Mel Brooks' spaceballs

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
German title Mel Brooks 'Spaceballs
Video Title: Spaceballs - Mel Brooks' crazy space travel
Original title Spaceballs
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1987
length 96 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Mel Brooks
script Mel Brooks,
Thomas Meehan ,
Ronny Graham
production Mel Brooks
music John Morris
camera Nick McLean
cut Conrad Buff IV

Spaceballs (Original Title: Spaceballs ) is a science fiction - film comedy from the year 1987 by director Mel Brooks , which affects the Star Wars films and their merchandising parodies.


The spaceball planet is running out of air. Since one cannot live forever on "Perri-Air" cans, President Skroob decides to have Princess Vespa from the planet Druidia kidnapped by Lord Helmchen and Colonel Sandfurz in order to then blackmail her father, King Roland. In this way Skroob wants to get to the number combination of the force field that protects the atmosphere of the planet Druidia.

Princess Vespa is to be married to the sleepyhead Prince Valium, the last prince in the galaxy, but she escapes from the altar together with her robot maid Dotty Matrix in her spaceship of the type Mercedes 2001 SEL. Shortly afterwards, your spaceship is attacked by Lord Helmchen's gigantic command ship "Spaceball One". Desperate Vespa calls her father and asks for help. Then they are held by the “Spaceball Eins” with a catching beam.

King Roland turns to Lone Starr for help. Since Lone Starr owes the galactic villain Pizza Mampf, he agrees on the condition that he will receive a million space dollars as a reward. So he flies with his buddy Waldi, who is a “Möter” (half man, half mutt), in his space mobile home (“Winnebago”) after the princess. He fires a huge jar of jam at the radar antenna of the command ship and puts it out of action. Princess Vespa and Dotty Matrix then climb a ladder into the motorhome while Waldi carries the luggage.

Lone Starr flees with "secret hyperpower" from the command ship of the Spaceballs, which picks up the chase at "insane speed" and overtakes the mobile home. Since Lone Starr had previously filled up for "only a fiver", they ran out of fuel and had to make an emergency landing in the desert of the Vega moon. You wander through the desert. During the nightly rest, Princess Vespa and Lone Starr get closer, who says that he was an orphan and does not know his origin. Just before they want to kiss, the two are interrupted by Dotty's "virgin alarm" function. When everyone collapses in the desert, they are rescued by small creatures, the dinks, and taken to the temple of the know-it-all, Yoghurt. Yoghurt explains to Lone Starr the secret of "juice", an unearthly power, and gives him a ring to use the juice.

The spaceballs have meanwhile turned around and have been able to find out the whereabouts of the fugitives by using an instant video cassette of the film. On an order from their president, they are combing - literally - the desert. Helmchen is in command in the khaki-colored tropical version of his armor from the floating version of a VW-181 Kübelwagen . You finally find the underground hiding place for yoghurt, but Helmchen doesn't dare to break in because he hates yoghurt, especially those with strawberries. With hypnosis, Lord Helmet lures Princess Vespa from Yoghurt's underground fortress and flies away with her. Lone Starr and Waldi take up the chase. Before departure, Lone Starr receives a fortune cookie from Yoghurt. At this point, however, yogurt does not reveal the meaning of the amulet that Lone Starr, who grew up in a monastery without parents, wears with him. He explains that with any luck, they would all meet again in a sequel to Spaceballs II .

Lord Helmchen contacts King Roland and blackmailed him with the fact that Princess Vespa's cosmetic surgeon would transplant her old nose back if King Roland does not reveal the secret code for the protective shield of the planet. After Lord Helmchen has learned the password (1-2-3-4-5), Lone Starr rescues Princess Vespa in a spectacular action from the "arrest ball" on Spaceball City. You can escape as the Imperial troops only get hold of the heroes' stunt doubles. After Princess Vespa's hair is singed by the enemy soldiers, she overcomes her aversion to laser rifles and turns out to be a true killing machine. Princess Vespa escapes with Lone Starr, they pursue Lord Helmchen's command spaceship, which is already on its way to Druidia. The spaceship is transformed into a huge “space plaster” with a vacuum cleaner to suck up the planet's air. Lone Starr switches the vacuum cleaner to blower with the help of the juice and penetrates the spaceship to destroy it.

At the self-destruction button of the spaceship, there is a great final battle between Lone Starr and Lord Helmchen. Lightsabers come out of their juice rings, and a man on the camera team is injured in the course of the fight. Lone Starr loses his ring, but the voice of yoghurt explains to him that the power of the juice is in him and that the ring only comes from a chewing gum machine. Lone Starr defeats Lord Helmchen, the defeated Lord hits the self-destruct button and activates the self-destruct function. The heroes flee in the space camper before the space plaster explodes. Its head, similar to the Statue of Liberty and a quote from the film Zardoz , lands on the planet of the apes .

Lone Starr is not allowed to marry Princess Vespa because he is not a prince. Pizza Mampf is now dead because, according to the news anchor, he was locked in his extended limo and ate himself to death there. Lone Starr, frustrated with Waldi, sets off on new adventures with no money. Since them the food in a rest space station on which parking deck and the "Millennium Falcon" from Star Wars , by a Slipping, singing and from another guest is quilting dancing is spoiled Alien, they crack the fortune cookie. Yoghurt appears to them and tells Lone Starr that his amulet is a royal birth seal and that he is therefore a prince. Lone Starr flies to Druidia and arrives just in time to prevent the wedding of Princess Vespa and Prince Valium. Instead, Vespa and Lone Starr get married and they both disappear into space in their motorhome.


The synchronization was created by Magma Synchron GmbH. Dialog book and direction was carried out by Joachim Kunzendorf.

Role name actor German voice
President Skroob / Yoghurt (Yogurt) Mel Brooks Wolfgang Völz
Waldi (Barf) John Candy Andreas Mannkopff
Lord Helmet (Dark Helmet) Rick Moranis Joachim Tennstedt
Lone Starr Bill Pullman Stephan Schwartz
Princess Vespa Daphne Zuniga Rebecca Völz
King Roland Dick Van Patten Gerd Duwner
Colonel Sandfart (Sandurz) George Wyner Hans-Werner Bussinger
Radar technician Michael Winslow Mathias Einert
Dotty Matrix (Dot Matrix) Lorene Yarnell
(voice: Joan Rivers )
Elke Heidenreich
Kane John Hurt Heinz Theo branding
Prince Valium Jim J. Bullock
Commanderette zircon Leslie Bevis Inken summer
Major Asshole (Asshole) Jim Jackman Thomas Petruo
Captain of the guards Stephen Tobolowsky Arne Elsholtz
Junky (snotty) Jeff MacGregor Wolfgang number
Trooper Tim Russ Thomas Petruo
Dr. Schlotter (Schlotkin) Sandy Helberg Joachim Kunzendorf
Monkey # 1 Michael York Tom Deininger

In the German language synchronization of Spaceballs , a lot of puns and some allusions to American everyday culture were lost.

The scene in which Lone Starr paralyzes the spaceship's radar antenna with jam only contains the play on words in the original language that jam stands for jam and at the same time to jam means to disrupt the funk. The name Colonel Sandfart refers to Harland D. Sanders , known in the USA as Colonel Sanders as the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken . The question asked in the German version, “What about you, Colonel Sandfurz, are you scared?” Contains your pun on one level only. In the original version you can hear “what's the matter, Colonel Sandurz? Chicken? ”, Whereby chicken stands for the chickens of the fast food chain mentioned and at the same time as an adjective for cowardly. It also sounds phonetically like Sandhurst , the British flagship military academy. The twins Charlene and Marlene were played by Denise and Dian Gallup, known at the time for their chewing gum commercial for the Doublemint brand. The statement “chew your gum” addressed by Skroob to the twins should also be understood in this context; in the German version you can hear “you can go on babbling”. The statements in the original version "preparing for metamorphosis" and "ready Kafka?" Are a reference to Franz Kafka's story The Metamorphosis , which is called The Metamorphosis in the English-speaking world . In the German version but not the correct combination of was Kafka and transformation elected but metamorphosis , so that the reference was lost to Kafka's story.

The phrase used in the film “may the Schwartz be with you” (based on “may the force be with you”) from Star Wars and FAO Schwarz , the oldest toy store in New York , and the merchandising from Star Wars ) has been translated as "may the juice be with you". The original name of the villain Pizza Mampf is Pizza the Hut , which is a reference to both Jabba the Hutt from Star Wars and the fast food chain Pizza Hut . In the English-language original, Waldi means Barf, which is initially an onomatopoeia for barking dogs, but in colloquial English it also stands for puke or puke. When the mutt wants to get the princess out of her spaceship, he introduces himself as “Barf”, to which Dotty Matrix replies “Not in here, mister. This is a Mercedes ".

Production and background

The film was shot in various locations in California and in Yuma . Filming began on October 28, 1986 and ended on February 2, 1987. Production costs were estimated at $ 22.7 million. Around 38 million US dollars were grossed in cinemas in the United States. Rental sales in the United States were approximately $ 19 million.

It was released in the US on June 24, 1987, and in Germany on October 29, 1987.

John Hurt has a guest appearance in the film and, in his role as Kane, recreates the scene from the film Alien , in which the being slips out of his body.

In 2008, the animated television series Spaceballs: The Animated Series , which is loosely based on the feature film, was released in the USA .


Spaceballs primarily parodies the original Star Wars trilogy, i.e. the films from 1977, 1980 and 1983 called episodes IV , V and VI today . The opening credits of Spaceballs are already based on that of Star Wars , where an introductory text is steep Angle runs through the picture from bottom to top. Above all, almost all the main characters of the characters from Star Wars are parodied in appearance and properties.

The “ power ” that gives the protagonists special abilities in Star Wars also plays a major role here as “The Juice” (in the original “The Schwartz”). It is unclear why the name "The Schwartz" was chosen. It has been suggested that the phonetic similarity to "schwantz" ( Yiddish for penis) could play a role, especially since at the end of the film there is a lightsaber fight in which the lightsabers are represented as penises and Lord Helmchen says to Lone Starr "I see your Schwartz is as big as mine "(in the German version" I see that yours is just as big as mine "). In the first episode of the TV series offshoot Spaceballs: The Animated Series , the dark side of power is also referred to as "the black side of the Schwartz", an allusion to the German word "black". Other attempts at explanation refer to the name of Mel Brooks' attorney, Alan U. Schwartz, and to the New York toy retailer FAO Schwarz , which also sold numerous Star Wars merchandising products .

In several places of Spaceballs , the massive merchandising of Star Wars is also taken very directly into the arm. Yoghurt tells Lone Starr that he is exclusively on the desert planet in order to run a merchandising shop together with the Dinks in his underground hiding place , in which only Spaceballs products are sold. In this way, the merchandising becomes the basis for the entire film story.

Shortly before the end of the film, the Millennium Falcon can be seen on the landing deck of the restaurant.

In addition to Star Wars , numerous important science fiction films and series of the time were parodied:

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey : For example the flight of the space shuttle in 2001: A Space Odyssey .
  • Alien - The uncanny creature from a strange world : The first scene with the Spaceballs spaceship is based on that of Alien . The newborn alien from the film and his host John Hurt (who played the same role in Alien) have an appearance in a bar, where the alien then as an entertainer the title Hello! Ma Baby for the best,singinglike Michigan J. Frog from the cartoon One Froggy Evening .
  • Planet of the Apes : After the Spaceball One has exploded, wreckage of the "space plaster" on the Planet of the Apes forms the destroyed Statue of Liberty, to which two monkeys ride on horses.
  • The rattlesnake : For example, the idea of ​​the President's space capsule.
  • Starship Enterprise : The command ship of the Spaceballs masters different speeds, which instead of " Warp " are now called "ridiculous speed" or "ludicrous speed" (insane speed) above the speed of light. Spock's neck grip alsooccurs. With regard to beaming, the figure of Scotty is referred to as Schrotty (in the original Snotty) and President Skroob refers directly to the television series with the statement "it works on Star Trek". In the German version you can hear: "It also works in the spaceship Duck Shit".

Obvious parodies in Spaceballs relate to the following films and series (sorted by year of publication): The Phantom of the Opera (1925), It Happened in One Night (1934), The Wizard of Oz (1939), One Froggy Evening (1955), The Bridge on the Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), The Fantastic Journey (1966), Spaceship Enterprise (1966), Planet of the Apes (1968), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Ryan's Daughter (1970), The Great White Shark (1975), Fantasy Island (1977), Star Wars (1977), Alien (1979), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981), Me believe me a moose is smooching! (1981), Return of the Jedi (1983), Ferris Goes Blue (1986), Max Headroom (1987). Mere mentions or overlays such as B. the videotapes from Mr. Rental .

John Morris' score supports these parodies. In some desert scenes, for example, the original music from Lawrence of Arabia (1962) by Maurice Jarre is quoted, in a similar way to the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). The musical motif of the spaceship Spaceball One is reminiscent of the title theme in the soundtrack to Jaws ( John Williams , 1975) - especially funny in the scene when the princess’s Mercedes with the tractor beam is about to be sucked into the big spaceship, shown with a gaping mouth. Morris also parodies other film scores by John Williams: In addition to the Star Wars soundtracks, especially Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). In the desert sequence, the diminutive planet dwellers sing the theme of the Colonel Bogey March from the film Die Brücke am Kwai (1957).


"Lovable slapstick, peppered with pastiche on popular science fiction set pieces."

“Gag and fast-paced space opera parody, in which even the slapstick still has a method, but which with the science fiction film wants to satirize a genre that with its ever new superlatives tends to involuntary self-parody anyway. Mel Brooks' ideas all too often seem stale and conservative, which is hardly changed by his occasionally rather absurd swipes. "


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Certificate of Release for Mel Brooks' Spaceballs . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , January 2005 (PDF; test number: 58 545 V / DVD).
  2. Mel Brooks' Spaceballs. In: German dubbing file , accessed on March 2, 2017 .
  3. Archived copy ( Memento of the original dated December 14, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. Space cowboy with a mobile home . In: Der Spiegel . No. 44 , 1987 ( online ).
  6. Mel Brooks' Spaceballs. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used