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
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3,591 ( 830)
2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nick Nolte ... Jack Cates
Eddie Murphy ... Reggie Hammond
Annette O'Toole ... Elaine
Frank McRae ... Haden
James Remar ... Ganz
David Patrick Kelly ... Luther
Sonny Landham ... Billy Bear
Brion James ... Kehoe
Kerry Sherman ... Rosalie
Jonathan Banks ... Algren
James Keane ... Vanzant
Tara King Tara King ... Frizzy
Greta Blackburn ... Lisa
Margot Rose ... Casey
Denise Crosby ... Sally
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

When a tough cop has a cool convict as a partner and 48 hrs to catch a killer, a lot of funny things can happen in . . . 48 HRS. [Australia Theatrical] See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While in the bar the bartender says that Ganz's girlfriend lives up the street where Chinatown starts. The movie takes place in San Francisco while the bar they leave from called Torchy's which was in Los Angeles. See more »

Goofs

Reggie is handcuffed when Jack throws him into his car after getting him out of prison. In the next shot, Reggie's left arm is stretched out along the back of the seat and his right arm is hanging out the window. In the following shot, he is handcuffed again. See more »

Quotes

Jack: What are you smiling at, watermelon? Your big move just turned out to be shit.
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Alternate Versions

T.V. versions has two extra scenes. One featuring a walk with Nick Nolte and Annette O'Toole and a scene that occurs after the shootout at the B.A.R.T. Station between Cates and the Police Chief. The Chief tells him that Internal Affairs is on his back. Other scenes are extended by a few seconds and Denise Crosby is wearing a bra and panties in the T.V. version instead of being naked. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Midnight Screenings: The Grudge (2020) See more »

Soundtracks

48 HRS.
Written and recordings produced by Brian O'Neal
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User Reviews

 
The real thing. Accept no imitations.
15 January 2003 | by mattymatt4everSee all my reviews

This is the one of the movies that kicked off the buddy cop formula. Technically, Nick Nolte's the only cop, but other films have tried to imitate the style by having a tough, cranky, by-the-book cop (Nolte's character) paired off with a loose, easygoing, unorthodox cop (like Murphy's character). Some of these "imitators" have failed miserably and even those that succeeded don't match up to "48 Hours."

I haven't seen the unedited version of this movie in over ten years (it plays on TV like 4 times every month), and even when I did catch it on TV, I caught it in bits and pieces. Now that I've seen it straight-through, in its uncut form, I can regard this as an overlooked classic. Watching Nolte as the gruff, chain-smoking Jack, I thought to myself, "He owns that part." Many actors have tried to take on that same role, but nobody plays it better than Nolte. And the same goes for Eddie Murphy. His talent has been taken for granted over the recent years, since his career has hit a major slump. And rightfully so. He should choose his roles much more wisely. How do you from doing such fun, memorable films as "48 Hours," "Coming to America" and "Trading Places" to doing "Showtime" and "I-Spy." This movie proves that Murphy can go leaps and bounds with his comic talent, if the script is well-written. The scene in the all-white, country-western bar, where Murphy shows off his skills as an interrogator, is a classic.

The film is directed by Walter Hill, who's great at directing action sequences. So the movie packs a punch in both the action and comedy department. Nolte and Murphy's chemistry is priceless, and the banter between them is sharp and hilarious. One of my favorite examples is when Murphy asks Nolte, "Can you tell me a bedtime story?" Nolte responds, "F**k you." "That's my favorite one." Of course, Murphy gets most of the credit for being the comic relief, and he is terrific in one of his best comic performances, but Nolte belts out just as many funny lines as him, though he's the official straight man. He never seems to say anything intentionally funny, but that's what's funny. He says things that are hilarious, but sounds dead serious about them. And of course, it's also hilarious to watch him react furiously to Murphy's taunts.

Those who haven't seen "48 Hours" should really check it out, because it's an action classic! Sure, the "Rush Hour" films are good, but Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan don't have close to the same magic as Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy! THIS is how an action/comedy is made!!

My score: 9 (out of 10)


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 December 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Forty Eight Hours See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,369,868, 12 December 1982

Gross USA:

$78,868,508

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$78,868,508
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (4 channels)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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