Music directorElmer Bernstein Duration CountryUnited States
Release dateApril 10, 1981 CastTony Danza (Foster), Jessica Walter (Fiona), Stacey Nelkin (Cynthia), Danny DeVito (Lazlo) Similar moviesDawn of the Planet of the Apes, Aladdin, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Every Which Way But Loose, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Twelve Monkeys
TaglineThere were 3 conditions to the 5 million dollar inheritance, and they had to be bathed twice a week.
Going Ape! is a 1981 American comedy film directed by Jeremy Joe Kronsberg and produced by Paramount Pictures. The original music score was composed by Elmer Bernstein (who would later compose music for a later similarly ape-themed comedy Buddy). This film starred Tony Danza as Foster, Stacey Nelkin as Cynthia, Jessica Walter as Fiona, Danny DeVito as Lazlo, and three orangutans. The film was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor for DeVito.
In this comedy, the death of his rich circus performer father leaves Foster as the sole heir to a five million dollar estate—if he can keep his three pet orangutans safe and sound for the next two years. With the help of his disgruntled girlfriend Cynthia and the apes' eccentric handler Lazlo, Foster must struggle to keep the outrageous primates out of trouble and away from a trio of bungling hitmen.
Struggling slacker Foster Sabatini is the only member of his circus family who left the life, greatly disappointing his wealthy father Max Sabatini (of The Flying Sabatinis). When Max dies, Foster and his sisters (who all hate Foster) are shocked to hear that Max left his entire estate to Foster, but only on the condition that Foster can care for his father's beloved trio of orangutans. Along with the orangutans, Foster also inherits the services of Lazlo - Max's manservant & protege. The arrival of the orangutans and Lazlo turn Foster's life upside-down, all while he attempts to win back his disgruntled girlfriend and impress her high-society mother. All during the film are non-stop instances where the apes wreak havoc on Foster's quiet and simple life with their crazy and outrageous antics, while Lazlo continuously recites many quotations from Max (always ending with "Love Max").
Things are further complicated by a trio of bungling assassins hired by the local zoological society, who will inherit both the money and the orangutans if one of the apes dies. In scenes reminiscent of the Three Stooges, each attempt by the hitmen is foiled by the apes and results in the hitmen injuring themselves instead. Foster and the others are completely unaware of the attempts on the apes (until the end, when the frustrated hitmen barge in and take the apes by force), and try to keep order despite the mischievous behavior of the orangutans.
Once aware of the danger to the apes, Foster and his friends must save the newly accepted primates from their captors and bring the assassins to justice.
Tony Danza as Foster
Jessica Walter as Fiona
Stacey Nelkin as Cynthia
Danny DeVito as Lazlo
Art Metrano as Joey
Frank Sivero as Bad Habit
Rick Hurst as Brandon
Howard Mann as Jules Cohen
Joseph Maher as Gridley
Going Ape! was last released on VHS in 1998 and has been out of print for many years. The film has never been released on DVD. However, it is available on Amazon Video.
The Tony Danza Fan Club of Los Angeles is campaigning for a Blu-Ray release.