Best Eddie Murphy Movies: Top 5 Films Most Recommended By Experts

Eddie Murphy is one of the most prolific comedians and actors in Hollywood. It’s hard to argue that, in the 1980s, there was a funnier person on earth than Eddie Murphy, with a starring role on “SNL” and a string of huge, hilarious box office smashes in theaters, Murphy was without question one of the biggest stars of the decade. That being said, the best Eddie Murphy are fan favorites that still bring on the giggles today.

It’s a good thing that the majority of Eddie Murphy movies will make you laugh. When it comes to the stressors that build up daily, laughter may be just what the doctor ordered. Researchers from the Division of Clinical Psychology and Epidemiology at the University of Basel say laughing can serve as a source of relief when it comes to dealing with stress. Their study finds that even cracking a smile can help ease the negative effects of stress. Study authors estimate people laugh about 18 times a day. Typically, it’s during interactions with others or experiences that please them. 

Looking for a dose of laughter? Eddie Murphy, the comedic virtuoso of our time, has graced the silver screen with an unparalleled charm, wit, and versatility, leaving an indelible mark on the annals of cinematic brilliance. From the uproarious uproar of “Coming to America” to the side-splitting shenanigans of “Beverly Hills Cop,” Murphy’s infectious energy and comedic timing have redefined the laughter landscape. With each performance, he effortlessly channels a kaleidoscope of characters, proving his mastery in films like “The Nutty Professor” and “Norbit.” His transformative abilities know no bounds, as he seamlessly oscillates between gut-busting humor and poignant moments in “Dreamgirls” and “Bowfinger.” Eddie Murphy’s movies are more than just adventures; they are a testament to his comedic genius and eternal presence in the pantheon of entertainment.

With Murphy’s legacy spanning decades, we took a look at which of his films left the biggest marks on his career. StudyFinds saved you the time scrolling and researched 10 expert websites to find five of the best Eddie Murphy movies. If you have a favorite that isn’t on our list, please let us know in the comments below.

Eddie Murphy's Hollywood Walk of Fame star
Eddie Murphy’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star (Photo by Hayk_Shalunts on Shutterstock0

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,” informs Chilopedia.

“Beverly Hills Cop” (1984) Three Movie Collection
“Beverly Hills Cop” (1984) Three Movie Collection

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,” describes NME.

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.

Coming to America
“Coming to America” (1988)

Some say, “Coming to America” 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,” describes 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.

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,” describes AARP.

“Shrek” (2001)
“Shrek” (2001)

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,” informs EW.

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. “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,” offers 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.”

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.

“48 Hrs.” (1982)
“48 Hrs.” (1982)

“48 Hrs.” 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,” informs 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.

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