Trail of the Pink Panther is a 1982 comedy film starring Peter Sellers. It was the seventh film in The Pink Panther series, and the last in which Sellers appeared as Inspector Clouseau. Sellers died before production began and the film contains no original material apart from the animated opening titles, created by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises. His performance only consists of flashbacks and outtakes from previous films.
When the famous Pink Panther diamond is stolen once again from Lugash, Chief Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) is called on the case despite protests by Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom). While on the case, Clouseau is followed by the mob who are seeking to assassinate him.
Clouseau first goes to London to interrogate Sir Charles Lytton (having forgotten that the British Sir Charles lives in the South of France). Traveling to the airport, he accidentally blows up his car, but mistakenly believes it to be an assassination attempt. Clouseau disguises himself in a heavy cast while on the flight, which causes complications in the air and on land and leads to an awkward introduction to the Scotland Yard detectives who meet him at Heathrow.
Meanwhile, Dreyfus learns from Scotland Yard that Libyan terrorists may have marked Clouseau for assassination once he announces his intent to visit the scene of the crime in Lugash. Rather than order him back to Paris, Dreyfus orders him to continue on to Lugash as planned.
Clouseau's plane crashes en route to Lugash. All aboard are believed lost at sea. Marie Jouvet (Joanna Lumley), a television reporter covering the story, sets out to interview those who knew the detective best. This provides ample opportunities for flashbacks to scenes from earlier films. Jouvet also interviews Clouseau's father (a heavily disguised Richard Mulligan), at his winery, providing glimpses of Clouseau's childhood where he is played by Lucca Mezzofanti, and his early career in the French Resistance in which he is played by Daniel Peacock. Jouvet also has an unpleasant encounter with Mafia don, Bruno Langlois (Robert Loggia), an antagonist who also appears in the next film. Loggia would also be familiar to Pink Panther fans as Mafioso assistant Al Marchione in Revenge of the Pink Panther. Langlois warns Marie to stop asking questions about Clouseau as business is booming in the French underworld with the detective missing. Jouvet refuses and tries to file a complaint against Langlois with Chief Inspector Dreyfus. Dreyfus, who wants Clouseau dead just as much as Langlois does, refuses to press charges citing circumstantial evidence, much to Jouvet's frustration.
The film ends with Marie hoping that Clouseau might be alive. Clouseau (now played by John Taylor, who doubled for Sellers in his last outing, The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu, here only shot from behind) is seen standing looking over a seaside cliff, when a seagull flies over and messes the sleeve of his coat. The words "Swine seagull!" are heard in the distinctive 'over French' accent of Clouseau. The animated Pink Panther in trench coat and trilby hat is revealed in place of Clouseau watching the sunset. The Panther turns around and flashes the audience, but his opened trenchcoat reveals a montage of funny clips of Peter Sellers from his five Pink Panther films while the end credits roll.
- Peter Sellers as Inspector Jacques Clouseau
- David Niven as Sir Charles Litton (voiced by Rich Little)
- Herbert Lom as Chief Inspector Dreyfus
- Joanna Lumley as Marie Jouvet
- Burt Kwouk as Cato
- Robert Loggia as Bruno Langlois
- Harvey Korman as Professor Balls
- Capucine as Lady Litton
- Richard Mulligan as Clouseau Senior
- Andre Maranne as Francois Duval
- Graham Stark as Hercule LaJoy
- Lucca Mezzofanti as Clouseau at age 8
- Daniel Peacock as Clouseau at age 18
- Footage from Robert Wagner as George Litton, Claudia Cardinale as Princess Dala and David Niven, in his own voice, as Sir Charles Litton.