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Moonwalker (1988)

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Anthology movie by, and starring, Michael Jackson in his prime, combining a number of music videos from his bestselling "Bad" album with a fantasy tale of Michael's confrontation with a ruthless drug dealer known as Mr. Big.


Michael Jackson (story), David Newman (screenplay)
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Jackson ... Michael
Joe Pesci ... Mr. Big
Sean Lennon ... Sean
Kelley Parker ... Katie (as Kellie Parker)
Brandon Quintin Adams ... Zeke (as Brandon Adams)
Jeff Adkins Jeff Adkins ... Dancer (segment "Smooth Criminal") (as Jeffry Adkins)
Patrick Alan Patrick Alan ... Dancer (segment "Smooth Criminal")
Brenda Barrett Brenda Barrett ... Dancer (segment "Smooth Criminal")
Scott Benson Scott Benson ... Dancer (segment "Smooth Criminal")
Bonnie Beutler Bonnie Beutler ... Dancer (segment "Smooth Criminal")
Lindell Blake Lindell Blake ... Dancer (segment "Smooth Criminal")
Kim Blank Kim Blank ... Dancer (segment "Smooth Criminal")
Shelby Brown Shelby Brown ... Dancer (segment "Smooth Criminal")
Geron Canidate Geron Canidate ... Dancer (segment "Smooth Criminal")
Cindera Che ... Dancer (segment "Smooth Criminal")


A movie that starts out with the "Man in the Mirror" music video, it then changes to a montage of video clips of Michael's career. Next comes a parody of his Bad video by children, and then Michael is chased by fans in a fantasy sequence. 2 more videos are shown, and then a movie in which Michael plays a hero with magical powers. In it he is chased by drug dealer Mr. Big and saves three children. Videos included in the movie are "Smooth Criminal" and "Come Together". Written by Tony Meier

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


An Adventure Movie Like No Other. See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Warner Bros. [Japan]





Release Date:

23 June 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Michael Jackson: Moonwalker See more »


Box Office


$22,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Joe Pesci later starred in Home Alone (1990) opposite Macaulay Culkin. Macaulay Culkin appeared in the music video of Michael Jackson: Black or White (1991). Macaulay Culkin and Michael Jackson bonded during production and they became close friends and Macaulay Culkin became the godfather on Jackson's children Paris, Prince and Michael, Jr. 4 years before Michael Jackson passed away, Macaulay Culkin testified at Jackson's sexual child abuse trial and dismissed the allegations against him and said that Jackson never molested him and Jackson was acquitted of all accounts. See more »


While Michael is performing "Come Together" his white shirt is ripped to his chest, then to his pants, then not ripped at all, then ripped to his pants, and so on throughout the whole performance. See more »


Michael: Why are you doing this? Stop it!
Mr. Big: You wanna know why I'm doing this, do you? I just wanna get everybody high, Man. You know, some good drugs. That's all.
Michael: Do it and you're dead.
Mr. Big: Let's give her a shot of this.
See more »

Alternate Versions

MTV and VH1 have shown this film many times, and although it isn't a long film they have cut it, specifically the "Smooth Criminal" segment (the showpiece of the film): The dance segment in Club 30's is heavily edited, as is the scene where the kids' dog is returned to them by Michael's manager (leaving one plot question unanswered!) The "Come Together" performance is also shorter. The more recent VH1 Rock and Roll Picture Show airings cut the film down even more, most noticably in the Retrospective sequence. See more »


Referenced in Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) See more »


The Way You Make Me Feel
Written and Performed by Michael Jackson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A ninety-minute love letter to Michael Jackson, from Michael Jackson.
17 August 2003 | by Victor FieldSee all my reviews

It may seem hard to believe now, but back in the 1980s Michael Jackson didn't need to refer to himself as the King of Pop; we all KNEW he was, in part because his lifestyle and pecadillos hadn't yet started to overwhelm his music (back when his music was worth the effort of overwhelming). One of the offshoots of his amazing success was "Moonwalker," a movie basically designed to celebrate the awesomeness that is - or was - Michael Jackson, which was a massive cinematic Christmas gift for his fans in 1988 just about everywhere, except at home; Jackson's then-manager and one of the movie's executive producers Frank DiLeo demanded a massive share of the box office from its potential US distributor, and when they said no "Moonwalker" was released directly to video in the US.

The trouble is, viewed as a movie this decision isn't hard to understand - "Moonwalker" isn't so much a movie as a collection of music videos, all varying in quality. The bits dealing with Michael's younger years are truly fun, and so are some of the special effects throughout (like Will Vinton's work in "Speed Demon"), but the centrepiece of the short film "Smooth Criminal" (pint-sized villain Joe Pesci, as "Lideo" [get it?], wants to get all the children in the world hooked on drugs, and guess who has to stop him? Clue: His name appears 45 times in the credits) doesn't work, in part because the story stops dead to allow for the "Smooth Criminal" video to be shown in its entirety.

The movie's unending and unquestioning adoration of Michael Jackson gets its fullest flower there, although the video for "Leave Me Alone" (in which he basically exploits his life in song while at the same time telling us to go away, something he would later take even further in "Stop Questioning Me" and "Black or White," which set new standards for self-serving BS topped only by Geri Halliwell and Jennifer Lopez) comes close. Even at the time it seemed a bit much, and viewed today... well, remember how ill-timed the joke in "Addams Family Values" about a kid screaming at a poster of Michael Jackson was? The entire movie nowadays has that same feel magnified; plus it feels like a relic from another age.

The shame of it all now is that it reminds you that MJ really was a wizard once upon a time, but it's all changed now.

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