The Best Tim Curry Comedy Is Getting Erased From Modern Viewers

By Brian Myers | Published

Tim Curry pass the ammo

Tim Curry’s impressive body of work has been adored by fans for nearly five decades. His unforgettable performance as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the 1975 horror-comedy musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show took him off Broadway productions and onto the big screen, helping to launch a film career that includes Annie, The Three Musketeers, Clue, and Legend. One entry in Tim Curry’s body of work is the 1987 comedy Pass the Ammo, a film that is slowly being lost to time due to its unavailability on streaming platforms.

Pass The Ammo

Tim Curry pass the ammo

Tim Curry plays the Reverend Ray Porter in Pass the Ammo, a televangelist faith healer with questionable ethics. His Arkansas-based church empire has him raking in a lot of money from devout followers who fill the pews at his churches and tune into his sermons on television.

The crooked preacher’s luck is about to run out as one of his former congregants is Hell-bent on revenge.

Claire (Linda Kozlowski) lost her entire inheritance to the church, and she’s not going to let it go. Together with her boyfriend Jesse (Bill Paxton) and two of his redneck pals, she storms the church during a televised service to commit a robbery behind the scenes.

But the movie takes an interesting turn as the bandits accidentally wind up on the stage mid-broadcast.

A Great Cast

Tim Curry is the heart and soul of this production, commanding every scene with smarmy wit and derisive smirks in a way that only Curry could master. Pass the Ammo presented the actor with a grand opportunity to play a part unlike any of his others, a task that he passes with flying colors.

But Tim Curry isn’t the only positive thing that Pass the Ammo has going for it. While the Rocky Horror Picture Show star plays the role of a televangelist shyster to perfection, the film’s co-stars, notably Kozlowski and Crooke, steal nearly every scene they’re in.

Paxton’s Jesse resonates well, too, his redneck ex-con persona ringing familiar with many audience members.

An Overlooked Gem

It’s not the Tim Curry film that most fans think of, but Pass the Ammo is certainly up there on a list of his top performances. The storyline is compelling and gives a strong message that was particularly relevant at the time, when televangelists like the late Jim Bakker were starting to come under fire for fraud.

Though the budget was low and the actors mostly unknown or newbies, the theme is a powerful one that has certainly stood the test of time.

The movie is funny, full of wit, and has some surprising one-liners that came from the pen of screenwriter Joel Coen (Toy Story, Evan Almighty). Not all of the great lines are reserved for Tim Curry, either, as virtually the entire cast has lines that will conjure a laugh. The plot devices might be silly and the arc of the story absolutely ludicrous, but those qualities do help elevate the comedic aspects of Pass the Ammo and make it one of the better comedies to tackle religious exploitation.

Find It If You Can

Tim Curry pass the ammo

Sadly, Tim Curry’s film Pass the Ammo isn’t one that can be readily seen. There are not any streaming platforms that carry the film, and it is not available On Demand through any service. The movie was released in the late 1980s on VHS and Laserdisc, and a small run of DVDs were added later. If there was any comedy from the 1980s due for a Criterion upgrade and restoration, Pass the Ammo certainly is a contender.