The Muppets Take Manhattan is a 1984 American musical comedy film directed by Frank Oz. It is the third of a series of live-action musical feature films starring Jim Henson's Muppets with special appearances by Art Carney, James Coco, Dabney Coleman, Gregory Hines, Linda Lavin, and Joan Rivers. The film was produced by Jim Henson Pictures and 20th Century Fox, and was filmed on location in New York City during the summer of 1983 and released theatrically the following summer. As he previously co-directed The Dark Crystal with Henson.
The film introduced the Muppet Babies, as toddler versions of the Muppet characters in a fantasy sequence. The Muppet Babies later received their own Saturday morning animated television series, which aired on CBS from 1984 until 1991 and has since been syndicated worldwide.
Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and the rest of the Muppets have graduated from Danhurst College by entertaining their fellow graduates with their theatrical production of Manhattan Melodies. Upon the suggestion of taking the show to Broadway, the Muppets proceed with the idea, certain they will become stars instantly. Arriving in Manhattan, the group meet producer Martin Price but soon discover he is a con artist named Murray Plotsky upon the arrival of the police. Plotsky is arrested, leaving the Muppets's hopes dashed. They try other theatrical producers to no avail, leading their morale and finances taking a nosedive.
Thinking they are becoming a burden to Kermit when he snaps at them, the rest of the Muppets agree to go their separate ways for new occupations, though Miss Piggy secretly remains in Manhattan to keep an eye on Kermit. Though disappointed by the development, Kermit vows to make the show a hit and enlists the assistance of diner owner Pete, his daughter Jenny who is an aspiring fashion designer, and the diner's staff of rats led by Rizzo. Attempting to promote the show, Kermit first poses as an eccentric producer bragging about the musical's quality but the producer he meets discards the script after Kermit makes his exit. Kermit then poses as a famous playwright, having the rats insert a caricature picture at Sardi's restaurant by replacing it with Liza Minnelli's picture. When Liza Minnelli comes in and notices it missing, she asks Vincent Sardi Jr. if she did something wrong to get it removed. When the rats are exposed, Vincent Sardi Jr. discover Liza's picture near Kermit. This causes Kermit and the rats to get thrown out of the restaurant.
While in Central Park, Jenny comforts Kermit about his losses, while an envious Miss Piggy observes. When a thief steals her purse, Miss Piggy borrows a pair of rollerskates and furiously gives chase until she captures him, but reunites with Kermit in the process and they make up. Piggy takes a job at Pete's diner while Kermit receives several letters from his friends who have taken up numerous jobs around the United States. He then receives a letter from producer Bernard Crawford who is interested in the musical. However, the letter was actually sent by his son, Ronnie Crawford, who likes Manhattan Melodies; himself trying to make a name as a producer. Bernard himself is hesitant but agrees to fund the show. A thrilled Kermit heads back to the diner but is so happy that he walks into oncoming traffic and is immobilized when he gets struck by a passing motorcar.
The rest of the Muppets are summoned back to New York, only to discover that Kermit has disappeared. At the hospital, Kermit's doctor discovers that he has lost memory of his life. He makes his way to Madison Avenue, where he finds a trio of frogs who work in advertising, and offer him a job when he comes up with a slogan and thinks of himself as "Phil". The rest of the Muppets search for Kermit where one attempt involved Gonzo trying to persuade Mayor Edward I. Koch to assist.
Bill, Gill, Jill, and Kermit end up visiting Pete's diner where Kermit's friends recognize him when he plays the show's opening number with spoons. At the Biltmore Theatre on opening night, the Muppets try to help Kermit remember, but it only works when Miss Piggy punches him for insulting their past romance. Kermit regains his memories and, realizing the show needs more Muppets, requests the Madison Avenue frogs, the dogs, the bears, the chickens, and others to become supernumeracies.
The show is a success, culminating in what is intended to be a staged wedding between Kermit and Miss Piggy's characters, only for a real minister to appear (instead of Gonzo as Kermit planned). With all of the Muppets, the characters from Sesame Street, and Uncle Traveling Matt from Fraggle Rock present, Kermit and Miss Piggy get married as the film ends.
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- Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, Dr. Teeth, The Swedish Chef, The Muppet Newsman, Waldorf, Baby Kermit, Baby Rowlf, Ernie
- Frank Oz as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Scooter, Baby Scooter, Sam Eagle, Baby Piggy, Baby Fozzie, Bert, Cookie Monster
- Jerry Nelson as Floyd Pepper, Crazy Harry, Camilla the Chicken, Pops, Lew Zealand, Bear
- Richard Hunt as Statler, Beaker (scenes deleted), Bear
- Dave Goelz as The Great Gonzo, Chester the Rat, Bill the Frog, Zoot, Penguin, Jim the Dog, Baby Gonzo, Uncle Matt Fraggle, Beauregard (scenes deleted), Dr. Bunsen Honeydew (scenes deleted)
- Steve Whitmire as Rizzo the Rat, Gill the Frog, Bear
- Kathryn Mullen as Jill the Frog
- Karen Prell as Janice, Yolanda the Rat, Frank the Dog
- Brian Muehl as Tattooey the Rat, Telly Monster
- Martin P. Robinson as Rat, Telly Monster
Muppet Characters Animal, Agnes Stonewick, Baby Band, Baskerville the Hound, Beaker, Bears, Beauregard, Bert, Beth Bear, Biff, Bill, Bobby Benson, Bubba, Bunsen Honeydew, Buster the Horse, Camilla, Chester Rat, Clementine, Cookie Monster, Count von Count, Crazy Harry, Deena, Dinger, Dr. Teeth, Droop, Elmo, Ernie, Fazoobs, Female Koozebanian Creature, Flower-Eating Monster, Floyd Pepper, Foo-Foo, Forcryingoutloud Bird, Forgetful Jones, Fozzie Bear, Gaffer, George the Janitor, Geri and the Atrics, Gil, Gonzo, Gramps, Grandmother Happy, Grover, Guy Smiley, Herry Monster, Hilda, Mr. Honker, Honkers, Juliet, Irvine, Janice, Slim Wilson, Jill, J.P. Grosse, Julius Strangepork, Lew Zealand, Louis Kazagger, Link Hogthrob, Lips, Lothar, Lou, Lubbock Lou, Luncheon Counter Monster, Mahna Mahna, Male Koozebanian Creature, Marvin Suggs, Masterson Rat, Maurice Monster, Mildred, Mona Monster, Mrs. Appleby, The Newsman, Pearl, Penguins, Pigs, Pops, Quongo, Rizzo the Rat, Robin the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, Sam the Eagle, Scooter, Sherlock Hemlock, Simon Soundman, Slim Wilson, The Snowths, Sully, The Swedish Chef, Tatooey Rat, Telly Monster, Two-Headed Monster, Uncle Deadly, Uncle Traveling Matt, Whaddayasay Bird, The White Rabbit, Yolanda Rat, Zeke, Zoot
- "Together Again" - Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and The Muppets
- "You Can't Take No for an Answer" - Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
- "Saying Goodbye" - Miss Piggy, Kermit, Scooter, Gonzo, Camilla, Rowlf, Floyd Pepper, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, Fozzie Bear, and The Muppets
- "I'm Gonna Always Love You" - Miss Piggy, Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, Scooter, and Rowlf
- "Right Where I Belong" - Kermit and the Muppets
- "Somebody's Getting Married" - Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, Miss Piggy, and the Muppets
- "He'll Make Me Happy" - Miss Piggy, Kermit, and the Muppets
- "The Ceremony" - Minister, Miss Piggy, Kermit, and the Muppets
Under the working title of Muppet Movie III, Jim Henson initially planned to film the project in late spring 1983. Having directed The Great Muppet Caper and The Dark Crystal back-to-back, Henson decided to serve as the producer along with David Lazer. Upon selecting fellow Muppet performer and Dark Crystal co-director Frank Oz to handle directorial duties, Henson stated, "I was looking at the year ahead and I thought my life was very busy and I thought maybe it was a time to have Frank directing one of these." Shortly after, Oz confirmed his involvement to the project. The first draft titled The Muppets: The Legend Continues, written by Muppet Caper scribes Jay Tarses and Tom Patchett, was dismissed by Oz for being "way too over jokey". After being given Henson's encouragement to tinker with the script, Oz revised the screenplay in an effort to develop the "oomph of the characters and their relationships". Once the script was completed and the sets were built, special consultant David Misch was brought in to write cameos for some guest star appearances. Originally, this list of guest stars contained the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Steve Martin, Michael Jackson, Lily Tomlin, Richard Pryor, and Laurence Olivier to name a few. According to Misch, Hoffman was going to play a Broadway producer and planned to do an imitation of legendary film producer Robert Evans (The Godfather), which he later did in the film Wag the Dog. However, at the last minute, Hoffman decided that the role could be offensive to Evans and dropped out, following which all the other big names dropped out as well. Because of the dropped cameos, Misch and director Oz ended up rewriting most of the film's dialogue. However, the only wedding scene used was that in which Ernie, Bert and Cookie Monster have speaking roles.
The Muppets Take Manhattan was adapted by Marvel Comics in 1984, as the 68-page story in Marvel Super Special #32. The adaptation was later re-printed into a three-issue limited series, released under Marvel's Star Comics imprint (November 1984 – January 1985). The film's script was adapted into comic form by writer Stan Kay with art by Dean Yeagle and Jacqueline Roettcher. Unlike in the film, the comic depicts Gonzo, Floyd Pepper, Animal, Janice, Dr. Teeth, and Zoot in their customary outfits from The Muppet Show.
In addition, a book-and-record set of the film was released in the form of a vinyl record through the Muppet Music Records label.
The Muppets Take Manhattan opened on July 13, 1984 to mostly positive reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 81% of 21 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 6.9 out of 10. The site's consensus stated that "if it's not quite as sharp as The Muppet Movie, The Muppets Take Manhattan is still a smart, delightfully old-fashioned tale that follows the formula established by the first two movies -- a madcap adventure assisted by a huge group of human stars."
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a three star rating (out of four) stating in his review that "the plot of [the] movie has been seen before." However, Ebert went on to say that just about everything in the film was enjoyable and that Kermit finally solves his long-lasting identity crisis. In his 2009 Movie Guide, Leonard Maltin gave the film a three star rating (out of four) as well citing that the film is an "enjoyable outing with bouncy songs, [with a] nice use of N.Y.C. locations."
Template:Album ratings The Muppets Take Manhattan: The Original Soundtrack contains all of the songs written by Jeff Moss and prominent score cues composed by Ralph Burns from the film, as well as several portions of dialogue and background score. The album reached #204 on Billboard's Bubbling Under the Top LP's chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Recording for Children, but lost to Shel Silverstein's audio edition of Where the Sidewalk Ends.
This is the only Muppet film soundtrack that has not been released on CD. However, three tracks from the album can be found on the 2002 compilation album The Muppet Show: Music, Mayhem, and More. A new version of "Together Again" was performed in the 2014 film Muppets Most Wanted and its soundtrack.
|1.||"Together Again"||Joe Raposo||Kermit and Friends||2:54|
|2.||"You Can't Take No for an Answer"||Joe Raposo||Dr. Teeth||2:00|
|3.||"Saying Goodbye"||Joe Raposo||Everyone||3:06|
|4.||"Rat Scat (Something Cookin')"||Joe Raposo||Rizzo and the Rats||1:18|
|5.||"Together Again (Carriage Ride)"||Joe Raposo (arr. Ralph Burns)||Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Statler and Waldorf||1:07|
|6.||"I'm Gonna Always Love You"||Joe Raposo||The Muppet Babies||2:55|
|7.||"William Tell Overture"||Gioachino Rossini (arr. Ralph Burns)||The Chickens||0:59|
|1.||"Looking for Kermit"||Ralph Burns||Instrumental||1:42|
|2.||"Right Where I Belong"||Joe Raposo||Everyone||2:12|
|3.||"Somebody's Getting Married/Waiting for the Wedding"||Joe Raposo||Everyone||2:36|
|4.||"He'll Make Me Happy"||Joe Raposo||Miss Piggy and Kermit||2:10|
|5.||"The Ceremony"||Joe Raposo||Everyone||1:10|
|6.||"Closing Medley (Final Credits)"||Joe Raposo (arr. Ralph Burns)||Everyone||4:18|
- "MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN (U)". British Board of Film Classification. June 27, 1984. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
- Jones, Brian Jay (2013). "Twists and Turns". Jim Henson: The Biography. New York: Ballantine Books. p. 371. ISBN 978-0-345-52611-3.
- "The Muppets Take Manhattan". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database.
- Jones, Brian Jay (2013). "Twists and Turns". Jim Henson: The Biography. New York: Ballantine Books. pp. 234, 237. ISBN 978-0-345-52611-3.
- Ryan Roe (March 18, 2011). "A Q&A with Muppet Writer David Misch". WordPress. Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- Marvel Super Special #32 at the Grand Comics Database
- The Muppets Take Manhattan at the Grand Comics Database
- "Variety Reviews - The Muppets Take Manhattan - Film Reviews - - Review by Variety Staff". Variety.com. December 31, 1983. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
- "Reviews Movies; Muppets Work Their Magic; The Muppets Take Manhattan - Directed By Frank Oz, Produced By Jim; Henson, Starring Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo And; Dr. Teeth With Cameo Appearances By Dabney; Coleman, Joan Rivers And Gregory Hines, At The Charles, Copley Place; And Suburbs, Rated G". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. July 13, 1984. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
- "The Muppets Take Manhattan". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
- Roger Ebert (January 1, 1984). "The Muppets Take Manhattan". Chicago Sun-Times. rogerebert.com. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
- Leonard Maltin (August 5, 2008). Leonard Maltin's 2009 Movie Guide (2009 ed.). Signet. p. 945. ISBN 0-451-22468-X.
- Davis, Michael (2008). Street Gang. New York, New York: Penguin Press. p. 379. ISBN 978-0-14-311663-9.
- Official website
- Expression error: Unrecognized punctuation character "[". The Muppets Take Manhattan on IMDbExpression error: Unrecognized punctuation character "[".
- The Muppets Take Manhattan at the TCM Movie Database
- The Muppets Take Manhattan at Box Office Mojo
- The Muppets Take Manhattan at Rotten Tomatoes
- Muppet Movies Lyric Archive
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