Archive of films Waiter, Scarper! / Vrchní, prchni

1980, 85 min

Section: Special Events
Year: 2014

Based on a script by his artistic comrade in arms Zdeňek Svěrák, Ladislav Smoljak shot this legendary comedy about Vrána, a resourceful bookseller and opportunistic thief. Who wouldn’t want to get themselves back on track and improve things a little? In addition to very specific Czech humor (i.e. Cimrman for the initiated), there’s plenty of room here for a mournful sigh for the likable crook.


"Can you really pack so many gags and great ideas into one film?” asks one of the many rhapsodic reviews of Waiter, Scarper! The films of creative duo Ladislav Smoljak and Zdeněk Svěrák have always come up with the goods. And their efforts are rewarded: when any group of friends gets together, there’ll always be a point when everyone’s competing to see who can recall the funniest episodes. In this case, protagonist Dalibor Vrána’s dreadful violin scraping in the posh restaurant, his increasingly daring scams and wild erotic fantasies, and his obtuse neighbour Pařízek’s fixation with his yellow Škoda.... Except that he was also a talented student who never got very far, and he’s justified in thinking that it wasn’t only his fault. Life must have pulled a fast one on him; so he just took back what was rightfully his. Opportunity turns him into a petty thief, but who wouldn’t want to tweak his own destiny to improve his situation a little? Alongside smart humour there’s also enough room in this tragicomedy for a bit of despondency over a resourceful fraudster who’s much more likely to win our affection than rouse our indignation.

About the director

Screenwriter, actor and director Ladislav Smoljak (1931, Prague – 2010, Kladno, Czech Republic), and screenwriter, playwright, writer, actor and lyricist Zdeněk Svěrák (b. 1936, Prague) formed one of the most successful Czech comedy writer-directing duos of their time. They co-founded the mystification Jára Cimrman Theater in 1966 and wrote all of its plays. They applied their intellectual humor with elements of absurdity, slapstick and parody not only to their plays, but also to their films Joachim, Put It in the Machine! (1974), Seclusion Near a Forest (1976), Marecek, Pass Me the Pen! (1976), Ball Lightning (1978) and The Hit (1980). Svěrák also wrote the scripts for Jiří Menzel’s My Sweet Little Village (1985 – Oscar nomination), and for his son Jan Svěrák’s films The Elementary School (1991 – Oscar nomination), Kolya (1996 – Oscar), Dark Blue World (2001) and Empties (2007).


National Film Archive
Malešická 12, 130 00, Praha 3
Czech Republic

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Special Events
Director: Ladislav Smoljak
Screenplay: Zdeněk Svěrák
Dir. of Photography: Ivan Šlapeta
Music: Jaroslav Uhlíř
Editor: Jiří Brožek
Producer: Jan Balzer
Production: Filmové studio Barrandov
Cast: Josef Abrhám, Libuše Šafránková, Zdeněk Svěrák, Dagmar Patrasová, Jiří Kodet
Contact: National Film Archive


Daniel Vadocký

Distributor, Sales Agent

Zdeněk Svěrák


Michal Bregant

Film Institution Rep., Cinema Representative, Distributor

Aleš Rumpel

Film Institution Rep., Festival Organizer

Tereza Czesany Dvořáková

Film Institution Rep.

Barbora Kinkalová


Marie Barešová



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