Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (or simply Austin Powers) is a 1997 American comedy film directed by Jay Roach, and the first installment in the Austin Powers series. It stars franchise co-producer and writer Mike Myers as Austin Powers and Dr. Evil, Powers’ arch-enemy. Supporting roles include Elizabeth Hurley, Robert Wagner, Seth Green, and Michael York. The film is an affectionate spoof of the James Bond films and other popular culture from the 1960s.
The film, which cost US$16.5 million, opened on May 2, 1997, grossing US$53 million from its North American release and over $67 million worldwide. The film spawned two sequels, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) and Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002), with Myers repeatedly mentioning the possibility of a fourth film over the years (as of 2018).
- 1 Plot
- 2 Cast
- 3 Production
- 3.1 Inspiration
- 3.2 Casting
- 4 Home video releases
- 5 Legacy
- 6 Reception
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
In 1967, British spy Austin Powers thwarts an assassination attempt by his nemesis Dr. Evil in a London nightclub. Dr. Evil escapes in a space rocket and cryogenically freezes himself. Powers volunteers to be placed into cryostasis in case Dr. Evil returns in the future.
Thirty years later, in 1997, Dr. Evil returns to discover his henchman Number 2 has developed Virtucon, the legitimate front of Evil’s empire, into a multibillion-dollar enterprise. Uninterested by genuine business, Dr. Evil conspires to steal nuclear weapons and hold the world hostage for $1 million. He increases his demand to $100 billion when he learns that the value of the dollar has fallen due to inflation. Dr. Evil also learns that, during his absence, his associates have artificially created his son, Scott Evil, using his frozen semen. Now a Generation X teenager, Scott is resentful of his father’s absence and resists Dr. Evil’s attempts to get closer to him.
Having learned of Dr. Evil’s return, the British Ministry of Defence unfreezes Powers, acclimatizing him to the 1990s with the help of agent Vanessa Kensington, the daughter of his sidekick in the 1960s, Mrs. Kensington. Posing as a married couple, Powers and Kensington track Number 2 to Las Vegas and meet his Italian secretary, Alotta Fagina. Powers infiltrates Fagina’s penthouse suite and discovers Dr. Evil’s plans to drill a nuclear warhead into the Earth’s core and trigger volcanic eruptions worldwide. Fagina discovers Powers and seduces him to learn his identity. Dr. Evil and his entourage conspire to defeat Powers by creating a series of fembots: beautiful female androids equipped with guns concealed in their breasts.
Powers and Kensington infiltrate the Virtucon headquarters but are apprehended by Dr. Evil’s henchman, Random Task. Meanwhile, the United Nations accede to the demands of Dr. Evil, who proceeds with his plan nonetheless. Powers and Kensington escape Dr. Evil’s death trap and Kensington is sent for help. While searching for Dr. Evil, Powers is confronted by the fembots and ends up in bed surrounded by them. Powers seduces them in turn with a striptease that makes them explode.
British forces raid the underground lair, while Powers deactivates the doomsday device. Powers confronts Dr. Evil, but Fagina arrives holding Kensington hostage. They are interrupted by Number 2, who attempts to betray Dr. Evil by making a deal with Powers. Dr. Evil uses a trap door to eliminate Number 2, then activates the base’s self-destruct mechanism and escapes. Powers and Kensington flee as a nuclear explosion destroys the lair.
Powers and Kensington marry. During their honeymoon, Powers is attacked by Random Task. Powers subdues him using a penis pump, allowing Kensington to knock him out. The newlyweds adjourn to the balcony. Among the stars, Powers spots the cryogenic chamber of Dr. Evil, who vows revenge.
- Mike Myers as Austin Powers and Dr. Evil
- Elizabeth Hurley as Vanessa Kensington
- Robert Wagner as Number 2
- Seth Green as Scott Evil
- Mindy Sterling as Frau Farbissina
- Michael York as Basil Exposition
- Fabiana Udenio as Alotta Fagina
- Will Ferrell as Mustafa
- Mimi Rogers as Mrs. Kensington
- Joe Son as Random Task
- Paul Dillon as Patty O’Brien
- Charles Napier as Commander Gilmour
- Elya Baskin as General Borschevsky
- Clint Howard as Johnson Ritter
- Tom Arnold as Texan (uncredited)
- Carrie Fisher as Therapist
- Larry Thomas as Casino Dealer
- Burt Bacharach as Himself
- Michael McDonald as Henchman Steve
- Cindy Margolis as Fembot
- Lois Chiles as Steve’s Step-wife
- Christian Slater as Hypnotized Guard
- Rob Lowe as John’s Friend (Bill)
Mike Myers created the character of Austin Powers for the faux 1960s rock band Ming Tea that Myers started with Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs following his Saturday Night Live stint in the early 1990s. Myers said that the movie and the character were inspired by the British films, music and comedy of the 1960s and 70s his father had introduced him to as a child. “After my dad died in 1991, I was taking stock of his influence on me as a person and his influence on me with comedy in general. So Austin Powers was a tribute to my father, who [introduced me to] James Bond, Peter Sellers, the Beatles, The Goodies, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore”. Dana Carvey felt that Myers copied Carvey’s impression of Lorne Michaels for the Dr. Evil character.
Myers sought Jim Carrey to play Dr. Evil, as his initial plan was not to play multiple characters in the series. Carrey was interested in the part, but had to turn the role down due to scheduling conflicts with Liar Liar. Myers estimated that 30–40% of film was improvised. Filming locations included Riviera Hotel and Casino and Stardust Resort & Casino in Winchester, Nevada.
Home video releases
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery was released to region 1 single disc “flipper disc” DVD with widescreen and full screen versions on opposing sides of the disc. The widescreen transfer is unusual in that it is a modified version of the theatrical ratio: despite being filmed in 2.35:1 aspect ratio, on DVD it is presented as 2:1 ratio, “as specified by the director” according to the disc packaging. The film was featured in the correct theatrical aspect ratio for the first time when it was released on Blu-ray, in the Austin Powers Collection.
All versions of the film released on home video (including VHS) have two alternate endings and a set of deleted scenes. The DVD and Blu-ray versions feature a commentary, as well. However, all US versions of the film are the PG-13 cut, with edits to sexual humor/language. International versions are uncut.
On their official website, the UK Ministry of Justice revealed that every week they have one person who wants to change their middle name to ‘Danger’ – claiming that this was inspired by the line in Man of Mystery, “Danger is my middle name!”. (This phrase, however, had been in common use for many years prior to the film: it may be found in James Wallerstein’s The Cactus Wildcat (1954) and E.B. White’s The Trumpet of the Swan (1970).)
Daniel Craig, who has portrayed James Bond on screen since 2006, credited the Austin Powers franchise with the relatively serious tone of later Bond films. “We had to destroy the myth because Mike Myers fucked us,” Craig said in a 2014 interview, making it “impossible to do the gags” of earlier Bond films which Austin Powers satirized.
See also: List of accolades received by the Austin Powers franchise
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery received positive reviews. The film has acquired a 70% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 60 reviews, with an average rating on 6.4/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “A light and goofy comedy which provides laughs, largely due to performances and screenwriting by Myers.” The movie debuted at No.2 at the box office with US$9.5 million. Time Out New York critic Andrew Johnston (critic) observed: “The film’s greatest asset is its gentle tone: rejecting the smug cynicism of Naked Gun-style parodies, it never loses the earnest naivete of the psychedelic era.”
- Outline of James Bond
- Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery on IMDb
- Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery at AllMovie
- Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery at Rotten Tomatoes
- Oh, Behave!
- Welcome to My Underground Lair!
- Austin Powers Pinball
- Austin Powers Collectible Card Game
- Accolades for the film series