60 user 22 critic

Harlem Nights (1989)

0:31 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

During the 1920s, a New York illegal gambling house owner and his associates must deal with strong competition, gangsters and corrupt cops in order to stay in business.



4,278 ( 1,067)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Boomerang (1992)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A successful executive and womanizer finds his lifestyle choices have turned back on him when his new female boss turns out to be an even bigger deviant than he is.

Director: Reginald Hudlin
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Robin Givens, Halle Berry
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A Florida con man uses the passing of the long time Congressman from his district who he just happens to share a name with, to get elected to his version of paradise, Congress, where the ... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Lynn
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Lane Smith, Sheryl Lee Ralph
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Jack Cates once again enlists the aid of ex-con Reggie Hammond--this time, to take down The Iceman, a ruthless drug lord operating in the San Francisco bay area.

Director: Walter Hill
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Nick Nolte, Brion James
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A private detective specializing in missing children is charged with the task of finding a special child who dark forces want to eliminate.

Director: Michael Ritchie
Stars: Eddie Murphy, J.L. Reate, Charles Dance
Life I (1999)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The story of wrongfully convicted men (Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence) who discover the value of life after serving 65 years in prison.

Director: Ted Demme
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Obba Babatundé
48 Hrs. (1982)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

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

Director: Walter Hill
Stars: Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, Annette O'Toole
Metro (1997)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Roper, a hostage negotiator catches a murderous bank robber after a blown heist. The bank robber escapes and immediately goes after the man who put him behind bars. The ending is played out... See full summary »

Director: Thomas Carter
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Michael Rapaport, Kim Miyori
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An extremely pampered African prince travels to Queens, New York City, and goes undercover to find a wife whom he can respect for her intelligence and will.

Director: John Landis
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones
Comedy | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Grossly overweight professor Sherman Klump takes a special chemical that turns him into the slim but obnoxious Buddy Love.

Director: Tom Shadyac
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Jada Pinkett Smith, James Coburn
Comedy | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

Maximillian is the only survivor from a race of vampires on a Caribbean Island, and as a vampire, he must find a mate to keep the line from ending. He knows that a child had been born to a ... See full summary »

Director: Wes Craven
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Angela Bassett, Allen Payne
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A snobbish investor and a wily street con artist find their positions reversed as part of a bet by two callous millionaires.

Director: John Landis
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Ralph Bellamy
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Axel Foley returns to Beverly Hills to help Taggart and Rosewood investigate Chief Bogomil's near-fatal shooting and the series of "alphabet crimes" associated with it.

Director: Tony Scott
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Jürgen Prochnow


Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Jenkins
Dominique La Rue
Richie Vento
Tommy Smalls (as Tommy Ford)
Uncle Ray Murphy ...
Willie (as Uncle Ray)


"Sugar" Ray is the owner of an illegal casino, who contend with the pressures of vicious gangster and corrupt policemen who want to see him go out of business. In the world of organized crime and police corruption in the 1920s, any dastardly trick is fair! Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They're up to something big.


Comedy | Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 November 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los reyes de la noche  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)


$60,864,870 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to Gabi Tartakovsky's 7th June 2011 article "Harlem Nights (1989): Eddie Murphy and the Original Gangsters of Black Comedy" at the Pop Matters website, "[Richard] Pryor's toning down the Sugar Ray character wasn't scripted as such, and Pryor believed his performance was the result of being bothered with a recent Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, which he kept to himself at the time". See more »


Quick jumps out of a moving car, rolls one way to avoid a car, then rolls the other way. The he runs and dives through a large glass window of a store. And his hat remains on his head. See more »


[after Quick leaves to fight Vera]
Bennie Wilson: You betta watch it, Quick! You fuckin' with a heavyweight!
See more »


Featured in Inner City (1995) See more »


Take My Heart
Music by Fred E. Ahlert
Lyrics by Joe Young
Performed by Buddy Clark with Nat Brandwynne
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Ignore the critics on this one.
21 November 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is one of Murphy's best works. Ignore what the critics say. They just didn't get it. I am a mid-aged white woman - and even I get it. It is a misogynistic as any stylized Western you may have seen. And the language is just what you would expect from Murphy and Pryor. This is stylized Harlem, guys.

I do not think Murphy set out to break ground plot-wise. Its meant to be a very traditional good vs. bad mobster movie. In this rare case we get to see the other side of tracks version. Why not??

This movie is a rare joining of a classic team of talents including Richard Pryor, Della Reese and Red Foxx. Della was my favorite and her rapport with Foxx is classic.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Terrible animator15
good movie; under-rated rimes7
Charlie Murphy summertime_94
I Thought He Was Meant To Throw The Fight? mr_craigyboy
This I Did Not Like a_spike_lee_joint
Only a 5.1? grains
Discuss Harlem Nights (1989) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: