Release year: 1984
Director: Hugh Wilson
Screenwriter: Neal Israel, Pat Proft
Starring: Steve Guttenberg, Kim Cattrall, G.W. Bailey, Bubba Smith, Donovan Scott, George Gaynes, Andrew Rubin, David Graf
In order to avoid jail, low-time criminal Carey Mahoney (Steve Guttenberg) agrees to give police academy a chance. Here he ends in a group of misfits led by the ruthless Lt. Harris (G.W. Bailey) who takes an instant dislike to Mahoney who on the other hand does his best to get kicked out.
1984 was truly a good year when it came to comedies with Ghostbusters, Beverly Hills Cop, Revenge of the Nerds, Sixten Candles, Splash, Cannonball Run II, Gremlins and I could go on, to compete against this smash hit, tha tnot only opened in th enumber 1 spot but spawned an entire franchise of nothing less than seven installments. Not really critical acclaimed Police Acdemy has been loved by audiences, probably due to its perfect balance between stupid and funny, extremly likeable (and colourful) characters and its underdog against authority theme. Guttenberg (Cocoon, 1985) shot to fame with his part as the charming and cheeky Mahoney, a part he revisited three more times, and is a big reason the movie works. Without a star to hit the fine line bewteen obnoxious and likeable misfit the movie wouldn’t have worked half as well, but Guttenberg manages excactly that. As his love interest Cattral (Big Trouble in Little China, 1986) takes a break from the sex kitten-parts she is often cast in and plays Karen as sweet and determined while Bailey (Short Circuit, 1986) is unforgettable as Lt. Harris. Compared to today’s comedies, Police Academy is innocent and harmless and still irresistible funny.
The “shoe polish on the megaphone” originated from a prank played on British director Michael Winner (Death Wish, 1974) on the set of one of his movies. Director Hugh Wilson decided to use the gag after he heard the story from a crew member.
Picture Copyright: Warner Home Video