Police Academy (1984) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • The year is 1984 and the mayoress has removed set personal criteria form the requirements to join the police force. No longer is sex, weight, height and orientation a factor. This now allows for an insurgence of people applying. The Police Academy series follows a select group of misfits in their quest to become police men and women. The first film of the series follows these misfits in their time at the Police Academy. The main focus is on a petty criminal called Mahoney. Mahoney is busted for criminal damage and as punishment is forced to go to Police Academy. Mahoney initially feels that this isn't the right place for him and he makes it his mission to be thrown out as he is not allowed to quit. As the classes go by and the training exercises are played out, Mahoney soon realizes that he is actually enjoying the academy and does want to become a police officer. We are also introduced to the gun maniac Tackelberry, the very tall Hightower, voluptuous Callahan, squeaky Hooks, human beat box and sound effects master Jones and the ever confuzzled Commandant Lassard. This group become good friends and become the base for the rest of the series of films.

  • New rules enforced by the Lady Mayoress mean that sex, weight, height and intelligence need no longer be a factor for joining the Police Force. This opens the floodgates for all and sundry to enter the Police Academy, much to the chagrin of the instructors. Not everyone is there through choice, though. Social misfit Mahoney has been forced to sign up as the only alternative to a jail sentence and it doesn't take long before he falls foul of the boorish Lieutenant Harris. But before long, Mahoney realises that he is enjoying being a police cadet and decides he wants to stay... while Harris decides he wants Mahoney out!

  • As a crime wave sweeps through a city that doesn't have enough police officers, the mayor decides that part of the problem may stem from overly restrictive qualifications for police officers, so she opens the door of the city's Police Academy to anyone who wants to join. Chief Henry Hurst does not agree with the mayor's decision. Soon, the academy is overrun with misfits, including parking lot attendant Carey Mahoney, who has been arrested before. Captain Reed, a longtime friend of Mahoney's father, gives Mahoney the choice of taking the 14 week course and joining the force, or going to jail. Mahoney chooses the academy. Karen Thompson is an attractive cadet whom Mahoney has his eyes on. Florist Moses Hightower is a mountain of a man who likes to tend flowers. And Larvell Jones has the ability to imitate the sound of virtually anything. Also in the academy are guy-magnet Debbie Callahan, squeaky voiced Laverne Hooks, gun loving Eugene Tackleberry, and Leslie Barbara (Donovan Scott), a cadet who has been picked on one too many times. Befuddled Commandant Eric Lassard and his lackey, Lieutenant Thaddeus Harris, are not exactly thrilled with the new recruits. As Lassard and Harris try to wash their hands of the recruits, Mahoney and his classmates become all the more determined to make good, even when one of the recruits accidentally starts a chain reaction of fights that lead to a riot in the city.

  • The city is in need of more police officers, so the mayor decides to alter the requirements for acceptance into the Police Academy. Among the new cadets is Moses Hightower, a gentle giant who was a florist. Leslie Barbara, who is tired of being picked on. Laverne Hooks, a mousy, meek voice person. Karen Thompson, a socialite, who hopes that it'll allow her the opportunity to meet some unusual people. Eugene Tackleberry, a guy who likes to discharge his weapon. Larvell Jones, a human sound effects machine, who was met at the police station by Carey Mahoney, a guy who is basically a good guy but has a little trouble with authority figures, a retaliates by committing outrageous acts that get him arrested. He is fortunate that police Captain Reed is a good friend of his father and has been bailing him out but now Reed thinks that jail is what Mahoney needs but Mahoney disagrees. Reed suggest that Mahoney join the police academy but must complete the 14 week course or else he will be sent to jail. So Mahoney brings Jones with him hoping that he can help Mahoney get thrown out. It also seems that the police chief doesn't agree with the mayor so he instructs Commandant Lassard and Lieutenant Harris to encourage the bad apples to quit.

  • A group of good-hearted but incompetent misfits enter the police academy, but the instructors there are not going to put up with their pranks.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • A newly-elected female mayor (referred to as the "lady mayor" by her opponents) of an unnamed city has announced a policy requiring the police department to accept all willing recruits, effectively abolishing fitness requirements, educational levels, and medical standards, although not everyone in the police force is happy about the new changes.

    Carey Mahoney (Steve Guttenburg) is an easy going man who has repeatedly gotten himself in trouble with the law when standing up to arrogance. Mahoney is forced to join the police academy as an alternative to jail; a proposal by Captain Reed who has been lenient on Mahoney due to knowing his late father, who was also a policeman. Mahoney reluctantly agrees to this and decides that he will get himself thrown out as a loophole. However, the chief of police, Commandant Lassard outraged by the mayor's lowered requirements, decides that the new cadets should be forced to quit rather than being thrown out. Lieutenant Thaddeus Harris (G.W. Bailey) the arrogant and thick-headed officer who trains the cadets, agrees with the plan and employs tactics to make their lives as miserable as possible so that they do in fact quit. Mahoney tries many schemes to get thrown out as he cannot quit, as part of the deal made with Captain Reed said if he quit, he was going to be sent to jail. But toward the middle of the film he decides to stay for good having fallen in love with fellow recruit Karen Thompson (Kim Cattrall).

    While in the academy, Mahoney becomes friends with a group of misfit fellow cadets; the sound-mimicking wizard Larvell Jones (Michael Winslow); the gun-obsessed Eugene Tackleberry (David Graf), and especially Moses Hightower (Bubba Smith), a giant of a man (who is actually quite shy and keeps away from violence by and large), after helping him prepare for the critical driving test. After passing, Hightower is very thankful to Mahoney. Unfortunately, the quit policy does not apply to Hightower, who gets himself kicked out of the academy because of an incident. After his friend and fellow cadet Laverne Hooks has been racially insulted, an angered Hightower lifts and turns over a police car with the hated bullying cadet Copeland inside.

    Shortly after this, Mahoney gets involved in a lunchroom brawl caused by Copeland and Blankes, and takes the blame for throwing the first punch, which finally gives Lt. Harris the green light to expel his most despised cadet. Before Mahoney actually leaves the premises, however, a major riot breaks out downtown. The resulting police emergency forces the cadets into real action for the first time. During the riot, a tough outlaw manages to steal two cadet revolvers (one from Copeland and the other from Cadet Blankes). The outlaw grabs and disarms Lt. Harris by surprise, taking the officer to the roof of a nearby building as a hostage. Mahoney, despite his past troubles with Harris, dodges gunfire and climbs to the roof in a rescue attempt. This attempt fails and Mahoney is taken as a second hostage. Just as both hostages are about to be killed, it is none other than Hightower who suddenly appears on the rooftop in civilian clothes. The former cadet, who went back to his old job at a nearby florist just minutes earlier and left his shop due to the riot, manages to fool the hostage taker that he is a fellow crook. When asking whom the hostage-taker should shoot first, Hightower points at Harris, before knocking the hostage-taker out with a massive punch, thus rescuing Mahoney and Harris just in time.

    Mahoney and Hightower both graduate from the academy along with the other passing cadets, and both receive the academy's highest commendation ever bestowed upon a cadet for their rescue of Lt. Harris and capture of his kidnapper. Towards the end Mahoney suddenly stammers as he sees a prostitute concealed inside the podium, and suddenly realizes Commandant Lassard has taken subtle revenge for one of Mahoney's earlier pranks in an attempt to get himself kicked out.

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