Follow TV Tropes


Franchise / The Pink Panther

Go To
Think Pink!

A comedy film franchise that spun off two animated ones. In its original form, it totaled nine films over 30 years. The first of them were directed and co-written by Blake Edwards and starred Peter Sellers. A 2006 reboot yielded two additional films.

The Films:

  • The Pink Panther (1963): Sir Charles Lytton (David Niven) is a Gentleman Thief who operates under the identity of "The Phantom". Inspector Jacques Clouseau is a French detective who is trying to track him down in Switzerland before he can steal the prized treasure of the kingdom of Lugash, the Pink Panther diamond (a large gem so named because of a pink, panther-shaped flaw), from a visiting princess. Alas, Clouseau is such a fool that he is easily outsmarted by way of the combined forces of the Phantom, his nephew, the princess herself, and the Phantom's key accomplice...Clouseau's own wife. While the thieves were the focus of this film, Clouseau, as played by Peter Sellers, was the character the subsequent films were based around, starting with...
  • A Shot in the Dark (1964): Clouseau, now single, is called to the aristocratic Ballon household to solve a murder. His judgment is immediately clouded by his infatuation with the prime suspect, Maria Gambrelli, even as more murders pile up around her. His bungling drives his boss, Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus (Herbert Lom), to homicidal madness. In the meantime, we also meet Cato Fong (Burt Kwouk), Clouseau's Chinese manservant who - on Clouseau's orders - keeps springing surprise martial arts attacks on him.
  • Inspector Clouseau (1968): Sellers and Edwards opted out of this installment in which Clouseau, now played by Alan Arkin, investigates a bank robbery in England. Lacking any other recurring characters, this one is generally disregarded.
  • The Return of the Pink Panther (1975): The Pink Panther is stolen from a Lugash museum, and Clouseau is called upon to seek it out once more. The evidence suggests the Phantom is responsible, but in fact Sir Charles Lytton has been framed. The film follows the parallel plots of Clouseau trailing Lytton's wife to Switzerland and Lytton's journey to Lugash to try and find out who actually did it. Dreyfus' attempts to kill Clouseau lands him in an institution at the end, leading directly into...
  • The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976): Three years later (though the film was only made one year after), Dreyfus is seemingly cured, but having to meet up with Clouseau before he can be released, the therapy is undone. Dreyfus escapes and organizes a criminal gang that kidnaps an inventor and his daughter. Forcing the former to build a Disintegrator Ray, Dreyfus threatens to unleash it on the world unless Clouseau is killed, and many countries immediately send assassins after Clouseau as he sets out to stop Dreyfus himself.
  • Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978): Clouseau is now so famous that the head of the French mob, to prove his mettle to the American Mafia, puts out a hit on him - three actually, as Clouseau's luck saves him from death each time. The thing is, the third time appears to have been the charm to everyone else, leaving Clouseau to go undercover with Cato to figure out who wanted him dead. Oh, and Dreyfus is "cured" by the news of Clouseau's death, and set free again.
  • Romance of the Pink Panther: Never made, due to Author Existence Failure. Peter Sellers, who bought out the rights to the character after having a falling-out with Blake Edwards, wrote a script in which Clouseau falls in love with the Classy Cat-Burglar he is chasing. Eight days after Sellers delivered the script to United Artists in 1980, he died. Nowadays one can find said script floating around the internet.

After Peter Sellers' untimely death, Blake Edwards decided to continue the series with new lead characters.

  • Trail of the Pink Panther (1982): Using mostly deleted scenes from Strikes Again and new footage with other regulars, Clouseau once again is called to Lugash to seek the stolen Pink Panther. When his plane vanishes, TV reporter Marie Jouvet (Joanna Lumley) decides to investigate his disappearance by interviewing those who knew him well, turning the second half of the film into a Clip Show. The film was shot alongside...
  • Curse of the Pink Panther (1983): One year after Clouseau's disappearance, Dreyfus sabotages the search for a great detective to seek him out. Instead, the world's worst detective, Clifton Sleigh of New York City (Ted Wass), is put on the case. The audience learns the ultimate fate of Clouseau and the diamond, but Sleigh...not so much.
  • Son of the Pink Panther (1993): Ten years after the previous film's events, a Revision of what happened in A Shot in the Dark reveals Clouseau sired a son, Jacques Gambrelli (Roberto Benigni). One day on his beat in the south of France, his path accidentally crosses with those of the kidnapped Princess Yasmin of Lugash and Dreyfus all at once. Then Dreyfus realizes, given the father's track record, that it might not be such a bad idea to have this junior Clouseau track her down. This had the misfortune of being the final film of both Henry Mancini and Blake Edwards.

In 2006, the franchise was rebooted under the original title The Pink Panther, with Steve Martin as Clouseau and Jean Reno as a new sidekick, Ponton. Aside from Clouseau, Dreyfus was the only character carried over from the original films (played by Kevin Kline in the first, and John Cleese in the second). This managed to yield one sequel in 2009. Despite their almost completely negative critical reception, the reboot films are remarkably faithful to the tone and spirit of the original films. (Well, YMMV on that!)

The Animated Characters:

  • The first film had animated credits, produced by De Patie Freleng Enterprises, that featured a "literal" representation of the flaw in the eponymous diamond. This proved so popular with audiences that not only would all the subsequent films (including the reboot) have animated credits, the character — an anthropomorphic mute — was spun off into a series of animated shorts the following year, and warrants its own page.
  • Because A Shot in the Dark did not involve the diamond itself, the Panther didn't feature in the credits (from Strikes Again onwards, he does even if the diamond isn't involved) but a caricature of Clouseau did. This went over well enough that a shorter-lived series of shorts focusing on "The Inspector" (voiced by Pat Harrington) and his sidekick Deux-Deux (a gendarme) was made in the mid-1960s. The Clouseau animated character appeared in the credits of all the subsequent films through Trail, always futilely pursuing the Panther. The Replacement Scrappy characters got their own animated equivalents for Curse and Son, and a Martin-styled Clouseau figure appears in the reboot.

Now has a character sheet; there are loads and loads of them, so feel free to help it grow.

The films feature examples of:

  • All Asians Wear Conical Straw Hats: When Clouseau goes to Hong Kong in the third act of Revenge, he initially wears a stereotypical "Chinaman" disguise, conical straw hat and all.
  • Amusing Injuries: Dreyfus in particular is prone to these.
  • Animated Credits Opening: A series tradition. De Patie Freleng Enterprises (later Marvel Productions, Ltd.) produced them for most of the films, although Richard Williams' studio did the honors for Return and Strikes Again.
  • Animation Bump: Richard Williams' Return and Strikes Again title sequences are a spectacular example of this trope.
  • The Anticipator: Parodied when the late Peter Sellers plays Inspector Clouseau. Clouseau has directed his manservant Cato to attack him at random to sharpen his defensive skills. Though he knows Cato has The Determinator perseverance, only inconceivably foolish counters and stupefying luck have thwarted all of Cato's attempts.
    • This running gag is reversed in the reboots, in them Clouseau is the one trying to attack his partner and Ponton is the one anticipating and effortlessly fending them off, though in his case it's simply because Ponton actually knows how to defend himself.
  • Anti-Hero: Clouseau. Also Dreyfus in A Shot in the Dark until his Face–Heel Turn, and again in the last four original-flavor films after two movies of straightforward villainy. He's strictly this in the reboot.
  • Artifact Title: Strikes Again, Revenge, and Son don't involve the Pink Panther diamond at all, but they had to work in the animated character somehow...
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In Curse we have a case of "The Bad Girls Win," as Chandra turns Clouseau to the dark side and gets him to become her consort, and then Lady Litton (Clouseau's ex-wife) steals the Pink Panther diamond, and this time the Littons apparently hang on to it permanently.
  • Beta Couple: Maria Gambrelli and Charles Dreyfus in Son.
  • Big Bad
    • Dreyfus in The Pink Panther Strikes Again, while serving as a secondary villain in A Shot In The Dark and Return Of The Pink Panther and an antihero in his six other appearances.
    • The French Connection in a three-film story arc, Revenge, Trail and Curse. Douvier is their boss in Revenge while Bruno Langlois is their boss in Trail and Curse.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In the 2006 film, anyone who understands Cantonese will find out that the old Chinese lady is basically asking Clouseau why she's being interrogated and that she's busy and has other things to do. Clouseau somehow believes she tells him to look for soccer trainers for their knowledge of poisons.
  • Black Comedy: Most of A Shot in the Dark and The Pink Panther Strikes Again, owing to unusually high body counts. (Son of has that too, owing to the nature of the villains and the climactic siege, but that's typical action movie background fodder.)
  • Breakout Character: Clouseau might be film's most successful example, or at least a close second to Captain Jack Sparrow. The Pink Panther animated character counts as well.
  • Brick Joke: In the opening title sequence for the original 1963 movie, the Pink Panther cartoon character walks up and prepares to conduct an invisible orchestra, only to be pulled off stage by a Vaudeville Hook. In the 2006 reboot he returns and manages to conduct the actual paper notes.
  • Butt-Monkey: Several characters, but Dreyfus is the poster boy of the franchise, even when he becomes a Big Bad in Strikes Again.
  • The Cameo: Several over the original series, either unbilled or under a pseudonym.
    • In Curse Roger Moore, billed as "Turk Thrust II", plays the post-Magic Plastic Surgery Clouseau.
    • In Son, Nicoletta Braschi, Roberto Benigni's wife and frequent costar turns up at the end as Jacques's twin sister.
  • Can't Get in Trouble for Nuthin'
  • Celebrity Paradox: It's never outright stated — but obvious to the audience — in Curse that the reason Clifton Sleigh doesn't realize that Clouseau had Magic Plastic Surgery is because he now looks, and is played by, Roger Moore, and Moore and the James Bond movies exist in this universe.
  • Character Outlives Actor: Trail of the Pink Panther was made after the death of Peter Sellers. Rather than having the character of Inspector Clouseau die in the film, he is instead shown to be alive and well on a deserted island after surviving a plane crash; the subsequent film Curse of... reveals he got Magic Plastic Surgery to look like Roger Moore, and did a Face–Heel Turn to settle down with a jewel thief countess.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A Rule of Three variant occurs in The Pink Panther 2: Clouseau's parking ticket assignment from Dreyfus which he uses to identify Sonia's car:
    Clouseau: Today I was staring at Miss Solandres' license plate. I recognized it because of my... unique system of cross-referencing. I became aware that I had given a parking ticket to the same car, two days before Miss Solandres claimed she arrived in Paris... one day before the Pink Panther was stolen.
    • The replica of the Pink Panther diamond that he showed to Ponton's sons, which he plants in the museum as bait for the Tornado.
    Clouseau: I knew the Tornado would eventually come after the Pink Panther, so I went to the museé with a simple plan in mind. I had convinced my old friend, Robert the night guard, to turn off the security system for the few moments necessary to save the most beautiful object in France. I then switched the Pink Panther with the replica I had at home. [He takes the real Pink Panther out of its case] This is the real Pink Panther. It was the fake that was stolen.
    • And the Medal of Honor which blocks a bullet.
  • Chekhov's Skill: In the 2006 film, Dreyfus dismisses the fact that the coroner's report mentions Bizu was killed with a perfect shot to the occipital lobe; Yuri learned this while in the Russian army as part of his training and used it to kill Bizu.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: Claudine in Return and Simone in Curse. The unmade Romance of the Pink Panther had one of these as the film's antagonist, and would have ended with Clouseau making a Face–Heel Turn out of love for her.
  • Clueless Detective: Clouseau might be the best-known example.
  • Color Character
  • Comically Missing the Point: From the 2006 reboot with Steve Martin:
    Dreyfus: Well, this is a glorious day for France.
    Clouseau: How so, Chief Inspector?
    Dreyfus: Because a stupid idiot named Clouseau is going to be stripped of his rank while I take over his case.
  • The Comically Serious: George Sanders as Benjamin Ballon, though footage of him (and most of the other actors who worked with Sellers) corpsing has surfaced.
  • Continuity Snarl: Chief Inspector Dreyfus himself is the only, but big one in the whole series, which otherwise seems pretty consistent with itself. Starting from the ending of the second movie, Dreyfus always eventually turns mad, tries to murder Clouseau and is always taken to an insane Asylum… The movie following the first time this happened included the idea that he was supposedly cured (though meeting Clouseau again makes him turn mad again), and subsequently released; however, at the end of this movie, he gets killed off. In the next, he's back at the insane asylum for no particular reason, and once again thought cured, and once again released. And it's not that the previous movie is not canon to the others — there are references to it made in later movies. In the next movies, he's just back as chief inspector with no explanation at all. Apparently, nobody remembers that 1° he was previously disintegrated and 2° he had destroyed the U.N. building and sabotaged a satellite before that.
  • Conveniently Timed Distraction: In the 2006 reboot, while chasing the assassin who tried to kill Xania, Clouseau and Ponton decides to split up to cut off the assassin. When Ponton catches up to the assassin and holds the assassin at gunpoint, Clouseau catches up and accidentally slams a door open in front of Ponton, knocking him down. While Clouseau checks to see if Ponton is okay, the assassin resumes running away.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In Strikes Again, the method Dreyfus uses to torture the professor's daughter is by scratching a chalkboard while wearing meat-packer's gloves.
  • Crazy-Prepared: In the 2006 film, Clouseau figures out that the killer will strike again at the Presidential Palace, and just so happens to have a bag in his deserted office marked "Presidential Palace" with everything he could possibly need to break in undetected. This includes a body suit for both him, and his assistant, with different camouflage on the front and back identical to the wallpaper and drapes (respectively) found in the palace.
  • Da Chief: Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus is a comedic example. From Strikes Again onward, Clouseau himself takes over this position (though being Da Chief, he is more gentle to his fellow policemen) and Dreyfus resents this when he finds out.
  • Dating Catwoman: Provides the premise of the unmade Romance of the Pink Panther.
  • Depth Deception: A faked alien invasion in an episode of the animated series.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In A Shot in the Dark, Cato only wears his signature black outfit the first time we see him, and has a bunch of other outfits he wears throughout the film. In all the films that follow he sticks to his black outfit, outside of the odd disguise in Revenge.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Clouseau was just a supporting character in the original movie.
  • Everything Is Better With Monkeys: Or "minkeys"; Clouseau's first scene in Return involves a "blind" beggar and a monkey.
  • Fake Shemp:
    • Any time you can't clearly see Clouseau's face in any of the three 70s sequels, odds are he's being played by Peter Sellers' stunt double, Joe Dunne. Peter Sellers' health was rapidly declining in these years from the heart disease that eventually killed him in 1980.
    • Trail is built around this concept, though flashbacks to his youth near the end have him played by younger actors in a variant on The Other Darrin.
  • Filming For Easy Dub: The later entries with Sellers used this with his stuntmen; Trail does this with a stand-in to tie the deleted scenes together.
  • From Bad to Worse: The opinions of critics and viewers alike on the films after Peter Sellers died.
  • Funny Foreigner: Clouseau; his disguises incorporate other nationalities in the same manner.
  • Gay Paree: With occasional detours to Italy, Germany, Hong Kong, etc.
  • Gentleman Thief: Sir Charles Lytton and his associates. The boredom motivation is key to the plot of Return.
  • Girl of the Week: Shot, Strikes Again, and Revenge all have these. The first was given a Revision for Son.
  • Going for the Big Scoop: Marie in Trail, especially as it becomes clear that there are a lot of people who would prefer Clouseau gone forever.
  • Half-Identical Twins: In Son, Jacques and Jacqueline Gambrelli.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: Trail, which starts as a typical Clouseau misadventure and makes the switch when he goes missing, turning the protagonist role over to Marie as she investigates the disappearance.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Dreyfus goes from antihero to villain in ''A Shot in the Dark", remains a villain in "Return of the Pink Panther", appears to have recovered his sanity at the beginning of "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" but ends up becoming the film's main villain, and seems to have, for the most part, reformed in the subsequent films.
  • Hollow Sounding Head: In Son Jacques Gambrelli accidentally knocks on his mother's forehead (he'd been knocking on a door she'd suddenly opened) producing a loud empty sound.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Cato Fong in the original series, Ponton in the Reboot.
  • Hypocritical Humor: From the 2006 reboot with Steve Martin as Clouseau:
    Nicole: Would you like me to stay behind and help you?
    Clouseau: That is a generous offer, Nicole. But I am quite sensitive to office gender politics. And in today's world, the slightest gesture can be misinterpreted as harassment. And it is late, and I would prefer not to put you or me into that delicate situation. Agreed?
    Nicole: Yes, I agree.
    Clouseau [kisses Nicole]: Well, lets seal it with a kiss. And I'll get back to work.
    [A moment later, Clouseau casually slaps Nicole on her butt as she leaves]
    • From The Pink Panther 2:
    Italian Reporter: Mr. Pepperidge, was the Dream Team asleep when the theft occurred?
    Pepperidge: No comment.
    Italian Reporter: Do you think they will recover the ring?
    Pepperidge: If I gave a comment, when I said "no comment", I would look like a complete ass, wouldn't I?
  • Iconic Sequel Character: Cato and Dreyfus didn't appear until the second film.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: From Return onward, all of the titles (and credits) involve the Pink Panther phrase and animated character even if the diamond is not part of the plot.
    • The Pink Panther animated shorts all have the word "pink" in the title, and most of the Inspector shorts are puns on French words or phrases.
  • Idiot Hero: Trope Codifier.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Some of the '70s films have Edwards' name as part of the full onscreen title, i.e. Blake Edwards' The Return of the Pink Panther.
    • The cartoons have the title "Blake Edwards' Pink Panther" when he appears.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bomb: Plenty from Return onwards.
  • Insistent Terminology: CHIEF Inspector Clouseau (from Strikes Again onwards) frequently reminds us of his full title.
  • Inspector Oblivious: Clouseau's opening scene in Return hinges on him getting distracted from a bank robbery. Moreover he's dim enough to accept bombs - the Incredibly Obvious kind, mind you - from suspicious persons without a thought, only realizing what they are just before it's too late. (Revenge: "Special delivery, a bomb! Were you expecting one?")
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: One of the catchiest ever, courtesy of Henry Mancini.
  • Juggling Loaded Guns: Chief Inspector Dreyfus keeps in his office desk both a real gun and a lighter that looks just like said gun. Hilarity Ensues with predictably violent results, such as when his assistant Francois, hearing a gunshot, bursts in the office to see the top half of Dreyfus' face looking up at him from behind his desk:
    Dreyfus: Don't just stand there, idiot — call a doctor. And then help me find my nose!
  • Kansas City Shuffle: In The Pink Panther 2, Clouseau uses this as bait to catch the Tornado; ultimately revealed to be Sonia Solandres when the Pink Panther diamond appears to be destroyed after Clouseau bluffs Sonia into shooting it into dust, Clouseau has the real Pink Panther brought out, which he switched with the replica in a Bait-and-Switch setup in anticipation of the Tornado.
    Clouseau: You are under arrest!
    Sonia: Let me go, or I will destroy it. [Sonia takes a gun and what she believes to be the Pink Panther from her purse]
    Dreyfus: Let her go.
    Clouseau: Let her do it.
    Dreyfus: Are you insane?
    [Sonia takes her gun, throws what she believes to be the Pink Panther into the air, and blows it to smithereens; Dreyfus is livid]
    Dreyfus: You moron! You twerp! You sad excuse for a human being! You have just destroyed the sacred symbol of France!
    Clouseau: Ponton, did you bring what I asked for? Boys... [Louis and Antoine bring the Pink Panther's case, containing the real Pink Panther]
    Clouseau: I knew the Tornado would eventually come after the Pink Panther, so I went to the museé with a simple plan in mind. I had convinced my old friend, Robert the night guard, to turn off the security system for the few moments necessary to save the most beautiful object in France. I then switched the Pink Panther with the replica I had at home. [Clouseau takes the real Pink Panther from the case] This is the real Pink Panther. It was the fake that was stolen.
    Dreyfus[muttering to himself]: Nightmare, nightmare.
    Clouseau: And when the Tornado, an expert on the quality of gems, wrote in his supposed suicide note of its great beauty, I knew he could never have been the thief; he would have recognized it as a fake.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Lytton and his accomplices; as the trope entry points out, they are never caught in any of their appearances. Clouseau and Chandra are almost this at the end of Curse - they aren't found out by Sleigh, but Lytton's wife steals the diamond from them!
    • The Pink Panther Strikes Again takes it up to eleven. Dreyfus disintegrates the UN building, attempted to destroy England, yet two movies later, Trail, he is Commissioner again and no one talks about it (this is either a Plot Hole or just Negative Continuity).
      • A similiar thing happened before Trail in Revenge of..., nobody remembers Dreyfus' scheme in Strikes Again, and they even ask him to give a eulogy to Clouseau's (faked) funeral.
    • Return ends with nobody going to prison for the actual theft of the diamond. Partially justified in that a lot of people thought Colonel Sharkey was in on the conspiracy and he's too dead to defend himself. Claudine Lytton the actual culprit is not seen in the epilogue, though.
  • Left Stuck After Attack: In the comedy film Curse of The Pink Panther, the renowned martial artist Ed Parker plays an enforcer for the antagonists, who punches through a metal shed door and gets his arm stuck for a solid twenty seconds before managing to free himself.
  • Lethally Stupid: Inspector Clouseau. Ask Dreyfus.
  • Licensed Pinball Table: Released by Gottlieb in 1981, and very loosely based on Return; click here for details.
  • Mama's Boy: Jacques Gambrelli in Son of the Pink Panther, who lives with his Italian mother, Maria Gambrelli, who was married to Inspector Clouseau, which makes Jacques Gambrelli the son of Inspector Clouseau.
  • Mate or Die: How Jacques Gambrelli was conceived, according to Maria's explanation in Son of...: She and Clouseau were stranded on a snowy night, and he suggested they make love to keep warm. Their affection for each other was not a romance for the ages, however (she regards it as a youthful folly), and she never revealed to him that he'd sired a son.
  • My Beloved Smother: Maria Gambrelli, who told Jacques that his father was a classical musician for fear that he might follow in his father's footsteps and get hurt.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: France seems to have a lot of people with British or American accents in these films, with prominent examples including the original Dreyfus, Benjamin Ballon in Shot, and Philippe Douvier in Revenge.
    • In contrast to Herbert Lom, a Czechoslovakian-born emigrant to Britain, John Cleese's accent as Dreyfus in The Pink Panther 2 is strongly British, which is exceptionally ironic, given the historical rivalries between Britain and France.
      • Hilarity Ensues when Cleese's Dreyfus tries to say the Override Command "hamburger" with his British accent in The Pink Panther 2, only for Steve Martin's imitation French mispronunciation of "hamburger" to successfully call off the security forces.
    • Of particular not is Bruno Langois of Trail and Curse. The "French Godfather" would sound more at home running one of New York's Five Families.
  • Not Me This Time: In the reboot, The Tornado, a serial thief, was believed to have resurfaced and stolen various treasures around the world, including the Magna Carta, the Turin Shroud, the Imperial Sword, the Pink Panther Diamond (allegedly), and the Pope's ring. Turns out, he never actually committed those crimes (for one thing, he would have deduced that the Pink Panther Diamond on display was in fact a forgery had he truly stolen it), it was his scorned lover, Sonia who did the deed, eventually killing him before they located him.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Original series only. The Simpsons made a joke about this: "We now return to The Return of the Pink Panther Returns".
  • One Steve Limit: There are two characters named Charles: Sir Charles Lytton (The Phantom) and Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus (Clouseau's superior).
    • Jacques Gambrelli, though it's justified because he is Clouseau's son.
    • There are even two Simones: Simone Clouseau/Lytton, and Simone LeGree (the Girl of the Week in Revenge).
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Clouseau's accent in Return tends to veer between the more normal-sounding voice he used in the first two films, and the thicker, more nasal accent he uses in Strikes Again and Revenge.
  • Phantom Thief: The Phantom.
  • Plot Hole: Trail says that Lytton married Simone after the events of the first film. If so, where does Claudine, his wife in Return, fit in?
  • Product Placement: In the 2006 remake, as Clouseau tries a hamburger for the first time and falls in love with the taste, the McDonald's logo is very prominently featured behind him.
  • Put on a Bus: Blake Edwards did this to Clouseau himself to make way for Son of the Pink Panther. That was not a good idea.
  • Qurac: Lugash. Also Sim Sim Salabim, as Lugash seems to use Indian titles like Maharajah.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: One reason the Running Gag of Clouseau's costumes became more pronounced in Strikes Again and Revenge was that Peter Sellers' health had become too frail for him to perform as much slapstick. Trail and Curse, of course, were completely conceived/made after Sellers had died, and the plots work to compensate for this absence.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Dreyfus frequently threatens to send Clouseau to Martinique for exasperating him. In A Shot in the Dark, Clouseau was about ready to leave when he is reluctantly reassigned to the Gambrelli case by Dreyfus.
  • Refrigerator Ambush: Cato pulls one off in Return, and again in Son.
  • Revenge of the Sequel: Return, Revenge, Strikes Again and Curse.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Several of the films end with the animated Pink Panther interacting in some fashion with the live-action characters. Son of... does this in the opening credits.
  • Running Gag / Sequel Escalation: Clouseau's accent, his disguises in the later films, Cato's attacks and the subsequent fights, Dreyfus' murder attempts and his eye twitch, and the Non-Fatal Explosions.
    • "Never look a gift horse in the mouth" is a popular philosophy amongst disparate characters in Curse.
    • From the 2006 remake with Clouseau and Ponton:
    Clouseau: Without warning, I will attack you. In this way, I will keep you vigilant and alert.
    [Clouseau attacks Ponton, but Ponton hits him back]
    Clouseau: Good one.
    Ponton: Thank you.
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    Francois: Do you know what kind of bomb it was?
    Clouseau (gravely): The exploding kind.
  • Sherlock Scan: Played for Laughs in The Pink Panther 2 between Clouseau and Pepperidge:
    Pepperidge: Gentlemen, we first have to determine how the crime was committed. And as I am an expert at deduction...
    Clouseau: You are an expert at deduction?
    Pepperidge: That is my field.
    Clouseau: I believe deduction is my field, and since you are experiencing hip pain...
    Pepperidge: How did you know that?
    Clouseau: One side of the sole of your shoe is more worn than the other; you're favoring your right leg.
    Pepperidge: Tell me, did you enjoy your double espresso this morning?
    Clouseau: How did you...
    Pepperidge: Your pupils are noticeably dilated.
    Clouseau: And will you be moving out of the Hotel Montmartre? They are doing construction at night around the Montmartre so as not to disturb daytime traffic. From your puffy eyes, I deduce you spent a sleepless night.
    Pepperidge: Speaking of traffic, are you enjoying your Smart car? Your trousers are wrinkled behind the knees.
    Clouseau: And how do you think your favorite football team, Arsenal, will do this year? That matchbox is from the only bar in Paris that shows English football telecasts.
    Pepperidge: You have tissues in your shoes to make you look taller.
    Clouseau: You were finally 14 before you finally learned to enjoy avocado.
    Pepperidge: Tell me, how did you enjoy your trip to the airport this morning?
    Clouseau: Now, how did you know that? [the airport stamp on Clouseau's hand is visible to everyone]
    Ponton: Perhaps one of you should begin.
    Clouseau: Yes, this is silly.
    Pepperidge: You've recently lost your favorite cheese grater.
    Clouseau: You have an aversion to cow bells!
    • Vincenzo brings an end to this when he discovers a piece of broken glass with fingerprints on it.
  • Sidekick: Cato's role is largely confined to Clouseau's apartment in most of the films, but he becomes this outright in the second half of Revenge and later serves the same role in Son of... for Clouseau, Jr. In the Inspector animated shorts, Deux-Deux fills this role; in the reboot, it's Ponton who does the same.
  • Significant Birth Date
    • Used as an in-joke in Trail — Clouseau was born on September 8, which means he and Peter Sellers share a birthday.
    • In Curse, we learn that Dreyfus was born on April 1 (April Fools' Day).
  • Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb: In the Sellers films it's a Running Gag from Shot onwards that somebody's going to try to off Clouseau with a bomb at some point, be it a Time Bomb or Incredibly Obvious Bomb.
  • Something Completely Different:
    • Strikes Again, based around a plot more akin to the James Bond films, could qualify as this.
    • In 1968, Peter Sellers did a film for the Mirisch Corporation (which was responsible for the first three films) that was directed by Blake Edwards and had music by Henry Mancini, but it wasn't in the series. Its title is The Party.
    • Inspector Clouseau, also released in 1968, counts too as it stars Alan Arkin as Clouseau instead of Peter Sellers and was directed by Bud Yorkin instead of Blake Edwards.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Neil Simon-penned film After The Fox (1967) features Sellers as a master criminal nicknamed "The Fox" who uses a phony movie shoot as cover for a gold heist. Much of the humor is identical to that in the Panther films, and there is even a Panther-style opening credit sequence featuring a cartoon fox.
  • Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born: Turns out that Jacques Gambrelli/Clouseau, Jr. has a twin sister!
  • Wallpaper Camouflage: Clouseau and Ponton manage this in the reboot.
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: Clouseau's impromptu "training sessions" with Cato.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: In Curse of the Pink Panther, Dreyfus' birth year is said to be 1900. This movie was made in 1983, placing this character in his early 80s. Never mind the fact that Dreyfus obviously doesn't look that old (Herbert Lom was only in his 60s), but then comes Son of the Pink Panther which takes place 10 years later, meaning in that movie he must be in his early 90s! Even if Dreyfus was in his early 80s in Curse..., shouldn't he be retired from the police force by then?

Alternative Title(s): Inspector Clouseau, Trail Of The Pink Panther, Curse Of The Pink Panther, Son Of The Pink Panther, The Pink Panther 2, The Pink Panther 2006