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

8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Smart and well timed comedy

Multiple following parody movies have damaged the brand

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Naked Gun:  From the Files of Police Squad!

Studio:  Paramount Pictures

Genre(s):  Comedy

Release Date(s):  December 2, 1988

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Frank getting down with the Queen!

Lieutenant Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) is facing one of his greatest assignments.  His partner Nordberg (O.J. Simpson) was nearly killed while investigating a drug smuggling ring and now Frank must find the source of the drugs to prove Nordberg innocent.  Unfortunately, it isn’t only drugs being smuggled…a new form of mind control has been manufactured by Vincent Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban) and anyone can be an assassin.  Drebin finds himself involved with Ludwig’s assistant Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley) and trying to prevent an assassination of Queen Elizabeth (Jeannette Charles).

Directed by David Zucker, The Naked Gun:  From the Files of Police Squad! (often just called The Naked Gun) is a big screen version of short lived TV series Police Squad! which aired six episodes from March 4, 1982 to July 8, 1982 on ABC.  The movie was met with positive reviews and helped relaunch Leslie Nielsen’s starring career.


Now it is funny AND ironic

Spoof movies have been destroyed.  The movies are over abundant, poorly written, and pumped out over and over again with little more than an idea.  Airplane! and Airplane 2:  The Sequel helped the spoof gain power, but The Naked Gun really seemed to streamline it.  As a kid, I loved it…watching it again, it is still strong, but feels tied due to overproduction by Leslie Nielsen.

The movie’s script is quite predictable, but loaded with laughs.  Opposed to the modern spoof, the series is less topical and holds up better as a result.  Movies like Scary Movie are all about the now, but The Naked Gun keeps fresh by being more scripted with puns and word play mixed with physical gags.


Couples that get tattoos together, stay together!

Leslie Nielsen redefined himself with Airplane!, but The Naked Gun made him a “star”.  He bumbles his way though the movie, but watching it now, I can only see movie after movie where he did the same jokes.  Priscilla Presley plays a good female lead and I like George Kennedy as Frank’s coworker.  The movie was often cited since the series was one of O.J. Simpson’s last acting roles before the “Trial of the Century”.

The movie had a lot of physical gags.  The movie smartly doesn’t just rely on these gags for the jokes, but also has decent writing.  The movie’s effects are sometimes cheesy, but there aren’t any computer effects so at least you’re spared that.

The Naked Gun is one of the better spoof movies, but it hasn’t aged well do the large influx of movies like it.  The Naked Gun could be indirectly blamed for stuff like Meet the Spartans and Epic Movie, but I still like to think of how it was great when I was young.  The Naked Gun was followed by The Naked Gun 2 1/2:  The Smell of Fear in 1991.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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