Without a doubt my favorite 80’s cult movie, along with Big Trouble in Little China. What’s not to love about Buckaroo and his gang having to save the Earth from a band of inter-dimensional aliens called Red Lectroids from Planet 10, with the help of Black Lectoids (who appear to humans as Rastafarian Jamaicans)!
The Hong Kong Cavaliers are tipped off about Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems. After hacking into their company computer they also discover that everyone’s first name in the company is John. They also note that all the Yoyodyne employees applied for Social Security cards on November 1, 1938 (two days after the War of the Worlds broadcast) and all in the same town, Grover’s Mill, New Jersey (the town where the spaceship in the War of the Worlds broadcast landed). They deduce the connection between Lizardo, Yoyodyne and the Lectroids. Time to save the world!
In addition to the Hong Kong Cavaliers, Buckaroo Banzai is assisted by a multi-talented network of supporters and fans. The Radar Rangers are an amateur radar enthusiast group that helps Buckaroo track major threats. The Blue Blazer Irregulars are people of all ages and from all walks of life and help in various ways. Their organization includes assault teams in its structure. The Rug Suckers are a team of armed civilians who operate a rug cleaning company, but are available to help Banzai when called on.
Peter Weller as Buckaroo Banzai
A renaissance man, a top neurosurgeon, particle physicist, race car driver, rock star, samurai and comic book hero. Leads a band with his fellow adventurers called The Hong Kong Cavaliers.
Clancy Brown as Rawhide
Buckaroo’s lieutenant, and plays piano.
Jeff Goldblum as New Jersey
Real name is Dr. Sidney Zweibel. He is a neurosurgeon, a colleague of Dr. Banzai from Columbia. He sings a little, dances and plays piano.
John Lithgow as Dr. Emilio Lizardo
Italian physicist in the Trenton Home for the Criminally Insane in New Jersey, where he has been imprisoned for 50 years after his mind was taken over by Lord John Whorfin, leader of the Red Lectoids (a race of alien reptiles)
Pepe Serna as Reno Nevada
Lewis Smith as Perfect Tommy
Plays rhythm guitar, and is generally accepted to be perfect. He designed the Jet Car’s suspension system, which allows it to hug the ground even at supersonic speeds.
Billy Vera as Pinky Carruthers
One of Buckaroo’s Blue Blaze Irregulars. Plays bass guitar.
Ellen Barkin as Penny Priddy
Long-lost twin sister of Buckaroo’s late wife.
Christopher Lloyd as John Bigboote
A Red Lectoid who is president of Yoyodyne Propulsion, Inc.
Carl Lumbly as John Parker
A Black Lectoid sent to help Buckaroo defeat the Red Lectoids.