The Gene Wilder Crime Comedy Thriller Nobody Ever Talks About And That’s A Shame

By Brian Myers | Published

The storied legacy of comedic screen legend Gene Wilder began with co-starring roles in Mel Brooks films (Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein) and quickly blossomed into a career that paired him in two films with the iconic stand-up comedian Richard Pryor. But while the first two films in the duo’s screen collaboration (Silver Streak and Stir Crazy) are the endeavors that fans seem to discuss, there is a little-remembered 1989 film starring the pair that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. That year, Wilder and Pryor starred in See No Evil, Hear No Evil as a deaf man and a blind man who are wrongfully accused of orchestrating a murder and their hilarious attempt to overcome their disabilities so that they can catch the real killer.

Gene Wilder And Richard Pryor

In See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Gene Wilder’s Wally Karew is an out-of-work actor whose career faltered after he gradually lost all of his hearing. Richard Pryor plays Dave Lyons, the blind owner of a New York City shop. After the two men meet by chance, Dave hires Wally to work the counter, where a man is murdered by a mysterious woman one day, but not before he hastily tosses a rare coin in the cash box before she notices.

Dave hears the gunshot that killed the customer, while Wally sees her walking away. Police detain the two men as murder suspects but soon find themselves free on bail after the murderess and her accomplice post bond. The comedy elevates in See No Evil, Hear No Evil as Wally and Dave soon realize what the two strangers are after and must use the senses they possess collectively to keep from becoming murder victims themselves.

Hit With Fans But Hated By Critics

Shot on a mid-sized budget of $18 million, See No Evil, Hear No Evil was the number one film at the box office in the United States for two weeks and managed to stay popular among audiences. But even though the film brought in nearly $30 million over its production costs, critics wasted no time panning it. Some accused the movie of being loaded with juvenile humor, while others praised the acting but lambasted the script.

Considered Their Best Comedic Film

Even though See No Evil, Hear No Evil is certainly packed with sophomoric humor, unbelievable tropes, and a somewhat predictable storyline, seeing an aging Wilder and Pryor come together after a decade and deliver what some consider to be their best comedic performances as a duo is one of the film’s saving graces. Apart from the stars, a young Kevin Spacey gives audiences a great preview of his prowess as a screen villain, his character’s evil demeanor perfectly balancing out the antics of Gene Wilder and Pryor.

Unable To Stream But Available To Rent


It’s no Silver Streak, but See No Evil, Hear No Evil is certainly more deUnable serving of the 27 percent it has among critics on Rotten Tomatoes. The acting alone propels the film to a score slightly above average. As far as immature comedies from that era go, See No Evil, Hear No Evil is worth 3.5/5.0 stars.

Though you are currently unable to stream See No Evil, Hear No Evil on any platform, there are multiple services that allow for its rental and or purchase. Among places to view this nearly forgotten classic are AppleTV, Amazon, Vudu, and Google Play.