The Naked Gun
If you only see one movie this year... you've got to get out more often.
—Naked Gun 2½ trailer
A film Spin-Off of Police Squad!, following Police Lt. Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) as he continues to get into trouble. The films serve as parodies of the cop genre, and let nothing, including the blatant warping of reality and breaks in the fourth wall, get in the way of a good gag. The genius of the Drebin character is that Nielsen plays him almost totally straight: he's a buffoon, but he acts like a completely serious film detective even as lunacy explodes all around him, almost as if he's wandered in from a different movie.
Features slapstick, Visual Puns and Shout-Outs by the bucketful. At three movies, this actually lasted longer than the TV series it was based on. In all three Frank's love interest is Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley).
The films were:
- The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988) -While trying to clear the name of Officer Nordberg, Drebin uncovers a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II
- Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991) - Drebin meets the new man in Jane's life, who is involved in a kidnapping scheme.
- Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994) - Drebin comes out of retirement and infiltrates a gang to find out what is the target they are going to destroy. He must also save his faltering marriage.
- Accidental Pervert:
- Drebin escapes a burning room through the window, climbing along a row of anatomically-correct male and female statues. Between two statues is an open window, and a woman in her underwear just happens to be standing there. Drebin accidentally... well, guess. He then falls off the building, just saving himself by grabbing a statue's stone Gag Penis. In trying to save himself he manages to break the penis off the statue and fall into the woman's room through the window, brandishing it at her while loudly groaning from exhaustion.
- In the third movie, Drebin is at the store squeezing grapefruits to test for ripeness while looking the other way. A woman in a low cut dress walks by, and Drebin mistakes her breast for a grapefruit and squeezes it. He gets slapped (for added hilarity, it's the same actress in both scenes).
- Affectionate Parody: Of cop shows, and later spy movies.
- Almost-Dead Guy: In part 2.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: In the third movie, the inmates at the state prison (where Frank has gone undercover) riot in the cafeteria simply because they don't like the food they're being served. As depicted in the film the gag is quite funny, but in fact something like that did once happen at Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in San Francisco (it was known as "The Spaghetti Riot"). In the movie, this culminates in a Funny Moment / Moment of Awesome when the prisoners make the guards eat the awful food!
- Although in this case, Frank's reasoning when yelling to the guards was that it didn't resemble crappy stereotypical prison food enough.
- Precisely. Chateau LeBlanc '68 is supposed to be served slightly chilled, not room temperature!
- America Saves the Day: Drebin beats the tar out of Americas enemies, in a complete non-sequitur no less.
- Amusing Injuries: With or without Injury Discretion Shots.
- And Another Thing: Frank to Jane, in the first film:
Frank: Oh by the way, I faked every orgasm.
- Artistic License Gun Safety: It's to be expected, really.
- Ascended Extra: Nordberg - originally used for one-shot gags in Police Squad!, he became the recurring Butt Monkey for the Naked Gun movies, played by O.J. Simpson.
- Automobile Opening
- Babies Ever After
- Baby Carriage: The first scene of the third movie, which includes Nordberg (O.J. Simpson) almost spiking the baby after catching it.
- Bait and Switch: Lampshaded in Naked Gun 2½; Frank asks the bartender to give him the strongest thing he's got, to which a muscle-heavy man walks up. Frank says, "On second thought, how about a Black Russian." The bartender looks at the camera and shakes his head, indicating that he's not going to perform the obvious punchline.
- Balcony Escape
- Bear Trap Bed: Nordberg's bed in the first movie
- BFG: Nordberg's cannon in 2½.
- Big Bad: Ludwig from Police Squad, Quentin from The Smell of Fear and Rocko from The Final Insult.
- Bigger Bad: Papshmir, The Man Behind the Man in Police Squad and The Final Insult is the over-arching antagonist of the series but has less screen time then the main villains of each movie.
- Big Stupid Doodoo Head: Frank, from 2½:
Frank: Oh it's all right, I'm sure that we can handle this situation maturely, just like the responsible adults that we are. (to Quentin) Isn't that right, Mr. Poopy Pants?
Frank: Yes. Well, when I see five weirdos dressed in togas stabbing a guy in the middle of the park in full view of 100 people, I shoot the bastards. That's *my* policy.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Or in Frank's case, burglary, arson, and sexual assault with a concrete dildo. Though the last one was Not What It Looks Like, so it falls somewhere between this trope and Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking.
- Brick Joke: The zoo animals in the second movie.
- In the first film, "Hey, it's Enrico Pallazzo!"
- Also in the first film, the body from the meat factory? The still-ringed finger is found later in a hot dog at the baseball game.
- Butt Monkey: Nordberg.
- Dr. Meinheimer in The Smell of Fear.
- The Cameo:
- "Weird Al" Yankovic in all three films:
- In the first film, Frank's dramatic speech is cut short when Ed informs him that the massive crowd gathered outside his plane is actually for Weird Al. They go ecstatic when he departs the plane.
- In The Smell of Fear: As a criminal who has taken Ed, Nordberg, and the rest of the station hostage. Frank accidentally incapacitates him when opening a door too fast.
- The Final Insult: As Himself as Vanna White's escort at the Oscars.
- Thanks to the above-mentioned Oscars, the third movie has a whole pile of these.
- In the first movie, Reggie Jackson is the one brainwashed into trying to assassinate the Queen.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic in all three films:
- Casual Danger Dialog: Usually Drebin, but the driving instructor in the first movie puts Hindu cows to shame.
- Celebrity Paradox: Anna Nicole Smith also appears on a Playboy cover in the third movie... which lampshades this at the same time by giving Anna's character a Gag Penis. Think about it for a second.
- Chalk Outline: Spoofed by type and position. For type, there's a stick figure and an Egyptian, and for position, there's Chalk Outlines that appear on a building's walls, or roof, or one that appears floating on the water.
- Chekhov's Gun: The cuff links in the first movie.
- Comedic Sociopathy: During the romance montage of the first movie, Frank and Jane come laughing out of a movie only for it to turn out to be Platoon.
- The Comically Serious: The villain often fills this role.
- Drebin as well, since Leslie Nielsen's shtick is saying the most absurd lines with a straight face.
- Comically Small Bribe: Taken Up to Eleven. Drebin starts out bribing his informant but he starts bribing Drebin back to find out what Drebin is investigating (Drebin even lends the informant twenty dollars to bribe him with). By the end of the exchange, Drebin is ahead twenty dollars and the informant owes him another 20.
- Continuity Nod: The car Frank and Jane drive in the flashback to their wedding in 33 1/3 is the same solar-powered car that Hapsburg shows to his co-conspirators in the previous film.
- Cosmopolitan Council: In the beginning of the first movie. It includes Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran, Ugandan President Idi Amin, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, Col. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, among others.
- As of October 2011, all of these people are either dead or no longer in power. That's right, it took 23 years for the opening sequence of The Naked Gun to be completely outdated.
- Creator Cameo: David Zucker (director of the first two films) appears as Davy Crockett and later as the teleprompter operator in 2½ and 33⅓, respectively.
- Credits Gag: Happens in all three films. They include people getting credited by their single spoken line, people getting credited for made-up roles like "Second Second Assistant Director," "No Animals Were Harmed DURING THE FILMING... HOWEVER, SOME SPECIES DID BECOME EXTINCT DURING PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY", and the safety warning, "In Case of Tornado: SOUTHWEST CORNER OF BASEMENT."
- Crush Parade: At the end of the first film, Vincent Ludwig falls off a high ledge onto a street below where he gets hit by a bus, flattened by a steam-roller, and then trampled by a marching band playing "Louie Louie."
Ed: Oh, Frank! It's horrible. It's so horrible!
- Death by Looking Up: Rocko's mother gets hit with a falling APPLAUSE sign.
- Which somehow changes to STANDING OVATION after the cut to the crowd indeed applauding.
- Disaster Dominoes: Both Nordberg in the beginning of the first movie and later Drebin.
- Disney Villain Death: Hapsburg from 2½ would've died from the fall out of a tall building window, had it not been for an awning cushioning his fall. However, he was killed by a lion immediately after anyway.
- The bad guys from all 3 films die like this.
- The Ditz: Frank.
- Drives Like Crazy:
- Whenever Drebin gets behind the wheel, something bad happens. The scene when Drebin tags along in a driving school car is especially notable, when the driving instructor instructs the student how to flip the bird.
- The opening credits are also built on this. A cop car (presumably containing Drebin) viewed from the emergency lights shows absolutely insane or just plain nonsensical driving behavior, including driving on sidewalks, into people's homes, on roller-coasters, into bullfighting arenas, restaurants, hockey rinks, the air, the surface of the Death Star, and prehistoric times.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: In the second film, the villain (played by Robert Goulet) survives falling out of a window. When he gets up, it seems like Goulet is going to escape. Just then, a lion appears out of nowhere and kills him on the spot. It is however incredibly funny and a great Brick Joke since earlier in the film Drebin released a bunch of animals from the zoo.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Rocko Dillon in the third film.
- Every Car Is a Pinto
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Creatively named locations such as "The Hospital" and "The Police Station" are prominently signed as such
- Expository Hairstyle Change
- Face Palm: Happens in Naked Gun 33 ⅓ when Frank attempts to get the gun from Rocko while holding on the bomb in the envelope only for them to switch places causing everyone including the audience to face palm.
- Five-Bad Band: In the third movie:
- Funny Afro: '70s Nordberg had one so big, he couldn't get past the disco's door with it.
- Funny Answering Machine: Frank and Jane's answering machine ends with:
Frank: Which button do I press?
- Funny Background Event: The king of this form of humor. For example, in Naked Gun 2½, there's a series of framed pictures in the background of the bar Frank's in, all of which are various disasters (the Hindenburg, the sinking of the Titanic, and....Michael Dukakis).
- GPS Evidence: parodied several times
- Groin Attack: Repeatedly
- Humiliation Conga: Only in the Naked Gun series can you have the villain fall off a stadium ledge, be hit by a bus, flattened by a steam-roller and then a marching band playing "Louie Louie" walk over him.
- Also poor Dr. Meinheimer in "Naked Gun 2½." When he and Drebin are tied up in a warehouse, Drebin tries to saw through the ropes binding his hands behind his back by repeatedly scraping them up and down the sharp corner of a shelf. However, the vibrations send all sort of loose objects falling off the shelf and onto Dr. Meinheimer's head. By the end, he's barely conscious when the police come to his rescue.
- Hurricane of Puns
- I Ate What?
- Ignore the Fanservice: Tanya's failed attempts to distract a guard in 33 and 1/3. She ultimately pulls it off with bubble wrap.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Frank tries this on the now brainwashed Jane.
- Innocent Innuendo: A few times in the first meeting with his future love interest Jane, including one right after she climbs up a ladder. Later innuendo gets a lot less innocent.
Drebin: Say, nice beaver.
- A good example is when Frank goes to a sperm bank thinking it's a regular hospital.
- Insane Troll Logic: Drebin and Rocko's argument over who should have the gun and who should have the bomb in part 3. The audience actually does a collective Face Fault.
- Is This Thing Still On?: In the first movie, Frank's microphone stays on as he goes to the bathroom after a press conference. Hilarity Ensues.
- Jail Bake
- Juggling Loaded Guns:
Rocko Dillon: (firing a gun over the heads of the audience) Freeze, and nobody gets hurt!
- Karma Houdini:
- Tanya Peters never gets punished (at least not onscreen) for being affiliated with Rocko Dillon's terrorist gang, which is particularly odd since in the end she is the last surviving member of the gang. Sure, we know that she switched sides to the good guys by telling Frank where the bomb had been hidden, but that shouldn't absolve her from punishment for having knowingly collaborated with killers. Then again, this is a spoof, after all.
- Subverted in the case of Hapsburg in the second film; see Dropped a Bridge on Him above.
- Lame Comeback: In the third movie, Jane is so mad with Frank she calls him a "white Anglo male!"
- Last-Name Basis: Even Nordberg's wife doesn't seem to know his first name.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Burglary, arson, and sexual assault with a concrete dildo.
- Lethal Klutz: The third movie shows that Drebin has accidentally killed his fiancee, a fact he remains unaware of.
- Letting the Air Out of the Band: "The president of the United States!" No it's not.
- L Is for Dyslexia
- Los Angeles Doubling: The baseball scenes in the first film, which take place at an Angels home game, were actually filmed in Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles is doubling for Anaheim here).
- The Man Behind the Man: Papshmear from parts 1 and 3 who was a liaison for a mysterious organization who's only purpose is to spread mayhem around the world. You can hear him utter "Gaddafi" over the phone in the 3rd movie.
- Meaningless Meaningful Words
"The problems of two little people don't amount to a hill of beans, but this is our hill and these are our beans."
- Mistaken for Gay: When trying to gain access to the baseball field in part 1, Drebin knocks out one of the umpires so he can steal his outfit. He throws the unconscious umpire on a table and undoes both their pants, when a cleaning guy happens to walk in. He just shrugs it off with "sorry, fellas," and continues his rounds.
- Move Along, Nothing to See Here: In front of an exploding fireworks factory.
- My Girl Is Not a Slut: Sadly, she is (we're talking about Drebin's first girl).
- Mythology Gag: Dozens, the best known of which would be the Automobile Opening.
- The second movie homages the four-foot shootout from the series.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: At the beginning of the third movie, Frank has a nightmare (which at first is presented as if it's really happening) in which he's at a train station and finds himself trying to stop a Mafia shootout. Things quickly become even more complicated when President Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II wander into the crossfire....and then a gang of deranged postal workers show up....
- Noodle Incident: In 2½, after surviving an assassination attempt:
Jane: Oh Frank! Who would want to kill you?
- Offhand Backhand: While beating up Ayatollah Khomeini.
- Once per Movie: A visit to the lab to view the new Q-worthy gadgets
- Police Brutality: Hilariously averted in part 2 when Ed tries to beat up a goon whom he thought beat up Prof. Meinheimer.
- Prison Rape: Played for laughs and averted in the third movie.
- Private Eye Monologue
- Punny Name: Papshmear (Pap-Smear).
- Race Lift: Nordberg, who is played by O.J. Simpson in the movies, was white in Police Squad!.
- Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Done in the third film when Frank is on stage with Raquel Welch. Amusingly, he not only reads the stage directions, but also Raquel's lines as well as his own.
- Red Herring: The Swiss Army Shoe from the 1st film never gets used.
- Rule of Funny
- Running Gag: Drebin's bad driving.
- After saving the day, Drebin being mistaken for a celebrity. In the first, Enrico Pallazo. In the third, Phil Donahue.
- Say Your Prayers: In the second movie, a punk points a gun at multiple police officers and says this. Luckily, he's knocking out by Frank opening the door and knocking the punk unconscious in the process. Amusingly, Frank doesn't even realize he thwarted a crime when thanked for it.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Frank Drebin tries to live this trope from time to time, sadly with more realistic consequences than most Big Damn Heroes.
- Seven Minute Lull: in the second movie. "I haven't had this much sex since I was a Boy Scout leader!"
- Sexophone: When we first meet Jane in the first film.
- Sexy Shirt Switch
- Shout-Out: The scene revealing the induced hypnosis is almost identical to a similar scene from the Charles Bronson classic Telefon: Same setup, dialog, camera angles, you name it.
- In the second film, there is a parody of the sexual pottery scene from Ghost. Ghost was directed by Jerry Zucker, who co-created Police Squad and co-wrote the first film.
- The Automobile Opening shows the car driving through Death Star and Jurassic Park.
- After experiencing marital problems, Jane goes with a girlfriend on a Thelma and Louise-style road trip in the third movie. The friend is even named "Louise" and dresses just like Susan Sarandon did in that movie, in case you couldn't catch the reference.
- Also in the third movie, the Dillon gang go to a bunker to test their atomic weapon. After the detonation, the explosion blows their hair straight up, making them look like the main characters from Beavis and Butthead, which Rocko himself further alludes to by muttering: "Huh-huh-huh, huh-huh-huh, cool..."
- Status Quo Is God: played straight in 2½ (Frank's promotion to Captain and proposal to Jane didn't stick) but averted in 33⅓ (not only are they married, but he's left the force).
- Take That: Constantly.
- Tranquillizer Dart: Frank Drebin's cufflink tranquilizer darts in the first movie. However, they're not quite instant enough, since the bad guy staggers around long enough to fall over a railing to a Cruel and Unusual Death.
- Unbuilt Trope: Naked Gun 2½ had environmentalists as the good guys and fossil-fuel company executives as the villains years before Hollywood Global Warming was a thing.
- Unconventional Smoothie: Jane's "protein shake" in the second movie.
- Unnecessary Combat Roll: Goes further than usual with flips and cartwheels while Drebin is searching his house.
- Unsettling Gender Reveal: Tanya's silhouette reveal in her final scene. (Also counts as a Shout-Out, since it assumes you know All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game".)
- Western Terrorists: The Dillon gang in the third movie. Granted, they are secretly taking their orders from Arabs, but they're obviously plotting bombings more for the money than for hatred of the United States.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In the first movie the Queen seems to be entirely forgotten about after the assassin is foiled. Technically she doesn't need to appear since she's out of danger but it's strange that we don't see her reaction to Frank talking down a hypnotized Jane despite multiple reaction shots from the other people in the stadium.
- Who Are You?: At the beginning of the first Naked Gun movie after beating up the various Arab leaders, Idi Amin and Mikhail Gorbachev:
"I'm Lieutenant Frank Drebin, Police Squad! And don't ever let me catch you guys in America. (Drebin then falls out the window)
- Whole-Plot Reference: Romantic subplot aside, 33⅓ is basically a comedic retelling of White Heat. A police officer infiltrates a prison, befriends a violent criminal that loves his mother, and helps him escape in order to determine the site of his next crime.
- You Are Too Late: Two of the henchmen in the second movie tell this to Frank as he interrogates them.