Based on short-lived TV comedy Police Squad, and pulling on a tradition stemming from the success of films like Airplane! (aka Flying High) (1980) and Top Secret (1984), The Naked Gun: From The Files of Police Squad! was a massive success.
As it turned out, former straight leading man Leslie Nielsen was just made for slapstick (his trademark confused head cocking is actually a result of being almost completely deaf).
Fresh from tackling terrorism in Beirut, Lt Frank Drebin (Nielsen) is immediately detailed to investigate the near-fatal shooting of a fellow officer, Detective Nordberg (OJ Simpson).
Drebin starts the job where Nordberg left off, at a company owned by the much-respected Vincent Ludwig (Ricardo Montalban) whose assistant, Jane, (Priscilla Presley) Drebin falls for.
Thanks to years of experience and granite-jawed determination (and Jane), Drebin uncovers a dastardly plot, by Ludwig, to assassinate Queen Elizabeth II (Jeanette Charles) when she attends a baseball game while on her state visit to the USA.
Jokes, visual gags and achingly funny moments are rained upon the viewer in such rapid succession that laugh he/she must. Zucker also took the trouble to create endearing and well-rounded characters so that, despite the mayhem, the viewer still cares about them.
John Houseman, as an unflappable driving instructor, is irrepressibly funny in this, his last movie.
The film was acclaimed when it first appeared as the best movie ever with the words ‘Naked’, ‘Gun’ and ‘The’ in the title.
The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell Of Fear (1991) and Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult (1994) followed.
Lt. Frank Drebin
Queen Elizabeth II
‘Weird Al’ Yankovic