Eddie Murphy is an American actor, writer, producer, & singer best known as one of the most widely beloved and successful comics of all time – his early movies helped launch his career and make him one of the most iconic figures of contemporary comedy.
Murphy was born in Roosevelt, New York, in 1961. He made his stand-up comedy debut during the early ’80s, quickly establishing an audience thanks to his sharp wit and energetic performances. Soon after, he made his cinematic debut, starring alongside Nick Nolte in 48 Hrs – another critical and commercial success that helped make Murphy an international household name.
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48 Hrs. (1982)
Murphy was seen playing Reggie Hammond in 48 Hrs, an ex-convict released from prison to assist a detective investigating a murder case. Murphy delivered an energetic and charismatic performance, quickly making him an instant star.
Trading Places (1983)
Murphy’s next film, was an entertaining social satire about two men from different walks of life who discovered they had been switched at birth. Murphy plays Billy Ray Valentine, an immoral street hustler, paired with Randolph Duke (Randolph Duke is a wealthy businessman) as a hilarious result of this scenario. The movie provides ample opportunity for humorous observations on society while Murphy shines.
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Eddie Murphy achieved global fame thanks to Beverly Hills Cop. Playing Axel Foley from Detroit Police, Murphy heads out west in search of justice after witnessing the murder of one of his close friends from his previous department in Detroit. Beverly Hills Cop was the highest-grossing film in 1984 and cemented Murphy’s status as an international superstar.
The Golden Child (1986)
Murphy made her next film debut with The Golden Child, an adventure fantasy film in which she plays Chandler Jarrell, a social worker tasked with finding the Golden Child–an ethereal child endowed with magical abilities–who may or may not exist. This fast-paced adventure film boasts some amazing special effects while Murphy proves herself entertaining as the protagonist.
Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)
Murphy reprise the role of Axel Foley from its original version. As in its predecessor, Foley returns to Beverly Hills to investigate a new case; although this sequel wasn’t quite as popular with audiences, it was nevertheless an enjoyable and engaging action-comedy film.
Eddie Murphy Raw (1987)
Eddie Murphy Raw is one of the most beloved stand-up comedy films ever created, a recording of Eddie’s stand-up act and an industry success. Eddie Murphy Raw is amusing and groundbreaking, helping cement Eddie’s reputation as one of the greatest comedians ever.
Coming to America (1988)
Murphy followed up his success with Coming to America, an entertaining comedy about an African prince visiting America to find love. Murphy stars as Prince Iddi Ambenge and other roles in this heartwarming and humorous film, making it one of his most successful works.
Harlem Nights (1989)
Harlem Nights, directed by Robert Rodriguez and starring Eddie Murphy as a nightclub owner in 1930s Harlem, was met with critical and commercial disappointment and is considered one of Murphy’s weakest works.
Eddie Murphy’s early films were some of the most successful and beloved in 1980s cinema. These movies helped launch his career as one of the biggest stars worldwide; critics still hold them in high regard today.
What awards did Eddie Murphy win for his early movies?
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture for 48 Hrs. (1982).
American Comedy Award for Funniest Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture for Trading Places (1983).
People’s Choice Award for Favorite Male Movie Star for Beverly Hills Cop (1984).
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for Beverly Hills Cop (1984).
What impact did Eddie Murphy’s early movies have on Hollywood?
Eddie Murphy made a lasting impactful mark on Hollywood during the 1980s through his films. These action comedies helped cement action comedy films as one of Hollywood’s most beloved genres and established Murphy as an international superstar. Additionally, Murphy’s early movies pioneered more diverse casting in Hollywood films through featuring predominantly Black casts like his.
What is Eddie Murphy’s legacy in film?
Eddie Murphy is widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest comedians of all time, his early films helping define an entire generation of comedy. Eddie also excels as an actor, producer, writer and has won multiple awards for his efforts.