The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!

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The Naked Gun:
From the Files of Police Squad!
The Naked Gun Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Zucker
Produced by Robert K. Weiss
Written by Jerry Zucker
Jim Abrahams
David Zucker
Pat Proft
Based on Police Squad! 
by David Zucker
Jim Abrahams
Jerry Zucker
Starring Leslie Nielsen
Priscilla Presley
Ricardo Montalbán
George Kennedy
O. J. Simpson
Nancy Marchand
Music by Ira Newborn
Cinematography Robert M. Stevens
Edited by Michael Jablow
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • December 2, 1988 (1988-12-02)
Running time 85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $12 million
Box office $78,756,177[1]

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! is a 1988 American comedy film. It is the first in The Naked Gun series of films starring Leslie Nielsen, Priscilla Presley, George Kennedy, and O. J. Simpson. The three films (the other two being The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear, and Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult) chronicle the adventures of Nielsen's character, the bumbling police lieutenant Frank Drebin.

The film series is based on the character created by Nielsen in the television series Police Squad!.[2] The core creative team behind Police Squad! and the movie series includes the team of David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker as well as Pat Proft in varying combinations.[3]

The films feature fast-paced slapstick comedy, including a lot of visual and verbal puns and gags.

Plot[edit]

The film begins in Beirut where a gang of anti-American leaders including Ayatollah Khomeini, Mikhail Gorbachev, Yasser Arafat, Muammar Gaddafi, Fidel Castro, and Idi Amin, as well as a man named Pahpshmir, meet to plan the ultimate terrorist act against the United States. Police Squad Lieutenant Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) has been posing undercover as a waiter and beats up all the attendees, discovering in the process that Gorbachev's famous birthmark is a fake and various other shocking facts about them. As Frank leaves the gathering, he identifies himself to the crowd and warns them, "don't let me catch you guys in America!"

In Los Angeles, Officer Nordberg (O.J. Simpson) unsuccessfully attempts to bust a heroin drug operation at the docks organized by Vincent Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban), and is shot numerous times by Ludwig's henchmen. After being briefed on the case by his boss upon his return from Beirut, Captain Ed Hocken (George Kennedy), Frank visits Nordberg in the hospital. Nordberg can provide only a few cryptic clues, including a picture of Ludwig's ship on which the deal had been organized. Frank later meets with wacky police scientist Ted Olsen (Ed Williams), who has invented (among other things) a cufflink that shoots out a tiny tranquilizer dart. Frank finds out through Ted that Nordberg's jacket tested positive for heroin. In addition to this, Police Squad is in charge of security for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II (Jeannette Charles) to Los Angeles, and Ed tells Frank that he has twenty-four hours to clear Nordberg before word gets out about what happened and detracts from the queen's visit. Frank goes to visit Ludwig in his office as part of his investigation into the Nordberg case. Ludwig learns that Nordberg is still alive, much to his surprise. Ludwig has his assistant, Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley), assist Frank in his investigation and the two develop a budding love. Jane, however, does not suspect a thing about her employer's illegal activities.

Later that day, after Frank leaves the office, Ludwig meets with Pahpshmir to discuss an assassination plot against the visiting Queen. Ludwig tells Pahpshmir he will do it for $20 million, with Pahpshmir wondering how he plans to pull it off. Ludwig explains to Pahpshmir that, through use of a beeper, he will create the assassin using post-hypnotic suggestion. After using his secretary to demonstrate this, with an unloaded gun, Ludwig uses one of his henchmen to use the method to have a doctor try and kill Nordberg at the hospital. Frank commandeers a driving school car and chases after the doctor until he crashes the car into a gasoline truck, a U.S. Army missile transporter, and a fireworks factory.

Things go awry as Frank enters Ludwig's office without a search warrant one night looking for evidence. Although Frank finds a note from Pahpshmir addressed to Ludwig which confirms his suspicions, in the process he inadvertently starts a fire that completely destroys the office. Frank later has a run-in with one of Ludwig's henchmen at his factory in a stockyard, and after that confronts Ludwig with his allegations at a reception for the Queen's arrival. Later, Frank misinterprets Ludwig's presentation of a musket to the Queen as an attack and tries to protect her, but only causes more of a problem and is fired from Police Squad.

The next day Jane finds out about the plot, and tells Frank that the plan will be executed at a California Angels baseball game that afternoon during the seventh inning stretch and that one of the players will perform the act. Although Police Squad is under orders to arrest him on sight, they all rally around Frank and agree to help in any way they can. In order to get into the stadium, Frank goes undercover. First, he takes the guise of opera singer Enrico Pallazzo and butchers the U.S. national anthem. After that, Frank knocks the home plate umpire out with a baseball bat and takes his place. Frank takes this opportunity to frisk all the players for weapons, while at the same time taking great pleasure in his assumed job.

As the game progresses, Frank goes to great lengths to delay the game, ultimately resorting to interfering with the play to the ire of the managers of the Angels and their opponents, the Seattle Mariners. Eventually the third out is recorded to bring on the seventh-inning stretch and Ludwig activates his 'sleeper', Reggie Jackson. Jane alerts Frank, who chases after Jackson and tackles him, inadvertently triggering a bench-clearing brawl between the Angels and the Mariners. Ludwig then grabs Jane and holds her at gunpoint as he begins to leave the stadium. Jackson emerges from the scrum on the field and climbs over the dugout, pointing his gun at the Queen. Frank tries to incapacitate him with one of his cufflink darts, but misses and hits a fat woman in the upper deck. The woman falls over the railing and lands directly on Jackson, incapacitating him and saving the Queen's life.

Frank then turns his attention to saving Jane and follows Ludwig to the top of the stadium. Once he gets there he shoots Ludwig with the other cufflink dart, which causes him to stagger and fall over the side of the stadium where he is run over by a bus, flattened by a steamroller, and marched on by the USC marching band. As the band marches, some of the members inadvertently step on Ludwig's beeper and Jane is hypnotized into killing Frank by using Ludwig's gun. Frank uses his reverse psychology to try to break Jane's hypnotized state by openly professing his feelings for her, and gives her an engagement ring, after which Jane is freed from Ludwig's hypnosis and finally accepts Frank's marriage proposal. Frank's speech is broadcast on the stadium screen, causing the teams and the audience to burst into tears, fall into each other's arms and make up. Afterwards, Frank and Jane meet Mayor Barkley (Nancy Marchand), who reinstates Frank back to Police Squad, and Nordberg congratulates him. Nordberg, while still wheelchair-bound, seems much better until Frank pats Nordberg on the back and accidentally sends him toppling down the aisle and up over the railing of the stadium's upper deck.

Cast[edit]

Major League Baseball players Reggie Jackson and Jay Johnstone have cameo roles as themselves, as do umpires Joe West, Doug Harvey, Hank Robinson, Ken Kaiser and Ron Luciano. Professional announcers Curt Gowdy, Jim Palmer, Tim McCarver, Mel Allen, Dick Enberg and Dick Vitale appear as play-by-play commentators, as does Dr. Joyce Brothers.

Production[edit]

The film was shot at various locations in and around Los Angeles, California.[4] The Queen's reception was filmed at the Ambassador Hotel, which closed almost exactly a month after this film opened. The Ambassador is noteworthy for having been the location where Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Although the film's climax takes place at a California Angels home game, the baseball scenes were filmed in Los Angeles, at Dodger Stadium.

Reception[edit]

The Naked Gun was both a critical and box office success.[5] It was voted the 14th best comedy of all time in a Channel 4 poll.[6] It currently holds an 89% rating on movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, based on 38 reviews. The film was selected by The New York Times as one of The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made.[7] It was named the 7th Funniest Comedy Ever on a poll by Empire Magazine [8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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