40 years later, the appeal of ‘Foul Play’ is no mystery

Here are five things you probably didn't know about the Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase classic.
Published July 9, 2018|Updated July 11, 2018

If you think about it, Foul Play might be the most '80s-ish movie made in the 1970s. The comedy-mystery-thriller starred Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase and Dudley Moore and stood as one of the truly clever homages to the work of Alfred Hitchcock. (Watch the trailer and see for yourself!)

Released 40 years ago on July 14, 1978, Foul Play tells the story of a divorced librarian (Hawn) who is pulled into adventure when a stranger hides a roll of film in a pack of cigarettes that he slips her. Mayhem and mistaken intentions ensue.

Critics were mixed on the film, with some praising its wit while others lamented the disappointing ending. Still, it nagged its share of Oscar and Golden Globe nominations and spawned a very-short-lived TV series in 1981.

Here are five things you probably didn't know about Foul Play on its 40th anniversary.

1. Foul Play marked the American film debut of Dudley Moore (his bigger hits 10 and Arthur would quickly follow). The actor was no stranger to audiences in the UK, where he was a big star for his work with the comedy group Beyond the Fringe and with his work with Peter Cook.

2. Farrah Fawcett was preferred for the role of Gloria, the librarian, but the studio was forced to drop its pursuit of her when the producers of Charlie's Angels vowed to sue for damages if she were taken away from the popular TV show.

3. Likewise, Tim Conway was in line for the role of Stanley Tibbets, before the part fell to Moore.

4. Foul Play was the first hit for Hawn since 1975's Shampoo. The movie's success helped her land the title role in 1980's Private Benjamin.

5. The film's theme song – Ready to Take a Chance Again – was a huge hit and was nominated for an Oscar for best song. It was sung by Barry Manilow, whose other soundtrack contribution to the movie was Copacabana. Okay, so maybe it's really a '70s movie after all.