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Inspector Gadget
Inspector gadget ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Kellogg
Produced by
  • Roger Birnbaum
  • Andy Heyward
  • Jordan Kerner
Screenplay by
  • Kerry Ehrin
  • Zak Penn
Story by
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Adam Greenberg
Editing by
  • Alan Cody
  • Thom Noble
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release date(s) July 23, 1999 (1999-07-23)
Running time 78 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $90 million
Money made $134.4 million

Inspector Gadget is a 1999 American superhero comedy film directed by David Kellogg and written by Kerry Ehrin and Zak Penn from a story by Ehrin and Dana Olsen. Loosely based on the 1983 animated television series of the same name, the film stars Matthew Broderick as the title character, Rupert Everett as Dr. Claw, Michelle Trachtenberg as Penny and Dabney Coleman as Chief Quimby. Three new characters were introduced such as Dr. Brenda Bradford (played by Joely Fisher), Mayor Wilson (played by Cheri Oteri) and the Gadgetmobile (voiced by D. L. Hughley). The film tells the story of how Inspector Gadget and Dr. Claw came to be. It was filmed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Los Angeles, California, with the castle-like main tower of Pittsburgh's PPG Place playing a central role.

Produced by Caravan Pictures and DIC Entertainment (which was owned by The Walt Disney Company at the time of production), the film was released theatrically by Walt Disney Pictures on July 23, 1999. It was the last film produced by Caravan Pictures, before the company merged into Spyglass Entertainment. It was also dedicated to the memory of production designer Michael White who died on January 19, 1999 in Los Angeles during production of the film at the age of 36. The film was a box office disappointment with a worldwide gross of $134.4 million against a $90 million budget, also receiving negative reviews from critics. It lost the studio approximately $30 million. It was followed by the 2003 direct-to-video sequel Inspector Gadget 2, though only one of the original cast members (D. L. Hughley) reprised his role.


John Brown lives in Riverton, Ohio, with his niece Penny and her pet beagle Brain. Dreaming of becoming a police officer, John works as a security guard for the Bradford robotics laboratory. Artemus Bradford and his daughter Brenda are designing a lifelike robotic foot as part of the Gadget Program, designed to add android officers to the Riverton Police Department. Sanford Scolex, a tycoon, steals the foot to build an army of androids from its technology, assassinating Artemus. John chases after Scolex's limousine in his hatchback, but both vehicles crash. John is left for dead by getting blown up in his car by Scolex's Dynamite stick disguised as a victory cigar, but a bowling ball launched by the blast from the destroyed car leaves Scolex without his left hand. Scolex receives a mechanical claw from his associate Kramer, taking on the alias “Claw”.

Brenda decides to make the barely alive John the first test subject of the Gadget Program, transforming him into a crimefighting cyborg with the alias of “Inspector Gadget”, powered by a control chip. He is helped by the Gadgetmobile, a robotic car with a chatty AI. At a charity ball, Scolex approaches Brenda, having known her at Harvard, inviting her to work for him in her own laboratory. Brenda accepts, much to Gadget's dismay. Police chief Quimby is unimpressed with Gadget, assigning him to menial assignments rather than investigate Artemus’ murder. Gadget investigates on his own, finding a piece of scrap metal which he later connects to Scolex, with help from Penny.

Claw uses Brenda's research to build his own android, “Robo-Gadget”, sending him out on a rampage across Riverton to frame the real Gadget. Gadget himself infiltrates Claw's lab to recover the foot, but is caught and deactivated, Claw breaking his chip. Claw's minion Sykes dumps Gadget in a junkyard, then is tasked to dispose of the foot. Brenda encounters her own robotic doppelganger, Robo-Brenda, who confirms Claw stole the foot and murdered her father. Brenda, Penny, Brain, and the Gadgetmobile track Gadget to a junkyard. A kiss from Brenda awakens Gadget, proving his will can control his new body.

After dropping Penny and Brain off at home, Gadget and Brenda chase Claw and Robo-Gadget's limo. Gadget and Robo-Gadget fall off the roof and duel on a bridge, until Gadget removes the latter's head, tossing it into the river, though Robo-Gadget's body runs off.

Brenda crashes the Gadgetmobile into Claw's limo, but is taken prisoner. Claw tries to escape in a helicopter, but Gadget appears using his helicopter hat to intercept. Claw destroys it, forcing Gadget to use an improvised weapon to damage Claw's claw and the helicopter. Brenda leaps out of the helicopter onto Gadget's back, but they fall down the side of Scolex's skyscraper, using a parasol to land safely. Claw parachutes down, but lands in the Gadgetmobile. The police arrive to arrest Gadget, but Penny appears with a repentant Sykes, who confesses to his crimes. Saluted by Quimby, Gadget departs with Brenda and Penny, as Claw vows revenge.


During the "Minions Anonymous" scene in the credits, the henchmen include Mr. T and Richard Kiel (who is credited as the "Famous Bad Guy with Silver Teeth", in reference to his role of James Bond's enemy Jaws), as well as Richard Lee-Sung as the "Famous Villain with Deadly Hat", Bobby Bell as the "Famous Identifier of Sea Planes", Hank Barrera as the "Famous Native American Sidekick", Jesse Yoshimura as "Bane of the Bumbling, Idiotic Yet Curiously Successful French Detective's Existence, John Kim as "Son Before Second Son", and Keith Morrison as the "Famous Assistant to Dr. Frankensomething".

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