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The Muppets Take Manhattan is a 1984 family film directed by Frank Oz. It is the third of a series of live-action musical feature films starring Jim Henson's Muppets, and the second to last film before Henson's and Richard Hunt's deaths (the last being Follow That Bird). This film was produced by Henson Associates and TriStar Pictures, and was filmed on location in New York City during the summer of 1983 and released in movie theatres in 1984. It was the first film directed solely by Frank Oz (who also performs Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, and Animal), as he previously co-directed The Dark Crystal with Jim Henson.

The film introduced the Muppet Babies, as toddler versions of the Muppet characters in a fantasy sequence. The Muppet Babies later received their own Saturday morning animated television series, which aired on CBS from 1984 until 1990 and has since been syndicated worldwide.

This is also the first (and so far only) Muppet film not to have a main antagonist.

Also, unlike the previous two Muppet Films, The Muppet Movie and The Great Muppet Caper, this film does not "break the fourth wall", that is, remind viewers that the whole action is a movie.


As the film opens, Kermit, Miss Piggy, and their friends are graduating from college and are performing in a variety show, Manhattan Melodies, on campus ("Together Again"). Kermit believes that there is "something missing" from the script, but his friends suggest that the group take the show to Broadway. Miss Piggy, in particular, hopes to make enough money to marry Kermit as he has promised. Kermit and the others are so confident in the show that they anticipate becoming instant stars. First they start with New York producer Martin Price (Dabney Coleman) who, at first seems to be willing to produce the show until he tells them the cost of the show ($300 a piece, which is what he really wants). Just then Martin's secretary Nancy (Gates McFadden) comes in with an elderly woman and two police officers where the elderly woman identifies Price as con artist Murray Plotsky. Plotsky tries to use Camilla the Chicken and Gonzo as hostages to get out only to be subdued by Animal and Camilla. The Muppets try other theatrical producers with no success ("You Can't Take No For An Answer").

As the months pass and the group runs out of money, its members are forced to get jobs throughout the United States ("Saying Goodbye"). Scooter gets a job as a house manager at a movie theater in Cleveland, Ohio where he finds the Swedish Chef as the popcorn server and Lew Zealand as a dedicated viewer of a 3-D movie. Fozzie joins some other bears in hibernating within the forests of Maine where he has a hard time hibernating. Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem have a gig in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania performing in a retirement home.

Kermit stays in New York to work on the script and gets a job at a diner befriending the owner Pete (Louis Zorich) and his daughter Jenny (Juliana Donald), a waitress and aspiring fashion designer. Also working at the restaurant are Rizzo the Rat who secures employment for the other rats Tatooey, Masterson, Chester, and Yolanda. Later that night, Kermit climbs to the top of the Empire State Building and shouts from the top that he and his friends will soon be on Broadway. Unknown to Kermit, Miss Piggy also stayed behind.

Kermit, Jenny and Rizzo try to find a way to promote Kermit's play. First Kermit enters the Winesop Theatrical Agency to see producer Leonard Winesop (John Landis). Pretending to be a fellow producer, he bluffs his way through an impromptu meeting praising the play, but Winesop discards the unread script soon after Kermit leaves the room. Then Kermit tries to get his picture on the wall of other famous people who dined at Sardi's Restaurant, ending up replacing a picture of Liza Minnelli. The rats assist Kermit by creating a whispering campaign amongst patrons. However, Liza eventually enters and ends up asking Vincent Sardi, Jr. why her portrait was taken down. One of the rats ends up giving themselves away by causing havoc when Vincent discovers Minnelli's portrait near the table where Kermit was sitting. This causes Kermit and the rats to be ejected from the restaurant.

While in Central Park, Jenny comforts Kermit with his loss in the first two attempts. Miss Piggy, jealous of Jenny and Kermit's friendship, secretly spies on them before a thief (Gary Tacon) steals her purse causing her to borrow some skates from a roller skater (Gregory Hines). When Miss Piggy catches up to the thief, a police officer (Joe Jamrog) arrests him just as Kermit and Jenny catch up with her. While Kermit and Miss Piggy argue about Kermit's relationship with Jenny, the roller skater tries to reclaim his skates from Miss Piggy but then allows her to keep them since he never actually uses them. After making amends and taking a ride around Central Park with Kermit ("I'm Gonna Always Love You"), Miss Piggy also takes a job as a waitress at the same diner as Kermit. Kermit reads more letters from his friends while the rats handle a customer (Brooke Shields) that Miss Piggy was with. The letters from Kermit reveal that Gonzo and Camilla are in Michigan trying to make a successful water act. Rowlf is in Delaware working at a dog kennel where Mr. Skeffington (James Coco) leaves his dog for the weekend. Another letter that Kermit got was from Bernard Crawford, a Broadway producer who is interested in producing Kermit's play.

Kermit meets with Ronnie Crawford (Lonny Price), the actual writer of the letter, who is willing to fund Manhattan Melodies in order to prove himself to his father, Bernard (Art Carney). While Bernard doubts the play, he agrees to help with it. In his excitement over having finally sold the play, Kermit fails to notice a "Don't Walk" sign and is hit by a car while making his way back to the restaurant. When Ronnie comes to the diner to bring up his father's approval to Miss Piggy, Jenny, and Pete, he, Jenny and Miss Piggy go out to look for him. Pete sends a telegram to the rest of Kermit's friends informing them to get to New York as quickly as they can. Fozzie ends up bringing the bears with him, Gonzo and Camilla bring along some chickens, Rowlf brings along some dogs, Scooter brings the Swedish Chef and Lew Zealand along, and the Electric Mayhem bring Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, and Beauregard along. Kermit awakens in the hospital with no memory of his name, friends, or past. His doctor (Linda Lavin) tells Kermit to find a new life for himself. As "Phil," he finds a job at Mad Ave Advertising with fellow frogs Bill, Gil, and Jill while his friends, Jenny and Ronnie search the city for him ahead of the show's opening at the Biltmore Theater. After Kermit visits the diner with the frogs and plays the Manhattan Melodies theme "Together Again" with a spoon and glasses of water, his friends recognize him. Miss Piggy restores his memory with a punch after Kermit mocks the idea of romance between a pig and a frog.

Kermit realizes that what the script needs is more "frogs and dogs and bears and chickens and whatever", and adds the cast members' many friends from around the country to the show as supernumeraries. With the expanded cast, Ronnie's producing, and Jenny's costumes, Manhattan Melodies is successful ("Right Where I Belong"/"Somebody's Getting Married"/"Waiting for the Wedding"). On opening night, Piggy substitutes a real minister (Cyril Jenkins) for Gonzo in the wedding scene finale where the other Muppet characters, many of the characters from Sesame Street, and Uncle Traveling Matt from Fraggle Rock attend. Kermit is surprised, but willingly says "I do" and he and Miss Piggy happily wed ("He'll Makes Me Happy"/"The Ceremony"). Crazy Harry, Pops, Newsman, Sam Eagle, Ernie, Bert and Cookie Monster are in the wedding finale waiting for Kermit and Miss Piggy to arrive. And when Kermit and Miss Piggy get finally married, the film ends after the part: "What better way could anything end?, hand in hand with a friend".


  • Louis Zorich as Pete
  • Juliana Donald as Jenny
  • Lonny Price as Ronnie Crawford

Cameo guest stars

  • Frances Bergen as Mr. Winesop's receptionist
  • Art Carney as Bernard Crawford
  • Dabney Coleman as Murray Plotsky/Martin Price
  • James Coco as Mr. Skeffington
  • Elliott Gould as a Police Officer at Pete's Diner
  • Gregory Hines as a Roller Skater
  • Mayor Edward I. Koch as Himself
  • John Landis as Leonard Winesop
  • Linda Lavin as Kermit's Doctor
  • Gates McFadden as Nancy
  • Liza Minnelli as Herself
  • Joan Rivers as Eileen
  • Vincent Sardi, Jr. as Himself
  • Brooke Shields as Pete's Diner Customer

Producer David Lazer cameos as a customer at Sardi's.

Muppet performers

Main article: List of Muppets

Additional Muppets performed by Cheryl Bartholow, Tim DeHaas, Michael Earl Davis, Glenngo King, James Kroupa, Jim Martin, David Rudman, and Melissa Whitmire Some of the puppeteers made cameos in this movie.

  • Jim Henson plays the driver of the horse carriage that Kermit and Miss Piggy ride in.
  • Frank Oz can be spotted as an Ocean Breeze board member.
  • Kathryn Mullen and Karen Prell are the helpful women who return Miss Piggy's stuff after she defeated a purse snatcher.
  • Steve Whitmire and Martin P. Robinson appear as members of the college audience.
  • Richard Hunt's mother Jane plays a customer at Sardi's
  • Dave Goelz plays guy at Burger King

Although not seen in the film, Jim Henson's son Brian Henson operated a marionette of Scooter riding a bicycle. Additionally, Jim Henson's daughter Heather Henson can be seen in an uncredited cameo as a girl serving drinks in a beer hall.


Other Television, Specials, Video Games, Stage-Show, Short and Magazine Appearances



Once the script was completed and the sets were built, special consultant David Misch was brought in to write cameos for some guest star appearances. Originally, this list of guest stars contained the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Steve Martin, Michael Jackson, Lily Tomlin, Richard Pryor, and Laurence Olivier to name a few. According to Misch, Hoffman was going to play a Broadway producer and planned to do an imitation of legendary film producer Robert Evans (The Godfather), which he later did in the movie Wag The Dog. However, at the last minute Hoffman decided that the role could be offensive to Evans and dropped out, following which all the other big names dropped out as well. Because of the dropped cameos, Misch and director Frank Oz ended up rewriting most of the movie's entire dialogue.[1]



The Muppets Take Manhattan was adapted by Marvel Comics in 1984, as the 68 page story in Marvel Super Special #32, August. The adaptation was later re-printed into three limited series issues, released under Marvel's Star Comics imprint (November 1984 – January 1985). The film's script was adapted into comic form by Stan Kay with art by Dean Yeagle and Jacqueline Roettcher. Unlike in the film, the comic depicts Gonzo, Floyd Pepper, Animal, Janice, Dr. Teeth, and Zoot in their customary outfits from The Muppet Show.

In addition, a book-and-record set of the film was released in the form of a vinyl record through the Muppet Music Records label.

Box office

Although the film didn't out gross its predecessors, it did gross $25,534,703 making it the second highest grossing G-rated film of 1984 (behind the re-issue of Disney's Pinocchio).[2]

Critical reception

The Muppets Take Manhattan opened on July 13, 1984 to mostly positive reviews.[3][4] Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 81% of 21 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 6.9 out of 10. The site's consensus stated that "if it's not quite as sharp as The Muppet Movie, The Muppets Take Manhattan is still a smart, delightfully old-fashioned tale that follows the formula established by the first two movies -- a madcap adventure assisted by a huge group of human stars."[5]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a three star rating (out of four) stating in his review that "the plot of [the] movie has been seen before." However, Ebert went on to say that just about everything in the film was enjoyable and that Kermit finally solves his long-lasting identity crisis.[6] In his 2009 Movie Guide, Leonard Maltin gave the film a three star rating (out of four) as well siting that the film is an "enjoyable outing with bouncy songs, [with a] nice use of N.Y.C. locations."[7]


Jeff Moss was nominated for an Academy Award for the music and lyrics he wrote for The Muppets Take Manhattan.[8]


The Muppets Take Manhattan

The Muppets Take Manhattan: The Original Soundtrack contains all of the songs written by Jeff Moss and prominent score cues composed by Ralph Burns from the film, as well as several portions of dialogue and background score. The album reached #204 on Billboard's Bubbling Under the Top LP's chart and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Recording for Children, but lost to Shel Silverstein's audio edition of Where the Sidewalk Ends. This is the only Muppet movie soundtrack that has not yet been released on CD. However, four tracks from the album can be found on the 2002 compilation album The Muppet Show: Music, Mayhem, and More.

Side One
No. TitleWriter(s)Artist(s) Length
1. "Together Again"  Jeff MossKermit and Friends 2:54
2. "You Can't Take No for an Answer"  Jeff MossDr. Teeth 2:00
3. "Saying Goodbye"  Jeff MossEveryone 3:06
4. "Rat Scat (Something Cookin')"  Jeff MossRizzo and the Rats 1:18
5. "Together Again (Carriage Ride)"  Jeff MossKermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Statler and Waldorf 1:07
6. "I'm Gonna Always Love You"  Jeff MossThe Muppet Babies 2:55
7. "William Tell Overture"  Gioachino RossiniThe Chickens 0:59
Side Two
No. TitleWriter(s)Artist(s) Length
1. "Looking for Kermit"  Jeff MossInstrumental 1:42
2. "Right Where I Belong"  Jeff MossEveryone 2:12
3. "Somebody's Getting Married/Waiting for the Wedding"  Jeff MossEveryone 2:36
4. "He'll Make Me Happy"  Jeff MossMiss Piggy and Kermit 2:10
5. "The Ceremony"  Jeff MossEveryone 1:10
6. "Closing Medley (Final Credits)"  Jeff MossEveryone 4:18


  1. Ryan Roe (March 18, 2011). A Q&A with Muppet Writer David Misch. WordPress. Retrieved on January 28, 2012.
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named BOM
  3. Variety Reviews - The Muppets Take Manhattan - Film Reviews - - Review by Variety Staff. (1983-12-31). Retrieved on 2012-07-06.
  4. Reviews Movies; Muppets Work Their Magic; The Muppets Take Manhattan - Directed By Frank Oz, Produced By Jim; Henson, Starring Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo And; Dr. Teeth With Cameo Appearances By Dabney; Coleman, Joan Rivers And Gregory Hines, At The Charles, Copley Place; And Suburbs, Rated G. (1984-07-13). Retrieved on 2012-07-06.
  5. The Muppets Take Manhattan. Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved on January 29, 2012.
  6. Roger Ebert. "The Muppets Take Manhattan", Chicago Sun-Times,, January 1, 1984. Retrieved on January 29, 2012. 
  7. Leonard Maltin (August 5, 2008). Leonard Maltin's 2009 Movie Guide, 2009, Signet. ISBN 0-451-22468-X. 
  8. Davis, Michael (2008). Street Gang. New York, New York: Penguin Press. ISBN 978-0-14-311663-9. 

External links

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