- And You Thought It Would Fail: After leaving the premiere, Steve Guttenberg's agent told him, "I'm getting you into a TV series as soon as possible; this is gonna be the biggest bomb in history." Granted it would be 6 movies later...
- Awesome Music:
- Most people who've seen the movie will probably start laughing after just hearing the first few notes of "El Bimbo"
- While opinions certainly vary on the quality of the films themselves, most viewers can agree that the main Police Academy March is a genuinely great theme, to the point that real police, fire and EMS training programs have used it for graduation ceremonies.
- "I'm Gonna Be Somebody" by Jack Mack & The Heart Attacks that plays over the closing credits of the first film.
- Contested Sequel: Back in Training. Some consider it to be where the series started going downhill, for embracing full-on slapstick humor and Status Quo Is God. However, those who actually like that sort of humor consider it to be one of, if not the best film in the series, for starring the series' best-known ensemble of characters, and being able to dive into the action right away with only minimal time needed for set-up.
- Crazy Awesome: The semi-babbling punk Zed from the third and fourth movies, and, arguably, Eric Lassard. Far less arguably, Eugene Tackleberry.
- Critical Dissonance: The series was always critically panned during its run. Some will try to tell you that only the first film was good, but even that received a critical drubbing (Roger Ebert rated the original no stars, something he almost never did). And yet the original spawned six sequels, which doesn't happen to a series if absolutely nobody likes it.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: There's a reason the third movie had Zed join the force. Also, depending who ask, Tackleberry, Jones, and Hightower.
- First Installment Wins: While the series is infamous for its Sequelitis and there are debates about which sequel has it worse, nowadays it is agreed that the original was actually a rather good comedy (though ironically, even that one was originally panned).
- Harsher in Hindsight: Some viewers are bound to find much of the humor with Tackleberry's careless gun use less funny nowadays. One good example is the early scene in the sixth movie where he nearly shoots his own father-in-law after mistaking him for a burglar. Many actual deaths have occurred since then from careless gun use.
- Heartwarming Moments:
- In the first film, Barbara lamenting Hightowers dismissal from the academy, saying that he thought of all of them, he would make it. He then adds that if all cops looked like him, thered be no crime at all.
- In City Under Siege, Proctor commanders a bus to chase the Mastermind... and also picks up the people on the bus route. Stopping to let them off, a little girl about to disembark tells him that hes much better than the regular driver. Proctors beaming smile at the compliment and parting salute to the girl warns the cockles of ones heart.
- Harris mellowing out a little bit and working together with the rest of the team in Mission to Moscow, finally upgrading from god-tier Jerkass to Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Rather than risk bungling it, he trusts Tackleberry to make a difficult shot to plant a surveillance bug on a moving vehicle (even addressing him with an informal "Tack" as he hands over the gun), and is seen at the very end happily whooping it up with the others on horseback.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: In Assignment: Miami Beach, Nick Lassard deals with a kidnapper by apparently giving him the Vulcan nerve pinch (actually using anaesthetic). The following year, Matt McCoy, who played Nick, appeared in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- Just Here for Godzilla: Some people will watch the movies just for the guy that makes noises.
- Love to Hate: Lieutenant Harris (later Captain). G.W. Bailey's glorious Ham and Cheese performance makes him more fun to watch the bigger an asshole he's being.
- Misaimed Marketing: Oh, lord. These movies were not for kids (while they did get Lighter and Softer with each sequel, the first in particular earned an R rating). Everything else connected to them was, though.
- Replacement Scrappy: Nick Lassard and Connors, neither of whom are anywhere near as memorable as Mahoney. In addition, the former lacks Mahoney's charming charisma and mostly comes off as a smirking tool, while the latter is just generally bland and forgettable. Mauser also comes off as a poor substitute for Harris by having all of the same authoritarian smugness without the entertaining hamminess that makes Harris such a good comedic foil for the protagonists' antics.
- Sequelitis: As a general rule, each sequel is considered weaker than the last. The first four are generally considered watchable to some degree (if you can overlook the fact that Citizens on Patrol is nearly a carbon-copy of the previous film), but Assignment Miami Beach is seen as where the series really started to get bad, with Mission to Moscow being where it completely bottomed out. Bobcat Goldthwait on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, when Jay Leno poked fun at him for appearing in the film series, said: "We had to make six of them. There were so many unanswered questions."
- Special Effect Failure: Assignment Miami Beach has two glaring examples, namely the shark that Tackleberry scares off early in the film, and the crocodile/alligator (which actually changes species between stock footage and the mechanical model) that attacks Harris near the end.
- Squick: Mahoney's new partner Schtulman's introduction has him flicking a large lump out of his cereal bowl, admonishing his cat for not using the litterbox, and then keep eating the cereal. Eeeugh. This scene was part of why Donovan Scott noped out of reprising his role as Leslie Barbara from the first film (the character was then rewritten into Schtulman).
- Strawman Has a Point: Chief Hurst and Lt. Harris of the first film. In any other situation, having people like some of the cadets who obviously don't meet realistic fitness requirements, educational levels, and medical standards to be effective cops allowed into the Academy would be extremely foolish. But due to them being Genre Blind and Jerkasses the message is lost.
- Values Dissonance:
- There's a LOT of anti-gay language in the first movie that was fine in the 80s, but would be unacceptable by today's standards, now that gay people are no longer considered Acceptable Targets (e.g. Mahoney's throwaway line "Sleep is for fags"). The entirety of the Blue Oyster Bar Running Gag would today be seen as incredibly distasteful at best.
- To a lesser extent, the racial slurs that some of the less likeable cadets throw around also in the first film, which actually is indicated to be unacceptable (especially when Hightower is involved), but for which the cadets in question escape any form of punishment... which, sadly, was very much Truth in Television back in 1984.
YMMV / Police Academy