The Nude Bomb

The Nude Bomb (also known as The Return of Maxwell Smart) is a 1980 American spy comedy film based on the television series Get Smart.[1] It stars Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, and was directed by Clive Donner.[1] It was retitled The Return of Maxwell Smart for television.[1]

The Nude Bomb
Theatrical release poster
Directed byClive Donner
Produced byJennings Lang
Written byBill Dana
Arne Sultan
Leonard Stern
Music byLalo Schifrin
Edited byPhil Tucker
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • May 9, 1980 (1980-05-09)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million
Box office$14.7 million

Co-creators Mel Brooks and Buck Henry notably had no involvement in the making of the film. Furthermore, Adams and Robert Karvelas (as Larrabee) were the only original cast members of the TV series to reprise their roles for the film.

Dana Elcar plays the Chief in this film due to Edward Platt's death in 1974. Barbara Feldon's character from the series, Agent 99, does not appear in film nor is she referenced; Feldon was unaware of the film's production and was not asked to reprise her role.[2] Sylvia Kristel, at the time well known for her appearances in the Emmanuelle film series, makes a brief appearance as Agent 34, with Andrea Howard as Agent 22 (in a role similar to Agent 99) and Vittorio Gassman playing the Blofeld-like villain. Joey Forman, who played Harry Hoo in the TV series, was recast as Agent 13. Pamela Hensley, who was by now well known to science fiction fans for playing Princess Ardala in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, appeared as Agent 36.


Agent Maxwell Smart is called back into service in order to stop a nefarious KAOS terrorist plan from exploding a bomb that destroys only clothing, so as to leave KAOS as the only supplier of clothes to the entire world. Norman Saint-Sauvage, the KAOS fashion designer, finds everyone else's clothing designs gauche, so he builds a machine capable of cloning his favorite seamstress and implements the Nude Bombs. He wears a costume including thimbles over each finger, and his mountain lair is entered via a giant zipper.

Production Notes

Smart's agency, called CONTROL in the TV series, was called PITS in this film, an acronym standing for "Provisional Intelligence Tactical Service".

In spite of the title, the film was given a PG rating because there was no frontal nudity in the film; in the opening theme sequence, a title card reads: "Would you believe... a film called The Nude Bomb would get a PG rating". (The PG-13 rating was not created until 1984.) There are five times in the film where the bomb is detonated, but in each case the actors cover up their private areas with strategically placed briefcases (Soviet officials) or guns (Buckingham palace guards) or are shown only from the waist up. In one case, members of a football team are in a huddle when a bomb detonates, revealing bare behinds of some of the players. In the final scene, the three stars of the film are rendered nude by fallout from the destruction of all the bombs at the enemy headquarters, but are seen from the backsides from a distance, and then with a "The End" caption covering each of their backsides.



Parts of the film were shot in Salt Lake City, Utah.[3]

Reception and aftermath

The Nude Bomb received a 17% rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes (based on 18 reviews)[4] and was also a box office disappointment, grossing $14.7 million on a $15 million budget.

The film was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture, but lost to Can't Stop the Music. It is now regarded as something of a cult classic.

Nearly a decade later another revival film was produced, this time for TV, on ABC. Get Smart, Again! would feature most of the surviving original cast members and ignored the events that took place in The Nude Bomb for continuity purposes. This was followed by a short-lived revival TV series for Fox. A feature film remake of the series was a box office success in 2008, grossing $230,685,453 worldwide.

TV premiere

In 1982, the film aired on broadcast television for the first time with its originally intended title, The Return of Maxwell Smart.

Home media

The film was released on Region 1 DVD on August 26, 2008[5] and Region 4 on October 30, 2009.[6]

It was released in Australia on Blu-ray on June 22, 2016.[7]

Kino-Lober will release a new Blu-ray edition of the film on December 10th, 2019 featuring brand new extras including TV and radio spots, behind the scenes galleries as well as a much anticipated commentary track by Alan Spencer detailing never before revealed information on the making of the film. .[8]


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