated the film “Down the Tubes.”

      The following acknowledgements appear in the end credits: “Our thanks to the State of Jalisco, Mexico; City of Guadalajara; City of Puerto Vallarta; Secretary of Communications and Transport Ferry Service (Mexico); Republic of Panama.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
14 Jul 1980.
---
Daily Variety
8 Oct 1979
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Jan 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Jul 1980
p. 2, 27.
Los Angeles Times
6 Aug 1980
p. 5.
New York Times
12 Sep 1980
p. 8.
Variety
19 Sep 1979.
---
Variety
2 Jul 1980
p. 18.
Village Voice
17-23 Sep 1980
p. 48.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution Co., Inc.
Walt Disney Productions Presents
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d unit dir
Prod mgr
Asst prod mgr, Mexican prod staff
Asst prod mgr, Mexican prod staff
Asst dir, Mexican prod staff
PRODUCERS
Prod
Co-prod
Co-prod
WRITER
Wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Addl photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
Art dir, Mexican prod staff
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Set dec, Mexican prod staff
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Men`s cost
Women`s cost
MUSIC
SOUND
Sd supv
Sd mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
Matte artist
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv, Mexican prod staff
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
Stunt player
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by Gordon Buford.
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Look at Me," by Frank De Vol
"I Found a New Friend," by Frank De Vol.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
6 August 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 6 August 1980
New York opening: week of 12 September 1980
Production Date:
9 October 1979--January 1980 in Mexico and South America
Copyright Claimant:
Walt Disney Productions
Copyright Date:
26 September 1980
Copyright Number:
PA81091
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Photophone Sound Recording
Color
Color by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
93
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, two Americans, Pete Stancheck and D. J. Johns, claim a Volkswagen car that is a gift from Pete’s uncle. After learning that the Volkswagen named “Herbie” has won the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, D. J. discovers he has been pickpocketed by a boy named “Paco”. The friends recover D. J.’s wallet while three American smugglers, Prindle, Shepard, and Quinn, pursue Paco after they are pickpocketed by the boy in front of a hotel. Paco hides under Herbie’s hood with Pete at the wheel, as Prindle and Shepard chase after the car. Later, police return Shepard’s wallet, and he realizes that Paco has stolen some film that displays a map of South American Incan treasures. The smugglers arrive at the dock just as Herbie is loaded onto a ship bound for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with Paco still hidden inside. The men decide to meet the ship at its first stop in Panama. On board the ship, Pete and D. J. join Louise Trens and her scholarly niece, Melissa, for dinner, and Pete reveals he will race in the Brazilian Grand Prêmio. In the ship’s cargo, a crewman, Armando Moccia, finds his dinner is missing, hears the sound of chewing, and demands the culprit surrender. Instead, Herbie drives off, and other crew members help trap the runaway car. An angry Captain Blythe has his dinner with passengers interrupted, and sees an erratic, driverless Volkswagen knocking over cargo. A net stops Herbie, while Paco is removed and confined to a holding cell. When Pete refuses to pay for Herbie’s damage, Captain Blythe confiscates the car. The friends realize that they cannot afford to ... +


In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, two Americans, Pete Stancheck and D. J. Johns, claim a Volkswagen car that is a gift from Pete’s uncle. After learning that the Volkswagen named “Herbie” has won the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, D. J. discovers he has been pickpocketed by a boy named “Paco”. The friends recover D. J.’s wallet while three American smugglers, Prindle, Shepard, and Quinn, pursue Paco after they are pickpocketed by the boy in front of a hotel. Paco hides under Herbie’s hood with Pete at the wheel, as Prindle and Shepard chase after the car. Later, police return Shepard’s wallet, and he realizes that Paco has stolen some film that displays a map of South American Incan treasures. The smugglers arrive at the dock just as Herbie is loaded onto a ship bound for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with Paco still hidden inside. The men decide to meet the ship at its first stop in Panama. On board the ship, Pete and D. J. join Louise Trens and her scholarly niece, Melissa, for dinner, and Pete reveals he will race in the Brazilian Grand Prêmio. In the ship’s cargo, a crewman, Armando Moccia, finds his dinner is missing, hears the sound of chewing, and demands the culprit surrender. Instead, Herbie drives off, and other crew members help trap the runaway car. An angry Captain Blythe has his dinner with passengers interrupted, and sees an erratic, driverless Volkswagen knocking over cargo. A net stops Herbie, while Paco is removed and confined to a holding cell. When Pete refuses to pay for Herbie’s damage, Captain Blythe confiscates the car. The friends realize that they cannot afford to pay for Herbie’s return so Pete and D. J. convince Louise to sponsor their upcoming race. Herbie rescues Paco from his locked cell, and they crash the ship’s costume party. Captain Blythe is knocked off his feet, and he orders the crew to toss Herbie overboard. When the ship docks in Panama, the captain throws Pete and D. J. off the vessel and Paco escapes before Prindle captures him. Herbie floats along the currents and survives the ocean voyage. Later, several Panamanians help Paco drag Herbie to shore. Herbie surprises Paco by springing to life, and taking Paco on a ride. After Paco decorates Herbie like a taxi, Prindle appears and threatens to turn Herbie into scrap unless Paco finds the film he stole. This causes Paco to pick Pete’s pocket to regain possession of the film. Separately, Louise and Captain Blythe mistake Herbie for a taxi and accidentally share a ride. As they pursue Paco, Pete and D. J. join Melissa, who buys a bus to search for Herbie and Paco. Soon after, the chase leads to a bullfighting stadium, where Herbie rams Prindle’s car in the middle of a bullfight and the bull chases Prindle out of the ring. Herbie imitates a bullfighter waving a cape it has borrowed and defeats the bull. After the bullfight, Herbie and Paco escape as Prindle and his associates approach. Meanwhile, the bus carrying Melissa, Pete, and D. J. reunites with Captain Blythe and Louise, but before long it breaks down and needs repairs. Pete drives the bus for a short distance before it breaks down again. Soon Prindle and Shepard track Paco’s whereabouts from a small charter plane, and Paco is captured and taken aboard. Herbie hears Paco’s cries for help and chases the plane but it escapes. Prindle and his partners find pre-Columbian gold in the forest and abandon Paco. Meanwhile, Herbie locates Melissa’s bus full of passengers, finds Paco and rescues the gold from Prindle. With Herbie disguised as a banana truck, Pete. D. J., Louise, Melissa, Paco, and Captain Blythe drive to the office of Dr. De Moraes, an expert on Incan ruins, to donate the gold, but Prindle steals it back. As the smugglers take off in their small engine plane, Herbie and Paco break the plane’s fuselage. The chase continues on the ground, where the police join in and apprehend the smugglers. Back on the ship, Pete admits Paco is the right driver to win the Brazilian Grand Prêmio. In her stateroom, Pete and Melissa drink wine with Herbie parked nearby. D. J. tells Paco, dressed in a racing suit and helmet, to start his engine. Everyone toasts Paco and Herbie’s future victory. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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