Lupin the Third: The Movie
Directed by Soji Yoshikawa
Produced by Yutaka Fujioka
Written by Atsushi Yamatoya
Soji Yoshikawa
Starring Yasuo Yamada (Japanese original)
Liam Neeson (initial dub)
Peter Fernandez (Toho dub)
Bob Bergen (Streamline dub)
William Dufris (Manga dub)
Tony Oliver (Geneon dub)
Music by Yuji Ohno
Editing by Yoshiaki Aihara
Distributed by Toho
Columbia Pictures (1978-)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1978-1981)
Walt Disney Productions (1981-)
Manga Entertainment (1995-????, Australia and UK only)
Streamline Pictures (1995)
Carolco Pictures (1995, theatrical distribution)
Orion Pictures (1995, home video distribution)
Geneon (2003)
Madman Entertainment (Australia & New Zealand)
Release date(s) 1978 (Japan/USA)
1995 (USA)
1996 (UK)
2003 (USA re-release)
Running time 102 min. (original)
100 min. (edited)
Language Japanese
IMDb profile

Lupin III: The Mystery of Mamo (ルパン三世 ルパンVS複製人間 Rupan Sansei: Rupan tai Fukusei Ningen?) is a 1978 anime film directed by Soji Yoshikawa and written by Atsushi Yamatoya and Soji Yoshikawa. It was the first animated movie based on the Lupin III character created by Monkey Punch. At the same time, an anaglyphic 3-D version was released Stateside in both regular and IMAX theatres. In 1979, it became the first home video release to be letterboxed, originally using red bars.


The film opens with white lines traveling down and a trapdoor opening underneath a prisoner. The prisoner is hanged, and a coroner's report (with narration by Koichi Zenigata in some dubs) confirms the executed prisoner to be the real Lupin III. But Zenigata doesn't believe this, so he goes to the tomb to see for himself. Opening the coffin, he drives a stake into the body, which promptly explodes. The real Lupin III shows up to witness Zenigata's humiliation and narrowly escapes by hang glider (which is in the shape of bat wings). Zenigata fires at him three times, hitting the camera the third time to trigger the opening credits.

The opening scene shows Zenigata following Lupin all the way to Egypt, where the latter is looking for the Philosopher's Stone at the request of a contract with the help of his partner-in-crime Daisuke Jigen. They find the stone, but the setup fails, triggering an alarm. What follows is a brief encounter with Zenigata, who is shocked to see Egyptian officers pointing guns. Zenigata refuses to let them fire, insisting that they have already trapped Lupin and "unless they're issued with silver bullets, the men will waste their ammunition". This is a play-on-words as Lupin derived from Lupus, or the genus of wolf. Regardless, Lupin evades Zenigata's trap. On the way out of the pyramid, Jigen almost loses his hat, and Lupin criticizes him for not losing it. Goemon Ishikawa XIII, meanwhile, has killed the officers surrounding the pyramid. Cutting a tire on Lupin's bicycle, he tells them to hurry. The three make it out on a rope, and Zenigata is literally left in the dust, cursing them as they leave.

Meanwhile, Fujiko Mine is waiting for Lupin to deliver the stone, but doesn't have to wait long, since Lupin was already there to surprise her. When she learns that Lupin nabbed the stone, she grabs for it, but Lupin chides her for being too passionate and reminds her of her promise to date him in exchange for the stone. Fujiko back-stabs Lupin by spraying him with paralysis gas. Lupin returns to HQ to listen in on Fujiko to find out who asked for the stone, only to discover that the stone was a fake. (Of course, the viewer knows it already from the Egyptian police chief's dialogue in an earlier scene.)

The contract is not pleased that Lupin had given him a fake, so he sends two of his men after him, the first piloting a chopper. The chopper chases Lupin, Jigen, and Goemon into a sewer, where Goemon is waiting to chop the chopepr's blade with his Zantetsuken, remarking "Once again, I slashed an unworthy object." The chopper blows up as Goemon retreats, and Lupin and Jigen are not too happy that the explosion damaged the car. Fujiko pulls up and asks for the stone, but Lupin tosses her out of her own car, paying her back for the backstabbing she gave him earlier (and reminding her to take his car, which "still needs some repairs").

Zenigata quickly arrives, hot on their tail and tries to get Lupin to turn himself in with the reason that "it would promote friendly relationships between France and Japan". Lupin refuses, and during a high-speed mountainside chase, the second of the goons arrives in a 18-wheeler and crushes two of the police cars, sending the one with an awe-struck Zenigata into the water below. The chase continues as Lupin tries to dodge the truck. The confrontation appears to be over after the henchman plummets to his death after driving off the mountain. That's when Flinch arrives in a plane, blows up the car, and runs on Lupin's hair. He then proceeds to blow up Lupin's HQ.

Jigen and Goemon chastise Lupin because of Fujiko and nearly get into a fight until Lupin decides to throw Fujiko out of his life. In a spur of the moment, they travel toward the ocean. On the way, Lupin sees a pitcher of water on a table and accidentally sets off a booby trap that Flinch left. After some more walking, the threesome find a house stocked with food and water. That's when Fujiko, beaten up and helpless, comes for Lupin, who rushes to her and alienates his two sidekicks in the process. However, Jigen can't leave him with Fujiko for too long and tries unsuccessfully to rescue him when Fujiko puts him to sleep with some strong medicine she used to drug his food. A clue to Lupin's whereabouts is then dropped, reading "WATER".

Soon, Jigen attracts the attention of Agent Gordon, who tails him throughout Europe the following day. Surprised at first by Jigen's quick move to threaten him, Gordon manages to bring him and Goemon to Area 64 to be interviewed by Starky, an important government official from America. After listening to a tape of an interfered-with conversation between the secretary general and President Jimmy Carter, Starky asks for info on the man who broke into the conversation. Jigen hands Gordon the note and angers him by saying that if they knew what the note meant, they wouldn't be where they were. Starky decides that Jigen and Goemon knew nothing, releasing them for the sole purpose of using them to find the mystery man. They know immediately because of spilled water, and the invisible ink is revealed to be "CARIBBEAN".

Meanwhile, on a Caribbean island, Lupin manages to find the mystery man, who reveals himself to be a dwarf named Howard Lockwood who refers himself as Mamo. He offers Lupin eternal life, but Lupin refuses, saying that all he wants is the Philosopher's Stone. He then manages to find it as Jigen and Goemon, tailed unknowingly by Zenigata and tracked unknowingly by the U.S. Government, head for the Caribbean island. Fujiko plays with Lupin awhile, but they are soon chased by thugs led by Flinch.


The Japanese release was handled by Toho, who was also responsible for one English dub, also known as the JAL dub or the HK dub. The initial English dub was handled by Columbia Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In 1981, worldwide rights to the dub fell into the hans of Walt Disney Productions, with Columbia holding some ancillary rights. The third dub, handled by Streamline Pictures, was released theatrically by Carolco Pictures in January 1995 and on home video by Orion Home Video in late April of 1995. As the dub fell into the public domain, it was released on DVD by Image Entertainment in 1998, without the still-copyrighted Japanese dialogue. The fourth dub, which was never released stateside, was released on home video in the UK by Manga Entertainment, Ltd., who handled that same dub, in 1996. The fifth dub was handled and released on DVD by Pioneer Entertainment (USA), Inc. in 2003; in Australia and New Zealand, it was released by Madman Entertainment in 2006.

Manga Entertainment released this film as Lupin The Third - The Secret Of Mamo on DVD for the first time in the UK on August 4th 2008, with both Japanese and English language audio soundtracks.

Meanwhile, in 1997, Disney released a two-disc DVD, with side 1 of disc 1 containing the 2-D unrated version, side 2 of disc 1 containing the 3-D unrated version, and disc 2 containing the 3-D PG-rated cut which was seen in theatres. Unlike previous Betamax, VHS, and LaserDisc releases, this DVD adds the Disney logo. The film was later shown in June 2006 as part of a double-feature that also included The Castle of Cagliostro and was the first theatrical release to feature the new Disney logo. Since 2001, the 2-D and 3-D unrated versions have always been on the same disc as part of each multidisc release. The first 3-D broadcast of the unrated version occurred on PBS at 2:20 AM on August 15, 1990.

Full castEdit

Character Name Japanese English [initial] English [Toho] English [Streamline] English [Manga UK] English [Pioneer]
Arsène Lupin III Yasuo Yamada Liam Neeson Peter Fernandez Bob Bergen William Dufries Tony Oliver
Daisuke Jigen Kiyoshi Kobayashi Christopher Lee Peter Fernandez Steve Bulen Eric Meyers Richard Epcar
Goemon Ishikawa XIII Makio Inoue David Prowse Earl Hammond Kirk Thornton Garrick Hagon Lex Lang
Fujiko Mine Eiko Masuyama Elizabeth Montgomery Corinne Orr Edie Mirman Toni Barry Michelle Ruff
Inspector Koichi Zenigata Goro Naya Macdonald Carey Jack Grimes David Povall Sean Barrett Dan Martin
Mamo Kō Nishimura Peter Cushing Jack Grimes Robert Axelrod Allan Wenger Paul St. Peter
Starky Tōru Ōhira Mel Brooks Jack Grimes Steve Kramer unknown Osgood W. Glick
Special Agent Gordon Hidekatsu Shibata Don Adams Earl Hammond Michael Forest unknown Michael McConnohie
Police commissioner Kōsei Tomita Richard Harris Earl Hammond Jeff Winkless unknown Richard Cansino
Frenchy Shōzō Iizuka Lee Van Cleef Earl Hammond unknown unknown Bob Papenbrook
Egyptian police chief Haruo Minami Eli Wallach Earl Hammond Steve Kramer unknown Richard Cansino
President Fujio Akatsuka Walter Matthau Peter Fernandez Steve Kramer unknown Richard Cansino
Chief secretary Ikki Kajiwara Peter Fonda Jack Grimes unknown unknown Richard Cansino

Trivia Edit

Some aspects of Mamo's character, notably his appearance, were reported to be based on actor Paul Williams who had starred as a similarly charismatic villain in the 1974 film Phantom of the Paradise.

Some Japanese promotional material subtitled the film "Lupin vs. the Clone(s)" (Rupan tai Kuroon) although this is not technically part of the film's title. The name "Lupin vs. the Clone(s)" is sometimes used to differentiate it from the other Lupin films, but it reveals a plot point revealed much later in the film, causing some Lupin fans to be uncomfortable with using it freely. This was at least part of the reason why an American fan created its English nickname, "The Mystery of Mamo," back in the 1980s. Streamline Pictures adopted the name due to its lack of spoilers and TMS eventually agreed to rename the film for the English market.

The renaming to "Secret of Mamo" was likely to help differentiate the Manga Video (UK, 1996) and Pioneer Entertainment (USA, 2003) releases that followed Streamline Pictures' release of "The Mystery of Mamo" (1995 VHS, 1998 DVD).

An 2004 column by Fred Patten in Newtype USA mentioned that Mamo was actually meant to be spelled "Mameaux" in foreign releases; however, American Lupin fans had already begun referring to the spelling as Mamo by the time Streamline acquired the rights to the film; Streamline then changed the spelling to accommodate them.

According to the insert included with the Pioneer DVD release, the original Japanese voice actor for Mamo performed the role so that audiences would be somewhat surprised when he finally appeared in person. For the first half of the movie, Mamo was heard but unseen and his deep masculine voice is ironically incongruous with his gnomish appearance which was revealed later. This effect was duplicated in the English language Pioneer release.

Jigen fires his gun only three times in this film, while Lupin never fires his or goes into disguise.

The helicopter chase scene and the hanging scene are used in the arcade laser disc game "Cliff Hanger". The rest of the game uses footage from another Lupin film "The Castle of Cagliostro".


External linksEdit

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