Detective School Dropouts

Detective School Dropouts is a 1986 action-comedy co-starring and written by David Landsberg and Lorin Dreyfuss for The Cannon Group.

Detective School Dropouts
Out-of-print 1986 VHS video cover.
Directed byFilippo Ottoni
Produced byYoram Globus
Menahem Golan
Written byDavid Landsberg
Lorin Dreyfuss
StarringDavid Landsberg
Lorin Dreyfuss
Valeria Golino
Release date
  • August 8, 1986 (1986-08-08) (USA)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States/Italy
Box office$22,123[1]


Donald Wilson tries to make a living in New York with different jobs. He reads detective novels all the time, so that his distraction causes him to have various misadventures that repeatedly cost him his jobs. A notice on a notice board draws his attention to the detective training of Paul Miller, whose school he attends. The school is located in a run-down house and the owner Paul has all kinds of debts with various creditors. Instead of getting a decent education, Donald is the only detective candidate at the school, is financially exploited and has to take part in Paul's fraudulent actions to reduce his debts. Both of them accidentally get into conflict with three Italian cheese-making families, the Lombardis, the Zanettis and the Falcones. They discover Caterina Zanetti, the woman who was kidnapped by the Falcones, the woman Carlo Lombardi actually wanted to marry. Carlo has been told in a fake letter that Caterina has fallen in love with another man. The Falcones now want to marry him to Sonia Falcone in order to maintain their position in the Italian cheese market. Caterina can give the two unsuspecting Americans a message to deliver to their cousin Mario Zanetti at the airport so that the wedding can be stopped.

Paul and Donald drive to the airport, have to steal two passports to follow Mario Zanetti on the plane. Since they are being followed by the Falcones, they have to fly to Rome, for better or worse. On the flight Mario is poisoned, so the two of them have to deliver the message. Since Donald lost his wallet when Mario was murdered, he now also becomes a suspect in a murder case. In their search for Carlo, Paul and Donald are constantly exposed to persecution by their families, so that they are constantly on the run and have to disguise themselves as monks, for example in the Vatican. In spite of everything, they manage to get the message across to Carlo that Caterina still loves him. Carlo wants to cancel the wedding with Sonia, who looks "like a beaver", but is blackmailed with the killing of Caterina if he does not marry Sonia. He could see Caterina in Venice one last time, but would have to marry Sonia.

In contrast to Paul, Donald still wants to prevent the wedding. After a short stopover in Pisa, they drive to Venice for the planned wedding. After Carlo and Caterina meet on a canal, Paul manages to free Caterina, while Donald is able to tie up the supposed bride Sonia. They exchange the bride and only when the veil is lifted does Carlo face his beloved Caterina. The families draw their weapons, but see the event in the church as a sign from God, so that the wedding continues. A reward of 25,000 dollars is refused by Paul, as he is allowed to keep what he considers a valuable pendant. Back in New York the two want to sell the pendant and it turns out that it is actually worth 300,000. However, it is not dollars, but Italian lira, so the total amount is not even 175 dollars.



The film was not successful at the box office, but subsequently gained cult film status. It is noted for its low-budget production values, cheesy '80's synth soundtrack, and being the only film released from the Cannon Group to have lost money at the box office.[2] However, it is also representative of '80 culture at the time when slapstick briefly resurfaced in popularity with American audiences.[2]

Detective School Drop Outs was released on DVD from MGM in October 2011.[2]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Sean Ferguson. "Detective School Dropouts (DVD Review)". Retrieved August 30, 2020.

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