The Naked Gun

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This article is about the film series. For the first film in the series, see The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!.
The Naked Gun series
Region 1 DVD cover for the film series box set
Directed by David Zucker (1 and 2)
Peter Segal (3)
Produced by David Zucker
Jim Abrahams
Jerry Zucker
Robert K. Weiss
Written by David Zucker
Jim Abrahams
Jerry Zucker
Pat Proft
Based on Police Squad! created by Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker
Starring Leslie Nielsen
Priscilla Presley
O. J. Simpson
George Kennedy
Ed Williams
Music by Ira Newborn
Cinematography Robert M. Stevens
Edited by Michael Jablow (1)
Christopher Greenbury
James R. Symons (2)
James R. Symons (3)
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • 1988 (1988)
  • 1994 (1994)
Running time
253 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $65 million
Box office $216,819,186

The Naked Gun is a series of American crime comedy films created by Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker. All three films are based on their earlier short-lived ABC television series Police Squad!, which was cancelled after six episodes.


From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)[edit]

Detective Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) tries to uncover a plan to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II, who is on a state visit to the USA. The main suspect is Vincent Ludwig, a rich businessman (Ricardo Montalbán), who uses a hypnotic device to turn others into murderers. As with previous ZAZ spoof comedies, the plot was mostly culled from another—more serious—movie. In this case, it was Telefon wherein people were triggered into assassins via hypnotic phone calls (indeed, dialogue in the post-hypnotic suggestion demonstration scene is copied word-for-word from Telefon).

On the case, Drebin falls in love with Ludwig's assistant, Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley). She knows nothing about Ludwig's plot, and after the pair spend the night together, Jane helps with Frank's investigation.

The Smell of Fear (1991)[edit]

Frank discovers that Jane's new boyfriend, Quentin Hapsburg (Robert Goulet), is involved in an evil plan to kidnap Dr. Albert S. Meinheimer (Richard Griffiths), a scientist whom President George H. W. Bush (John Roarke) has chosen to determine a new national energy policy. Hapsburg plans to kidnap the real Dr. Meinheimer and replace him with a lookalike named Earl Hacker (also portrayed by Griffiths) who will endorse an energy policy according to the dictates of the energy lobby.

The Final Insult (1994)[edit]

In the third film of the saga, Frank is married to Jane, and he has retired from Police Squad. The film introduces the criminal Rocco Dillon (Fred Ward), who is stuck in prison. He's contacted by Papshmir to be given a target for a bombing. Frank is pulled out of retirement. He goes undercover pretending to be a prisoner named "Nick 'The Slasher' McGurk Jr., III" at the jail where Dillon is being held, and they break out of jail. Outside they are escorted by Dillon's gangster mother (Kathleen Freeman) to his country retreat, where Frank also meets Rocco's voluptuous moll (Anna Nicole Smith). The gang plots to blow up the Academy Awards. When Jane arrives looking for Frank, she is taken hostage.

Unproduced Naked Gun 4 film[edit]

A fourth film was first mooted while Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult was still in production. In a 1992 interview, the Zuckers said they were determined to follow up with a fourth film called Naked Gun 4: This Is Really It.[1] Leslie Nielsen suggested the title of Naked Gun 4: The Second Final Insult, "because then everybody will be asking what 'the first final insult' was."[2]

In 2003, David Zucker said of a making another Naked Gun film that "We would really like to. The studio just doesn't get the joke though. They’re not interested in the franchise."[3]

In a 2007 radio interview, "Weird Al" Yankovic, who had cameos in all three Naked Gun films, confirmed that he had been approached about appearing in a fourth.[4]

In 2008, a direct to DVD Naked Gun film was reportedly in development for the Paramount Famous Productions label.[5]

In 2009, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that 25 films and television series had qualified for production tax credits, including Naked Gun 4.[6][7]

In a May 2010 interview, Nielsen said he had heard about plans for a fourth film but was "not yet involved".[8]

Naked Gun 4: Rhythm of Evil was reported to be in the early stages of production at the time of Nielsen's death in November 2010.[9]

Paramount has since attempted to develop a fourth installment of Naked Gun without Leslie Nielsen.[10] The aim was for a straight-to-video release, but the script was so well received it briefly shifted to the theatrical division before getting stalled over budgeting.[11] Alan Spencer reportedly wrote a treatment for the film.


On December 13, 2013, a reboot was announced by Paramount. Ed Helms will star and Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant will write.[12] However a month later Garant stated the film will be more of a sequel than reboot.[13]



Film Rotten Tomatoes
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad![14] 89%
The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear[15] 55%
Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult[16] 52%
Average ratings 65%

Box office[edit]

Film Release date Total grossing
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad![17] December 2, 1988 $78,756,177
The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear[18] June 28, 1991 $86,930,411
Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult[19] March 18, 1994 $51,132,598
Film Totals $216,819,186

Cast of characters[edit]

Main characters[edit]

  • Leslie Nielsen as Sergeant Frank Drebin, Detective Sergeant Lieutenant Police Squad. He is the protagonist of all three films and the former TV series Police Squad!. In the first film, he meets Jane Spencer and they fall in love; in the second film, they resume their romance; in the third film, they are married, and Frank is retired from the force. Frank is a very successful police officer, who seems to solve all crimes by accident, many times causing mayhem and havoc in the process, usually not noticing at all.
  • Priscilla Presley as Jane Spencer (Jane Drebin in the third film). In the first film she is Vincent Ludwig's assistant, but knows nothing about his world domination plans. After she spends the night together with Frank, she helps him with his investigation. In the second film, her relationship with Frank is revealed to be over. She has a new boyfriend, Quentin Hapsburg. This is the second time she falls for a man with evil plans. She and Frank make up during the end of the second film. In the third film (in which she is married to Frank, who is retired from the force) the audience learns that she is now a lawyer. At the end of the third film, Jane gives birth to a son, who ironically looks like Nordberg, leading Frank to believe the two had an affair and chases after his colleague. However unbeknownst to him, Ed is escorting Jane to her room, holding her and Frank's real baby.
  • O. J. Simpson (Peter Lupus, TV series) as Officer Nordberg, one of Frank's colleagues. He and Frank are partners for about five years, and he is Frank's best friend as stated in the first film. Nordberg always gets himself in very painful situations in all of the films. He finds himself being chased after by a resentful and enraged Frank when he believes that Nordberg had an affair with Jane.
  • George Kennedy (Alan North, TV series) as Captain Ed Hocken, Frank's boss. Ed encourages Frank to talk to Jane in the second movie. It is revealed in the first film that he is married to a woman named Ethel, although in the second film he is married to a woman named Edna (and it is stated that he has been for 30 years).
  • Ed Williams as Ted Olson, a scientist who works at the lab. In Police Squad!, Ted was always giving a highly suspect or dangerous lesson to a kid, in a parody of Watch Mr. Wizard. This joke was not recycled for the films. Ted does create a couple of new inventions, which include: the Swiss-army shoe, the anti-graffiti wall, and the cufflink dart. He, Frank Drebin, and Al are the only characters who each appeared in both Police Squad! and the Naked Gun films portrayed by the same actor.[20]
  • Ronald "Tiny Ron" Taylor as Al, a very tall colleague of Frank, whose head is always out of frame. Al was a recurring character on Police Squad! but only made a cameo in the first film.

Main villains[edit]

Character Film Fate Played by:
Vincent Ludwig From the Files of Police Squad! Falls from a stadium, then is run over by a bus, a steam roller, and the USC Trojan Marching Band. Ricardo Montalbán
Quentin Hapsburg The Smell of Fear Falls from a great height (due to Ed accidentally pushing him out the window) but bounces off an awning and walks away, only to be mauled to death by a lion. Robert Goulet
Rocco Dillon The Final Insult Falls from a catwalk in a theater, but because he has a cord attached to his ankles, the recoil elevates him and is sent flying away through the roof and into Papshmir's overflying private helicopter, which explodes seconds later (he was holding a ticking bomb). Fred Ward

Notable cameos[edit]

Character Portrayer Film Other Notes
Man fixing a picture up onto the wall of his house[21] David Zucker The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! David Zucker directed the first two films
Driving Instructor[22] John Houseman The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! Final appearance[21]
Baseball Announcer Dr. Joyce Brothers The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! Also made a cameo in Police Squad!
Himself James Earl Jones Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult Also made a cameo in Scary Movie 4

Recurring cameos[edit]

Character Portrayer Other notes
Papshmir Raye Birk Was the only actor to play the same villain twice in the saga, appearing as "Papshmir" in the first and last movie. His name is a play on the pap smear gynecological test.
Himself "Weird Al" Yankovic Has appeared in all three films—as himself in the first and last, and cameoing as a holdup man in the second.

Other notable appearances[edit]

In the original film, veteran sports broadcasters Mel Allen, Curt Gowdy, Dick Enberg, Dick Vitale, Tim McCarver, and Jim Palmer are among those in a crowded booth. The baseball game features former Major League players like Jay Johnstone and, as an unexpected assassin, Reggie Jackson, as well as umpire Joe West.

In the second film, Zsa Zsa Gabor has a cameo as herself, slapping the police car siren featured in the intro, a reference to her 1989 arrest. Singer Mel Torme dances with Jane. And veteran character actors Lloyd Bochner, Tim O'Connor and Peter Mark Richman attend the climactic banquet, Bochner spoofing a classic Twilight Zone episode of his called "To Serve Man".

In the third film, at the Academy Awards, a musical number is performed by Pia Zadora and an award presented by Raquel Welch. Others seen at the ceremony include Vanna White, Mary Lou Retton, Florence Henderson, Morgan Fairchild, Shannen Doherty, and Elliott Gould.


  1. ^ "Series plan for 'Little Man'". Dallas Morning News. 1992-02-12. 
  2. ^ "In Step With: Leslie Nielsen". The Herald-News. 1992-06-14. 
  3. ^ "David Zucker Talks 'Scary Movie 4', 'The Naked Gun 4'". KillerMovies. 2003-12-09. 
  4. ^ "Get This". Austereo Radio Network. 2007-03-12. 
  5. ^ "The Naked Gun 4 In Development". FilmJunk. 2008-08-20. 
  6. ^ "Gov. Schwarzenegger Announces First 25 Productions to Qualify for Film & Television Production Incentive". 2009-07-27. 
  7. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (2009-07-28). "Films and TV Series to Get Tax Credits". The New York Times (New York Times). 
  8. ^ "Leslie Nielsen talks Naked Gun 4 on BBC WM". BBC News (BBC). 2010-05-04. 
  9. ^ "Comedian Leslie Nielsen dies at 84". Xinhua. 2010-11-28. 
  10. ^ "Studio Wanted To Make Naked Gun 4 Without Nielsen". 2010-12-02. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  11. ^ "The Naked Gun 4 In Development". Film Junk. 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  12. ^ "Ed Helms Firing Up ‘The Naked Gun’ Reboot for Paramount (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. 2013-12-13. Retrieved 2013-12-13. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  15. ^ "The Naked Gun 212: The Smell of Fear (1991)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  16. ^ "The Naked Gun 3313: The Final Insult (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  17. ^ "BoxofficeMojo". The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!. Retrieved January 19, 2008. 
  18. ^ "BoxofficeMojo". The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear. Retrieved January 19, 2008. 
  19. ^ "BoxofficeMojo". The Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult. Retrieved January 19, 2008. 
  20. ^ In the films, Hocken was portrayed by George Kennedy, and Nordberg by O.J. Simpson, Johnny and Lincoln both did not return in the films and Al only appeared in the first film.
  21. ^ a b "The Internet Movie Database". The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!. Retrieved January 19, 2008. 
  22. ^ "The Internet Movie Database". John Houseman. Retrieved January 19, 2008. 

External links[edit]