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The-pink-panther

A comedy film franchise that spun off two animated ones. In its original form it totaled nine films over 30 years, most of them directed and co-written by Blake Edwards. A 2006 reboot yielded two additional films.

The Films:

  • The Pink Panther (1963): Sir Charles Lytton is a Gentleman Thief who operates under the identity of "The Phantom". Inspector Jacques Clouseau is a French detective who is trying to track him down in Switzerland before he can steal the prized treasure of the kingdom of Lugash, the Pink Panther diamond (a large gem so named because of a pink, panther-shaped flaw), from a visiting princess. Alas, Clouseau is such a fool that he is easily outsmarted by way of the combined forces of the Phantom, his nephew, the princess herself, and the Phantom's key accomplice...Clouseau's own wife. While the thieves were the focus of this film, Clouseau, as played by Peter Sellers, was the character the subsequent films were based around, starting with the Dolled-Up Installment...
  • A Shot in the Dark (1964): Clouseau, now single, is called to the aristocratic Ballon household to solve a murder. His judgment is immediately clouded by his infatuation with the prime suspect, Maria Gambrelli, even as more murders pile up around her. His bungling drives his boss, Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus (Herbert Lom), to homicidal madness. In the meantime, we also meet Cato Fong (Burt Kwouk), Clouseau's Chinese manservant who - on Clouseau's orders - keeps springing surprise martial arts attacks on him.
  • Inspector Clouseau (1968): Sellers and Edwards opted out of this installment in which Clouseau, now played by Alan Arkin, investigates a bank robbery in England. Lacking any other recurring characters, this one is generally disregarded.
  • The Return of the Pink Panther (1975): The Pink Panther is stolen from a Lugash museum, and Clouseau is called upon to seek it out once more. The evidence suggests the Phantom is responsible, but in fact Sir Charles Lytton has been framed. The film follows the parallel plots of Clouseau trailing Lytton's wife to Switzerland and Lytton's journey to Lugash to try and find out who actually did it. Dreyfus' attempts to kill Clouseau lands him in an institution at the end, leading directly into...
  • The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976): Three years later (though the film was only made one year after), Dreyfus is seemingly cured, but having to meet up with Clouseau before he can be released, the therapy is undone. Dreyfus escapes and organizes a criminal gang that kidnaps an inventor and his daughter. Forcing the former to build a Disintegrator Ray, Dreyfus threatens to unleash it on the world unless Clouseau is killed, and many countries immediately send assassins after Clouseau as he sets out to stop Dreyfus himself.
  • Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978): Clouseau is now so famous that the head of the French mob, to prove his mettle to the American Mafia, puts out a hit on him - three actually, as Clouseau's luck saves him from death each time. The thing is, the third time appears to have been the charm to everyone else, leaving Clouseau to go undercover with Cato to figure out who wanted him dead. Oh, and Dreyfus is "cured" by the news of Clouseau's death, and set free again. This unfortunately would be Sellers' last performance as Clouseau.

Peter Sellers died in 1980, but Edwards decided to continue the series and introduce new lead characters. These films are similarly subject to Fanon Discontinuity, particularly due to the circumstances behind the first.

  • Trail of the Pink Panther (1982): Using mostly deleted scenes from Strikes Again and new footage with many of the other regulars, Clouseau once again is called to Lugash to seek the stolen Pink Panther. When his plane vanishes, TV reporter Marie Jouvet (Joanna Lumley) decides to investigate his disappearance by interviewing those who knew him well, turning the second half of the film into a Clip Show. This was shot at the same time as its follow-up:
  • Curse of the Pink Panther (1983): Dreyfus sabotages the search for a great detective to seek Clouseau and the world's worst detective, Clifton Sleigh of New York City, is put on the case. The audience learns the ultimate fate of Clouseau and the diamond (it involves Roger Moore!), but Sleigh doesn't even when it's right before his eyes.
  • Son of the Pink Panther (1993): A Revision of the events of A Shot in the Dark reveals Clouseau sired a son, Clouseau Jr. (Roberto Benigni). To Dreyfus' dismay, the son is helping track down the kidnapped current princess of Lugash and receiving various help and hindrance from Clouseau's old colleagues. Then Dreyfus realizes, given the father's track record, it might not be such a bad idea. This had the misfortune to being the final film of both Henry Mancini and Blake Edwards.

In 2006, the franchise was rebooted under the original title The Pink Panther, with Steve Martin as Clouseau and Jean Reno as a new sidekick, Ponton. Aside from Clouseau, Dreyfus was the only character carried over from the original films (played by Kevin Kline in the first film, and John Cleese in the second). The Pink Panther 2 arrived in 2009, but its disappointing box-office suggests that no further films will be forthcoming.

The Animated Shorts: The first film had animated credits, produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, that featured a "literal" representation of the flaw in the eponymous diamond. This proved so popular with audiences -- indeed, all the films thus have animated credits (during the end credits for Return he even appears alongside the institutionalized Dreyfus as a hallucination), including the reboot -- that the character, an anthropomorphic mute, was spun off into a series of animated shorts the following year.

The Panther's status was increased when the newly founded DePatie-Freleng studio's first short, "The Pink Phink," won the 1964 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Subject -- the first time an animation studio had won one with its very first cartoon. The shorts put the Panther in situations ranging from the mundane to the fantastic, always with Henry Mancini's popular theme music somewhere in the score (the shorts were silent save for gibberish, sound effects, and music; attempts to give the Panther a voice were washes).

Along with the Panther's shorts, the original TV run also included The Inspector, shorts inspired by Clouseau's character. The Inspector in these shorts was more competent than his movie counterpart, though still prone to bad judgement calls, and the general Butt Monkey of the series overall, even when he did succeed in the end. These shorts were soon joined by other series':

  • The Ant and the Aardvark: A 17-episode Cat-And-Mouse series about the two titular characters, a red ant and the blue aardvark who constantly tries to eat him.
  • Tijuana Toads: A series about a pair of Mexican toads who usually fail in catching food, but are luckier in avoiding the hunger of one Crazylegs Crane (who later got his own series). This was eventually redubbed into Texas Toads to be less offensive.
  • Roland and Rattfink: A series of shorts about the conflict between the perfectly pacifistic Roland and the Dastardly Whiplash-like Rattfink.
  • Hoot Kloot: The misadventures of Wild West lawman Kloot and his horse.
  • Misterjaw: A series about an affable German-accented shark and his catfish buddy, with many takeoffs from Jaws.

While the shorts were specifically made for Saturday morning TV by the end of the original run in the late 1970s, even those were released to theatres into the early 1980s, making the Panther the last great theatrical shorts character. The character also starred in three prime time specials (1978's A Pink Christmas Special, 1980's Olym-Pinks, and 1982's Pink at First Sight) and was later revived for TV with Pink Panther and Sons (1984, though the Panther himself was reduced to mere cameos, the focus being instead on sons "Pinky" and "Panky" and a group of kids called "The Rainbow Panthers"), The Pink Panther (1993) (which had the character voiced by Matt Frewer), and Pink Panther and Pals (2010). He continues to be a popular commercial mascot, most notably for Owens Corning (pink) fiberglass insulation.

The German translation of the series however featured an ever-present, rhymed voice-over reminiscent of Wilhelm Busch's work, spoken by the German voice of Sean Connery. It was also only in this dub that the Panther was given a name: Paul. But more often than not, the cutsey version "Paulchen" was used.

Because A Shot in the Dark did not involve the diamond itself, the Panther didn't feature in the credits (from Strikes Again onwards, he does even if the diamond isn't involved) but a caricature of Clouseau did. This went over well enough that a shorter-lived series of shorts focusing on "The Inspector" (voiced by Pat Harrington) and his sidekick Deux-Deux (a gendarme) was made in the mid-1960s. The Clouseau animated character appeared in the credits of all the subsequent films through Trail, always futilely pursuing the Panther. The Replacement Scrappy characters got their own animated equivalents for Curse and Son, and a Martin-styled Clouseau figure appears in the reboot.


The films feature examples of:

  • Accidental Hero: Clouseau isn't able to save the world from Dreyfus' laser in Strikes Again until he just happens to sit on a catapult out of exhaustion. Douvier's men kidnapping his former mistress Simone with the intention of disposing of her literally collides with Clouseau and Cato's attempt to spy on Le Club Foot in Revenge.
  • Actor Allusion: In Strikes Again, Dreyfus is fond of playing the pipe organ a la The Phantom of the Opera. Herbert Lom, who played Dreyfus, played the titular Phantom in a 1962 film adaption.
  • Amusing Injuries: Dreyfus in particular is prone to these.
  • And Another Thing / Door Focus: The basis of a particularly funny gag in A Shot in the Dark, using the latter to spoof the former.
  • Animated Anthology: When the animated shorts began airing on Saturday morning TV in 1969 as The Pink Panther Show, it was in a half-hour timeslot and an ABA format: two Pink Panther shorts and an Inspector short. This particular setup persisted via syndicated airings and (later) Cartoon Network for years. As The Seventies progressed, the various Pink Panther anthology shows came to include other DePatie-Freleng shorts.
  • Animated Credits Opening: A series tradition. DePatie-Freleng produced them for most of the films, although Richard Williams' studio did the honors for Return and Strikes Again.
  • Artifact Title
  • Armed Legs: One of the killers in Strikes Again uses a shoe knife.
  • Ax Crazy: Dreyfus after he chopped off his thumb in Shot, and especially in Strikes Again.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: No so much a case of "wins" as "ends up better off than the good guy," but at the climax of the first film, Sir Charles Litton successfully frames Clouseau for the diamond theft, and steals his wife to boot.
    • Better off? Clouseau ends up in police protection, chased by a mob of women convinced he is the sexiest jewel thief in the world. When a policeman asks him how "he" pulled off all those robberies, he glances back at the women and says thoughtfully, "Well, you know, it wasn't easy."
    • Then in Curse we have a case of "The Bad Girls Win," as Chandra turns Clouseau to the dark side and gets him to become her consort, and then Lady Litton (Clouseau's ex-wife) steals the Pink Panther diamond, and this time the Littons apparently hang on to it permanently.
  • Bad Guys Play Pool: Ballon, who is one of four murderers in the case Clouseau is trying to solve in Shot, plays the game with him. During the game, Clouseau accuses him of being the murderer -- which, at the time, he wasn't.
  • Balloonacy: In The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Clouseau is floated out of his apartment window by the inflatable hump in his hunchback costume, thereby causing him to miss the bomb Dreyfus sets off
  • Bathroom Break Out: In The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Dreyfus orchestrates the escape of a prisoner being transported by train. He goes to the bathroom, then climbs out through the ventilator on to the roof of the train and into a waiting helicopter
  • Bedroom Adultery Scene: Used in the first film.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Francois has the misfortune of assisting both the psychotic Dreyfuss and the incompetent Clouseau.
    • Hercule LaJoy to Clouseau in A Shot in the Dark.
  • Bilingual Bonus: For the 2006 remake: Anyone who understands Cantonese will find out that the old Chinese lady is basically asking Clouseau why she's being interrogated and that she's busy and has other things to do. Clouseau somehow believes she tells him to look for soccer trainers for their knowledge of poisons.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Clouseau's wife in the first film.
  • Breakout Character: Clouseau is probably film's most successful example.
    • The Pink Panther character also counts as well.
  • Butt Monkey: Several characters, but Dreyfus is the poster boy of the franchise.
  • Calling Card: The Phantom's monogrammed glove.
  • The Cameo: Several over the original series, either unbilled or under a pseudonym.
    • Bryan Forbes (British director/producer/writer/actor), billed as "Turk Thrust", as the nudist camp attendant in Shot. The pseudonym was inspired by a joke he and friend Peter Sellers had conceived.
    • In Strikes Again Omar Sharif is the Egyptian assassin whom the Russian one mistakes for Clouseau on their initial meeting - he beds her, and she falls in love and chooses not to kill him, which is extremely confusing for the real Clouseau later.
      • The same film also has a musical cameo - the (intentionally) awful singing voice sported by drag queen Jarvis is supplied by Julie Andrews.
    • In Curse Roger Moore, billed as "Turk Thrust II", plays the post-Magic Plastic Surgery Clouseau.
  • Can't Get in Trouble For Nuthin'
  • Carnival of Killers: In Strikes Again, the world's greatest assassins descend on Munich in attempt to kill Clouseau and end up wiping each other out. (Coincidentally, given this trope's name, the sequence in question takes place at an Oktoberfest celebration.)
  • Cash Cow Franchise: Even more so when you add in the animated spinoffs and their associated merchandise.
  • Character Outlives Actor: Inspector Clouseau in Trail.
    • That's what most of the characters assume anyway.
  • Classy Cat Burglar: Claudine in Return and Simone in Curse. The unmade Romance of the Pink Panther had one of these as the film's antagonist, and would have ended with Clouseau making a Face Heel Turn out of love for her.
  • Clueless Detective: Clouseau might be the best-known example.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In Strikes Again, the method Dreyfus uses to torture the professor's daughter is by scratching a chalkboard while wearing meat-packer's gloves.
  • Cool Car: Clouseau has "The Silver Hornet" in Revenge that is intended as this, but it's "overdue for its service" and only falls apart on him.
  • Color Character
  • Da Chief: Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus is one of the more comedic examples. From Strikes Again onward, Clouseau himself takes over this position (though being Da Chief, he is more gentle to his fellow policemen) and Dreyfus resents this when he finds out.
  • Dating Catwoman: Provides the premise of the unmade Romance of the Pink Panther.
  • Depth Deception: A faked alien invasion in an episode of the animated series.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Dreyfus, in Strikes Again.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In Strikes Again, Dreyfus attempts to destroy an entire country because he was lied to about Clouseau's assassination. The country that falsely claimed to kill Clouseau is Egypt. The country Dreyfus decides to punish is England.
  • Double Entendre: Auguste Balls' name is one of the goofiest ever. Even more so with his slogan in Revenge: "...when duty calls, you've got Balls!" (The close-up of Graham Stark reciting that line was due to Peter Sellers' inability to stop laughing when they tried wider shots of the scene.)
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Or "minkeys"; Clouseau's first scene in Return involves a "blind" beggar and a monkey.
  • Fake Shemp: Trail is built around this concept, though flashbacks to his youth near the end have him played by younger actors in a variant on The Other Darrin.
  • Filming for Easy Dub: The later entries with Sellers used this with his stuntmen; Trail does this with a stand-in to tie the deleted scenes together.
  • Flanderization: Clouseau's accent gets more impenetrable and the havoc the slapstick wreaks goes up exponentially as the series progresses. However, his character doesn't suffer for this, and it didn't hurt the reception of the series with audiences.
    • Dreyfus also suffers the same fate. In his first appearance, A Shot in the Dark, he was simply Da Chief who was annoyed by Clouseau's antics. From "Return" onwards, he becomes a tic-ridden lunatic who only wants to kill Clouseau, even when the latter did nothing offending at all.
  • Follow That Car!: Spoofed in Return (see trope entry). A variation appears in Shot when he instructs the police car driver who brought him to the estate to go "back to town", so he drives off before Clouseau can get in.
  • The Fool: Clouseau (and how - his karma is a force to be reckoned with as a result).
  • Franchise Zombie: Revenge was commissioned by United Artists when they didn't have a big film planned for summer 1978.
  • The Fun in Funeral: Clouseau's apparent death in Revenge leads to a long sequence involving this (see trope entry).
  • Funny Character Boring Actor: Peter Sellers.
  • Funny Foreigner: Clouseau; his disguises incorporate other nationalities in the same manner.
  • Gay Paree: With occasional detours to Italy, Germany, Hong Kong, etc.
  • Genius Ditz: The Steve Martin version of Clouseau is actually prone to the occasional moments of lucidity.
  • Gentleman Thief: Sir Charles Lytton and his associates. The boredom motivation is key to the plot of Return.
  • Girl of the Week: Shot, Strikes Again, and Revenge all have these. The first was given a Revision for Son.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: Trail, which starts as a typical Clouseau misadventure and makes the switch when he goes missing, turning the protagonist role over to Marie as she investigates the disappearance.
  • Hand of Death: Several botched attempts to kill Clouseau in A Shot in the Dark.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Dreyfus' fate in Strikes Again. As he tries to destroy England with his laser, Clouseau accidentally knocks it around at the crucial moment - it malfunctions and zaps Dreyfus instead. Somehow, he got better by Revenge. In that film's climax, he starts a chain-reaction explosion in a fireworks warehouse when he lights a match to aim his gun at Clouseau. Near the end of Curse, he tries to shoot down a parasailing Sleigh with a rocket launcher, but the recoil sends him over a cliff (he's in a wheelchair at the time).
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Cato Fong in the original series, Ponton in the Reboot.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In the original film, Sir Lytton upon discovering the Pink Panther has already been taken from a targeted safe: "Someone's being highly dishonest!"
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: From Return onward, all of the titles (and credits) involve the Pink Panther phrase and animated character even if the diamond is not part of the plot.
    • The Pink Panther animated shorts all have the word "pink" in the title, and most of the Inspector shorts are puns on French words or phrases.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Some of the '70s films have Edwards' name as part of the full onscreen title, i.e. Blake Edwards' The Return of the Pink Panther.
    • The cartoons have the title "Blake Edwards' Pink Panther" when he appears.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bomb: Plenty from Return onwards.
  • Insistent Terminology: CHIEF Inspector Clouseau (from Strikes Again onwards) frequently reminds us of his full title.
  • Inspector Oblivious: Clouseau's opening scene in Return hinges on him getting distracted from a bank robbery. Moreover he's dim enough to accept bombs - the Incredibly Obvious kind, mind you - from suspicious persons without a thought, only realizing what they are just before it's too late. (Revenge: "Special delivery, a bomb! Were you expecting one?")
  • Instrument of Murder: A clarinet blowgun in Strikes Again.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: One of the catchiest ever, courtesy of Henry Mancini.
  • It Got Worse: The opinions of critics and viewers alike on the films after Peter Sellers died.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Clouseau is an arrogant man and believes enough in his own brilliance and rightness that he often misses the obvious. This also contributes to his chronic clumsiness. (Sellers himself saw Clouseau as a man who knows he's an idiot but is determined not to let anyone else find out.) On the other hand, he is genuinely on the side of good, is quite chivalrous with women to the point of unfounded faith (he was betrayed by his own wife), conducts himself with all the dignity he can muster, and as Trail points out, he never gives up. As pointed out on the Karma Houdini page, it was perhaps this that made the character so sympathetic to audiences.
  • Juggling Loaded Guns: Chief Inspector Dreyfus keeps in his office desk both a real gun and a lighter that looks just like said gun. Hilarity Ensues with predictably violent results, such as when his assistant Francois, hearing a gunshot, bursts in the office to see the top half of Dreyfus' face looking up at him from behind his desk:

  Dreyfus: Don't just stand there, idiot — call a doctor. And then help me find my nose!

  • Karma Houdini: Lytton and his accomplices; as the trope entry points out, they are never caught in any of their appearances. Clouseau and Chandra are almost this at the end of Curse - they aren't found out by Sleigh, but Lytton's wife steals the diamond from them!
    • Dreyfus in A Shot in the Dark (accidentally) killed four innocent bystanders in an attempt to kill Clouseau, yet no one called him on it.
      • The Pink Panther Strikes again takes it up to eleven, Dreyfus disintegrates the UN building, attempted to destroy England, yet two movies later, Trail, he is Commissioner again and no one talks about it (though this is because of Plot Hole).
      • A similiar thing happened before Trail in Revenge of..., nobody remembers Dreyfus' scheme in Strikes Again, and they even ask to give a eulogy to Clouseau's (faked) funeral.
    • Return ends with nobody going to prison for the actual theft of the diamond. Partially Justified Trope in that a lot of people thought Colonel Sharki was in on the conspiracy and he's too dead to defend himself.
      • Claudine Lytton the actual culprit is not seen in the epilogue, though.
  • Late Arrival Spoiler: About the only ways you can watch A Shot in the Dark for the first time and not already know that the Asian man attacking Clouseau is Cato and that the shadowy figure trying to kill Clouseau is Dreyfus is by knowing nothing at all about the film series or by knowing nothing except the order in which the films came out and watching them in order (this troper didn't bother with spoiler bars since this very page has already spoiled it, just as any page that summarizes the plot of each film would have to). As it is, since it doesn't have "Pink Panther" in the title, Shot is likely to be one of the last films of the series you're going to see.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: The ending of Curse hinges on this to write out Clouseau. And to have him played by Roger Moore.
  • Malaproper and Poirot Speak - Clouseau's unique speech patterns stem from a combination of these tropes. His accent is so thick it verges on Just a Stupid Accent in the 1970s entries, and this occasionally leads to him apparently saying one word while intending another, because other characters do not understand it. (Rim instead of room, massage instead of message, etc.) He sometimes swaps words or consonant sounds in a phrase as well: "a rit of fealous jage", "Sir Charles Phantom, the notorious Lytton", etc.
  • Master of Disguise: Clouseau fancies himself as this, to the point he is a regular client to costumer Auguste Balls, though the results vary from disguise to disguise.
  • Missing Episode: Sort of - MGM/UA doesn't own the rights to Return (currently, Universal/Focus Features does) so while all are available on DVD, there's never been a proper box set of the 5 films many fans consider canon.
    • MGM is also not allowed to mention "Return" in any published material, either.
  • Murphy's Bed: In The Pink Panther Strikes Again, it's the basis for the final non-animated gag.
  • Naked Freak-Out: in Shot, when Clouseau and Maria Gambrelli are caught naked in public.
  • Naked in Mink: In The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Olga Beriosova (Lesley-Anne Down) seduces Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) in a scene that is beyond words.
  • Never My Fault: Guilt of the murders in Shot fell, according to everybody but Clouseau, on Maria Gambrelli -- until the end.
  • No Fourth Wall: The end credits of Return roll as we see Dreyfus in a padded cell; when Peter Sellers' credit appears, he shouts at us, "Kill him! Kill him!"
  • No Matter How Much I Beg: Revenge confirms that Cato follows Clouseau's instructions about surprise attacks to the letter, much to Clouseau's frustration.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: They're not just for cartoons anymore! And Revenge takes the charred-and-smoking reveal to a new level when Clouseau's state is enough to set paper on fire, and his attempt to put it out sets a whole office aflame in a case of Disaster Dominoes.
  • No More for Me
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Dreyfus in the original. Ballon in Shot also counts.
  • Not Me This Time: The Tornado, a serial thief, was believed to have resurfaced and stolen various treasures around the world, including the Magna Carta, the Turin Shroud, the Imperial Sword, the Pink Panther Diamond (allegedly), and the Pope's ring. Turns out, he never actually committed those crimes (for one thing, he would have deduced that the Pink Panther Diamond on display was in fact a forgery had he truly stolen it), it was his scorned lover, Sonia who did the deed, eventually killing him before they located him.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Subverted - it's revealed in Revenge that most people think Clouseau's success is due to this, rather than his actually being The Fool.
  • Oddly-Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Original series only.
  • One Steve Limit: There are two characters named Charles: Sir Charles Lytton (The Phantom) and Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus (Clouseau's superior).
    • Jaqcues Gambrelli, though its Justified because he is Clouseau's son.
  • Peter Sellers
  • Phantom Thief: The Phantom
  • Plot Hole:
    • Trail says that Lytton married Simone after the events of the first film. If so, where does Claudine, his wife in Return, fit in?
    • How on Earth did Dreyfus appear in Revenge if he was killed at the end of Strikes Again?.
    • Not only that, in Trail of... he is Chief inspector again. You could say between the events of this film and Revenge that he got cured, but then we have Strikes Again in wich Dreyfus tried to Take Over the World. Unless that movie is not in the same canon (Though Trail, Curse and Son of can be this too.), What kind of idiot would put one of the most dangerous maniacs back in his position.
  • Pretty in Mink: A would-be assassin in Strikes Again wears a full length coat and hat.
  • Qurac: Lugash.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: One reason the Running Gag of Clouseau's costumes became more pronounced in Strikes Again and Revenge was that Peter Sellers' health had become too frail for him to perform as much slapstick. Trail and Curse, of course, were completely conceived/made after Sellers had died, and the plots work to compensate for this absence.
  • Put on a Bus: Blake Edwards did this to Clouseau himself to make way for "Son of the Pink Panther". That was not a good idea.
    • Why? Because fans, critics and fellow crew/cast members were angry.
  • Refrigerator Ambush: Cato pulls one off in Return.
  • Revenge of the Sequel
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Several of the films end with the animated Pink Panther interacting in some fashion with the live-action characters.
    • Son of... * begins* with this, during the opening credits.
  • Running Gag / Sequel Escalation: Clouseau's accent, his disguises in the later films, Cato's attacks and the subsequent fights, Dreyfus' murder attempts and his eye twitch, and the Non-Fatal Explosions.
  • Sanity Slippage: Dreyfus.
  • Shaped Like Itself:

 Francois: Do you know what kind of bomb it was?

Clouseau (gravely): The exploding kind.

  • Sidekick: Cato's role is largely confined to Clouseau's apartment in most of the films, but he becomes this outright in the second half of Revenge. In the Inspector animated shorts, Deux-Deux fills this role.
  • Siege Engines: In The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Inspector Clouseau is accidentally propelled up and through a castle window by a catapult.
  • Significant Birth Date: Used as an in-joke. Trail tells us Clouseau was born on September 8, which means he and Peter Sellers share a birthday.
  • Snap Back / Unexplained Recovery: Dreyfus' presence in Revenge and the subsequent films, after apparently getting disintegrated at the end of Strikes Again. Wikipedia's entry for Revenge says that some fans regard Revenge as either a prequel or substitute for Strikes Again, and that the rest don't matter.
  • Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb: In the Sellers films it's practically a Running Gag from Shot onwards that somebody's going to try to off Clouseau with a bomb at some point, be it a Time Bomb or Incredibly Obvious Bomb.
  • Something Completely Different: Strikes Again, based around a plot more akin to the James Bond films, could qualify as this.
    • In 1968, Peter Sellers did a film for the Mirisch Corporation (which was responsible for the first three films) that was directed by Blake Edwards and had music by Henry Mancini, but it wasn't in the series. Its title is The Party.
    • Inspector Clouseau, also released in 1968, counts too as it stars Alan Arkin as Clouseau instead of Peter Sellers and was directed by Bud Yorkin instead of Blake Edwards.
  • Spiritual Successor: The Neil Simon penned film After The Fox features Sellers as a Master Criminal nicknamed the Fox who uses a phoney movie shoot as cover for a gold heist. Much of the humor is identical to that in the Panther films, and there is also a Panther style opening credit sequence featuring a cartoon fox.
  • Star-Making Role: Peter Sellers.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Clouseau.
  • Take Over the World: The main plot of Strikes Again.
  • That Russian Squat Dance: Clouseau rips his pants as he attempts one of these in Shot.
  • Thirty Second Blackout: The blackout in Shot lasts only five seconds and leaves the whole Ballon mansion in pitch darkness.
  • Time Bomb: Dreyfus sends Clouseau a clock in Shot that is really a bomb set to go off at three. When it goes off, however, nobody is killed or injured.
  • The Tooth Hurts: In The Pink Panther Strikes Again, former Chief Inspector Dreyfus gets a bad toothache and sends for a dentist. Clouseau pretends to be the dentist and performs dental malpractice on Dreyfus.

 Dreyfus: He has pulled the wrong tooth! There's only one man who would pull the wrong tooth. It's Clouseau! Kill him! Kill him!

    • Note he (and Clouseau) are laughing hysterically through this whole scene due to a malfunction with the nitrous oxide.
  • Torpedo Tits: One of the killers in Strikes Again attacks Clouseau with spikes emerging from her dress. She meets her end when she pins them to a table.
  • Twitchy Eye: Chief Inspector Dreyfus gets one of these thanks to Clouseau.
  • The Unintelligible: Clouseau is frequently asked to repeat himself due to other characters' inability to decipher his accent.
  • Wallpaper Camouflage
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: In Curse of the Pink Panther, Dreyfus' birth year is said to be 1900. This movie was made in 1983, placing this character in his early 80s. Never mind the fact that Dreyfus obviously doesn't look that old (Herbert Lom was only in his 60s), but then comes Son of the Pink Panther which takes place 10 years later, meaning in that movie he must be in his early 90s! Even if Dreyfus was in his early 80s in Curse..., shouldn't he be retired from the police force by then?
  • You Look Familiar: Graham Stark, a close friend and colleague of Sellers, appears in all the films from Shot through Son (save for Inspector Clouseau) as various characters, two of which, Hercule and Auguste Balls, were recurring. Joanna Lumley plays a reporter in Trail and a countess in Curse.
  • You Say Tomato: In the 2006 film, Clouseau would like to buy a "damburger" and would also like to rent a "rhume" for the night. In one of the sequels, he attempts to pick up a "massage" at the front desk of a hotel.
    • This was also a standard part of Peter Sellers' Clouseau schtick in the earlier films.
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