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48 Hrs. (1982)

A hard-nosed cop reluctantly teams up with a wise-cracking criminal temporarily paroled to him, in order to track down a killer.


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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tara King ...


Oddball cop and tough guy, Jack Cates is the only survivor of a cop shooting and in hunting down the murderer collects Reggie Hammond from jail for 48 hours. Hammond is oddly motivated to help. The killer is searching for his stash of cash. Cates and Hammond who have the Black-white, cop-crook thing to work out make surprisingly good partners as they navigate through the city looking for their suspect. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The boys are back in town. Nick Nolte is a cop. Eddie Murphy is a convict. They couldn't have liked each other less. They couldn't have needed each other more. And the last place they ever expected to be is on the same side. Even for... 48 HRS See more »


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

8 December 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

48 Hours  »


Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,369,868, 12 December 1982, Wide Release

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(4 channels)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


This Paramount Pictures production was originally in development at another studio, Columbia Pictures, which was the regular production house for star Richard Pryor, who not surprisingly, was originally tagged for the convict role played by Eddie Murphy. Around the time of the late 1970s and early 1980s when 48 Hrs. (1982) was in development, Pryor actually played a prisoner twice, in Stir Crazy (1980) and Bustin' Loose (1981). 48 Hrs. (1982) director Walter Hill later worked with Pryor on Brewster's Millions (1985). Pryor and Murphy later star-teamed together in Harlem Nights (1989). See more »


During the "class isn't something you buy" scene when Jack & Reggie are following Luther, Jack says to Reggie class isn't something you buy and then says "...look at you, you've got a 500 dollar suit on and your still a lowlife." But earlier in the film when Reggie is first released and is wearing the suit he tells Jack that it was a $900.00 suit which Jack should have known later in the film. See more »


Reggie: You start running a respectable business and I won't have to come in here and hassle you every night. You know what I mean?
[to the bar patrons]
Reggie: And I want the rest of you cowboys to know something, there's a new sheriff in town. And his name is Reggie Hammond. So y'all be cool. Right on.
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By Sting (as S. Sting)
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User Reviews

Walter Hill's dark cop drama doubles as Eddie Murphy's propulsive film debut
30 May 2001 | by See all my reviews

Only a privileged few who remember "48 Hrs." acknowledge it as the primary influence of the buddy-cop films of the 80's ("Lethal Weapon", "Miami Vice"). Nick Nolte plays Jack Cates, a rusty, cranky, tough-guy cop working the homicide department in San Francisco. When a violent chain-gang escape reunites two hardened criminals (the greasy-looking Ganz and a towering Indian named Billy Bear) who subsequently murder two police officers and a prison guard, Cates is assigned to babysit paroled convict Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy), an old member of Ganz's gang. Reggie has been released for one weekend (hence the title) to aid Jack in capturing these two cop-killers. Unbeknownst to Cates, Ganz & Billy Bear are not simply out on a killing spree but rather in search of a very important briefcase that belongs to Reggie.

I can't think of another film debut as explosive as Eddie Murphy in "48 Hrs.", even though Murphy's work on "Saturday Night Live" already tossed him into the public's consciousness. It's also worth noting that because director Walter Hill is known for casting interracial leads in his non-western films ("Brewster's Millions", "Crossroads", "Supernova"), never before had we seen a black man act like this in a movie; assured, aggressive and confident to the point of being cocky. It would be easy to dismiss Murphy's character as a black stereotype; well-dressed, horny, smooth-talking, bantering, but Murphy pulls his character away from stereotype cobwebs with unfiltered charisma and instinct. Think of it, most people who now wail away the chorus to "Roxanne" are invoking Murphy instead of Sting (and what a hilarious introduction that is). Also, there is the unforgettable sequence where Reggie takes over a redneck bar, posing as a cop! It's the most magnetic scene in the film, and Murphy delivers ("You know what I am? I'm your worst f***in' nightmare! That's right I'm a nigger with a badge and I got permission to kick your f***in' ass whenever I feel like it.")

Obviously, this film wasn't written as a comedy. Nolte spends much of his time hurling every kind of racial epithet imaginable at Murphy when he's not chain-smoking or guzzling from a flask. Murphy injects his humor into the story without disrupting the movie's violently grim tone, and Murphy & Nolte are excellent at creating an oil-and-water duo that keeps them at odds for most of the film. There are no stylistic explosions, but there are some tense gunfights including a chase scene in a train station and a shootout that employs a convertible and a public bus. Composer James Horner, who would come to prominence in the 90's as one of the more reverent film composers, creates an unusual, percussion-driven score heavy with Caribbean flavor. It's works well, adding an element of heat while Jack & Reggie cruise San Francisco with the top down. The film has thankfully dated pretty well, and sometimes even holds the faint resemblance of a 1970's cop film (I'm sure interracial blaxploitation movies like "Across 110th Street" served their influence). Of all of Walter Hill's work, "Crossroads" remains closest to my heart, but this is certainly his most mature effort. Expect to laugh, but expect to be shaken too.

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