The Naked Gun (franchise)

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The Naked Gun media franchise, also known as Police Squad!, consists of several American crime spoof-comedies, based on an original story written by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker. The installments include one television series, and three theatrical films. The plot centers around a police detective with a lot of heart, despite being less-than intelligent. Leslie Nielsen stars in each installment in the protagonist role of Det. Sgt. Franklin "Frank" Drebin, with a fourth film starring Liam Neeson as Frank Drebin Jr. in active development as of 2022.

The Naked Gun
The Naked Gun franchise logo.png
Created byDavid Zucker
Jim Abrahams
Jerry Zucker
Original workPolice Squad! (1982)
OwnerParamount Global
Films and television
Film(s)The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)
The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991)
Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994)
Television seriesPolice Squad! (1982)
Budget$65 million[citation needed] (Total of 3 films)
Box office$477 million (Total of 3 films)

The franchise was met with mostly positive critical reception,[1][2][3] and the films were a financial box office success. As of 2021, Seth MacFarlane is developing a sequel.


Police Squad! (1982)Edit

An American crime spoof-comedy television series that was broadcast through the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) network in 1982. The series starred Leslie Nielsen in the first franchise installment as Franklin "Frank" Drebin, and was co-created/written by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker. Parodying police procedurals, the series featured the use of sight gags, wordplay and non sequiturs. Although the show was canceled after six episodes, it was later followed by the successful film series, and in 2013 TV Guide ranked it #7 on its list of 60 shows that were "Cancelled Too Soon".[4]


Title U.S.
release date
Director Screenwriters Story by Producer(s)
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! December 2, 1988 (1988-12-02) David Zucker Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker & Pat Proft Robert K. Weiss
The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear June 28, 1991 (1991-06-28) David Zucker & Pat Proft
Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult March 18, 1994 (1994-03-18) Peter Segal Pat Proft and
David Zucker & Robert LoCash
Robert K. Weiss and David Zucker
Untitled film TBA TBA Seth MacFarlane and
David Zucker & Pat Proft
David Zucker & Pat Proft and
Thomas Lennon & R. Ben Garant

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)Edit

Detective Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) tries to uncover a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II, who is on a state visit to the USA. The main suspect is Vincent Ludwig, a rich businessman (Ricardo Montalbán), who uses a hypnotic device to turn others into murderers. As with previous ZAZ spoof comedies, the plot was mostly culled from another—more serious—movie. In this case, it was Telefon wherein people were triggered into assassins via hypnotic phone calls (indeed, dialogue in the post-hypnotic suggestion demonstration scene is copied word-for-word from Telefon).

On the case, Drebin falls in love with Ludwig's assistant, Jane Spencer (Priscilla Presley). She knows nothing about Ludwig's plot, and after the pair spends the night together, Jane helps with Frank's investigation.

The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991)Edit

Frank discovers that Jane's new boyfriend, Quentin Hapsburg (Robert Goulet), is involved in an evil plan to kidnap Dr. Albert S. Meinheimer (Richard Griffiths), a scientist whom President George H. W. Bush (John Roarke) has chosen to determine a new national energy policy. Hapsburg plans to kidnap the real Dr. Meinheimer and replace him with a lookalike named Earl Hacker (also portrayed by Griffiths) who will endorse an energy policy according to the dictates of the energy lobby.

Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994)Edit

In the third film of the series, Frank is married to Jane, and he has retired from Police Squad. The film introduces the criminal Rocco Dillon (Fred Ward), who is stuck in prison. He is contacted by someone called Papshmir to be given a target for a bombing. Frank is pulled out of retirement. He goes undercover pretending to be a prisoner named "Nick 'the Slasher' McGurk Jr., III" at the jail where Dillon is being held, and they break out of jail. Outside they are escorted by Dillon's gangster mother (Kathleen Freeman) to his country retreat, where Frank also meets Rocco's voluptuous moll (Anna Nicole Smith). The gang plots to blow up the Academy Awards. When Jane arrives looking for Frank, she is taken hostage.


In December 2013, Paramount Pictures announced that a reboot of The Naked Gun franchise was in development with Ed Helms cast in the role of Frank Drebin, while the script was being co-written by Thomas Lennon and R. Ben Garant.[5] By January 2014, Garant revealed that the working title of the project is "Episode IV: A New Hope", while announcing that it is intended to be a sequel to the original films. Helms will portray a character that introduces himself as "Frank Drebin, no relation" so that the movie can introduce a new protagonist without contradicting what came before.[6] In March 2015, David Zucker stated that he was offered a producing role on the project, but had denied being involved as he felt like it would differ in comedic style and ultimately be inferior to his original films.[7][8] In August 2015, Helms confirmed that the script was still being written, while acknowledging the concerns that Zucker had with a modern-day audience reception and a need for something other than the spoof genre of the previous movies.[9] By March 2017, a re-write of the script was being completed by David Zucker and Pat Proft, with the plot being reworked to feature the son of Frank Drebin.[10]

In January 2021, it was announced that Seth MacFarlane had be hired to further develop the project. After MacFarlane had previously expressed interest in 2015, in casting Liam Neeson as Frank Deblin Jr., in a role similar to Frank Drebin, the filmmaker was hired by the studio. Neeson revealed that the filmmaker alongside Paramount Pictures had approached him to star in the new movie.[11][12] In June of the same year, Neeson confirmed that MacFarlane is working on a new draft of the script, with the studio entering early negotiations to court the filmmaker as director as well. He expressed excitement for the project and the potential of exploring a comedic role, something different from his acting career, should he decide to star in the movie; while stating that development on the project is ongoing.[13] In February 2022, Neeson again confirmed that he is being courted by Paramount to star in the film.[14]

Video gamesEdit

The Naked Gun: ICUP (2012)Edit

The Naked Gun: ICUP, a point and click and adventure game, was released by Gamecentric Media and Paramount in 2011.[15] The story and concept were penned by Robert LoCash, a writer of the third Naked Gun film. A press release by Gamecentric about the read "Spoofing modern crime dramas and lampooning popular video games, THE NAKED GUN: ICUP is designed as a continuation of the classic film franchise for the digital age. The game will be serialized over six episodes starting this fall with a new episode debuting monthly. Each episode will be fully voice-acted by top Hollywood talent to deliver a classic story-driven adventure supported by the itemized incentive structure of current popular social network games."[16] Due to Leslie Nielsen's death in 2010, voice actor A. J. Locascio took over as Frank Drebin Jr., the son of the original character.

The game received an average score of 60 on the review aggregator Metacritic.[17]

Recurring cast and charactersEdit

Character Police Squad! Film
A Substantial Gift (The Broken Promise) Ring of Fear (A Dangerous Assignment) The Butler Did It (A Bird in the Hand) Revenge and Remorse (The Guilty Alibi) Rendezvous at Big Gulch (Terror in the Neighborhood) Testimony of Evil (Dead Men Don't Laugh) The Naked Gun:
From the Files of Police Squad!
The Naked Gun 2½:
The Smell of Fear
Naked Gun 33⅓:
The Final Insult
Fourth film
1982 1988 1991 1994 TBA
Det. Lt. Franklin "Frank" Drebin Leslie Nielsen Photograph
Franklin "Frank" Drebin, Jr. Adam Hasart Liam Neeson
Jane Spencer-Drebin Priscilla Presley
Det. Fred Nordberg Peter Lupus O. J. Simpson
Cpt. Ed Hocken Alan North George Kennedy
Ted Olson Ed Williams
Big Al Ronald "Tiny Ron" Taylor
Johnny the Snitch William Duell
Abraham Lincoln Rex Hamilton
Vincent Ludwig Ricardo Montalbán
Quentin Hapsburg Robert Goulet
Rocco Dillon Fred Ward
Papshmir Raye Birk Raye Birk
"Weird Al" Yankovic Himself Police station thug Himself

Additional crew and production detailsEdit

Title Crew/Detail
Composer Cinematographer Editor(s) Production
Running time
Police Squad! Ira Newborn Sherman Kunkel Tom Benko,
and Malcolm Campbell
Paramount Television American Broadcasting Company,
CBS Television Distribution
144 minutes
(@ approx. 24mins/episode)
The Naked Gun:
From the Files of Police Squad!
Robert M. Stevens Michael Jablow Paramount Pictures Corp.[18] Paramount 85 minutes
The Naked Gun 2½:
The Smell of Fear
Christopher Greenbury
& James R. Symons
Paramount Pictures,
Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker Productions,
un film de David Zucker[19]
Paramount Pictures Corporation
Naked Gun 33⅓:
The Final Insult
James R. Symons Paramount Pictures 82 minutes


Box office performanceEdit

Film US/Canada gross International gross Total gross
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! $78,756,177[20] $73,689,000[21] $152,445,177
The Naked Gun 212: The Smell of Fear $86,930,411[22] $105,310,000[21][23] $192,240,411
Naked Gun 3313: The Final Insult $51,132,598[24] $81,273,000[21] $132,405,598
Total $216,819,186 $260,272,000 $477,091,186

Critical and public responseEdit

Title Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore[25]
Police Squad! 90% (31 reviews)[26] N/A N/A
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! 87% (54 reviews)[1] 76 (13 reviews)[27] A−
The Naked Gun 212: The Smell of Fear 57% (40 reviews)[2] 65 (21 reviews)[28] B+
Naked Gun 3313: The Final Insult 54% (35 reviews)[3] 63 (21 reviews)[29] B+


  1. ^ a b "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear (1991)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  4. ^ Roush, Matt (June 3, 2013). "Cancelled Too Soon". TV Guide. pp. 20 and 21
  5. ^ McNary, Dave (December 13, 2013). "Ed Helms Firing Up The Naked Gun Reboot for Paramount (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  6. ^ Lesnick, Silas (January 11, 2014). "The Naked Gun Reboot Will be More Sequel Than Remake". Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  7. ^ De Semlyen, Phil (December 3, 2015). "David Zucker: Naked Gun Reboot Won't Be The Same Kind Of Spoof". Empire Online. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  8. ^ Zakarin, Jordan (March 11, 2015). "'Airplane!' Mastermind David Zucker on Leslie Nielsen, the 'Naked Gun' Reboot and His New TV Show". Yahoo! Entertainment. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  9. ^ Polowy, Kevin (August 5, 2015). "Ed Helms Updates Us on 'Naked Gun' Reboot, Answers 'Things We've Always Wondered'". Yahoo! Entertainment. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  10. ^ Skubish, Jake (March 30, 2017). "Director David Zucker talks "Airplane!", comedy, getting his start on campus". The Daily Cardinal. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  11. ^ Zinski, Dan (January 19, 2021). "Liam Neeson & Seth MacFarlane Have Talked About a Naked Gun Reboot". Screen Rant. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  12. ^ Campione, Katie (January 2021). "Liam Neeson Says He Will Soon Retire from Action Movies: 'There's a Couple in the Pipeline'". People. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  13. ^ Reyes, Mike (June 24, 2021). "Liam Neeson's Update On Seth MacFarlane's The Naked Gun Reboot Has Us Very Excited". CinemaBlend. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  14. ^ Fernández, Alexia (February 7, 2022). "Liam Neeson on Playing Action Roles as He Turns 70: 'I'm Getting Away with It'". People. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  15. ^ Fahey, Mike (January 4, 2012). "The Sins of The Naked Gun Are Visited Upon Frank Drebin's Son". Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  16. ^ "Bleeding Cool".
  17. ^ "The Naked Gun: I.C.U.P." Metacritic.
  18. ^ "AFI|Catalog".
  19. ^ "AFI|Catalog".
  20. ^ "BoxofficeMojo". The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
  21. ^ a b c "UIP's $25M-Plus Club". Variety. September 11, 1995. p. 92.
  22. ^ "The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear". BoxofficeMojo. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
  23. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 15, 2002). "Top 50 worldwide grossers". Variety. p. 52, Paramount at 90 supplement.
  24. ^ "The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult". BoxofficeMojo. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
  25. ^ "CinemaScore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on April 13, 2022. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  26. ^ "Police Squad! (1982)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  27. ^ "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! (1988)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  28. ^ "The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear (1991)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  29. ^ "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 3, 2019.

External linksEdit