The Muppet Movie (1979), starring Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Charles Durning
The Muppet Movie is the story of how Kermit the Frog leaves the swamp in search of fame and fortune. Along the way, he meets up with the various Muppet characters that we know and love. Fozzie the (failed) comedian, Rowlf who plays piano, Miss Piggy the beauty contest winner, Gonzo, and more.
Review of The Muppet Movie
In a very real sense, The Muppet Movie is the story of how the cast of The Muppet Show first came together. It’s funny, sweet, charming, and full of celebrity cameos. It gives each character time to be introduced, their characters and motivations displayed, and they all join together on a quest. A quest to simply make people happy.
The Muppet Movie is also a wonderful musical, with many of the very memorable songs that we’ve come to love.
Characters in The Muppet Movie
- Kermit the Frog – a backwoods frog, with the soul of an entertainer. He becomes the “hub” of the movie, as he gathers friends on his journey to become “rich and famous”.
- Fozzie Bear – the failed comedian at the El Sleazo café. Kermit sees something in him, and invites him to join him.
- Miss Piggy – the beauty pageant winner at county fair. As Edgar Bergen says, it’s their movie. She comes along, goes on a date with Kermit, rescues him from Doc Hopper’s attempt at mind control … And abandons him when her agent calls. Don’t worry, she comes back later.
- Gonzo – the chicken-loving oddball who buys balloons at the county fair. When he’s told that chickens go “ga ga” for them. And floats away, only for the group to rescue him.
- Rowlf, the piano player at the restaurant, who commiserates with Kermit over his broken heart. And he comes along as well.
- Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. The band “helps” them by “disguising” their car. While reading the script of the movie, in a cute breaking of the fourth wall. And Animal plays a “big” part in the final confrontation. 🙂
- Rainbow Connection, Music and Lyrics by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher
- Movin’ Right Along, Music and Lyrics by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher
- Can You Picture That, Music and Lyrics by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher
- Never Before, Never Again, Music and Lyrics by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher
- I Hope That Somethin’ Better Comes Along, Music and Lyrics by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher
- America The Beautiful, Written by Katharine Lee Bates (uncredited) and Samuel A. Ward
- I’m Going To Go Back There Someday, Music and Lyrics by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher
- Finale: The Magic Store, Music and Lyrics by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher
Editorial review of The Muppet Movie courtesy of Amazon.com
Jim Henson vaulted Kermit, the famous floppy-armed frog, and his Muppet pals to the big screen with this charming 1979 musical adventure. Like the TV show that inspired it, Henson and director James Frawley playfully acknowledge movie clichés and conventions and allow the characters to address the camera in asides, like a Hope and Crosby road film for the 1980s. The ambitious singing frog decides to leave his swamp and conquer Hollywood, gathering a group of friends along the way (Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and more) and bumping into oodles of guest stars making tongue-in-cheek cameos (my favorite is the tip-of-the-hat appearance by Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy).
Meanwhile, despicable fast-food king Charles Durning pursues Kermit, hoping to make him the spokesfrog for his Frogs-Legs restaurant franchise. Austin Pendleton costars as Durning’s sad sack henchman while guest stars include James Coburn, Dom DeLuise, Madeleine Kahn, Steve Martin, Milton Berle, Bob Hope, Carol Kane, Cloris Leachman, Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, Telly Savalas, Elliot Gould, Orson Welles, and Big Bird. Paul Williams penned the bouncy, song-filled score. You’ll believe a frog can sing! —Sean Axmaker