I’ve been in the middle of a big read/watch of all the James Bond novels and films lately, and I’m literally just about to start a big watch of all the A Christmas Carol films. And yet somehow I found myself in a watch of the full Police Academy series. My friend last Friday said he rewatched the first Police Academy film and loved it. It put me in the mood to watch it that night too. I hadn’t seen it in about 20 years, and I loved it again and then felt the urge to watch the 2nd film the following night. And then the 3rd film the next night. And then the completist in me insisted that I watch all the films in one week. So here we are, after a week of watching the Police Academy series. And obviously I had to do a ranking. I’ll list them here in my reverse order, with a few brain dump notes on each.

7. Police Academy 7 – Mission to Moscow
This is not a good movie. This is the only film in the whole series that I actually didn’t enjoy watching. Will never watch it again.

  • No cityscape in the opening title! That was the first sign that this wasn’t going to be your normal Police Academy film.
  • No Hooks or Hightower ☹️
  • Pretty cool BMX scene though!
  • So many annoying little noises that various characters make. A bit like the Three Stooges. And weird sound effects when hitching up trousers etc.
  • Harris willingly dresses up as ballet dancer and goes on stage?!
  • Lassard is totally separate from the rest of the cast for the entire movie.
  • What is with the horse riding at the end?! Truly bizarre.
  • It just didn’t quite feel like a Police Academy movie. Lassard was underused. Harris didn’t seem himself. Weird childish sound effects throughout. They had Ron Perlman and Christopher Lee in the cast but that didn’t help a bad movie.

6. Police Academy 2 – Their First Assignment
This often ranks highly on lists, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

  • It’s not well made. The editing is really poor in places.
  • Mauser is no patch on Harris.
  • It’s just not a great story.
  • I didn’t feel that the Zed character shone in this film. I prefer him in later movies
  • The best bit of the film is the Bigfoot Monster truck at Tack’s wedding.

5. Police Academy 6 – City Under Siege
I love Harris and Proctor but at one point I was almost wondering if it was maybe too much Harris and Proctor in the film.

  • I love Harris and Proctor but at one point I was almost wondering if it was maybe too much Harris and Proctor.
  • Great to see accident prone Fackler back. When was he last in it? 3 I think.
  • Cool to see Lassard hustle at pool. I do love Lassard.
  • There were two very good rappers in the rap scene. I looked them up and Ralph Blandshaw appears to just be known for appearing in this film, but the other one is Melle Mel who was lead vocalist and songwriter in Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five!
  • Loved seeing Hooks and Hightower rapping too.
  • Lasers?! Really?
  • It was very cool to see Michael Winslow doing a stand up routine in the comedy club
  • Liked the 1-to-1 fight with Hightower and the other big guy
  • Great bit when Michael Winslow acts like a robot in the fight
  • Kind of stealing the ‘Have a nice day’ bullet smiley face thing from Lethal Weapon?
  • Bigfoot Monster Truck again! And this time we get to see it kick some butt!
  • Bit of a Scooby Doo ending with two Commissioners
  • The film seemed to be trying to be a bit more of an actual crime mystery. Not as much slapstick. Almost trying to be something that it’s not. Although to be fair it kind of pulled it off! I quite enjoyed this one.

4. Police Academy 4 – Citizens on Patrol

  • More like a properly made movie. Better shots and cuts.
  • Great skateboarding scene!
  • Great how they all get screen credits at the end.
  • ‘Captain’ Harris is backSharon Stone
  • Harris and Proctor make a good combination.
  • Really liked Zed for the first time in this one.
  • Best Sweetchuck and Zed partnership in this one.
  • Quite dramatic waterfall scene and aeroplane/hot air balloon

3. Police Academy 5 – Assignment: Miami Beach

  • Again this movie is much better made than, in particular, 2 and 3
  • It’s the first movie without Mahoney, but to be honest I didn’t miss him too much
  • There is lots of Lassard which is great! This is possibly Lassard’s best movie. Or at least the movie with the most Lassard. It’s kind of based around him
  • Gentle Ben boats! I never quite know what these are called, but I call them Gentle Ben boats. They look so much fun
  • I enjoyed the baddies and also the whole kidnapping that Lassard thought was a hoax.
  • There’s only a few of the main officer characters in this one but I just enjoyed having so much Lassard, Harris and Proctor.

2. Police Academy 3 – Back in Training

  • There is still some bad editing in this one, but a little bit of that is part of the Police Academy charm. In general this one is made better than 2.
  • Mauser is better in this one. I didn’t like him too much in 2 but he comes into his own here.
  • Blankes and Copland are back! These guys were a big part of the first film and it’s great to see them back here
  • The jet ski scene is amazing and very, very long, but it has great music which really helps it, reminiscent of James Horner’s Commando’s score.

1. Police Academy 1

  • I consider it an 80s classic. It just has such charm compared to the others, in the characters and the way it’s made.
  • Great characters. Leslie Barbara is one of my favourites.
  • Kim Katrell is gorgeous in this film.
  • Harris and Lassard are amazing. Harris in particular really makes this film for me.
  • Watching it today, however, it is remarkably homophobic and racist. Truly a product of its time and definitely has to be watched with 1980s blinkers on.
  • And lastly I have to say that one of the best bits of this whole franchise, which was introduced in this film, is the incredible theme song by Robert Folk.

So here is my personal ranking summary, this time with the best at the top.

1 – Very Good
3 – Good
5 – Good
4 – Good
6 – Ok
2 – Ok
7 – Terrible

My ranking is markedly different from many other Police Academy rankings online. Each to their own.

Now here is a list of what I consider the most common Police Academy tropes, which appear in every, or nearly every, movie. And I’ve put them roughly in order of my favourite first, or the perhaps the one I most associate with the franchise.


Opening titles with the skyline at night, often raining, with the music kicking in.
Jones’ sound effects
Hooks speaking quietly and then eventually shouting “…dirtbag!”
Lassard saying “Many, many”
Harris saying “Move it, move it!”
Playing practical jokes on Harris
Hightower scaring someone
Tack going gun crazy
People ogling Callahan’s breasts
Callahan saying “Who’s going to take me?” or something in a training exercise
Finishing the film on a ceremony/parade

It’s quite hard to rank my favourite characters but here I go in rough order of favourite at the top.


Leslie Barbara
Blankes and Copland

The franchise takes a lot of stick, and some of it rightly so. But it still really has a soft spot in my heart. I tried not to analyse them too much, because they’re just silly films, and yes the first one is pretty racist, sexist and homophobic, but as the series progressed, even still in the late 80s and early 90s they really, in particular, made the female characters a lot stronger. Sure they still had jokes about Callahan’s breasts, but they made her into a complete badass, able to fight several men at once. And after the first movie, Hooks basically always ends up using her powerful voice to get her way. This was good to see progressing as the films went on.

Some of the films are very different and they let different characters shine, which is perhaps part of the reason that the franchise was able to go on so long. But for the same reason some of the films just don’t work, because they stray a bit too much from the original formula. What I do really like seeing is which characters leave and then come back again. I’d love to see an infographic that charts all the character appearances. I think the only characters to start in all 7 films are Lassard, Tackleberry and Jones, with Hooks, Hightower and Callahan only one film behind.

In summary I thought after film 3 this binge of the Police Academy series would be tough going. I was wrong. It was only tough going on the last one! I watched many, many fine Police Academy films before that. Don’t agree? Well you can move it, move it, move it, dirtbag!