8 March 2012 9:00 AM, PST | NextMovie | See recent NextMovie news »

Believe it or not, there was a time when Eddie Murphy wasn't just funny -- he was groundbreaking.

Yes, before starring in films like "The Adventures of Pluto Nash," "Meet Dave" and "Norbit," Murphy was the king of X-rated humor that focused on taboos like race and sexuality (all pretty normal from a comic nowadays).

So with his lighthearted "A Thousand Words" opening this weekend, let’s look back at his early work that didn't just pave the way for comics like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle, but made Eddie Murphy one of the funniest people on the planet.

'48 hrs.' (1982)

After spending four years becoming a huge star on "Saturday Night Live," Murphy moved to feature films, starring opposite Nick Nolte in this gruff comedy that pushed the boundaries of jokes about race. Murphy, playing a wisecracking convict who gets a 48-hour pass back into society to help »

- Jason Guerrasio

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