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Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

A freewheeling Detroit cop pursuing a murder investigation finds himself dealing with the very different culture of Beverly Hills.

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(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Stephen Elliott ...
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Storyline

Detroit cop Axel Foley is delighted when he receives a surprise visit from his best friend Mikey Tandino, who lives in California. Not long after Mikey arrives in Detroit, Mikey is killed, right in front of Axel, by a man named Zack. Axel follows Zack to Beverly Hills, California, where Beverly Hills police department Lieutenant Andrew Bogomil assigns Detective Billy Rosewood and Rosewood's partner, Sergeant John Taggart, to keep an eye on Axel. Axel visits his friend Jenny Summers, who works in an art gallery. With Jenny's help, Axel discovers that Zack works for Jenny's boss, Victor Maitland, the man who owns the art gallery. Maitland is a drug kingpin who is using the gallery as a front, and Maitland had Zack kill Mikey after Maitland accused Mikey of stealing some of Maitland's bonds. With the help of Jenny, Billy, and Taggart, Axel does what he can to make sure Maitland and Zack won't kill any more people. Written by Todd Baldridge

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He's been chased, thrown through a window, and arrested. Eddie Murphy is a Detroit cop on vacation in Beverly Hills. See more »

Genres:

Action | Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 December 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Beverly Drive  »

Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$234,760,500 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Eddie Murphy improvised much of his comic lines, as did John Ashton and Judge Reinhold. Literally hundreds of takes were ruined by cast members or actors or the director himself, who were unable to stop laughing during shooting because of this. During the "super-cops" monologue, Ashton is pinching his face hard and looking down in apparent frustration. If you look closely, you can see that he is actually laughing. Reinhold put his hand in his pocket and pinched his thigh really hard to prevent himself from laughing. See more »

Goofs

When Taggert gets fired upon after being hoisted up over the wall at Maitland's mansion, he is wearing a blue suit whereas before he was shot at he was wearing a brown colored suit. After he has been fired upon the first time, his suit is back to the original brown color. See more »

Quotes

[Rosewood and Taggart are staking out Axel Foley in an upscale hotel. Axel has just had dinner delivered to their car outside]
Detective Rosewood: How did he know we were here?
Sergeant Taggart: I let you drive.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Scott Murphy's character of Det. Owensby is misspelled as Det. Owenby in the credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in In Darkest Hollywood: Cinema and Apartheid (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Axel F
Written by Harold Faltermeyer
Produced by Harold Faltermeyer
Performed by Harold Faltermeyer
Courtesy by MCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Murphy's best role - a unique fish-out-of-water comedy!
12 November 2004 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

Detroit cop Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) is in Beverly Hills for a few days to investigate the murder of an old acquaintance. Axel assumes the suspect is a local tycoon, but no one seems to believe him – including the police force, being semi-run by Ronny Cox (in one of his rare good-guy roles).

Axel comes into trouble with the law his first day on the job after getting thrown through a glass window by some thugs. He is arrested, and when released finds himself hounded by a pair of inept police officers around the town for a few days. After outsmarting them (in one of cinema's most delightful moments – ever) Axel gets hooked up with an old friend and manages to roam the streets looking for clues – which, of course, he finds very easily.

Before this film Eddie Murphy had starred in one film that had launched his name into Hollywood: "48 HRS." But by all reasonable comparisons this is a much, much better film, and it's also much, much funnier, too. What's most refreshing is that it doesn't fall back upon the stereotypes of African-Americans inherent in so many mainstream motion pictures – the role of Axel Foley was originally written for Sylvester Stallone (who was actually attached to star early on in pre-production before dropping out of the project) and it's quite clear that Foley was intended as a white character. Although massive rewrites were employed only two weeks before shooting, script flaws can still be spotted – the heroine of the story is a white businesswoman, for example, and we expect some sort of sexual tension between them but there is none. We begin to question the very presence of the female lead because in essence it leads nowhere. We can imagine how it might have developed into a love story, but Murphy works against the flow, awkwardly treating her as nothing more than a friend.

These sorts of things sometimes bring out the occasional odd touches in the film – ironically they unintentionally set the film apart from other such movies of the genre because it's not typical in any sense. Sure, it has the routine shoot-outs but there is no romance subplot, no pointless racial comparisons (more of which would be seen in the two sequels), etc. The movie greatly benefits from this because it seems so fresh, and far more believable – after all, rarely are romances developed in two days. The action genre always seems to end with the hero sending off the crooks to jail, and finally getting a long-awaited kiss from the leading lady. "Beverly Hills Cop," to its credit, manages to avoid this and the result is a far more enjoyable film, even if most of its sequences are far from being 100% realistic.

The film's director, Martin Brest, has a clear handle on the buddy genre and would go on to direct the immensely successful Robert De Niro / Charles Grodin road-buddies-comedy "Midnight Run," one of the most popular (and best) of the genre. Beverly Hills Cop works just as well – it's funny when it needs to be, thrilling when it wants to be, and features a stellar lead performance by Murphy in his most unusual role.

Murphy is the driving force behind the film, presenting us with a truly likable character – the most likable character he's ever played, as a matter of fact. Axel is unorthodox but a generally good guy – Murphy is sometimes typecast into playing roles similar to that of which he played in "48 HRS." (being the loud, obnoxious racist who's got it all together), but here he plays someone we actually want to root for. At one point in the film he manages to get a couple of police officers in trouble with their superior – but he takes all the blame, and actually fabricates a lie wherein they were heroes doing their job, despite the fact that they were all actually hanging out at a strip club. Axel is tough, cool, quick-witted, nice, sarcastic, and likable – one of cinema's most enduring characters, and proof that African-American cinema heroes don't always have to be loudmouths in order to succeed as characters (pay attention, Chris Rock and Chris Tucker).

The now-famous soundtrack (including 'Axel F' by Harold Faltermeyer) is a great blend of techno-pop and electronic rock – the movie's theme is bouncy, rambunctious and fun: a good parallel to Axel himself.

Overall "Beverly Hills Cop" exceeds exceptionally well, even if a great deal of the film's success itself derives from pure accident and chance. I don't think anyone can say that those involved in the production knew exactly what they were doing at the time (DVD supplements include anecdotes about hectic filming and the project almost falling through at one point) -- but as luck would have it everything turned out fine. "Beverly Hills Cop" is an immensely enjoyable film, and one of the best examples of the cop-comedy genre executed properly.


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