There’s absolutely no doubt in our minds when we say that Eddie Murphy was one of the icons of the comedy genre in the 1980’s. His stint in Saturday Night Live as well as movies that made us laugh like 3 year olds, are simply unforgettable. At his peak, he was considered as one of the highest-paid actors of Hollywood, and this feat can’t be achieved unless someone is really special. Although his star faded with time, Murphy’s films are still adored by many. That being said, here are 15 of the best Eddie Murphy movies of all time:
15. Trading Places (1983)
Hailed as one of the most emotionally satisfying and morally gratifying comedies of recent times (at the time of its release), Trading Places was helmed by John Landis and features Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy as the leads.
The film’s plot revolves around the two polar opposite main characters (an arrogant millionaire and a cunning street scam artist) as they unintentionally “trade places” to appear like each other in front of the world due to a bet by two cruel millionaires. The film received positive reviews upon its release and it did good business on the box office as well and grabbed the 4th spot in the list of Highest Grossing Films of 1983.
14. The Nutty Professor (1996)
Proving versatility by taking different roles in different movies is impressive but playing over half a dozen different characters in the same film is something extraordinary. The 1996 slapstick comedy features Murphy playing 7 different characters.
The film is basically a remake of the 1963 film of the same name and follows the journey of an obese research scientist/lecturer Sherman Klump who develops a weight-reducing chemical to win the affection of his love interest. Meddling with nature has its side effects however and Klump’s pursuit of becoming physically smart turns him into the evil “Buddy Love”. The film was a success both commercially and critically and Murphy’s performance was praised.
13. Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)
Although it failed to reach the heights of success reached by its prequel, the second installment in the Beverly Hills Cop II still turned out to be quite an enjoyable flick. Eddie Murphy once again portrays the sassy detective Axel Foley who returns to Beverly Hills three years after the events of the first film.
Foley reunites with Beverly Hills detectives Billy Rosewood and John Taggart to investigate the assassination attempt on the captain as well as the series of “alphabet crimes” linked with it. Will Axel and his buddies solve the case before it’s too late? Well… yes, but what makes the movie a must-see one is the hilarious turn of events that transpire throughout.
12. Eddie Murphy Raw (1987)
Eddie Murphy was simply untouchable in the 1980’s when he was being himself. His comic-timing and other comedic factors were, in one word, exceptional. You might have seen or at least heard of a number of stand-up comedy films but a film of this particular sub-genre that nearly out-grossed Robocop must be something special.
Although most of the jokes Murphy made in the 1987 film won’t sit well with the audience of today, they were hilarious enough for people at that time to burst into laughter. It is not a typical feature film but it surely deserves a one-time watch. If not for anything else, it can be watched just to recall how big of a deal Murphy was in the 80’s.
11. Life (1999)
Although most films in the comedy genre are one-dimensional, most of Murphy’s films have an underlying message as well and something that makes his projects mean more than “just another comedy flick”.
He starred in the 1999 crime-comedy drama Life alongside Martin Lawrence and the film tells the story of two wrongfully convicted strangers who become the best of friends and how that bond of friendship helps them through their sentence from 1932 until almost the end of 20th century. You are recommended to go out of your way to watch this movie at least once!
10. Tower Heist (2011)
Nothing better than an ensemble comedy film on a fine weekend night, eh? The 2011 heist comedy film roped in some big names such as Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck among others. The plot focuses on a group of dedicated employees who plan to get revenge on their employer by breaking into his house and taking back their money which they had lost, thanks to their employer’s Ponzi scheme.
Although the plot was labeled as generic by many, the performances were praised. Murphy’s portrayal of the criminal Slide received raved reviews in general and critics said that he demonstrated the comedic style of his early Hollywood days (which is a huge compliment).
9. The Golden Child (1986)
Golden Child is a little different from what you might expect from a usual Eddie Murphy movie but it will do! The 1986 fantasy comedy film is about a private detective specializing in missing children, who is informed that he is “The Chosen One” and is tasked with protecting “The Golden Child” from the evil forces, since the child is the savior of mankind.
The film fared well at the box office but disappointed the critics. If you are a fan of comedy films filled with sweet and heartwarming moments, then this flick is definitely for you!
8. Bowfinger (1999)
A Steve Martin/Eddie Murphy collaboration is more than enough of a reason to watch Bowfinger. Add a unique and entertaining plot to the mix and you have got perfection. Bowfinger was written by Steve Martin and helmed by Frank Oz and features both Martin and Murphy in prominent roles, with the latter portraying two completely different roles (one of an arrogant action star and another of his kind brother).
The plot revolves around a desperate filmmaker who crafts a genius plan of shooting the film around a big star without his knowledge, after the star had refused to be a part of the project. The film was a critical as well as commercial success and although Steve Martin is second to none, it was Murphy’s show-stealing performance that got everyone talking.