Film: Wrongfully Accused

It's not just a movie...it's every movie.

Wrongfully Accused is a 1998 Leslie Nielsen movie written and directed by ZAZ protege Pat Proft. A classic and rather brilliant example of the joke-a-minute (more like every 20 seconds) school of comedy.

The frame parody is built around the 1993 version of The Fugitive and Leslie Nielsen's character's pursuit of the one-armed, one-legged and one-eyed man who killed his lover's husband. Richard Crenna's delightful parody of Tommy Lee Jones' fast-talking federal marshal is probably the highlight of the movie, with many of the best lines.

However, The Fugitive is hardly the only movie that gets parodied here. Particularly notable targets include the Mission: Impossible, Titanic (1997), Lord of the Dance, Braveheart, Mentos commercials, Baywatch, The Usual Suspects and even North By Northwest and Casablanca, among many others.


This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • The Adjectival Man: The one-armed, one-eyed, one-legged man.
  • Alliterative Name: The federal marshal, Fergus Falls.
  • Angels Pose: Parodied by Fergus Falls and his two agents when they break down a door.
  • Artificial Limbs: Sean Laughrea has them, replacing an eye, an arm, and a leg.
  • Banana Peel: A whole bus is taken down by one!
  • Big Stupid Doo Doo Head: While on the bus being transported to prison, Ryan and one of his guards get into an argument that eventually degenerates into this.
  • Breathless Non Sequitur: Practically every line of dialogue.
  • Bullet Dancing: In a parody of Riverdance!
  • Butt Monkey: Ryan goes through quite a bit of abuse trying to stay one step ahead of his pursuers.
  • The Cameo: John Walsh, long time host of America's Most Wanted,(along with Maury Hannigan of Real Stories of the Highway Patrol) appears in the film. Though it isn't clear if he's playing as the America's Most Wanted host as he is seen in a backwoods bait and tackle shop.
  • Clear My Name
  • Credits Gag: Occurs almost immediately, with "Leslie Nielsen as Leslie Nielsen."List 
    • The jokes don't stop even after the film is finished:
    • After the "Boom Operator" (a real film job, operating the boom microphone) are listed a "Pow Operator" and "Kablam Operator".
    • Also appearing later on is a restaurant menu of entrees.
    • The Negative Cutter (who edits the film negative to match the final print) is followed by "Very Up and Positive" Cutter.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: Parodied. Ryan sees a "Wanted" poster of himself and rapidly draws black hair, glasses, a beard and a tiny hat over his image. Immediately, another man with black hair, glasses, moustache and tiny hat in the same building is arrested.
  • Destructo-Nookie: Apparently, Ryan's love-making is so powerful it sets off an airbag in the headboard of the bed.
  • Double Take: During the North By Northwest parody, an airplane is headed towards Ryan, and Ryan looks back nine times before he starts running away.
  • Dramatic Shattering: After Ryan exits the bait shop, John Walsh pieces together the string of lies that Ryan created, which he made using various items and signs in the bait shop. John drops his coffee in slow motion, which shatters on the floor, in a nod to The Usual Suspects. However, true to a parody flick, John also drops a doughnut, an egg, and a water balloon.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: Hibbing Goodhue.
  • Funny Background Event: A few, including a hilarious one where a newscaster on television is frantically screaming over how she's unable to hear herself after Ryan mutes her with the remote.
  • Gainaxing: During the Baywatch scene, complete with boingy sound effects.
  • Hellhole Prison: The destination sign on the bus reads "A HELLISH PRISON".
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Exaggerated during the climax as Ryan is able to seat a truckload of people, wash the windows, change his van's tire and check the tire pressure at a normal pace all while being shot at a very close range by several terrorists.
  • Inspector Javert: Fergus Falls, being a parody of Sam Gerard from The Fugitive.
  • Leg Cannon: A firearm is disguised as an artificial limb.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: As seen in the tackle shop scene.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: A staple of the genre, but especially prominent in Goodhue's murder scene - he reacts to multiple gunshot wounds with a simple "Ouch!" and exasperatedly asking if his killer is "quite finished."
  • Marilyn Maneuver: Ryan pulls this after infiltrating a Scottish pipe band and standing over an air vent. His legs are suspiciously feminine, and there is sound similar to blowing over a glass bottle.
  • Market-Based Title: The film had several French-language titles, one of which was "Is there a fugitive on board?" to blend in with other French titles for Leslie Nielsen movies.
    • This is an odd exception in Spain, where almost all other Nielsen films (and a few other Rapid-Fire Comedy movies) famously end with the words "...as you can". Instead, this is just titled "What a fugitive".
    • In Russia, the movie is literally known as Wrongfully Accused Leslie Nielsen, to make sure people don't confuse it with... well, The Fugitive.
  • The Mel Brooks Number: Right at the beginning, with Lambchop.
  • Mentos Finger: Parodied. Ryan is looking for a way out of a bathroom while the police batter their way into the house, and eating a Mentos inspires him to yank the toilet off the wall and pull it over to the window to escape, complete with turning to the camera and giving a thumbs-up with his Mentos.
    • If you've wanted to watch the scene with the actual Mentos commercial jingle played over it...here it is.
  • Miscarriage of Justice
  • Parody: Several films get parodied such as the ones mentioned above and even films like Patriot Games and The Empire Strikes Back get a brief nod.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Ryan is sentenced to be executed "Buffet Style": Hanged, electrocuted, lethally-injected, and placed before a firing squad.
  • One-Book Author: To date, this is the only film that Pat Proft has directed.
  • Punny Name: Cass Lake, which is the name of an actual lake in Minnesota.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: Complete with a locomotive that chases him by literally hopping off its rails and chasing him through a forest.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy
  • Rule of Funny: A whole world that runs on this.
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: During the Chase Scene in the sewer.
  • Shout-Out: Countless amounts, completely dating the film in The '90s.
  • Talks Like a Simile: Fergus Falls.
    "This case has got more twists and turns than Chubby Checker in a blender."
  • Tap on the Head
  • Title Drop: Naturally.
  • Throw the Book at Them: At one point the first draft of the Titanic (1997) screenplay is used as a blunt instrument.
  • Too Much Information: When Lauren is interrogated:
    Lauren: Ryan and I were having sex. Hot steamy, sweaty sex. Every part of my body tingled orgasm after orgasm...
    Sgt. Orono: Lady, I just asked for your name.
  • Trash Landing: Unfortunately for Ryan, the trash consists of nothing but dirty diaper bags.
  • Waxing Lyrical:
    Ryan: The Beatles said it best. She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, listen, Michelle ma belle, this nowhere man is the walrus, koo koo kachoo!