Dragnet (1987 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dragnet movie.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Tom Mankiewicz
Produced by Bernie Brillstein
David Permut
Robert K. Weiss
Written by Dan Aykroyd
Alan Zweibel
Tom Mankiewicz
Starring Dan Aykroyd
Tom Hanks
Music by Ira Newborn
Cinematography Matthew F. Leonetti
Edited by William D. Gordeon
Richard Halsey
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • June 26, 1987 (1987-06-26)
Running time
106 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million[1]
Box office $66,673,516[2]

Dragnet is a 1987 American buddy cop comedy film written and directed by Tom Mankiewicz in his directorial debut, and starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks. The film is based on the television crime drama of the same name starring Jack Webb. The screenplay was written by Dan Aykroyd and Alan Zweibel. The original music score by Ira Newborn.

Acting as both a parody of and homage to the long-running television series, Aykroyd plays Joe Friday (nephew of the original series star) while Hanks plays Pep Streebek, his new partner. Harry Morgan reprises his role from the television series as Bill Gannon, now a Captain and Friday's and Streebek's boss.


LAPD Sgt. Joe Friday's nephew and namesake (Aykroyd), whose anachronistic views reflect those of his late uncle, is involuntarily assigned a smart-alecky, streetwise new partner, Pep Streebek (Hanks). Their contrasting styles clash at first, Friday disapproving of his young partner's attitude, hair, and wardrobe, but they gradually bond over their first case as a team, an investigation of a series of bizarre thefts involving items as disparate as a tanker full of chemicals, police, fire and paramedic vehicles, a wedding dress, a snake, a lion's mane, and the entire monthly print run of the pornographic magazine "Bait".

They follow the trail to an Orange County-based cult calling itself P.A.G.A.N. (People Against Goodness And Normalcy). Friday and Streebek focus on one of the cult's henchmen, a brutish limousine driver named Emil Muzz (Jack O'Halloran).

Friday and Streebek disguise themselves and sneak into a secret P.A.G.A.N. ceremony where they witness the masked leader attempting to sacrifice a virgin, Miss Connie Swail (Alexandra Paul). Friday and Streebek disrupt the ceremony and save Swail. In the process, Swail and Friday discover a mutual attraction

An informer tells them that a local milk factory is being used by the P.A.G.A.N.s to mass-produce a toxic gas made from the chemicals they stole. Friday and Streebek commandeer a police tank and use it for a raid on the factory, which turns out to be producing only milk - the real gas factory being next door.

Friday invites Connie to join him at a birthday dinner for his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Grace Mundy. To Friday's chagrin, Streebek crashes the dinner party.

At the restaurant, Connie identifies a fellow patron, the televangelist Jonathan Whirley (Plummer), as the P.A.G.A.N. leader. Whirley is a highly respected community leader, who is dining with Capt. Bill Gannon (Morgan), Friday and Streebek's boss, and Police Commissioner Kirkpatrick (Ashley). Despite Streebek's warnings, Friday tries to arrest Whirley, leading Kirkpatrick to suspend Friday and order Gannon to take Streebek off the case. Connie and Friday are kidnapped by Muzz and taken to the Griffith Observatory.

Whirley plans to use a party at Caesar's mansion to kill Caesar and the mayor, using the stolen chemicals.

Friday leads a SWAT team on a raid on Caesar's mansion. During the ensuing shootout between the P.A.G.A.N.s and the police, Whirley takes Connie to the airport, where he escapes in his private Learjet. His getaway ends when the now reinstated Friday pursues him in a Northrop F-5 police jet, forcing him to return to Los Angeles and land.

An epilogue reveals that Friday is still working with Streebek and dating Connie.



The script had been written by Dan Aykroyd and Alan Zweibel. Tom Mankiewicz, who had a deal at Universal, was brought in to work on it with them. Ted Kotcheff was originally attached to direct but did not like the draft the three writers had come up with so Frank Price at Universal suggested Mankiewicz direct.[3][4]

Aykroyd originally wanted Jim Belushi to play opposite him but he was unavailable and Tom Hanks was cast instead.[3]

The title credits featured an update to the series' original theme by the British group Art of Noise.[5] They set the Dragnet theme against a hip-hop style breakbeat with soundbites such as Friday's "Just the facts, ma'am" timed to the music.

The soundtrack includes an original song, "City of Crime." The track features a hip-hop style collaboration between Aykroyd and Hanks that is performed with bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes and guitarist Pat Thrall. The track is played over the film's closing credits.[5]


The film received mixed reviews from critics according to Rotten Tomatoes, as Dragnet has a 46% composite score based on 28 reviews with the consensus: "While it's sporadically funny and certainly well-cast, Dragnet is too clumsy and inconsistent to honor its classic source material".[6]

Box office[edit]

Dragnet performed well at the box office, grossing $57.4 million domestically with an additional $9.3 million internationally, for a total of $66.7 million worldwide.


  1. ^ And now it's Mankiewicz the director Boedeker, Hal. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file) [Chicago, Ill] 16 July 1987: D8.
  2. ^ Box office performance, Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Tom Mankiewicz, My Life as a Mankiewicz: An Insider's Journey Through Hollywood (with Robert Crane) University Press of Kentucky 2012 p 284-285
  4. ^ JUST THE FACTS, MANK: Director Tom Mankiewicz Is 'Dragnet's' Top Cop Goldstein, Patrick. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 22 Mar 1987: K3.
  5. ^ a b Empireonline.com
  6. ^ Dragnet - Rotten Tomatoes

External links[edit]