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Splash title card

Year - 1986
Studio - Touchstone
Stars - Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Eugene Levy, John Candy
Director - Ron Howard
Writing Credits - Brian Grazer, Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Bruce Jay Friedman (screenplay)
Music - Lee Holdridge


On a family Cape Cod outing, young Allen Bauer inexplicably dives into the bay from a ferry boat, where, under water, he encounters a pretty young girl, before he is rescued.

As an adult, Allen (Tom Hanks) is a New York City produce business owner along with his jovial, but irresponsible, brother, Freddie (John Candy). When his girl friend leaves him, he goes to Cape Cod for relaxation. Attempting to get to an island on a small motor boat, he falls overboard and is struck unconscious by the out-of-control craft. As he sinks in the water, a beautiful mermaid (Daryl Hannah) rescues him and takes him ashore. When he revives on land, she has human legs instead of her mermaid lower half, and she kisses him before swimming away.

Splash poster

Allen returns to his job, and the mermaid finds his fallen wallet and identification at the bottom of the bay, and decides to go to New York to find him. She arrives at Ellis Island and, naked, in her human form, she walks among the tourists, until frantic policemen bundle her off to the station. They call Allen, from the wallet identification she carries, and he rushes to the station. On seeing him, she again kisses him passionately, and they return to his apartment. She explains, to his confusion, that she can only stay for six days. When Allen has to go back to his job, she watches, with fascination, his television set and learns to speak English in an afternoon. As they later walk in the city, he asks what she wants to be called - she looks at a street sign and answers "Madison."

Allen asks Madison to marry him, but she says she cannot. He is hurt and angry, and Madison leaves, intending to return to the sea. But she comes back to him and accepts his proposal, but explains that she first has to reveal her secret to him, when the time is right.

They attend a black tie dinner where the President is speaking and Madison tells Allen that she's ready to tell him her secret. As they leave the building, they are confronted by an obsessed scientist, Walter Kornbluth (Eugene Levy). He has secretly been following Madison since he, too, saw her in the Cape Cod waters, and intends to expose her as a mermaid. He sprays her with water and she falls to the ground, her lower body now in its fish form, to Allen's shock. The gathering crowd rushes to view her, and the President's security people take her and Allen off in limousines.

They are taken to a laboratory where scientists, after concluding that Allen is a normal human and releasing him, continue to study and experiment on Madison. Walter, despite the fact that he's responsible for her capture, is horrified at the treatment she receives and her deteriorating condition. Allen begins to realize that he still loves Madison, despite the new revelation, and he finds Walter and compels him to take him to the laboratory. He and his brother, Freddy, pretend to be visiting Swedish scientists and talk their way into the lab. They rescue Madison and, after a wild chase through lower Manhattan, arrive at the docks. Madison tells Allen that he can leave with her but that he will never be able to return. After first declining, he changes his mind after seeing her pursued by police scuba divers dropped from a helicopter, and he dives in to join her escape.

Show Spoilers

Preview Clip

The man and mermaid theme had previously been used in Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid, and Miranda, both from 1948.