One of the many products of the 1980s was a series of American comedy films called the Police Academy. It presented the simpler times of the entertainment industry, and it is simple, often corny but effective nonetheless, humor won over the hearts worldwide. Police Academy procured seven movies, two TV shows, and a comic book series in the span of ten years, more specifically, from 1984 to 1994, and marked the end of the era in popular comedy.
Each movie had a similar premise: a group of misfits is trying to enroll in the Police Academy and eventually become fully pledged police officers. The Police Academy is a cult comedy movie series that is still warmly welcomed by the public whenever it is airing on TV. This article will mention only movies since they are the most consistent and relevant. Buckle up because we are jumping on a memory lane.
How many Police Academy movies are out there?
From 1984 to 1994, there were seven Police Academy movies released. The first movie, simply called Police Academy, was released in 1984, followed by Police Academy 2 only a year later. Closely to the second installment, the third Police Academy was released in 1986, and the fourth movie came out in 1987. Two movies that closed off the 80s decade were the fifth and sixth installments of the Police Academy franchise, released in 1988 and 1989, respectively.
The final movie was released in 1994 when Police Academy went overseas to Mother Russia.
What is the best way to watch Police Academy movies?
The best way to watch Police Academy is by release date. All movies follow a simple linear storyline, and the timeline of the events is not difficult to follow at all. Of course, the movies can be watched standalone as well.
Police Academy movies in order (at a glance)
We established that seven Police Academy movies are released today, and its legacy and popularity are shared with very few movie franchises. The low-brow humor, physical comedy, and subtle sexual innuendos made the comedy of the movies so popular. Of course, the consistency of the same cast was remarkable even by today’s standards.
The movies’ sequels looked like the TV shows’ seasons, which is why they were so closely created and released.
All in all, the movie franchise has longevity and quality, and this is our watch order at a glance:
- Police Academy (1984)
- Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985)
- Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986)
- Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987)
- Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988)
- Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989)
- Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994)
We will mention some details of the movies, without the spoilers, and each movie’s critical and commercial success. Moreover, we will mention where you can watch the movies, future projects, and the franchise’s lore. If you are interested, stick with us until the end!
Police Academy in order (by release date)
1. Police Academy (1984)
We are starting with the movie that started everything, the original Police Academy from 1984. The movie’s premise is simple – the story follows a new recruitment policy issued by the police department for a police academy that must take in any recruit who wishes to try becoming a police officer. Of course, chaos ensued when anyone could enroll in the Police Academy.
The story mostly follows Carey Mahoney, who is forced to enroll in the police academy instead of going to jail. His naughty attitude, and insubordination towards the commanding staff of the academy, get him in trouble that gets worse when others join as well. The movie was directed by the rookie director Hugh Wilson and written by Neal Israel, Pat Proft, and the director himself.
The movie was a commercial and critical success, earning almost $150 million. The first Police Academy is still the most successful movie in the Police Academy franchise.
2. Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985)
The second installment of the Police Academy came out only a year after, in 1985. Most of the cast members returned to portray their characters once again, and they did not disappoint.
The cadets from the first movie graduate police academy and are assigned to the worst part of the town to stop one of the notorious gangs in the city. The comedy in this movie is not any different than the first one, and outrageously funny gags and situations are what make it good. This time, the second Police Academy was directed by Jerry Paris and written by Barry W. Blaustein and David Sheffield.
Police Academy 2 was a commercial hit, but critics disliked the movie and its humor. However, over time people stopped being harsh towards it, but most fans would agree that the first movie was more effective.
3. Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986)
As you can see from the first two movies, the Police Academy movies did not waste time releasing new movies and sequels. Back in Training was released in 1986 and immediately continues after the events of the Their First Assignment. The story follows the original police academy graduates and Commandant Eric Lassard “hitting the wall” because the city decided to cut back on the budget and decided that there could be only one police academy.
The graduates and Lassard need to do their best to convince Governor Neilson to keep their academy open. Once again, the third Police Academy movie received commercial success, and people obviously loved it, but the critics once again viciously criticized the movie. Well, at least they said the movie was better than the second one, so that’s a relief.
4. Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987)
We are halfway through the Police Academy franchise, and the fourth installment was not less popular. Citizens on Patrol brought on a lot of new characters since the story follows Commandant Lassard, who comes up with the idea of recruiting citizens to help the overworked, now full-pledged officers. Of course, Captain Harris, with his assistant Sgt. Procter has ulterior motives and wants to sabotage this ambitious crime-fighting program.
The critics once again slammed the movie, calling it childish and utterly unfunny, while the fans showed the movie great support by earning it almost $80 million at the box office.
5. Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988)
Police Academy 5 saw fan-favorite Carey Mahoney being absent from this movie since the actor Steve Guttenberg was starring in another movie, Three Man and a Baby. Police Academy executives hired Matt McCoy, who portrayed Commandant Lassard’s nephew. The story follows as Cpt. Harris is trying to take over as the new Commandant of the Police Academy from the ready-for-retirement Erik Lassard, who tricks Harris and postpones the retirement.
In the meantime, Lassards nephew, Sergeant Nick Lassard, helps his uncle’s favorite graduates to catch the diamond thieves in Miami and stop Harris from his plan of taking over. The movie suffered the least commercial success, although it was still profitable, and the critics strongly disliked the movie and called it the “worst of the franchise.”
6. Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989)
We are at the sixth installment of the franchise, and the movie once again missed Carey Mahoney, and the new addition to the cast, Sergeant Nick Lassard, returned to reprise his role. This time, the movie follows the city suffering massive robberies that marked the highest criminal activity in years.
When robbers pulled off a heist in front of Cpt, Harris, the original police academy graduates, and Commandant Erik Lassard needed to find a way to stop the series of thefts. City Under Siege gained the least commercial success, and it was the first time the Police Academy movie did not top the first week in U.S. cinemas. The critics were unrelenting, and the movie gained negative reviews.
7. Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994)
The franchise’s last movie was released in 1994, almost six years since the previous installment, which was odd for the Police Academy movies that prided themselves in releasing their films almost every year. This movie marked the first international stint of the Police Academy, and the movie was even filmed in Russia in 1993. The cast and crew changed significantly over the years, and only three original members appeared in this installment.
The story follows the police graduates and Commandant Erik Lassard in the mission to help their Russian colleagues, who are dealing with the rampant Mafia boss, Konstantine Konali. The movie was received negatively both commercially and critically, and this movie marked the end of the Police Academy franchise.
The movies did not carry the same charm as the first movies, which is normal in long franchises, and fans were fatigued by the constant Police Academy content.
Where to watch Police Academy movies?
In the U.S., Police Academy is available on Netflix, while Europeans and others can rent the movies from the Amazon Prime movie library.
Do you need to watch Police Academy movies in order?
If there is a franchise that strictly follows one storyline across multiple movies, that is Police Academy. From the first installment until the last movie of the franchise, Mission to Moscow, the Police Academy storyline was consistent.
If you want to follow the journey of the police academy cadets and later officers, you must watch the movies in order.
The movie’s release date and chronological order are the same, so you won’t have a problem with the story timeline.
Are Police Academy movies connected?
Police Academy movies are strongly connected since it follows the same characters that were mostly consistent throughout the franchise, and their “climbing up the ladder” of the Police Department in the city. Regardless of the storyline, each movie mainly followed the same story and niche.
Will there be more Police Academy movies?
Since 2003, Paul Maslansky, with the help of mainly Steve Guttenberg, was trying to get Police Academy revived with the eighth installment of the franchise or develop a reboot. However, the movie was in development hell for a decade. For years Maslansky gave interviews that the studio would finally work on the movie, but some of the original cast members’ deaths postponed the new Police Academy movie development.
After years of trying to revive the franchise, the hope of the new Police Academy project finally surfaced again, and Steve Guttenberg, who played Carey Mahoney in the movies, in 2018, announced on Twitter that the new Police Academy was finally in the works. Since then, Guttenberg teased in 2021 that the movie was truly developing and that the public would know the details soon enough.
One more original member is apparently attached to the project – Michael Winslow, who portrayed Officer Larvell Jones. At this moment, we can only hope that the project is happening and that the new crew and executives will create a great sequel or reboot.