The Academy Movie Title Academy
A while ago, for no good reason that I can fathom, I wrote an article about movies with the word Massacre in the title. It can be found here. Then, this New Year's episode of The After Movie Diner Podcast featured a discussion about movies with the word Academy in the title. While not as frequently used as Massacre, the word Academy in movie titles is still pretty prolific and just as interesting.
Whereas you can tack Massacre on to just about any movie that features at least one kill in it, the Academy titled films, certainly the 80s ones, represent and conjure adolescent memories of zany madcappery and abundant nudity that were the backbone of any decent sex romp comedy from the late 70s and 80s. They were to the comedy genre what slashers were to the horror genre and while some may think that's a bad thing, I think it's a ringing endorsement!
Most people would probably point to Police Academy as starting this trend but actually you have to go back to 1980, 4 years prior to Police Academy, for the Mad Magazine produced, Animal House rip-off, Up The Academy. It stars a young Ralph Macchio, Bond girl and Ringo Starr lover, Barbara Bach and is directed by Robert Downey Sr.
The wonderful thing about doing articles like this is looking deeper into a film like Up The Academy and finding out that lead actor, Ron Liebman had his name removed from the film and, likewise, so appalled with the final film, Mad publisher Bill Gaines wanted all of Mad Magazine's association with the film (including scenes of Alfred E. Newman - Mad's ginger, freckly, boy mascot) removed from it. He failed theatrically but managed it on early HBO screenings of the film by sending a $30,000 cheque to Warner Brothers!! (but the full film has since been re-instated on DVD post his death because, well, capitalism and screw him, he's dead)
All of this must've been especially MAD-ening for him as, after the success of Animal House, which had only tangential ties to National Lampoon's magazine, Mad Magazine simply wanted to add their name to Up The Academy to make some cash, they had next to nothing to do with the production beyond that. It was meant to be a money maker for them and it ended up being a bomb that they tried desperately to disown. The irony of all that is, it probably would've been forgotten had the story behind the film not been so delicious and kept it as a cult favourite for years. Just hearing how offensive and awful it must be to have such a storied history makes you want to check it out, right?
The 80s and 90s were dominated by three types of Academy: Police, Vice and all the others.
The Police Academy, whose first film, you would think, would've stretched the idea to breaking point, squeezed out 6 sequels!! and Vice Academy has 5 sequels!! because, you know, lady cops have boobs too. Apparently those academies have some serious legs.
Other prime academies from this era that I will want to enroll in soon will be:
- Mortuary Academy because who doesn't love sexy hi-jinks around corpses, am I right?
- Ninja Academy because well, ninjas, obviously, it's directed by hit or miss, low grade mad man Nico Mastorakis and features the grumpiest and silliest face in martial arts, Gerald Okamura.
The true heyday of Academy movies may be dwindling, people have lost their sense of humour and even the Serbian made films Military Academy 1, 2 & 3 are all about the very serious lives and drama of people at some tedious military academy and not about a large breasted weapons instructor making dick jokes about heavy artillery, sadly.
Academies, these days, are just as likely to be attended by cutesy tween vampires or teen pop starlets as they are bikini models or strippers but even that shows the difference between the 80s/90s Academy boom and now. Back then even Mortuary Academies were assumed to probably have boobs in them. You didn't have to jump right to strippers or bikini models! Talk about overdoing it and misunderstanding that the judicious application of the word Academy already implies sex romp and doesn't require the blunt and unimaginative addition of bikinis or stripping.
Anyhow, if you, like me, like a good, raucous, knockers filled comedy or if you just want to vicariously revisit your youthful institutions of learning, training or...erm... ninjas then below is our list in full.
If you know of any others then comment below and I'll add to the list!
Also let me know your favourites!!
- Military Academy (1940)
- Naval Academy (1941)
- Up the Academy (1980)
- Mister Blot's Academy (1984)
- Police Academy (1984)
- Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985)
- Combat High (TV Movie) aka "Combat Academy” (1986)
- Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986)
- Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987)
- The Princess Academy (1987)
- Dance Academy (1988)
- Mortuary Academy (1988)
- Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach (1988)
- All's Fair aka "Academy war” (1989)
- Vice Academy (1989)
- Ninja Academy (1989)
- Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989)
- Vice Academy Part 2 (1990)
- Daddy and the Muscle Academy (1991)
- Vice Academy Part 3 (1991)
- Academy (TV Movie) (1992)
- Reanimator Academy (Video) (1992)
- Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994)
- Vice Academy 4 (1995)
- Witch Academy (1995)
- Vice Academy 5 (1996)
- Snowboard Academy (Video) (1996)
- South Beach Academy (1996)
- Academy Boyz (1997)
- Kickboxing Academy (1997)
- Vice Academy Part 6 (1998)
- Voodoo Academy (Video) (2000)
- Not Another Teen Movie aka "Sex Academy" (2001)
- The Academy (Video) (2003)
- Whitecoats aka "Intern Academy” (2004)
- Black Rose Academy (2004)
- Death Academy (Video) (2005)
- Stripper Academy (Video) (2007)
- Military Academy (2007)
- Academy of Doom (2008)
- Plato's Academy (2009)
- The Academy (2010)
- Fire Academy (Video) (2011)
- 2: Voodoo Academy (2012)
- Military Academy 2 (2013)
- Bowes Academy (Short) (2013)
- Vampire Academy (2014)
- Code Academy (Short) (2014)
- Bikini Model Academy (Video) (2015)
- The Academy (2015)
- The Academy of Muses (2015)
- Police Academy Alaturka (2015)
- Academy (2016)
- Military Academy 3 (2016)
- Teen Star Academy (2016)
- Dance Academy: The Movie (2017)
- Bad Kids of Crestview Academy (2017)