Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy at Tribeca "Shrek Forever After" premier at Ziegfeld Theater on April 21, 2010 in New York City (Photo by Nata Sha on Shutterstock)

What are your favorite Eddie Murphy movies? Some may argue the actor is the king of comedy, and his endless list of roles in funny movies certainly backs that up. He really took over the silver screen in the 1980s with a starring role on “SNL” and a string of huge, hilarious box office smashes in theaters. That being said, the best Eddie Murphy are fan favorites that still bring on the giggles today. With Murphy’s legacy spanning decades, we looked at which of his films left the biggest marks on his career. StudyFinds saved you the time of scrolling and researched 10 expert websites to find five of the best Eddie Murphy movies. We compile our lists by combing through existing consumer rankings and weeding out the consensus recommendations. If you have a favorite that isn’t on our list, please let us know in the comments below.

The List: Best Eddie Murphy Movies, According to Fans

1. “Beverly Hills Cop” (1984)

We bet you didn’t know that Sylvester Stallone gave up the chance to play Eddie’s character Axel Foley. Had he taken the role, we would never have been exposed to the sassiness Eddie Murphy gave to the detective. “The Beverly Hills Cop franchise cemented Eddie Murphy’s legacy as one of the best action-comedy stars of the last century. The plot is quite simple (a cop investigating the murder of his best friend). However, the way Murphy carries the film with his hilarious performance is what won the audience over. The film was a monster success and with time, has become a cult classic,” says Chilopedia.

“Beverly Hills Cop” was nominated for a Golden Globe for Outstanding Comedy or Musical and an Academy Award for Best Screenplay. It made 315 million dollars. “If ’48 Hours’ made Eddie a movie star, ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ made him an international icon. While it may seem dated or even a little corny now, it is impossible to overstate how huge this fish-out-of-water action-comedy was on its first release,” says We Got This Covered.

This movie established how huge a star Eddie Murphy had become because not only was it a huge hit, but because of the story itself. “‘Beverly Hills Cop’ is basically stand-up with car chases – and it still looks box-fresh more than 30 years later thanks to Murphy’s golden-boy charm and razor-sharp delivery. It’s also got a pretty cool theme song,” adds NME.

Murphy’s age at the time: 29

2. “Coming to America” (1988)

“Coming to America” was the first for showcasing Murphy’s talent for creating characters. He literally upstages himself in the same scene. “While Arsenio Hall, Eric La Salle, and John Amos shine in supporting roles in the fish-out-of-water story, it’s the various diverse roles portrayed by Murphy that remain the most hilarious in the film, including Randy Watson, Saul the argumentative Jewish barber customer, and Clarence the barber. Bet you didn’t know Sexual Chocolate invented the mic drop, did you?” says Movie Web.

Some say this movie is reminiscent of old Hollywood films like “My Man Godfrey.” It parodies Black culture and American life without denigrating it, crafting a warm love story. “In his second pairing withTrading Places’ director John Landis, 72, Murphy created perhaps the most iconic role of his career, Crown Prince Akeem Joffer of the fictional African nation of Zamunda. With his best friend Semmi (Arsenio Hall, 66), Akeem heads to the United States disguised as a poor student in order to find a wife who loves him for his personality and not his royal status,” adds AARP.

Murphy’s co-star Arsenio Hall also plays multiple roles and together they are fantastic. “The movie’s reputation has only grown over the years, and things like pop-up McDowell’s restaurants and finally, a long-awaited sequel are just a couple of examples of how enduring ‘Coming To America’ has been. It really is Eddie Murphy at his very best in every way,” boasts Cinema Blend.

Murphy’s age at the time: 26

3. “Shrek” (2001)

1998’s “Mulan” didn’t really let Murphy shine. Instead, it took a talking donkey in “Shrek” to prove just how perfect Murphy’s voice could be in a kids’ film. “Just how good is Murphy as the titular ogre’s equine sidekick in this fractured animated fairy tale? It’s the only voiceover performance to be nominated for a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Award. Murphy has undeniable chemistry with fellow SNL alum Mike Myers, 59, and he walks a tightrope with the character, making him at once lovable and a bit of a pain in the … well, you know what kind of animal he is,” mentions AARP.

It is hard not to love Donkey. He is a goof, but an undeniable expression of pure friendship and love. “You can’t read Donkey’s lines without saying them in Murphy’s exact bright timbre and with his precise spirited wit. With Donkey, you can sense how much freer Murphy (due to his experience with animated characters on Mulan) is to experiment and use his voice as a flexible muscle, one able to tone the nuance of every line for multivariate purposes. Donkey is the best cartoon character of this century — and it’s all due to Murphy,” boasts Okay Player.

Murphy was cast as Donkey from the start. But there were some initial cast changes, Chris Farley was the original Shrek, and Janeane Garofalo was initially Fiona. “The film would prove to be a blockbuster and pop (meme?) culture tour de force, earning Murphy some of the best reviews of his career for his deft voice work and further establishing his family film bona fides. At one point after the various sequels, Murphy told TMZ that he ‘was Shrek’d out,’ but while promoting his new film You People, he made a lot of people happy by saying he would ‘absolutely be open’ to appearing in another movie. ‘If they ever came with another Shrek, I’d do it in two seconds,’ he said,” adds EW.

Murphy’s age at the time: 39

4. “Dolemite Is My Name” (2019)

Eddie Murphy wasn’t the only star in “Dolemite Is My Name.” The movie also boasts the likes of Snoop Dogg and Wesley Snipes. Murphy, however, plays filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore. “To say that Moore had a colorful vocabulary and unconventional approach to filmmaking is an understatement, Murphy a perfect fit for the aloof, over-the-top independent movie-maker and underground comedy legend,” says Movie Web.

After years in the Hollywood vortex, where many others passed him by, Murphy found an unlikely comeback in a role that revitalized his career. “By playing Blaxploitation and hip-hop pioneer Moore, Murphy brings his deft sense of melancholy, heartache, enthusiasm, and pure-heartedness to a film that, much like Bowfinger, is a tribute to the strivers who desperately want to be moviemakers,” explains Okay Player.

In “Dolemite Is My Name” some say that you can sense Murphy drawing on his own experience as a director on “Harlem Nights.” Gold Derby comments on director Moore: “Never one to rest on his laurels, Moore decides to bet it all on producing a micro-budget schlock flick that became a blaxploitation classic called… what else?… ‘Dolemite.’ The role brought Murphy Golden Globe and Critics Choice nominations as Best Actor, and proved that, like Moore, this veteran performer will never give up, no matter how many lumps he takes.”

Murphy’s age at the time: 58

5. “48 Hrs.” (1982)

“48 Hrs.” was Eddie Murphy’s debut film. It earned him a Golden Globe Nomination. “’48 Hrs.’ is often credited as being the first buddy cop film. It stars Nick Nolte as a cop and Eddie Murphy as a convict who teams up to track down and catch two murderers and only has 48 hours to do so,” says Chilopedia.

This film served as a platform for Murphy to show his potential on the big screen. In what was intended as a supporting role, Murphy steals every scene he’s in. As expected, the movie turned out to be a giant success. “A fairly routine cops-and-robbers story is elevated by crackerjack direction from action master Walter Hill, as well as great chemistry between the leads. An iconic scene with Murphy playing a crowd of rednecks at a bar cemented him in the public as a wisecracking comic lead who’s able to talk his way out of any situation,” adds We Got This Covered.

Buddy cop genre movies like “Lethal Weapon” and “Turner and Hooch” can give Eddie Murphy a special thanks for its start. “’48 Hrs. marked the first time Murphy had acted on screen outside of SNL – and it’s one of the most electrifying film debuts of all time,” boasts NME.

Murphy’s age at the time: 20

Sources used to create our list:

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About Janelle Davis

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1 Comment

  1. Patrick Wright says:

    Nahhh The Golden Child should of been in Eddie Murphy’s top five.