THE PINK PANTHER (1964)
A SHOT IN THE DARK (1964)
INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU (1968)
THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER (1975)
THE PINK PANTHER STRIKES AGAIN (1976)
REVENGE OF THE PINK PANTHER (1978)
TRAIL OF THE PINK PANTHER (1982)
CURSE OF THE PINK PANTHER (1983)
SON OF THE PINK PANTHER (1993)
THE PINK PANTHER (2006)
For my money, the first two are perfectly entertaining, if not exactly the broad slapstick giggle marathons that would come later. The third one has Alan Arkin in the title role because Mr. Sellers didn't want the gig at the time. But he came storming back seven years later, and delivered a trio of progressively wackier sequels that cemented the Clouseau character into the hearts of moviegoers the world over.
Sure, he's not as brilliantly versatile as he was in DR. STRANGELOVE or as bizarrely sweet as he was in BEING THERE, but the Clouseau character is a big part of why we remember Peter Sellers with such respectful fondness ... and it's because the guy was nothing short of a comedic genius. From pratfalls and silly accents to the more subtle shadings of character and comedic timing -- this guy was pure genius through and through.
And RETURN is a whole lot of good goofy fun. It's Sellers' show all the way, but you'll be hard pressed not to chuckle at the insane ravings of Herbert Lom as Clouseau's long-suffering superior or the cartoonishly violent turn by Bert Kwouk as the inspector's loyal manservant / frequent attacker.
Pretty violent for a G-rated flick, though. Guess the MPAA was still getting the kinks out of its system.