Eddie Murphy's character was added to the film after the original version tested poorly with audiences.
When Eddie Murphy hosted Saturday Night Live (1975), he mocked the film and his decision to appear in it by saying "What?! How dare you give me a script like this! Oh, THAT much money? Let's go!" Murphy has also said, "How did I get involved? The door opened, and four men came in carrying a check."
Though Eddie Murphy is listed as Strategic Guest Star, he claimed in an interview with David Letterman that he was paid more for his work in this film than for 48 Hrs. (1982) and Trading Places (1983), combined.
Dudley Moore and Eddie Murphy never appear in the same scene. A scene with the two of them together was shot, then deleted from the final cut.
Willard Huyck's second-to-last film. After Howard the Duck (1986) flopped, he never directed another feature film.
This was the film in which Paramount head Jeffery Katzenberg himself brought a check for a million dollars during Eddie Murphy's final season on Saturday Night Live in which Murphy was stunned to see this and signed on to do this film for him and the studio.
All of Eddie Murphy's scenes as T.L. Landry in the XM-10 Annhilator tank were shot and filmed in Israel with the exception of one scene filmed in California, where his character meets Dudley Moore's character, Wylie Cooper on a military base. This scene was shot and filmed but ultimately deleted from the final cut of the film. A still of this scene exists as part of the film's promotional material and movie theater lobby cards.
When Kate Capshaw is humming in the car, waiting for Dudley Moore to get off from work, she's humming the John Williams' score from Indiana Jones. Her future husband, Steven Spielberg directed the movie.
This was the third consecutive film that Eddie Murphy was featured in for Paramount Pictures in consecutive years starting with his debut in 48 Hours in 1982 and following it up with Trading Places in 1983. Beverly Hills Cop would be released months after this film in late 1984, continuing his streak for the studio with four films.
This is the only film to star or feature Eddie Murphy that opens with a sex scene, which was probably done intentionally to give the film the energy missing from the original material Directed by Willard Huyck in 1982 and immediately bill it as an Eddie Murphy comedy more so than a Dudley Moore one.
The film's opening title cards read "Kuwait - 1984" and "California - 1982". The two are frequently featured throughout the movie in transitions between sequences of the movie's two time periods.
The fictional super-tank was an XM-10 Annihilator. The real-life tank that portrayed the XM10 was most likely a modified Chrysler M60 Magach 7. The Kuwait scenes were filmed in Israel, where the tank was common.
In the original novel, Dudley Moore's character was named Harvey Brank, the engineering company builds a fighter plane, and the war is in Vietnam.
This is one of a number of 1980s war / military comedies, including Private Benjamin (1980), Stripes (1981), The Survivors (1983), Wrong Is Right (1982), Spies Like Us (1985), 1941 (1979), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), Biloxi Blues (1988), Deal of the Century (1983), Up the Academy (1980), The Odd Angry Shot (1979), and To Be or Not to Be (1983).
Early in the film, Kate Capshaw is humming the theme for Indiana Jones, which she was a co-star in, while waiting for Dudley Moore in the car.
The film is not a failure a many have claimed it to be as it grossed over 20 Million dollars during it's theatrical run in the Summer of 1984 and also with inflation, easily has made more money than Eddie Murphy's worse box office film which was The Adventures Of Pluto Nash which was a costly bomb at 100 Million Dollars earning considerably less than this film at 8 Million Dollars at the box office in 2002 and received far worse reviews than this film by critics when it was released.
The re-shoots for the film starring Eddie Murphy's "Strategic Guest Star" took place in late 1983 after his Delirious comedy tour had finished.
The scenes shot in 1982 with Dudley Moore and the ones starring Eddie Murphy have different look despite having the same cinematographer, Donald Peterman. The scenes with Moore have an almost filmic, qusi-documentary look to them with a sort of dull color, scheme to them, while Murphy's have a more modern (1983-84) brighter look to them with a much richer color scheme of the Israeli desert locations.
One of a number of movies made during the 1980s that looked at Middle Eastern politics and/or the Israeli-Palestine conflict. The films included Protocol (1984), The Soldier (1982), Wrong Is Right (1982), The Delta Force (1986), Best Defense (1984), Witness in the War Zone (1987), The Impossible Spy (1987), The Glory Boys (1984), Hanna K. (1983) and The Little Drummer Girl (1984).
One of two 1984 movies that starred Eddie Murphy. The other was Beverly Hills Cop (1984).
In some countries, like the UK, the film's title was changed to "Best Defence". In Australia, which uses British spelling, they kept the American spelling.
One of three Dudley Moore movies released in 1984. The other two are Micki & Maude (1984) and Unfaithfully Yours (1984).
One of two 1984 movies released in 1984 that were about a military tank. The other was Tank (1984).
The fictional whiz-band technical device was called a "DYP-Gyro", DYP standing to mean a "Double Yaw Processor".
When Dudley Moore and David Rasche characters go to the Japanese restaurant, the singer is performing "Close to You" in Japanese.
The film was made and released about a decade after Robert Grossbach's 1974 novel "Easy and Hard Ways Out." It has been has been described as a Kafkaesque companion piece to Joseph Heller's Catch-22 (1970). It remains the only film adaptation of a Grossbach story.
This movie portrays an invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. Little did the makers know this would actually happen six years later on August 2, 1990.
The poster art featured the tagline "Unfortunately They're On Our Side" which was eliminated from it's home video and DVD releases.
The scene where Eddie Murphy shoots at the Soldier about to blow up the tank and chases him away, he yells "Let me see Michael Jackson" and then "Let me see James Brown" is inspired by his stand up routine from Delirious and later on, Eddie Murphy Raw and also from Saturday Night Live from his famous skit, "James Brown Hot Tub".
The films' trailer features music from Eddie Murphy's debut film, "48 Hours" which was composed by the late Oscar Winning Composer James Horner.
Composer Patrick Williams did the music for this film and was hired practically the same year, 1982, when he wrote the music for the Richard Pryor comedy-drama, "Some Kind of Hero" for Paramount. Eddie Murphy would go on to work with Pryor in his reluctant, directorial debut seven years later for the film, "Harlem Nights".
Dudley Moore's part of the film is supposed to take place during Christmas 1981, while Eddie Murphy's is supposed to take place in late 1983 if you went by the films' original shooting schedule and the re-shoots.
The Dynatechnics lab is actually an old Bowling Alley that was leased by the company's owner Frank Joyner. In the scene where the press conference takes place, you can see a logo over half heartily being covered with a white bed-sheet.
Aside from Williard Huyck's usual Film Editor Sidney Wolinsky editing the film in the original 1982 version, two additional editors were brought in to re-edit the film after the re-shoots with Eddie Murphy were finished, they were Michael A. Stevenson and Billy Weber, who was one of the few editors on Murphy's debut film, "48 Hours" when this film was in production in 1982. Weber was mainly responsible for tightening Murphy's scenes involving the tank in action. They are credited during the End Credits of the film.
The film was primarily filmed in Hollywood and when the studio ordered re-shoots took place in Israel with Eddie Murphy primarily with the exception of one scene where Murphy's character does finally meet Dudley Moore's which was ultimately deleted from the film but stills from the scene appeared on movie theater lobby cards, the film's press kit and on the spine of the DVD released by Paramount in 2004.
The film would make it's DVD debut in 2004, twenty-years after the film made its theatrical debut in 1984.
The films' poster was created soon after Eddie Murphy's re-shoots had wrapped. What is noticeable in particular is Dudley Moore's look as he's sporting a different haircut than in the film in which his hair is much longer. This probably due to Moore filming "Micki + Maude" at the time for Blake Edwards in which sports a similar hair style. The poster would also undergo another change for its home video and eventual DVD release in 2004 and that the navy blue background featured in the original poster was eliminated and white was used in its' place along with the elimination of the films' tagline "Unfortunately, They're On Our Side" and Eddie Murphy's "Strategic Guest Star" billing and they are billed as regular co-stars with some art posting Eddie Murphy's name before Dudley Moore's and vice versa.
The Dynatechnics Industries company the fictitious company that Wylie Cooper works for is located in Seal Beach, California.
When Eddie Murphy signed on to do the re-shoots for this film, Matthew Laurence and Christopher Maher were both cast as Murphy's tank mates, Ali and Sayyed soon after. Laurence at the time was on the critically acclaimed HBO comedy series, "Not Necessarily The News", which was a similar comedy variety show much like Murphy's Saturday Night Live which was beginning its second season when the re-shoots took place and going onto its' third when the film was released in July 1984.
Eddie Murphy's rank in the film is Lieutenant with his full name being Thomas L. Landry, probably inspired by the legendary coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Tom Landry.
Slightly modified versions were released in some countries, to get a lower rating and attract the youth market.
In the Mexican dinner scene, the song "Moon River" is playing in Spanish in the background.