The film begins with Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, and Gonzo the Great commenting on the opening credits from a hot-air balloon and introducing the premise of the movie to the audience. Throughout the film, the characters frequently break the fourth wall, discussing (for example) each other's acting choices and singing ability in the middle of a scene.
Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo play investigative reporters for the Daily Chronicle. Kermit and Fozzie, specifically, play identical twin reporters, which becomes the source of a running gag—supposedly, nobody can tell they are twins when Fozzie removes his hat. After the trio fail to report on a major jewel robbery, they ask their editor to allow them to travel to London to investigate the robbery and interview the victim, prominent fashion designer Lady Holiday.
With only $12 for the trip, they are forced to travel in an aeroplane's baggage hold and are thrown out of the plane as it passes over Britain. They stay at the dilapidated (but free) Happiness Hotel, which is populated by other Muppet characters such as Scooter, Rowlf the Dog, Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem, Sam Eagle, the Swedish Chef, and Rizzo the Rat. When Kermit seeks out Lady Holiday in her office, however, he instead finds her newly-hired receptionist, the alluring Miss Piggy, and mistakes her for the fashion designer. Piggy poses as Lady Holiday, and asks Kermit out for dinner; to keep up the pose, she allows Kermit to assume she lives at a "highbrow" address. She sneaks into a townhouse at 17 Highbrow Street to wait for him, much to the surprise of the actual upper-class British residents, and they go to dinner at a nightclub.
At the nightclub, Lady Holiday's necklace is stolen by her jealous brother Nicky and his accomplices Carla, Marla, and Darla, three of her put-upon fashion models, the very same thieves who robbed her before. After the robbery, Miss Piggy's charade is revealed and she flees, leaving Kermit behind, though they later reconcile in a park. Despite Nicky's instant attraction to Miss Piggy, they frame her for the theft and plan to steal an even more valuable prize: Lady Holiday's largest and most valuable jewel, the fabulous Baseball Diamond, now on display at the local Mallory Gallery. Gonzo overhears their plot; and Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, and the other Muppets decide to intercept the thieves and catch them red-handed to exonerate Miss Piggy.
The Muppets sneak into the Mallory Gallery, and get to the Baseball Diamond at the same time as the thieves. They try to keep the diamond out of the thieves' hands via a game of keep away, which turns into baseball, but Nicky eventually catches the diamond and takes Kermit hostage. However, in the meantime, Piggy has escaped from prison, and she races to the Mallory Gallery, crashing through the window on a motorcycle that serendipitously fell off a truck in front of her. She knocks Nicky out and dispatches Carla, Marla and Darla with a flurry of furious karate chops. As the police arrive, all charges against Piggy are dropped, Nicky and his fashion model-accomplices are arrested, and the Muppets get their deserved credit for foiling the heist.
The Muppets then return to the United States the same way they departed, being thrown out of the cargo hold and parachuting back to the USA, over the end credits.Diana Rigg as Lady Holiday, a famous British fashion designer who has been the victim of a jewel heist.
Charles Grodin as Nicky Holiday, Lady Holiday's brother. Although he falls in love with Miss Piggy, he commits jewel heists on his sister assisted by three of her fashion models, Carla, Darla, and Marla.
Erica Creer as Marla
Kate Howard as Carla
Della Finch as Darla
Jim Henson as Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, Dr. Teeth, Waldorf, the Swedish Chef, The Muppet Newsman
Frank Oz as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Sam Eagle
Jerry Nelson as Floyd Pepper, Pops, Lew Zealand, Louis Kazagger
Richard Hunt as Scooter, Statler, Sweetums, Janice, Beaker
Dave Goelz as The Great Gonzo, Beauregard, Zoot, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew
Steve Whitmire as Rizzo the Rat, Lips
Caroll Spinney as Oscar the Grouch (brief cameo with Peter Ustinov)
Kiran Shah as Miss Piggy (full-bodied stunt double)
John Cleese as Neville, a somewhat indifferent but kind mannered middle-aged rich British homeowner who lives with his wife Dorcas at 17 Highbrow Street. Cleese had previously guest-starred in a second-season episode of The Muppet Show.
Joan Sanderson as Dorcas, Neville's apathetic and somewhat dull mannered wife. Sanderson previously appeared alongside John Cleese in the Fawlty Towers episode "Communication Problems".
Jack Warden as Mr. Mike Tarkenian, the editor-in-chief of The Daily Chronicle.
Peter Falk as Tramp (uncredited)
Robert Morley as a British Gentleman by Pond
Peter Ustinov as a truck driver, who has his truck stolen by Miss Piggy when she gets indignant over his arrogant rudeness of refusing to give her an emergency ride. Ustinov had previously guest-starred in a first-season episode of The Muppet Show.
Jim Henson as a table guest having a snapshot in a restaurant who Gonzo comes across when taking photos of tabled couples in attempts to raise some quick money for his group's meal.
Michael Robbins as Henderson, the Mallory Gallery's security guard.
Peter Hughes as Stanley, a Maitre D' at the Dubonnet Club and an old acquaintance and favoured patron of Lady Holiday.
Peggy Aitchison as a guard at the prison where Miss Piggy is detained.
Tommy Godfrey as a bus conductor.
Richard Hunt as a cab driver.
Jerry Nelson as a man in a park.
Christine Nelson as the above's daughter, who mistakes Kermit for a bear, until her father corrects her saying he's a frog; bears wear hats.
The film grossed $31.2 million domestically on a $14 million budget thus making it a box office success. It is the fifth-highest grossing Muppet film behind The Muppets, The Muppet Movie, Muppets Most Wanted and Muppet Treasure Island.
The Great Muppet Caper has received generally positive reviews. The film holds a 79% approval rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 6.4/10, based on 19 reviews. The site's consensus says "The Great Muppet Caper is overplotted and uneven, but the appealing presence of Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang ensure that this heist flick is always breezily watchable." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a two star rating (out of four) and concluded his review by saying that "the lack of a cutting edge hurts this movie. It's too nice, too routine, too predictable, and too safe."
The Great Muppet Caper was first released on Betamax and VHS in 1982 by 20th Century Fox Video. Jim Henson Video released the film on VHS and LaserDisc in 1993. It was later released on DVD by Sony Pictures and Jim Henson Home Entertainment on 5 June 2001 and subsequently on 29 November 2005 by Walt Disney Home Entertainment as Kermit's 50th Anniversary Edition.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released The Great Muppet Caper on Blu-ray and DVD, alongside Muppet Treasure Island, on 10 December 2013.
In 1982, Joe Raposo was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "The First Time It Happens" but lost to "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" by Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager, Christopher Cross and Peter Allen from Arthur. This was the only one of the first three Muppet films not to be nominated for Best Music, Original Song Score.
In 1981, Miss Piggy won the Youth in Film Award for Best Young Musical Recording Artist for her performance of "The First Time It Happens", becoming the first, and only, non-human recipient in the history of the award.
The Great Muppet Caper: The Original Soundtrack contains all of the songs from the film, as well as several portions of dialogue and background score. The album reached #66 on Billboard's Top LP's and Tapes chart in 1981.Track listing
All tracks written by Joe Raposo.