The Naked Gun:
From the Files of Police Squad!
The Naked Gun Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Zucker
Written by
Based onPolice Squad!
by David Zucker
Jim Abrahams
Jerry Zucker
Produced byRobert K. Weiss
StarringLeslie Nielsen
CinematographyRobert M. Stevens
Edited byMichael Jablow
Music byIra Newborn
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • December 2, 1988 (1988-12-02)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$12 million[citation needed]
Box office$140 million

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (also known as simply The Naked Gun) is a 1988 American crime comedy film directed by David Zucker and released by Paramount Pictures. The film stars Leslie Nielsen as the bumbling police lieutenant Frank Drebin. Priscilla Presley, Ricardo Montalbán, George Kennedy, and O. J. Simpson also star in supporting roles.

The film features fast-paced slapstick comedy, including many visual and verbal puns and gags. The film is based on the character portrayed by Nielsen in the television series Police Squad!, and is also a continuation of the latter.[1] The core creative team behind Police Squad! and the film series includes the team of David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker as well as Pat Proft in varying combinations.[2]

Released on December 2, 1988, The Naked Gun was a critical and commercial success, which led to two sequels: The Naked Gun 2+12: The Smell of Fear (1991) and Naked Gun 33+13: The Final Insult (1994).


Police Squad Lieutenant Frank Drebin, taking a vacation in Beirut, disrupts a conference of America's greatest enemies (Idi Amin, Muammar Gaddafi, Ayatollah Khomeini, Yasser Arafat, Fidel Castro, and Mikhail Gorbachev[3]) who are trying to conceive a terrorist plan to humiliate the U.S. In Los Angeles, Officer Nordberg attempts to bust a heroin drug operation at the docks organized by dock's owner Vincent Ludwig, and is shot by Ludwig's henchmen. After returning to L.A. and being briefed on the case by his boss, Captain Ed Hocken, Drebin visits Nordberg in the hospital. Nordberg provides cryptic clues, including a picture of Ludwig's ship on which the deal had been organized. Frank meets with police scientist Ted Olsen, who has invented a cufflink that shoots tranquilizer darts. Frank learns through Ted that Nordberg's jacket tested positive for heroin.

Police Squad is put in charge of security for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Los Angeles, and Ed tells Frank that he has 24 hours to clear Nordberg before word gets out about what happened and detracts from the Queen's visit.

When Frank visits Ludwig in his office, Ludwig learns that Nordberg is still alive. Ludwig has his assistant, Jane Spencer, assist Frank in his investigation, and the two fall in love. However, Jane is unaware of her employer's illegal activities. After Frank leaves the office, Ludwig meets with Pahpshmir, a participant of the Beirut meeting, to discuss an assassination plot against the queen. Ludwig agrees to do it for $20 million, with Pahpshmir wondering how he plans to pull it off. Ludwig explains that using a beeper he will create the assassin using post-hypnotic suggestion. Ludwig attempts to have Nordberg killed at the hospital by hypnotizing a doctor. While Frank successfully protects Nordberg, in the ensuing chase the assassin crashes a car into a gasoline truck, then a ballistic missile, and finally a fireworks factory, causing Frank to fail to uncover the motive behind the attempted murder.

Frank breaks into Ludwig's office in his absence, searching for evidence. Although Frank finds a note from Pahpshmir addressed to Ludwig which confirms his suspicions, he inadvertently starts a fire that destroys the note and the office. Frank later has a run-in with one of Ludwig's men at his factory in a stockyard, and after that confronts Ludwig with his allegations at a reception for the Queen's arrival. 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. Afterward, Jane finds out about the plot and tells Frank that the plan will be executed at a baseball game between the Seattle Mariners and the California Angels at Anaheim Stadium during the seventh inning stretch and that one of the players will perform the act.

The police squad arrives at the stadium. In order to search the players, Frank knocks the home plate umpire out with a baseball bat and takes his place, frisking the players for weapons while they are at bat. The seventh-inning stretch begins and Ludwig activates his "sleeper", Reggie Jackson. Jane alerts Frank, who chases after Jackson and tackles him, but Jackson manages to get away when Frank's action starts a bench-clearing brawl. Ludwig holds Jane at gunpoint as he begins to leave the stadium while Jackson takes aim at the Queen. Frank tries to incapacitate Jackson with one of his cufflink darts, but misses and hits a large woman on the upper deck. The woman falls over the railing and lands on Jackson, incapacitating him and saving the Queen's life.

Frank follows Ludwig to the top of the stadium and shoots Ludwig with the other cufflink dart, causing him to fall over the side of the stadium where he is struck by a passing bus, run over by a steamroller, and trampled by the USC marching band. Some of the band members inadvertently step on Ludwig's beeper, triggering Jane to attempt to kill Frank with Ludwig's gun. Frank breaks Jane's hypnotized state by openly professing his feelings for her and giving her an engagement ring. Frank and Jane meet Mayor Barkley, who reinstates Frank back to Police Squad, and a recovered Nordberg congratulates him – until Frank inadvertently pushes Nordberg's wheelchair down the stadium stairs and launches him onto the field.


Major League Baseball player Jay Johnstone has a cameo role 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. Dr. Joyce Brothers also appears in a cameo role as herself. John Houseman appears (uncredited) as a driving teacher.


The film was shot at various locations in and around Los Angeles, California.[4]

Principal photography was from February 22 to May 6, 1988.[5][6]

Ricardo Montalban was chosen by the producers to play the villain after being included on a list of names assembled by the people in charge of casting the film.[7] The Zucker brothers had seen his performance in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.[8]


Critical response

Upon its initial release, The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! received critical acclaim, and has since been regarded as one of the greatest comedy films of all time.[9][10] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 86%, based on 57 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Naked Gun is chock full of gags that are goofy, unapologetically crass, and ultimately hilarious."[11] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 76 out of 100, based on 13 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[12] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.[13]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three-and-a-half stars (of four), and said: "The movie is as funny, let it be said, as any comedy released this year ... You laugh, and then you laugh at yourself for laughing."[14]

It was voted the 14th best comedy of all time in a Channel 4 poll.[15] The film was selected by The New York Times as one of The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made.[16] It was named the 7th Funniest Comedy Ever on a poll by Empire.[10]

Box office

The film was released on December 2, 1988, and in its opening weekend, finished in first place at the box office in the United States and Canada, grossing $9.3 million.[17] In its second weekend, it grossed $6.1 million, falling to second place behind the newly released Twins ($11.2 million).

The film went on to gross $78.8 million at the United States and Canada box office[18] and $73.7 million overseas[19] for a worldwide total of $152.4 million.

See also


  1. ^ Harper, Hilliard (November 29, 1988). "Creators of a TV Flop Get Just Dessert with Naked Gun". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  2. ^ Easton, Nina J. (December 2, 1988). "Naked Truth Behind 'Naked Gun' : Direct From the Files of the Play Squad". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  3. ^ "Before Interviewgate: 5 Movies on Real-Leader Assassinations". December 22, 2014.
  4. ^ Easton, Nina J. (December 2, 1988). "Naked Truth Behind 'Naked Gun' Direct From the Files of the Play Squad". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  5. ^ Weekly Variety Magazine; May 4, 1988; Page 142
  6. ^ Daily Variety Magazine; May 11, 1988; Page 2
  7. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "David Zucker, Jim Abrahams & Jerry Zucker "Naked Gun" 10/22/88 - Bobbie Wygant Archive". YouTube. August 25, 2020. Retrieved August 14, 2021.
  8. ^ "You Killed Five Actors!: 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About the Naked Gun". June 28, 2020.
  9. ^ Wilmington, Michael (December 2, 1988). "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Naked Gun' Fires Away With Gags, Laughs". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 18, 2010.
  10. ^ a b "The 50 Funniest Comedies Ever, Feature | Movies - Empire". gb: Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  11. ^ "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 17, 2022.
  12. ^ "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  13. ^ "Cinemascore :: Movie Title Search". December 20, 2018. Archived from the original on December 20, 2018. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  14. ^ Ebert, Roger. "The Naked Gun Movie Review Film Summary (1988)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  15. ^ Life Of Brian 'top comedy film' - Film and tv - Entertainment - Manchester Evening News[dead link]
  16. ^ "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made". The New York Times. April 29, 2003.
  17. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for December 2-4, 1988". Box Office Mojo. March 5, 2016. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  18. ^ "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  19. ^ "UIP's $25M-Plus Club". Variety. September 11, 1995. p. 92.