Revenge of the Pink Panther

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Revenge of the Pink Panther
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBlake Edwards
Screenplay byFrank Waldman
Ron Clark
Blake Edwards
Story byBlake Edwards
Produced byBlake Edwards
David H. DePatie
Friz Freleng
StarringPeter Sellers
Herbert Lom
Robert Webber
Dyan Cannon
CinematographyErnest Day
Edited byAlan Jones
Music byHenry Mancini
Leslie Bricusse (songwriter)
United Artists Corporation
Sellers-Edwards Productions
Jewel Productions
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release dates
  • July 13, 1978 (1978-07-13) (London premiere)
  • July 14, 1978 (1978-07-14) (London)
  • July 20, 1978 (1978-07-20) (United States)
Running time
98 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States
Box office$49.5 million (US)[2]

Revenge of the Pink Panther is a 1978 comedy film. It is the sixth film in The Pink Panther comedy film series. Released in 1978, it is the final on-set performance of Peter Sellers in the role of Inspector Jacques Clouseau. It was also the last installment in the series that was distributed solely by United Artists; the company was absorbed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer three years after the film's release.


Philippe Douvier, a major French businessman and secretly the head of the French Connection, is suspected by his New York Mafia associates of weak leadership and improperly conducting his criminal affairs. To demonstrate otherwise, Douvier's aide Guy Algo suggests a show of force with the murder of the famous Jacques Clouseau, Chief Inspector of the Sûreté.

Douvier's first attempt at killing Clouseau with a bomb fails, and the subsequent attempt by Chinese martial artist 'Mr. Chong' is thwarted when Clouseau manages to fight him off, mistaking him for Clouseau's valet Cato, who has orders to keep his employer constantly on the alert with random attacks. Douvier tries again by telephoning Clouseau in an attempt to lure him into an ambush, but transvestite criminal Claude Russo steals Clouseau's car and clothes and is mistakenly killed instead by Douvier's men.

Clouseau is erroneously reported to be dead, prompting his former boss, former Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus, to instantly regain his sanity and be released from the psychiatric hospital to conduct the investigation.[N 1] In Russo's clothes and protesting his true identity, Clouseau is himself taken to the asylum but escapes into Dreyfus' room, who faints from the shock of finding Clouseau alive in his closet. Clouseau disguises himself as Dreyfus and is driven to his apartment by François.

Upon arriving home, Clouseau discovers Cato, who also believed Clouseau to be dead, has transformed their apartment into a Chinese-themed brothel. Cato is relieved to see that his boss has survived and the two plan revenge on the sponsor of Clouseau's assassination. Later, Dreyfus is assigned to read the eulogy at Clouseau's funeral, during which his efforts to suppress hysterical laughter at the words praising Clouseau's brilliance cause everyone to believe Dreyfus is devastated by Clouseau's death. Clouseau attends the burial disguised as a priest, and surreptitiously reveals himself to Dreyfus, who again faints and falls into the open grave.

Douvier's wife threatens him with divorce over his unfaithfulness. Because his wife holds evidence of his criminal activities, Douvier breaks off his affair with his secretary Simone, who reacts angrily. Fearing Simone will also expose him, Douvier orders she be killed while at a nightclub. Acting on a tip-off, Clouseau and Cato inadvertently save her. Clouseau reveals his identity to Simone and she reveals it was Douvier who ordered Clouseau's assassination. Fleeing Douvier's henchmen, Simone tells Clouseau of Douvier's plan to meet the New York Mafia godfather Julio Scallini in Hong Kong for the Gannet Transaction - a $50,000,000 heroin sale.

Clouseau, Cato, and Simone travel to Hong Kong in disguise, unaware that Dreyfus is following them after overhearing their conversation. Clouseau impersonates Scallini in a ridiculous gangster disguise while Simone distracts the real godfather. One of Scallini's men spots Douvier leaving their hotel with a stranger, and Clouseau exposes his own disguise during the Gannet Transaction. Dreyfus, intent on killing Clouseau and followed by the gangsters, Cato, Simone and the Hong Kong Police, chases Clouseau into a warehouse and accidentally lights up the fireworks stored inside, catching all involved parties in the resulting chaos. Douvier and Scallini are arrested, Clouseau is honored for their capture by the President of France, and he and Simone spend an evening together.



When United Artists spent three months on previews and continuous editing of the previous Pink Panther movie The Pink Panther Strikes Again (according to Daily Variety in 1976), Edwards decided he would try to salvage any humorous material remaining. He suggested that Revenge of the Pink Panther should primarily be made up of this footage and that he would write and shoot new footage around it with Sellers and company. Sellers balked at this and insisted that Revenge feature all-new footage.

The opening animated titles in the film were designed by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, who had been involved with the series since the animated titles of the original 1963 film, The Pink Panther.[3] It was the first time since Inspector Clouseau in 1968 that DePatie-Freleng animated the opening titles of a Pink Panther film (Return and Strikes Again having been done by Richard Williams' Studio).[4]

The film was shot in France, England and in Hong Kong with some scenes filmed at The Excelsior hotel.[5]

This is Graham Stark's first appearance as Professor Auguste Balls. He portrays him once more in Son of the Pink Panther (1993). Harvey Korman portrays Professor Balls in footage cut from The Pink Panther Strikes Again, but later used in Trail of the Pink Panther (1982).[6]


The film had its world premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square in London on July 13, 1978[1] and opened to the public the following day.

It opened in the United States at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City and at the Cinerama Dome in Los Angeles on July 19, 1978[1] before expanding to 387 theatres across the United States.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 84% based on 19 reviews, with an average score of 6.70/10.[8]

Variety wrote, "Revenge of the Pink Panther isn't the best of the continuing film series, but Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers on a slow day are still well ahead of most other comedic filmmakers."[9] Vincent Canby wrote in The New York Times "If you have the Clouzot [sic] habit, as I have, there's very little that Mr. Edwards and Mr. Sellers could do that would make you find the movie disappointing."[10] One DVD & video guide gave the movie four and a half out of five stars, calling it "arguably the best of the slapstick series."[11] In 1979, the film won the Evening Standard British Film Award for best comedy.[12]

Box office[edit]

The film grossed $62,810 in its first three days at the Odeon Leicester Square.[13] On its US release, it grossed $5,278,784 in its first 5 days of release from 387 theatres[7] and $11,004,124 in its first 12 days from 461 theatres in the United States and Canada.[14]

Cancelled sequel[edit]

Romance of the Pink Panther was a Pink Panther film that Sellers had written—and was willing to make without Edwards—before Sellers' death in July 1980.[15] UA considered recasting the role before convincing Blake Edwards to return to the series. Edwards chose to replace Clouseau with a new character rather than replace Sellers as Clouseau and to utilize outtakes from The Pink Panther Strikes Again to set up a transitional film (Trail of the Pink Panther) with new linking footage shot on the set of the new film (Curse of the Pink Panther).[16]


Composed by Henry Mancini in his fifth Pink Panther film, its theme music and much of the soundtrack draw heavily from the disco trends of the late 1970s. The "Pink Panther Theme" itself was reworked to include a more dancy bassline, electric piano and guitar solo.

A soundtrack album for the film was released by United Artists Records.


  1. ^ though his attempts to have Clouseau assassinated in the previous film The Pink Panther Strikes Again are mentioned, just how Dreyfus managed to return after being disintegrated is not.


  1. ^ a b c Revenge of the Pink Panther at the American Film Institute Catalog
  2. ^ "Revenge of the Pink Panther, Box Office Information". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  3. ^ Rowan, Terry (23 March 2015). Whodoneit! A Film Guide. ISBN 9781312308060 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Leszczak, Bob (22 August 2014). The Odd Couple on Stage and Screen: A History with Cast and Crew Profiles and an Episode Guide. McFarland. ISBN 9781476615394 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Lee, Amanda; Li, Sandy (6 June 2017). "Mandarin Oriental mulls sale of iconic Excelsior hotel in Hong Kong". South China Morning Post.
  6. ^ Leonard Maltin's 2015 Movie Guide ISBN 9780451468499
  7. ^ a b "'Panther' In 387: Already $5,278,784". Variety. July 26, 1978. p. 5.
  8. ^ Revenge of the Pink Panther, Rotten Tomatoes, retrieved 2022-03-19
  9. ^ Variety Staff (1 January 1978). "Revenge of the Pink Panther".
  10. ^ Canby, Vincent (July 19, 1978). "Pink Panther Tries Revenge in 5th Film:For the Pun of It". The New York Times – via
  11. ^ Martin, Mick, and Porter, Marsha (2006). DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 542. Ballantine Books.
  12. ^ IMDb Awards (1979).
  13. ^ "Revenge Is Sweet (advertisement)". Variety. July 19, 1978. p. 21.
  14. ^ "Latest On Panther". Variety. August 2, 1978. p. 6.
  15. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Peter Sellers Dies at 54 - Interviews - Roger Ebert".
  16. ^ "Trail of the Pink Panther". Turner Classic Movies.

External links[edit]