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Director: Tom Mankiewicz, Dan Aykroyd, Tom Hanks, Christopher Plummer

Cast: Tom Mankiewicz, Dan Aykroyd, Tom Hanks, Christopher Plummer


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Dan Aykroyd must have practiced for months to perfect his Jack Webb inflections for Dragnet. Screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz's directorial debut (also written by Mankiewicz, along with Aykroyd, and Alan Zweibel) is a gentle spoof of the legendary


Dan Aykroyd must have practiced for months to perfect his Jack Webb inflections for Dragnet. Screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz's directorial debut (also written by Mankiewicz, along with Aykroyd, and Alan Zweibel) is a gentle spoof of the legendary '50s television police drama -- pitting '50s conservatism smack up against the attitudes of the '80s. Basically, the film is another 48 Hours or Beverly Hills Cop clone. Aykroyd stars as Joe Friday, the nephew of the original Friday. But with his brown suit, fedora, and lockjaw, he could just as well be the incarnation of Jack Webb. He is involuntarily assigned a smart alecky, street-wise partner, Pep Streebeck (Tom Hanks), and they are charged to investigate a series of religious cult murders in L.A. The two cops follow the trail to a phony televangelist, the Reverend Jonathan Whirley (Christopher Plummer). From there, they are only at step away from uncovering an Orange County-based religious cult calling itself P.A.G.A.N. (People Against Goodness and Normalcy). After sneaking into a secret ceremony, Friday falls in love with the sacrificial victim Connie Swail (Alexandra Paul). So much so that even after his superior Captain Gannon (Harry Morgan, reprising his role from the '60s revival of the Dragnet program) orders him off the case, Friday continues on, with the requisite car chases and crashes that usually climax any '80s cop movie or comedy.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Costello
Tom Mankiewicz's amiable big-screen version of the long-running and immensely successful Dragnet series took a far more satirical and tongue-in-cheek tone than the original. Dan Aykroyd stars as the nephew of the inimitable Joe Friday as he goes after a shady religious cult with the help of irreverent new partner Pep Streebek Tom Hanks. Jack Webb, who produced the original Dragnet, played lead detective Friday, specializing in a kind of wooden non-acting that set the tone for a series whose technical primitiveness and emotional flatness evoked an Army training film. Aykroyd, who clearly loves this character, has excised Webb's only known expression, a grimace of perennial disgust, while keeping the '50s attitudes and uptight bearing, and adding his own talent for spouting bureaucratic arcana at the speed of light. Hanks is a perfect audience surrogate as the low-key partner constantly shocked by the behavior of this archaic fish out of water. The plot, which revolves around the activities of a not very frightening cult, is that of a thousand buddy-cop movies, but the two comedians take their battered vehicle for a hilarious ride.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Universal Studios

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dan Aykroyd Sgt. Joe Friday
Tom Hanks Pep Streebek
Christopher Plummer Rev. Jonathan Whirley
Harry Morgan Capt. Bill Gannon
Alexandra Paul Connie Swail
Elizabeth Ashley Police Commissioner Jane Kirkpatrick
Jack O'Halloran Emil Muzz
Dabney Coleman Jerry Caesar
Kathleen Freeman Enid Borden
Bruce Gray Mayor Parvin
Lenka Peterson Granny Mundy
Julia Jennings Sylvia Wiss
Lisa Aliff April
Fred Asparagus Tito Provencal
Peter Aykroyd Phoney Cop #2
Jim Boeke Nectar Pagan
Donald Craig Announcer
Gray Daniels Crewman #1
Gary Lee Davis Leggings Pagan
Julie Donald Zookeeper
Sandra Eng TV Reporter
Ava Fabian Baitmate
Kimberly Foster Betsy Blees
Ruben Garfias Tough #2
Chester Grimes Pagan
Bert Hinchman Night Watchman
D.D. Howard Officer Robin Gilbert
Peter Leeds Roy Grest
Margaret Lenzey Baitmate
Lisa London 1982 Redhead
Christopher Mankiewicz White Coat
Maurice Marsac Maitre d'
Stuart Quan Tough #3
Casey Sander Phoney Cop #1
Ray Sharkey Drug Pagan
Bill Wittman Narrator
Meg Wyllie Mrs. Gannon
Josh Cruze Police Officer
Jimmie F. Skaggs Caterer Pagan
Dona Speir Baitmate
Sydney Urshan Officer Conklin

Technical Credits
Tom Mankiewicz Director,Screenwriter
Dan Aykroyd Screenwriter
Robert F. Boyle Production Designer
Bernie Brillstein Executive Producer
Willie D. Burton Sound/Sound Designer
Taryn de Chellis Costumes/Costume Designer
William D. Gordean Editor
Richard Halsey Editor
Matthew Leonetti Cinematographer
Ira Newborn Score Composer
Arthur Jeph Parker Set Decoration/Design
David Permut Producer
Frank Richwood Art Director
David Rubin Casting
David Sosna Asst. Director
Robert Weiss Producer
Don Zepfel Associate Producer
Alan Zweibel Screenwriter


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Dragnet 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Definitely not a 48 hours or BHC clone (of course, if you take the time to watch the movie, this should be clear). This is a great comedy focusing on the 'odd couple' relationship between Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd. There are plenty of one liners. The action is well done, but a lot of it is spoofing movies like 48 hours. It also provides interesting commentary on how society perceives alternative religions (when the movie was released and even today). For anyone familiar with the original Dragnet series, it is pretty funny parody with some good comedy (both physical and spoken) with some light action thrown in.