Revenge of the Pink Panther is the sixth film in The Pink Panther film series. Released in 1978, it was the last entry released during the lifetime of series star Peter Sellers, who died in 1980. It is also the last entry to be distributed solely by United Artists, which merged with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1981. The opening credits were animated by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises.
Philippe Douvier, on the outside a respected business man, but secretly the leader of the French Connection, is facing a falling out with their New York Mafia drug trading partners because they believe him not capable of properly conducting business. To demonstrate otherwise, Douvier's aide Guy Algo suggests to have the man killed who is currently presenting the greatest danger to their trade: Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau—a plan which Douvier sanctions after some consideration.
Douvier's attempt to blow Clouseau up with a bomb fails, and the subsequent attempt by a Chinese martial artist called Mr. Chong (an uncredited appearance by the Founder of American Kenpo, Ed Parker) is thwarted when Clouseau accidentally knocks him out of a window, believing him to be his (Clouseau's) valet Cato, who had orders to keep his employer alert by means of random attacks. That night, Douvier anonymously calls Clouseau and poses as an informant to tell him the whereabouts of an important criminal involved in the French Connection. Despite being warned by Cato that it has to be a trap, Clouseau—concluding that it is so obvious that it couldn't possibly be a trap—drives toward the location, but his car and clothes are stolen at gunpoint by a transvestite criminal named Claude Rousseau (Sue Lloyd). Rousseau drives into the trap and is killed by Douvier's men. Subsequently the majority of people believe Clouseau to be dead and, as a result of this assumption, Clouseau's mad boss, ex-Commissioner Charles Dreyfus (Herbert Lom), is deemed sane and is to be released from the Mental Asylum to try to crack the case (despite the fact that Dreyfus was apparently killed in The Pink Panther Strikes Again), while Douvier's plans continue.
In Rousseau's clothes, Clouseau is taken to the mental asylum (a scene featuring a cameo by Andrew Sachs, whose character apparently believes himself to be Hercule Poirot), but escapes into Dreyfus' room. Dreyfus faints at the sight of Clouseau, whom he believed dead, whereupon Clouseau disguises himself as Dreyfus and is driven home in a car by operative François. At home, Clouseau finds Cato, who (despite having turned Clouseau's apartment into a Chinese-themed brothel) is relieved to see him alive. Having settled Clouseau's initial anger at Cato, the two plan their revenge on the person who ordered Clouseau's assassination, taking advantage of the belief that Clouseau is dead to conduct their investigations.
Dreyfus, led to believe that the man he saw was Claude Rousseau, is assigned to read a eulogy at Clouseau's funeral. His objections are overridden by political necessity when it is revealed that the speech was composed by the police chief's wife, who was apparently fond of Clouseau. During the recital, Dreyfus is unable to control his laughter at the statements he is obliged to speak, but conceals his amusement by giving the impression that he is weeping rather than laughing. But when Clouseau surreptitiously reveals himself among the attendants of the funeral, Dreyfus faints into the burial pit moments before the master of ceremonies completes his oration.
Shortly after his wife threatens him with a divorce, Douvier, needing her respectability and her silence pertaining to his crimes, tells his secretary/paramour Simone LeGree (Dyan Cannon) that their courtship must end. Angry, Simone storms out of Douvier's office. Because she was quite intimately involved in his business, Douvier gives orders to have Simone killed at a nightclub called Le Club Phut (a play on the word "clubfoot").
Having been told by a seafaring informant (Alfie Bass) of the possibility of trouble at the nightclub, Clouseau and Cato investigate and accidentally save Simone from being murdered by Douvier's assassins; Simone takes Clouseau (whom she considers her savior) home. At Simone's flat, Clouseau tells Simone that he is the supposedly dead Chief Inspector; although Simone does not believe him at first, he eventually convinces her of the truth, prompting her to reveal that Douvier ordered Clouseau's assassination as part of his attempt to impress the American Godfather. When another duo of assassins force their way in, Clouseau and Simone escape into the flat below, in which lives Dreyfus. Dreyfus overhears Simone telling Clouseau of Douvier's plans to meet with the New York Mafia Godfather, Julio Scallini, in Hong Kong, but again faints when he sees Clouseau.
Clouseau, Cato, and Simone travel from Paris to Hong Kong and tail Douvier, unaware that Dreyfus has also arrived. Clouseau impersonates Scallini, while Simone distracts the real Scallini so that Clouseau can uncover Douvier's plans. He succeeds, but the plan goes awry when Clouseau's disguise is exposed. A car chase begins, terminating in a crash at the Hong Kong docks. Here, Dreyfus recognizes Clouseau, loses his mind again and tries to kill Clouseau, chasing him into a firework warehouse. Inside, Dreyfus inadvertently sets the stored fireworks alight, and the resulting explosions sow chaos between all the participants, which eventually leads to the arrests of Douvier and Scallini. Clouseau is awarded for their arrest by the President of France. Thereafter, he and Simone spend an evening together.
- Peter Sellers as Inspector Jacques Clouseau
- Herbert Lom as Commissioner Charles Dreyfus
- Dyan Cannon as Simone Legree
- Robert Webber as Philippe Douvier
- Paul Stewart as Julio Scallini
- Burt Kwouk as Cato Fong