Super Fuzz

Super Fuzz (Italian: Poliziotto superpiù) is a 1980 comedy film[2] directed by Sergio Corbucci. The film is about Dave Speed, a bumbling Miami police officer who gains superpowers through an accidental nuclear exposure. The film stars Terence Hill and Ernest Borgnine.

Super Fuzz
Italian theatrical release poster by Renato Casaro
Directed bySergio Corbucci
Screenplay by
  • Sergio Corbucci
  • Sabatino Ciuffini[1]
Story by
  • Sergio Corbucci
  • Sabatino Ciuffini[1]
Music byMichaelangelo La Bionda[1]
CinematographySilvano Ippoliti[1]
Edited byEugenio Alabiso[1]
  • El Pico S.A.
  • Trans Cinema Tv[1]
Distributed byColumbia
Release date
  • 1980 (1980) (Italy)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
  • Italy
  • United States
  • Spain[1]


The story starts as a retrospective, as police officer Dave Speed (Terence Hill) faces his fourth execution attempt (this time by the electric chair) for the alleged murder of his superior and friend, Sergeant Willy Dunlop (Ernest Borgnine). While taking his last walk once more, Dave reminisces about how this all got started.

Coming fresh from the police academy, Dave is sent to deliver a parking ticket to the member of a tiny Indian village in the Florida Everglades. Unbeknownst to him, the U.S. government and NASA are preparing to conduct a secret radiation experiment in the town by firing a nuclear missile loaded with red plutonium into the village (which had long since been evacuated). Dave, the only person in the village, is hit by the radiation but does not die, and returns to civilization. His tale of having been close to the explosion is marvelled at by most, but dismissed by Dunlop.

As time passes, Dave discovers that he has picked up a wide range of superpowers, including super reflexes and speed, endurance, telekinesis, precognition, hypnotism, and the ability to survive a window drop from the 23rd story of a building unscathed. What is more puzzling is that sometimes his powers suddenly fail to work whenever he sees the color red. But his powers, even with their limitation, come as an advantage when counterfeit money is found throughout the city. The masterminds behind this scheme are a local businessman named Torpedo (Marc Lawrence) and his mistress Rosy Labouche (Joanne Dru), a former actress on whom Dunlop has a serious crush. Right now, however, Dave is less a danger to them than an old retired magician named Silvius (Herbie Goldstein), who had inadvertently discovered how Torpedo transports his counterfeit money and now finds himself chased by Torpedo's henchmen. As it turns out, Silvius had also gained superpowers the same way Dave did, and reveals his secret to the young policeman as he flees the city: Whenever he sees the color he saw at the explosion, his power is nullified for as long as he observes it.

Dave reveals his secret to Dunlop and Evelyn, who are less than ecstatic about it. While Dunlop points out that Dave's precognitive abilities, which helped uncover Torpedo's scam, is unlikely to be admitted as evidence in court, Evelyn is not overjoyed at having a too-perfect man in the house. One night, Dave and Dunlop proceed to Torpedo's clubhouse, where Dave has Dunlop dance with Rosie (with some hypnotic encouragement) while he poses as a corrupt cop who wants a share of the winnings. By using his hypnotic powers on Torpedo, he gets the gangster to blab out the location of his printing facility: the fishing trawler Barracuda. But in the meantime, Dunlop inadvertently tells Rosie about Dave's powers and weaknesses in order to impress her.

Once the information is obtained, Dave and Dunlop proceed out to sea to find the Barracuda. Going aboard alone, Dunlop finds the printing press and the latest stash of money, but is knocked out by Torpedo's men, who lock him into a freezer and then sink the trawler to destroy the evidence. Upon his return to police headquarters, Dave is arrested following a trumped-up accusation by Rosie, who also makes sure that he keeps seeing something red to prevent his escape from prison, though she could not do so during the first three execution attempts.

Despite Rosie's last-ditch attempt to ensure Dave's demise by having a bouquet of red roses left in the execution chamber, Dave finally manages to escape prison and jumps into the sea, where he promptly swims to the Barracuda. Once he finds Dunlop aboard, alive but frozen stiff, he uses a borrowed piece of bubblegum to create a balloon, and both men rise out of the ocean and float back to the city. Having heard of Dave's escape, Torpedo and Rosie prepare to flee with Evelyn as their hostage. Dave manages to intercept them by jumping onto their amphibian aircraft and redirecting it to an airfield where the police are waiting. Finally convinced of the validity of Dave's powers, Dunlop overconfidently jumps off the balloon while Dave races to save him with Rosie's red feather boa wrapped around his legs. At the last instant, he manages to catch Dunlop (though in the process they wind up plunging through the earth and straight up to China), and both return safe and sound to prepare for Dave's and Evelyn's wedding. However, Evelyn, still reluctant to have a super-powered husband, has decided to have the last word in the matter by having her hair dyed red.



Director Sergio Corbucci was previously known for directing spaghetti western films in the 1960s.[1] Since the mid-1970s, Corbucci was known as one of Italy's most successful filmmakers within the field of comedy.[1] The film was designed for an American audience and shot on location in Miami.[3]


Super Fuzz was released in Italy in 1980.[1] The film was shown in heavy rotation on HBO in the early 1980s.[4]


In contemporary reviews, Super Fuzz received a negative review in Variety who called the film "miscast to the hilt" and "all sheer shab both artistically and technically. Within a minute of the opening title, somebody belches and the tone is set for the remainder."[5] The New York Times stated that the film had Corbucci and his crew "have joined forces to provide employment for several oldtime performers. That is the film's major accomplishment."[6] and that there was only one funny gag within the film.[6]

From retrospective reviews, AllMovie found that Super Fuzz "still holds up as a fun, lightweight, and immensely entertaining way to spend a Saturday night with few friends."[7] The review concluded that Super Fuzz "can be enjoyed by equally by both adults who appreciate a mindless retro comedy, or children who enjoy such simple pleasures as the [sight] of Borgnine dancing atop a giant, floating bubble-gum balloon."[7]

See also


  1. Curti 2016, p. 163.
  2. Brennan, Sandra. "Super Fuzz (1981)". AllMovie. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  3. Curti 2016, p. 166.
  4. Curti 2016, p. 165.
  5. Willis 1985, p. 389: "Review is of a 97 minute version viewed in Hollywood on November 25, 1981"
  6. Mitang, Herbert (17 May 1982). "'Super Fuzz' and Borgnine". New York Times. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  7. Buchanan, Jason. "Super Fuzz". AllMovie. Retrieved 18 December 2016.


  • Curti, Roberto (2016). Diabolika: Supercriminals, Superheroes and the Comic Book Universe in Italian Cinema. Midnight Marquee Press. ISBN 978-1-936168-60-6.
  • Willis, Donald, ed. (1985). Variety's Complete Science Fiction Reviews. Garland Publishing Inc. ISBN 978-0-8240-6263-7.
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