The Naked Gun

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The Naked Gun series
Region 1 DVD cover for the film series box set
Directed byDavid Zucker (1 and 2)
Peter Segal (3)
Written byDavid Zucker
Jim Abrahams (1 and 2)
Jerry Zucker (1 and 2)
Pat Proft
Robert LoCash (3)
Based onPolice Squad!
by David Zucker
Jim Abrahams
Jerry Zucker
Produced byRobert K. Weiss
David Zucker (3)
StarringLeslie Nielsen
Priscilla Presley
O. J. Simpson
George Kennedy
Ed Williams
CinematographyRobert M. Stevens
Edited byMichael Jablow (1)
Christopher Greenbury
James R. Symons (2 and 3)
Music byIra Newborn
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
Running time
253 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$65 million
Box office$454 million

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


The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)[edit]

Detective Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) tries to uncover a plot 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 spends the night together, Jane helps with Frank's investigation.

The Naked Gun 2+12: 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.

Naked Gun 3313: The Final Insult (1994)[edit]

In the third film of the series, 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 is contacted by someone called 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.


On December 13, 2013, Paramount announced that a reboot of the franchise was in development, with Ed Helms starring as Drebin and Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant co-writing the screenplay.[1] However, on January 11, 2014, Garant stated that the film will be more of a sequel than a reboot.[2] In March 2015, David Zucker referred to the film as more of a reboot than a sequel, stating that it will not have the same spoofing style as the original series, while disagreeing with the choice of Helms as the lead, saying "I would want somebody who had never been in a comedy". Zucker was approached by the studio to produce the film.[3] In August 2015, Helms gave an update on the film stating "You have to make something that a contemporary audience is going to like. We haven't seen many of those slapstick movies in a while, so I'm not sure what the right angle is on it", echoing Zucker's comments on the film's modern take.[4] Zucker stated in 2017 that he was working on a script for a fourth Naked Gun film with Pat Proft.[5] He described the film's plot as being about the son of Frank Drebin.[5]

In 2021, Liam Neeson revealed that Paramount and Seth MacFarlane had approached him about the possibility of a Naked Gun reboot.[6] Neeson added that was excited for the project and that MacFarlane himself might direct it.[7]

Cast of characters[edit]

Main characters[edit]

  • Leslie Nielsen as Sergeant Frank Drebin, Detective Sergeant Lieutenant of 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.
  • Priscilla Presley as Jane Spencer (Jane Spencer 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 has ended and 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 at the end of the second film. In the third film (in which she is married to Frank, who is retired from the force) she is now a lawyer. At the end of the third film, Jane gives birth to a son, who looks like Nordberg, leading Frank to believe the two had an affair and chases after his colleague. However unbeknownst to him, Frank was in the wrong room and he fails to see Ed 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 and friend. He and Frank are partners for about five years, and he is Frank's best friend. 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. In a deleted scene from 2 1/2 the following dialogue occurs: "Bloodstains, Nordberg?" "No, the wife and I are redecorating..."
  • George Kennedy (Alan North, TV series) as Captain Ed Hocken, Frank's boss and friend. Ed encourages Frank to talk to Jane in the second movie. In the first film, he is married to a woman named Ethel, although in the second film his wife of 30 years is called Edna.
  • Ed Williams as Ted Olson, a scientist who works at the lab. In Police Squad!, Ted was always giving a questionable lesson to a child, in a parody of Watch Mr. Wizard. In the films, Ted provides Frank with gadgets in a parody of Q from the James Bond films. Ted, 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.[8]
  • 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 pushing him out the window, thinking he is helping Frank) but bounces off an awning and walks away, only to be mauled to death by a lion that had escaped from the zoo. 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, disguised as an envelope). Fred Ward

Notable cameos[edit]

Character Portrayer Film Other Notes
Man fixing a picture up onto the wall of his house[9] David Zucker The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! David Zucker directed the first two films
Driving Instructor[10] John Houseman The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! Final appearance[9]
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 33+13: 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 "Pahpshmir" in the first and last movie and implied to be a KGB agent who funds the primary villains with the intention of humiliating the United States. 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.


Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date US/Canada gross International gross Total gross
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! December 2, 1988 $78,756,177[11] $61,000,000[12] $140,000,000
The Naked Gun 2+12: The Smell of Fear June 28, 1991 $86,930,411[13] $105,300,000[14] $192,230,411
Naked Gun 33+13: The Final Insult March 18, 1994 $51,132,598[15] $71,300,000 $122,432,598[16]
Total $216,819,186 $237,600,000 $454,419,186

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! 87% (54 reviews)[17] 76 (13 reviews)[18] A−[19]
The Naked Gun 2+12: The Smell of Fear 57% (40 reviews)[20] 65 (21 reviews)[21] B+[19]
Naked Gun 33+13: The Final Insult 54% (35 reviews)[22] 63 (21 reviews)[23] B+[19]

Other notable appearances[edit]

Bruce Barbour as Leslie Nielsen's stunt double and Leslie Hoffman as Jeannette Charles' (Queen Elizabeth) stunt double made their famous slide down the banquet table.

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 James Earl Jones, Olympia Dukakis, Elliott Gould, Mariel Hemingway, Mary Lou Retton, Florence Henderson, Morgan Fairchild, Shannen Doherty, and Vanna White. "Weird Al" Yankovic also made cameo appearances in all three movies.

Video game[edit]

The Naked Gun: ICUP, a point and click and adventure game, was released by Gamecentric Media and Paramount in 2012.[24] The story and concept were penned by Robert LoCash, a writer of the third Naked Gun film. A press release by Gamecentric about the read "Spoofing modern crime dramas and lampooning popular video games, THE NAKED GUN: ICUP is designed as a continuation of the classic film franchise for the digital age. The game will be serialized over six episodes starting this fall with a new episode debuting monthly. Each episode will be fully voice-acted by top Hollywood talent to deliver a classic story-driven adventure supported by the itemized incentive structure of current popular social network games."[25] Due to Leslie Nielsen's death in 2010, voice actor A.J Locascio took over as Frank Drebin's long lost son, Frank Drebin Jr.

The game received an average score of 60 on the review aggregator Metacritic.[26]


  1. ^ McNary, Dave (December 13, 2013). "Ed Helms Firing Up The Naked Gun Reboot for Paramount (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  2. ^ "The Naked Gun Reboot Will be More Sequel Than Remake".
  3. ^ Brown, Kat (March 11, 2015). "Naked Gun Reboot 'Won't Be That Kind of Movie' says David Zucker". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  4. ^ Polowy, Kevin (August 5, 2015). "Ed Helms Updates Us on Naked Gun Reboot, Answers 'Things We've Always Wondered'". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Skubish, Jake (March 30, 2017). "Director David Zucker talks "Airplane!", comedy, getting his start on campus". Daily Cardinal. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  6. ^ Zinski, Dan (January 19, 2021). "Liam Neeson & Seth MacFarlane Have Talked About a Naked Gun Reboot". Screen Rant. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  7. ^ Lund, Anthony (July 24, 2021). "Liam Neeson Is Excited for Seth MacFarlane's The Naked Gun". Movie Web. Retrieved July 25, 2021.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ a b "The Internet Movie Database". The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
  10. ^ "The Internet Movie Database". John Houseman. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
  11. ^ "BoxofficeMojo". The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
  12. ^ Groves, Don (August 9, 1989). "UIP Up, Up and Away For Year; Rentals Take Off". Variety. p. 11.
  13. ^ "The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear". BoxofficeMojo. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
  14. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 15, 2002). "Top 50 worldwide grossers". Variety. p. 52, Paramount at 90 supplement.
  15. ^ "The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult". BoxofficeMojo. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
  16. ^ "Worldwide Rentals Beat Domestic Take". Variety. February 13, 1995. p. 28.
  17. ^ "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  18. ^ "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  19. ^ a b c "CinemaScore". CinemaScore. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  20. ^ "The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear (1991)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  21. ^ "The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear (1991)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  22. ^ "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  23. ^ "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  24. ^ Fahey, Mike (January 4, 2012). "The Sins of The Naked Gun Are Visited Upon Frank Drebin's Son". Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  25. ^
  26. ^

External links[edit]