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Harlem Nights (1989)

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During the 1930s, a New York City illegal gambling house owner and his associates must deal with strong competition, gangsters, and corrupt cops in order to stay in business.

Director:

Eddie Murphy

Writer:

Eddie Murphy
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Popularity
3,977 ( 1,517)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Eddie Murphy ... Quick
Richard Pryor ... Sugar Ray
Redd Foxx ... Bennie Wilson
Danny Aiello ... Phil Cantone
Michael Lerner ... Bugsy Calhoune
Della Reese ... Vera
Berlinda Tolbert ... Annie
Stan Shaw ... Jack Jenkins
Jasmine Guy ... Dominique La Rue
Vic Polizos ... Richie Vento
Lela Rochon ... Sunshine
David Marciano ... Tony
Arsenio Hall ... Crying Man
Thomas Mikal Ford ... Tommy Smalls (as Tommy Ford)
Uncle Ray Murphy Uncle Ray Murphy ... Willie (as Uncle Ray)
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Storyline

"Sugar" Ray is the owner of an illegal casino, who contend with the pressures of vicious gangsters and corrupt policemen who want to see him go out of business. In the world of organized crime and police corruption in the 1930s, any dastardly trick is fair.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They're up to something big.

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 November 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los reyes de la noche See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,096,808, 19 November 1989, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$60,864,870

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$95,900,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Star Billing: Eddie Murphy (first), Richard Pryor(second), Redd Foxx (third), Danny Aiello (fourth), Michael Lerner (fifth), and Della Reese (sixth). See more »

Goofs

After Jack Jenkins leaves Sugar Ray's and Quick's table in the restaurant, they talk about the 3 to 1 odds they will receive on Jenkins for the upcoming fight. When Phil and Bugsy are talking in the sauna, They say the odds for Jenkins' opponent, Kirkpatrick are 3 to 1. They are saying that the odds on both fighters are the same. See more »

Quotes

Toothless Gambler: [about Young Quick at the crap table] Man, I ain't shootin' shit! I told you kids bring me bad luck! I can't stand them little bastards!
[turns to young Quick]
Toothless Gambler: Now get the fuck outta here before I kick yo' ass!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Inside the Actors Studio: Eddie Murphy (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh Promise Me
Music by Reginald De Koven
Lyrics by Clement W. Scott (as Clement Scott)
Performed by John McCormack
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Murphy's only directorial effort is memorable
7 February 2007 | by JonTMarin816See all my reviews

In the late 80's to early 90's, black entertainers were not only making an impact in front of the cameras but behind. Directors like Spike Lee and Robert Townsend were trail blazers in the black film movement. Eddie Murphy, the decades biggest star, faced heavy criticism for not breaking ground for black filmmakers and actors until he included a predominantly black cast in 1988's Coming to America. And now with the "Black Film Renaissance" in full swing, Murphy wanted to direct. 1989's Harlem Nights was Murphy's first and last foray into film-making. Harlem Nights is a period piece set in 1938 Harlem. Sugar Ray (Richard Pryor) and Quick (Murphy) are owners of an illegal casino and they're being chased out of business by rival gangsters and corrupt police. The cast, which included the likes of Murphy along with Pryor, Redd Foxx, Robin Harris, Della Reese and a then unknown Charlie Murphy, is stellar. With all this comedic talent in one film, you'd expect a lot more laughter. The film is hilarious but Pryor's role is limited, as far as comedy goes. With all these comedy legends you'd expect to be bleeding internally from laughter. That is probably the only flaw in this film. Aside from the comedy, the films set decoration and wardrobe puts you in the prohibition era, and led to its Academy Award nomination. Harlem Nights also spawned one of the most memorable square offs in film history between Murphy and Reese. Watch that scene and you won't argue with anyone when they tell you that this film is a classic.

Harlem Nights - *** out of ****


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