Film: The Naked Gun
"If you only see one movie this year... you've got to get out more often."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 (initially) film noire, 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 are:
— Naked Gun 2½ trailer
- 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 in prison. He must also save his faltering marriage.
The Naked Gun series provides examples of:
open/close all folders
- Affectionate Parody: Of cop shows, and later spy movies.
- Amusing Injuries: With or without Injury Discretion Shots.
- Artistic License – Gun Safety: It's to be expected, really.
- Aside Glance: The standard reaction from characters when another character they are in conversation with says something nonsensical. Which, in this movie series, means almost every conversation, and often switches between who is talking nonsense and who is giving the Aside Glance.
- 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: The credits sequence.
- 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.
- Bit Character: Tons of them throughout all three movies, to the point where many characters in the credits are simply identified by the one line they say.
- Butt Monkey: Nordberg, especially in the first two films. Given how O.J. Simpson's life turned out, the commentary track laughs at the Laser-Guided Karma.
- 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.
- Casual Danger Dialog: Usually Drebin, but the driving instructor in the first movie puts Hindu cows to shame.
- 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.
- The second movie has outlines of body parts...
- There was also an outline on an elevator door.
- 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.
- Really, everyone in all three movies has to behave this way, since they're ostensibly appearing in a series of film noir crime dramas.
- 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."
- The Ditz: Frank, despite his Feigning Intelligence.
- 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.
- Drebin gets into a tank; When Cpt Hocken tells him that Frank doesn't know how to drive it, he means it.
- 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 rollercoasters, into bullfighting arenas, restaurants, hockey rinks, the air, the surface of the Death Star, and prehistoric times.
- (to Jane) "After I met you I noticed things I never saw before. Birds singing, dew glistening off a leaf, stop lights."
- Jane driving the humongous semi in 33 ⅓; When she stops at Rocco's place, she has a road worker stuck at the grill.
- In a Thelma & Louise nod, Jane and her lady friend practically pack their whole house on the trunk of their convertible, constantly spilling appliances down the road.
- Drebin notes when he is being awarded a citation for his 1000th drug dealer killed that he accidentally backed over the last three with his car and only found out they were drug dealers after.
- Disney Villain Death: All three movies have them, including the bad guy from the first movie and a close call for the one in the second.
- Funny Background Event: Everything that happens concerning the aftermath of Drebin hitting something with his car.
- Hurricane of Puns: It's a ZAZ movie, there are some even hidden in the background.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lt. Frank Drebin. Mostly because he is a very blunt person.
- 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.
- Man Child: Frank and Jane. "Their song" is "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall."
- May-December Romance: Jane and Frank. Leslie Nielsen was 20 years Priscilla Presley's senior.
- 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.
- Once per Episode: A visit to the lab to view the new Q-worthy gadgets
- Private Eye Monologue: Frank is constantly doing this. A particularly memorable one in the first movie had monologuing while walking through town, culminating in "And where the hell was I?"
- Punny Name: Papshmear (Pap-Smear).
- Race Lift: Nordberg, who is played by O.J. Simpson in the movies, was white in Police Squad!.
- Rule of Funny: Given it's a ZAZ comedy, any nonsensical thing is this.
- Running Gag:
- Drebin's bad driving.
- After saving the day, Drebin being mistaken for a celebrity. In the first, Enrico Palazzo. In the third, Phil Donahue.
- 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.
- Status Quo Is God: played straight in 2 1/2 (Frank's promotion to Captain and proposal to Jane didn't stick) but averted in 33 1/3 (not only are they married, but he's left the force).
- Take That: Constantly. ("It'll be more embarrassing to the US than Tonya Harding.")
The Naked Gun
- 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. He's later before a very angry mayor who reads off the charges against him, which includes "sexual assault with a concrete dildo."
- Acquitted Too Late: Frank finds a plastic box while cleaning his files.Frank Drebin: Hey! The missing evidence in the Kellner case! My god! He really was innocent!
Captain Ed Hocken: He went to the chair two years ago, Frank.
[box goes back to the drawer].
- America Saves the Day: Drebin beats the tar out of America's enemies in the first movie's cold open.
- And Another Thing: Frank to Jane:Frank: Oh by the way, I faked every orgasm.
- Balcony Escape: Frank Drebin does this. He needs to grab hold of the carvings of naked men and women to maintain his balance. Hilarity Ensues.
- Bear Trap Bed: Nordberg's bed. He also manages to step in an actual Bear Trap as well.
- Blood Knight: Drebin.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.Mayor: That was a Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar, you moron! You killed five actors! Good ones!
- Bowdlerise: The infamous "Nice beaver!" quote was dubbed with the less funny "Nice one!" in TV airings. Which ruins the gag.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The villain's various victims.
- 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.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Or in Frank's case, walking around it. As when he first goes to the lab the doctor and the captain walks through the door where he walks around it.
- Brick Joke:
- "Hey, it's Enrico Palazzo!"
- The corpse in the meat factory reappears as a still-ringed finger found in the Big Bad's hot dog.
- Butt Monkey: Enrico Palazzo is Bound and Gagged and impersonated by Frank, and then the TV captions display his name during Drevin's horrible interpretation of the national anthem, adding insult to injury.
- California Doubling: The baseball scenes, which take place at an Angels home game, were actually filmed in Dodger Stadium. (Los Angeles is doubling for Anaheim here.)
- The Cameo: Reggie Jackson is the one brainwashed into trying to assassinate the Queen.
- Chekhov's Gun: The cuff links.
- Comedic Sociopathy: During the romance montage, Frank and Jane come laughing out of a movie only for it to turn out to be Platoon.
- Comically Missing the Point: When Drebin meets a Mook standing at a distance:Mook: Drebin!
Frank: Yeah, I'm Drebin!
Mook: I have a message for ya from Vincent Ludwig! [firing gun] Take that, you lousy cop!
Frank: I'm sorry, I can't hear you! Don't fire the gun while you're talking!
- Cosmopolitan Council: In the beginning of the 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.
- Crazy-Prepared: When Frank and Jane meet, they use condoms during their first bedroom encounter to guarantee "safe sex." Not too strange in itself, until you see that the condoms cover their entire bodies.
- Crush Parade: At the end, Vincent Ludwig falls off the upper deck of a baseball stadium to the parking lot 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!
Frank: (comforting Ed) I know...
Ed: My father went the same way...
- Disaster Dominoes: Both Nordberg in the beginning and later Drebin.
- Driving Test Smashers: In the first movie, Frank does a Follow That Car... on a driving school car.Driving instructor: All right, Stephanie, gently extend your arm. Extend your middle finger. Very good. Well done.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: A car-chase ends with the pursued villain crashing his car into the side of a tanker truck. Explosion #1. Then, straddling the flaming remains of his vehicle, he runs into an army missile being towed on a trailer. Explosion #2. Now riding the missile, he plows in through the front door of a fireworks factory. EXPLOSION NUMBER THREE, as Frank Drebin unsuccessfully attempts to shoo away gawking spectators: "Move along! There's nothing to see here!"
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Creatively named locations such as "The Hospital" and "The Police Station" are prominently signed as such. Word of God is that the hospital was supposed to be called "Our Lady Who Never Got The Pickle" but Ricardo Montalban, a devout Catholic, requested the change. The hospital is name dropped as "Our Lady of the Worthless Miracle."
- The Faceless: Al from the first movie, a carry-over character from Police Squad!.
- Falling in Love Montage: Parodied. (Among other things, the montage appears to contain at least a week's worth of activities, but occurs right after Drebin is told he has 24 hours to clear Nordberg and save the Queen.)
- Fee Fi Faux Pas: Played with in a deleted scene:Frank: Why you sniveling scum! You're no better than your old man!Johnny: My old man's dead!Frank: Oh, sorry, Johnny, I forgot.Johnny: Yeah, well, maybe this will help refresh your memory a little. (slips Frank a bill)Frank: Oh yeah, he is dead.
- Genre Blindness: The Mayor berates Frank as if they are living in a perfectly normal universe like ours - oblivious to the fact that it's Like Reality Unless Noted.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Drebin has apparently killed at least a thousand drug dealers, any number of fleeing suspects, and an entire Shakespeare In The Park production of Julius Caesar. Throw in his reckless incompetence and inability to drive or park, and he's probably as big a menace as any of the villains.
- He's Got a Weapon!: Thanks for that update, Jane.
- Hidden Depths: The Queen of England throws a mean curve ball.
- History Marches On: Mikhail Gorbachev is among America's enemies. Yet his role in causing The Great Politics Mess-Up soon gave him a Historical Hero Upgrade.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Frank Drebin. Made worse by the fact that he was impersonating a famous opera singer, Enrico Palazzo, while the said singer was tied up and forced to watch.
- 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.
- I Knew It: In-Universe, what Frank says after he puts Mikhail Gorbachev in a headlock and rubs off his famous "wine stain" birthmark.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Frank to Jane near the end, when she's hypnotized into trying to kill him.
- Innocent Innuendo: The first meeting with Frank's future love interest Jane, including one right after she climbs up a ladder. Later innuendo gets a lot less innocent.Drebin: Say, nice beaver.
Jane: Thanks, I just had it stuffed.
(hands down a literal stuffed and mounted beaver)
- Is This Thing Still On?: Frank's microphone stays on as he goes to the bathroom after a press conference. Hilarity Ensues.
- It Came from the Fridge: Frank makes the mistake of sniffing an example of this.
- Jungles Sound Like Kookaburras: Frank hears a Kookaburra shouting when he gets lost in the hills of Los Angeles.
- 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.
- Literal-Minded: Frank is searching Ludwig's office for clues, opens a drawer and shouts "Bingo!"... Has he found a smoking gun? No, he's found a literal bingo card.
- 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, 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.
- Nebulous Evil Organisation: Drebin beats up the world's most evil men. Also, whoever Papshmear is working for.
- Not What It Looks Like:
- Frank is swapping clothes with the knocked out umpire. The janitor walks in and assumes something sexual (understandably so, since the umpire's ass is propped up on the table) and says, "Whoops. Sorry, fellas." and backs out.
- The "sexual assault with a concrete dildo" incident.
- Oedipus Complex: Played for laughs as Frank's internal monologue describes Jane as an alluring goddess when he meets her, only to end with noting that she reminds him of his mother. Then when the captain sees Frank's face he tells him to wipe that look off his face as it looks like he just saw his mother.
- Offhand Backhand: While beating up Ayatollah Khomeini.
- Only a Flesh Wound: Nordberg is shot up in the beginning, but luckily "The bullets missed every major organ". He spends the movie recovering and is just fine in the next movie. Most of the damage that he receives is unwittingly caused by himself or Frank.
- Only Sane Man: The Mayor, who plays the Straight Man when speaking to Frank.
- Police Code for Everything: A deleted scene (which is seen in most TV airings) involves Frank informing the front desk of the hospital that they've got a 411 in progress. The woman replies, "411? Oh my God, fire!" Frank corrects her: "No no, 1411." She replies, "My God, a poison gas leak!" Frank tries again, "No no, a 1414." The woman screams and jumps out the window.
- The Precarious Ledge: Drebin escapes a burning room from a window onto a ledge filled with anatomically correct male and female statues. Hilarity Ensues.
- Ransacked Room: Frank wreaks havoc when he sneaks into Ludwig's office.
- Rasputinian Death: Hapsburg, as listed on Humiliation Conga. And apparently Capt. Hocken's father also died like this!
- Red Herring: The Swiss Army Shoe never gets used.
- Sexophone: When we first meet Jane.
- Sexy Shirt Switch: Played for laughs.
- 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.
- "I shoot the bastards. That's *my* policy." is a parody of a similar scene of Dirty Harry about Cowboy Cop antics.
- Jane's introduction at the top of the staircase is from Farewell My Lovely.
- Frank describing the creation of the universe when he's asked to "start at the begining" is a nod to ZAZ's earlier masterpiece, Airplane!, which has a similar scene after Jonny is asked for a summary of what's happened so far.
- Olson shows Drebin some familiar gadgets including a knife shoe and tranquilizing cuff-links.
- Sickbed Slaying: A Vorpal Pillow against Norbert is thwarted by Frank, but not without inflicting some damage to the target.
- Slip into Something More Comfortable: Parodied. After Frank Drebin arrives home late at night, he finds Jane (then working for Ludwig) wearing one of Drebin's shirts. After some suggestive dialog, Frank, who is wearing a collared shirt, slacks, and a tie, says that he will go slip into something more comfortable. He emerges wearing a suit. Then he slips out of it completely by just pulling the collar.
- Tranquillizer Dart: Frank Drebin's cufflink tranquilizer darts. 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.
- Unnecessary Combat Roll: Goes further than usual with flips and cartwheels while Drebin is searching his house.
- Verbal Backspace: Done by all the other baseball umpires who are arguing against Drebin's (flagrantly incorrect) call, when he draws his gun.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- 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.
- To say nothing of the fact that Nordberg was never actually cleared of the crime he was accused of.
- Who Are You?: At the beginning, 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)
- Will Talk for a Price: Parodied. Frank Drebin questions the dock manager during his investigation of the attempted murder on Nordberg. The guy's memory is foggy, so Frank gives him a twenty. When the guy subsequently asks Frank an innocuous question, he gives Frank his twenty back to persuade him to answer, gives him another twenty for another question, and has to borrow an additional twenty from Frank because he's out of money.
Naked Gun 2½
- Accidental Hero: Frank has a habit of pulling this, especially in the second film: He responds to his award for "One Thousandth Drug Dealer Killed" by remarking that he accidentally ran over the last two with his car. In a later scene, he unknowingly saves his colleagues from a crazed gunman.
- Acoustic License: An aversion is played for laughs when a hitman tries to deliver a "message" to Drebin from the Big Bad by cursing and opening fire on him. Drebin's response:"Sorry, I can't hear you! Don't fire the gun while you're talking!"
- Almost Dead Guy: Two of them, no less. The second guy asks where the first one left off. "All right, who else is almost dead?"
- Ambiguous Syntax: Subverted:Dr. Meinheimer: You're thinking about him again, aren't you? What was his name? "Frank"?Jane: Yes.Dr. Meinheimer: You just can't forget about him, can you?Jane: Who?Dr. Meinheimer: ...Frank.
- Bait and Switch: Lampshaded; 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.
- BFG: Nordberg's cannon.
- Bigger on the Inside: Jane's fridge is deep enough to fit her whole on a single shelf while laying face down, and ample enough for her to turn and knock on the door when it closes behind her.
- Big Stupid Doodoo Head: Frank: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?
- Brick Joke: The zoo animals.
- Butt Monkey: Dr. Meinheimer and Barbara Bush.
- The Cameo: Zsa Zsa Gabor slaps the police siren during the opening credits.
- Comically Missing the Point:[Frank reads a business card]
Frank: That's the red-light district. I wonder why Savage is hanging around down there.
Ed: Sex, Frank?
Frank: (beat) Uh... no, not right now, Ed.
- Crazy-Prepared: Nordberg begins to add accessories to his handgun during a shootout; the next scene shows him pulling parts out of nowhere as he puts together a gun mount; by the time Drebin calls out to him for cover, he has already put together a full-fledged cannon and proceeds to shoot down a massive chunk of wall, disabling every one of Hapsburg's cronies.
- Crowd Panic: Happens at the end, when everyone learns about the bomb.
- Dirt Force Field: Parodied. Frank falls through a roof window of the building where the villains are. He gets up, all dusty and dirty, and begins to wipe his hair. In the next cut, Frank is completely clean.
- Dramatic Unmask: Drebin attempts this with the impersonator, not knowing that the real Dr. Meinheimer had been freed and taken his place while the impersonator had been arrested. Made worse when the means of unmasking involved pulling down the poor doctor's pants because of a Distinguishing Birthmark on his backside. When discovering it is there, he assumes it's a fake and tries to remove it with a buffing machine in front of the entire award banquet audience.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: 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.
- Escaped Animal Rampage: Frank accidentally causes a break out at the zoo, and animals are seen running around in the background of some scenes. In the end, the Big Bad is dispatched by an escaped lion.
- Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Robert Goulet's character manages to escape, only to be pounced on by a lion.
- Funny Background Event: 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). Also included: the Hubble Space Telescope, which isn't that much of a disaster anymore.
- GPS Evidence:
- Parodied when the scientist involved outlines his plan to do an exhaustive study and analysis of the city's soil sample from a footprint found at the crime scene. When the police tell him that they don't have time for him to run his tests, the scientist helpfully suggests getting the criminal's address from the driver's license in his wallet, also found at the crime scene.
- And again when Ted the lab guy tries to analyze the wood fiber in a message from their suspect and determines that it came from a specific tree found only in one region and used as raw material in only one paper mill. The trail unfortunately went cold from there, so it's a good thing the message had their suspect's address on the letterhead, eh?
- Improbable Weapon:
- When the hit man who came to kill Jane fights with Frank, they use a whole series of these, including a hair dryer and a towel thrown in Frank's face (a Call Back to the Vorpal Pillow?), and culminating with a firehose that Drebin accidentally breaks while it's shoved in the hit man's mouth, leading to an off-screen Your Body Asplode. Crosses the Line Twice!
- Not mentioning that before the fight, the mook fits a revolver... with a silencer (not entirely impossible, but tremendously impractical).
- Nordberg's accessorized gun-to-cannon upgrade in the second film. This and the previous example also serve as Improbable Use of a Weapon
- Fun with Acronyms: The three major energy lobbies (coal, oil, and nuclear) are given incredibly ironic acronyms: Society For More Coal Energy (S.M.O.C.E.), Society of Petroleum Industry Leader (S.P.I.L.), Key Atomic Benefits Office Of Mankind (K.A.B.O.O.M.).
- Groin Attack: O.J. Simpson winds up under a bus that just happens to keep running over road cones, signs, random cactuses...
- Hidden Wire: Frank infiltrates Hapsburg's hideout while wearing one of these. As expected, Frank's not very subtle about saying the codeword into the vest mic to signal the rest of the team to infiltrate the lair.Mook: What's that smell?!
Frank: Oh, that would be me. I've been swimming in raw sewage. I love it. (Beat) I love it. (later...) I LOVE IT!!!
- IKEA Weaponry: Nordberg pulls out a Desert Eagle and starts adding more and more pieces onto it until he has a mounted cannon complete with army helmet.
- Intimate Marks: A famous scientist is identified by a birthmark on his buttcheek. When a criminal disguises himself as the scientist, the main character yanks down the man's pants to expose him... only he grabbed the scientist and not the criminal.
- I Was Young and Needed the Money: The phrase is used by Jane, but that's not what Frank Drebin was looking for.
- Letting the Air Out of the Band: "The president of the United States!" No it's not.
- Literal-Minded: When the big bad is described as having "a moustache, about six-foot-three", Frank retorts with "awfully big moustache."
- Mistaken for Gay: Frank is dwelling in a bar with Hocken when they receive a couple of heavily decorated drinks from Jane, who beckons Frank to come closer. Absentmindedly, Frank sits and declares "This is not easy to say. I'm lonely. I'm lost. I need someone to hold," not realizing that he sat in a table next to Jane's, getting a sneer from the butchy guy sitting on the table.
- Mistaken for Pedophile: "I haven't had this much sex since I was a Boy Scout leader!"
- Negative Continuity: Played for laughs, of course. Frank crashes through the villain's window and is shown appropriately dirty and battered. But in the very next shot, he stands up and is completely clean.
- Noodle Incident: After surviving an assassination attempt:Jane: Oh Frank! Who would want to kill you?
Frank: Before tonight? Only the cable company...
Frank: Oh congratulations, I understand that Edna's pregnant again.
- Also this:
Hocken: Yes, and if I catch the guy who did it—
- Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: A very subtle one. Quentin Hapsburg is playing Solitaire at a gala and begins to get fed up with the cards he's being dealt; he gives up and picks up the pile to look for the cards he needs. He doesn't even have the respect for the rules or the patience for a game where he has no opponents and there's nothing at stake. Also, Hidden Depths, considering how buffoonish the environment of the movies plays out.
- Not Helping Your Case: All three major energy industries (coal, oil, and nuclear) produce commercials that defend their energy brand. However, all are filled with ironic imagery that, if it weren't played for comedy, wouldn't convince people that their energy policy is the way to go. (for example, the nuclear ad features a mutated, two-tailed dog). Add in that the acronyms for the industry organizations for coal, oil, and nuclear are SMOKE, SPIL, and KABOOM
- Obfuscating Disability: Dr. Meinheimer's double.
- Police Brutality: Hilariously averted when Ed tries to beat up a goon whom he thought beat up Prof. Meinheimer.
- Precision F-Strike: Zsa Zsa Gabor's cameo during the opening credits."This happens every fucking time I go shopping."
- Say Your Prayers: A punk points a gun at multiple police officers and says this. Luckily, he's knocked 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.
- Seven Minute Lull: "I haven't had this much sex since I was a Boy Scout leader!"
- Shout-Out: 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.
- Stunt Double: Parodied; suddenly, Leslie Nielsen can do multiple front flips and perform a complicated dance with Priscilla Presley.
- Talking Is a Free Action: Lampshaded or subverted depending on how you want to look at it - Frank and Jane are having a heartwarming moment when Ed reminds Frank about the huge bomb that's set to explode any second
- That Came Out Wrong: Jane walks out on Frank at the restaurant, and Frank replies with:Frank: I'm single! I, I love being single! I haven't had this much sex since I was a Boy Scout leader!
[Music and conversation stops; everyone stares]
Frank: I mean, at the time, I was dating a lot.
- Toplessness from the Back: Hector Savage is about to shoot Jane in the shower, only for Frank to stop him at the last second. During their struggle, the shower curtain is pushed aside, leading to this shot. They stop fighting just to stare, much to Jane's annoyance.
- Unconventional Smoothie: Jane's "protein shake" in the second movie.
- You Are Too Late: Two of the henchmen tell this to Frank as he interrogates them.
- Your Cheating Heart:Frank: Congratulations, Ed; I understand that Edna's pregnant again.
Ed: (angrily) Yes, and if I catch the guy who did it...
Naked Gun 33⅓
- Accidental Pervert: 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 he accidentally groped in the first film.)
- Adult Fear: The scene where Jane's harassed by the truck driver who keeps insisting, "I know when a woman says "no", she really means "yes", then actually grabbing her when she gets fed up and tells him "Yes", angrily demanding, "What do you mean, telling me "no"?, forcing her to defend herself. Played for Laughs of course, but it undoubtedly struck a chord with any woman who's ever had to put up with someone hassling them.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: 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 the prisoners making the guards eat the awful food!
- Babies Ever After: Although its reveal is unpleasant to Frank...
- Baby Carriage: The first scene, which includes Nordberg (O.J. Simpson) almost spiking the baby after catching it.
- Bland-Name Product: The keeper of the Oscars' envelops works for
- Brutal Honesty: From the climax:Jane: I was wrong. Taking you away from Police Squad was a mistake. I know now that's why you couldn't perform decent sex with me.
(Frank looks very confused)
- The Cameo: Thanks to the abovementioned Oscars, the third movie has a whole pile of these.
- 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.
- Comic-Book Time: There's a bit of it early on when the characters remember having seen Tanya Peters in a dance club sometime during the disco era of the late '70s (lets say, 1978). Since Leslie Nielsen and George Kennedy were already middle-aged in '78, seeing them looking more or less the same (except for the '70s Hair, of course) in the disco setting isn't too much of a stretch. But when we see Tanya herself, she's blatantly the same age as in the present day (about her mid-20s); if she had aged along with everyone else, she'd be at least 40 years old throughout most of the movie, which she is not. (Interestingly, Tanya's portrayer, Anna Nicole Smith, was not even a teenager when the disco era ended.)
- Commonplace Rare: Used as a joke. In reality, the "rare" Canary Island Pine is actually one of the most common trees in the world.
- Continuity Nod:
- The car Frank and Jane drive in the flashback to their wedding is the same solar-powered car that Hapsburg shows to his co-conspirators in the previous film. This scene was meant to be the previous film's ending, hence Nordberg getting dragged with it.
- The flashback also features Frank's previous love mentioned in the beginning of the first film.
- A deleted scene (which aired in the TV broadcast) showed Frank walking past a cell in the state prison containing a lion. This could be the same lion that mauled Hapsburg to death at the end of the second film; given the "logic" of this series, it's conceivable that the lion would've been charged with homicide.
- Cut Himself Shaving: Jane removes Frank's shirt to discover whip marks on his back.Jane: Frank! What's this?!
Frank: I... fell. On a rake.
Jane: You're lying! Now I know why Ed's been calling every half hour; you've been back on the case, haven't you?
Frank: No, I swear, it's another woman!
Jane: In your wildest dreams!
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Frank at the fertility clinic.
- Dead Man's Trigger Finger: Performed by one of the mafia goons in the Untouchables parody opening sequence.
- Death by Looking Up: Rocko's mother gets hit with a falling APPLAUSE sign. Which changes to STANDING OVATION as she's struggling, and makes the crowd indeed applaud.
- Dominatrix: Frank Drebin has an encounter with one after he mistakes a sperm bank for a regular doctor's office and asks for "help."PA System: Dr. Rosenblat, foreplay in room 7 please, Dr. Rosenblat.
Dr. Rosenblat: *cracks whip*
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Rocko Dillon.
- Even Evil Has Standards: When Tanya who is a prostitute walks into a room of the Dillon's house wearing a bathing suit to flash her body to everyone there with, Mrs. Dillon tells her "That's no way to walk around. Put some clothes on. And what are you doing in my bathing suit?"
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Sent up when a flashback to the characters in The '70s, and they all have longer hair (but don't look otherwise any younger), culminating in OJ Simpson's character, whose Funny Afro is so big that it gets stuck in the door. A character then says in the present "That's right! You were one of the first test subjects for Minoxidil!"
- Face Palm: Happens 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 facepalm.
- Feet-First Introduction: When Frank is re-introduced to Tanya, the camera pans up her long legs... and goes past two sets of knees.
- 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.Ed: I do remember! You were one of the first test cases for Minoxidil, weren't you?
- Funny Answering Machine: Frank and Jane's answering machine ends with:Frank: Which button do I press?
Jane: No, not that one!
- Funny Background Event: One part had a Funny Foreground Event.(Frank walks back into the police office)
First Cop on Phone: Now calm down, ma'am. How many dead bodies did you say you found in your swimming pool?
Second Cop on Phone: Don't worry, sir. In this state, killing a gang member is an $18 fine. Just mail it in.
- Going Postal: Parodied. While Frank is dealing with a number of threats (itself a parody of The Untouchables), a man screams "Oh my god, look! It's disgruntled postal workers!" and he sees a number of mailmen firing assault rifles.note
- Groin Attack: The scientist introduces a rather horrifying anti-carjacking device. It places a metal clamp on the carjacker's groin and detaches, leaving it there while the victim drives off. "We call it the Boston jock-strap."
- Hospital Hottie: Tanya goes undercover as one.
- I Ate WHAT?: Frank goes to the crime lab where Ted has been examining the explosive used in the bombing their investigating. Frank dips his finger in the petrie dish on Ted's desk, tastes it, and begins to deduce what it tastes like, when Ted informs him that the petrie dish contains Fertilizer, evidance relating to a completely seperate case. Frank makes a "yuck" face and while Ted continues his monologue, Frank grabs a random beaker full of yellow liquid off his desk to wash the taste out of his mouth with. In a double-whammy of this trope, Ted then takes the beaker off Frank's hands saying, "Let me take that urine specimen from you, Frank.", leading to the mandatory Spit Take.
- Ignore the Fan Service: Tanya's failed attempts to distract a guard. She ultimately pulls it off with bubble wrap.
- Innocent Innuendo: 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. The audience actually does a collective Face Fault.
- Irony: In the climax, Jane tells the women in the audience to hold onto their mates, because "good men don't just fall out of the sky". Cue Frank doing just that and incapacitating Rocco.
- Jail Bake: Lampshaded.
- Juggling Loaded Guns:Rocko Dillon: (firing a gun over the heads of the audience) Freeze, and nobody gets hurt!
(a grip falls from the rafters into the orchestra)
Rocko Dillon: Well... from now on!
- 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.
- Lame Comeback: Jane is so mad with Frank she calls him a "white Anglo male!" Jane's subplot is a massive spoof of feminist tropes (and one big Shout-Out to Thelma & Louise, so such insult is only to be expected.
- Leitmotif: Tanya has a sultry one.
- Lethal Klutz: Drebin has accidentally killed his fiancee, a fact he remains unaware of.
- Like an Old Married Couple: Subverted; Frank and Jane are a married couple, but Rocco and co. aren't aware of it.Tanya: Hey, look at this. She's married. What if her husband comes looking for her?
Frank: He probably will. He must be a great guy.
Jane: He breaks promises.
Frank: Well, look at you traipsing all over the countryside just to spite a big, wonderful guy.
Jane: He left me.
Frank: More like you left him.
Jane: You should talk.
Frank: Well, listen to you.
Jane: Listen to you.
Frank: Listen to you.
Jane: LISTEN TO YOU!
Frank: LISTEN TO YOU!
Rocco: Jeez, you two knock it off! You'd think you were married or something.
- L Is for Dyslexia: In the first scene, Frank Drebin is reading a newpaper with the headline: "Dyslexia For Cure Found".
- Literal-Minded: When asked by Frank to "start at the beginning," the scientist in the forensics lab starts to describe the creation of the universe.
- Mistaken for Gay: Drebin goes to the Sperm Bank he mistakes for a regular doctor's office and describes an injury he sustained in the back yard with his uncle. He thinks he's talking about his arm describing a football injury. They... don't.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: At the beginning, 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....
- No, Except Yes:Frank: Cheer up, Ed, this is not goodbye; it's just I won't ever see you again.
- Prison Rape: Played for laughs and averted.
- Prison Riot: Frank starts one to divert guards' attention from Rocko's escape plan. For completely silly reasons:Frank Drebin: Hey! You call this slop? Real slop has got chunks of things in it! This is more like gruel! And this Château le Blanc '68 is supposed to be served slightly chilled! This is room temperature! What do you think we are? Animals?
- Race Lift: Played for laughs when Tyrone (an ostensibly black prisoner stereotype) points out that prison can change a man, because he used to be white... and played drums for The Osmonds.
- Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Done 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.
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: When Jane catches Tanya kissing Frank:Jane: How could you!Tanya: Well, you just shove your tongue as far down his throat as you can.
- Sarcasm-Blind:Frank: Sergeant Frank Drebin, Detective Lieutenant, Police Squad.Frank: Mr. De Niro, we've got to get inside!
- She's Got Legs: Parodied—Tanya's introduction has the camera scrolling upwards for about 6 solid feet of leg, with two sets of knees.
- 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 & Louise-style road trip. The friend is even named "Louise" and dresses just like Susan Sarandon did in that movie.
- The film begins with a Cold Open that sends up The Untouchables (and, by extension, The Battleship Potemkin) (see Baby Carriage above)
- 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..."
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: Frank and Jane reconcile while at the therapist's office:Jane: Oh, honey, it's just that I love you so much.
Frank: My little lover sparrow.
Jane: My puppy wuppy wuvver.
Frank: My little love biscuit.
Jane: My little snookie wookums.
Frank: My little lady cheesy puffy.
Therapist: Mr. and Mrs. Drebin, please, I'm a diabetic. I really think you two ought to go now.
- Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: The bomb that was said to be powerful enough to destroy the Academy Awards only destroys the bad guy's helicopter.
- Statuesque Stunner: Tanya
- The Un-Reveal: Rocko thinks that the Academy Awards show is "a pretty big target", but we have no way of knowing until much later.
- Unsettling Gender Reveal: Tanya's silhouette reveal in her final scene.
- Unusual Euphemism: "Denver jockstrap", anyone?
- Vomit Discretion Shot: Frank vomits into a tuba, but it's not shown.
- Western Terrorists: The Dillon gang. 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?: Anna Nicole Smith drops out of the film after Drebin discovers she's a man. Thus, making her a Karma Houdini.
- Whole Plot Reference: Romantic subplot aside, 33⅓ is a comedic retelling of White Heat. A police officer infiltrates a prison, befriends a violent criminal who loves his mother, and helps him escape in order to determine the site of his next crime.
- You Are Too Late: When the police squad arrives at the Academy Award ceremony while Frank is already on the stage, causing mayhem. When they declare they are there to stop a disaster, one of the people behind the stage assumes they are talking about Frank and states "you're too late".