Everyone loves Eddie Murphy. His foul-mouthed antics have kept the audience entertained since his first attack Saturday Night Live in a Gumby costume in the early 80s and went on to achieve Hollywood box office glory with a string of hits that all but made him the king of the decade.
QThere’s no denying that Murphy’s brand of comedy has captivated moviegoers. Need proof? Check out the following list, which ranks the best Eddie Murphy 80s movies from worst to best.
7) Harlem Nights (1989)
Murphy ended his ’80s run in literal fashion, teaming up with Richard Pryor for the critically panned Nights in Harlem. The film, directed by Murphy, did a decent amount at the box office but ultimately wasted its talented cast in a nonsensical crime drama that failed to capture anyone’s attention.
Nights in Harlem marked the beginning of the end for Murphy as follow-up films Boomerang, The Distinguished Gentleman, Beverly Hills Cop IIIand Vampires in Brooklyn failed to capture his early magic.
Fortunately, the second coming is just around the corner – Murphy is back with hits like The Nutty Professor, Mulan, Doctor Dolittle, lifeand Bowfinger before lending his voice to the box office behemoth Shrek. While he didn’t achieve the astronomical success he was afforded in the early part of his career – that’s not saying much The Speeches of Pluto Nashbetter — Murphy’s later entries are strong enough to appease fans who yearn for more of his creativity.
6) The Golden Child (1986)
Murphy’s first foray into a family adventure is a fun romp filled with some truly daring special effects – the demon snake always cracks me up – and some well-timed gags – ” I just want some chips!”
That said, poor editing, a confusing plot, and tepid direction keep the picture from picking up. Murphy did his best to save the loss, but his talents often took a backseat to the big-budget scene. Too bad because it could have been special.
5) Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)
Tony Scott’s follow-up to Beverly Hills Cop duplicated everything that worked on the original with mixed results. Murphy is his usual charming self, but lost in the transition is a lighter tone in favor of more violence and a dumb plot that feels better suited for Bad Boys than Axel Foley.
Still, the sequel looks great because of Scott’s visual improvement and has enough funny moments to keep the audience invested. There’s nothing here you haven’t seen before: Axel wanders about Beverly Hills talking his way out of trouble toward solving the case, while Billy (Judge Reinhold) and Taggart (John Ashton) offer support to periphery.
Somehow, the formula still works, although viewers expecting a production to match the star’s talents may be disappointed.
4) Coming to America (1988)
There is much to appreciate in John Landis’ Coming to America, although the picture often feels like a series of comedy sketches strung together by minimal plots. We’re dealing with Eddie Murphy, today’s movie star, not the young, brash, new comedian of old. Coming to America let Murphy do his thing, and for the most part, it works. The fun is plentiful thanks to a series of silly characters (many played by Murphy and co-star Arsenio Hall) and some well-executed sight gags.
Prince Akeem also stands out as one of the more likable characters in Murphy’s oeuvre, his bright positivity contrasting hilariously with the cynicism of downtrodden New Yorkers — “Good morning, my neighbors,” he shouts from his apartment. . “Hey, f*** you,” replied a passerby. One can only hope that Landis was afraid of him and spent more time fleshing out the plot than caring for his star.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fupg2r1EJ9w
3) Selling Places (1983)
This rags-to-riches-to-rags comedy pairs Murphy with Dan Aykroyd and director John Landis and the trio hilariously explores the idea of nature versus nurture. Except here, Murphy, a low-level grifter with nothing to lose, switches places with Aykroyd’s isnobbish investor through a nasty gamble between two old men and must endure (or entertain) of one’s life for a spell.
The results are often hilarious and shockingly profound. Here we have an intelligent comedy that cares about its characters. Landis doesn’t go for cheap laughs. Instead, he allows the humor to develop naturally without losing sight of his story.
Of course, it helps to have two of the best in the biz at your disposal. Murphy returns with a measured performance that balances his outspoken brand of comedy with his regal charm. His witty humor perfectly matches Aykroyd’s cheeky wit; the picture shifts to another gear when the pair finally work together in the third act.
Jamie Lee Curtis is also present as a hooker with a heart of gold, while Denholm Elliott is entertaining as a world-weary butler who empathizes with both men. So much fun!
2) Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
48 hours and Places of Sale brings Murphy’s antics to the big screen, but it is Beverly Hills Cop which made him a superstar. As Axel Foley, Murphy delivers the goods and provides plenty of laughs without detracting from the main narrative.
From the magnificent opening action sequence to Serge’s Bronson Pinchot-inspired and Harold Faltermeyer’s incredible synth-heavy score, it’s all about the Beverly Hills Cop works.
Murphy does the heavy lifting. His comic timing and manic energy are damn-near magical; he alternates between a fast-talking smart-ass and tough-talking cop with deft precision. Above all, he plays Axel as a policeman whose loyalty knows no bounds, a man willing to put everything on the line for his fellow officers, namely Judge Reinhold and John Ashton’s Billy and Taggart.
Director Martin Brest and writer Daniel Petrie Jr. allowing the scenes (and Murphy’s performance) to breathe but knowing enough to know when a gag has run its course. This is how it’s done, people.
There is a reason Beverly Hills Cop remains one of the biggest box office hits of all time — it’s a truly hilarious, action-packed adventure that’s as entertaining today as it was when it first hit theaters in 1984.
Search Breaking Bad alum Jonathan Banks as a gruff henchman.
1) 48 hours (1982)
Murphy’s first foray into the big screen was an all-timer. 48 hours paired the smooth-talking comedian with grumpy ole Nick Nolte, resulting in a surprisingly dark and gritty buddy dramedy. Director Walter Hill pulls out all the stops and leans into the grime and grit of 1980s San Francisco with gusto. At the same time, his two leads display a natural chemistry that elevates their relationship beyond the usual odd couple tropes.
Viewers look forward to lighthearted fun in the vein of Beverly Hills Cop or any of Murphy’s subsequent films would be shocking to see the icon deliver a relatively straightforward performance punctuated at times with comedic outbursts – “There’s a new sheriff in town!” Reggie Hammond is more complex than many of Murphy’s characters, and we can only lament that the star didn’t get more roles like this later in his career.
Either way, 48 hours is a wickedly good movie, full of hard-hitting action, a twisted villain (played by James Remar), and a sleazy script that makes one wish for nothing’ y censorship days in 80s cinema. It is as perfect a crime drama as one can find.