In the beginning, there was Airplane! Airplane! sadly spawned the ugly redheaded step-child Top Secret!, but then a short-lived TV show emerged from the ether: Police Squad. Sadly, Police Squad ran for only six episodes and was cancelled by ABC. But that wasn’t the end…
No, David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker collaborated once again and delivered The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad to audiences in 1988. A refreshing and funny-as-hell film that will forever be a comedy classic.
I love this movie! Hell, I love all three films in the Naked Gun trilogy. Leslie Nielsen is one of my favorite comedic actors and he earns that title each time he comes on the screen as Lt. Frank Drebin. His deadpan delivery, his demeanor, his very presence on-screen is a laugh-filled delight. If there is one actor I would want to sit down and have lunch with, it would be Leslie Nielsen.
Along with Nielsen are Priscilla Presley (Elvis’s ex-wife) as Jane Spencer, George Kennedy (Airport ’77) as Captain Ed Hocken, and pre-acquittal and pre-conviction O.J. Simpson as Officer Nordberg. These three would reprise their roles once more in the next two films along with Ted Williams who played Ted the Police Squad lab tech.
The late Ricardo Montalban gets his chance to share in the lunacy as the villainous Vincent Ludwig. Look out for cameos from a number of other 80s era celebs including Weird Al Yankovic and Reggie Jackson.
And the laughs keep coming. To fully enjoy the movie, you’ve gotta watch it on DVD. The edited TV version does not do it justice. There a several jokes that get cut that just add to the satirical nature of the film.
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad was soon followed by two sequels. The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear took Police Squad to Washington D.C. and dealt with environmental issues. The opening at the White House is classic, as is Robert Goulet as the bad guy.
Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult spoofs Thelma and Louise, The Great Escape, The Untouchables and several other movies, all the while leading up to the big finale at the Academy Awards. Throw in Anna Nicole Smith, James Earl Jones, and Fred Ward, and you’ve got a date with wackiness!
I’m a HUGE fan of these films and I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys quality spoofs and satire. Not only are the jokes well-crafted, but the characters are developed and distinct.
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad gets an A+++
The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear gets an A++
Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult gets an A++
Make sure to watch them with the commentaries if you have time. You won’t be disappointed!