13 Best Eddie Murphy Movies

Best Eddie Murphy Movies

Eddie Murphy paved the way to the top of the Hollywood hierarchy with several memorable roles. This is why we’ve compiled a list of the best Eddie Murphy movies.

Early in the 1980s, Eddie Murphy‘s film career took off with three consecutive Certified Fresh classics: 48 HRS, Trading Places, and Beverly Hills Cop.

He signified a change in the comedic landscape, bringing biting humor, action-packed scenes, and even some social commentary. 

Murphy was the king of American humor combined with his other landmark ’80s film, Coming to America.

And if you required even more uncooked (literally) content, you could watch his scathing stand-up comedies. 

Murphy’s career continued to soar in the ’90s with films such as The Nutty Professor, Bowfinger, and Dr. Dolittle.

He also starred in the classic Disney movie Mulan, lending his voice to Mushu, the dragon. 

In recent years, Murphy has returned to his comedic roots with films such as Tower Heist and Dolemite Is My Name. He also starred in the Netflix original film Dolittle. 

No matter what decade you look at, Eddie Murphy has been a consistent source of entertainment for decades.

Here are some of the best Eddie Murphy movies: 

1. Harlem Nights (1989)

  • Cast: Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, Danny Aiello 
  • Director: Eddie Murphy 

One of the best Eddie Murphy movies is Harlem Nights. In the critically criticized film Harlem Nights, Eddie Murphy directed himself for the first (and only) time.

Some of the biggest stars in comedy history, including Red Foxx, Della Reese, Arsenio Hall, Richard Pryor, and of course, Eddie Murphy himself, deliver hilarious performances in Harlem Nights. 

The film’s plot centers around Quick Brown, a figure played by Murphy, and his mentor and boss, Sugar Ray, a role played by Richard Pryor. 

With fantastic costumes and settings, it looks wonderful for a period piece. Most importantly, it’s quite funny in a creative way.

No one may have any sense of humor if they don’t laugh when Quick shoots off Vera’s pinky toe. 

2. 48Hrs (1982)

  • Cast: Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, Annette O’Toole, Frank McRae 
  • Director: Walter Hill 

48Hrs is a classic buddy cop movie starring Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte.

It was one of the first films to feature a black actor in the lead role and introduce audiences to Eddie Murphy’s unique brand of comedy. 

The plot follows Jack Cates (Nolte) as he teams up with Reggie Hammond (Murphy) to catch a pair of cop killers. The two have only 48 hours to do so, hence the title. 

The film is filled with action, comedy, and plenty of memorable one-liners from Murphy. It’s an absolute classic that still holds up today. 

3. Life (1999)

  • Cast: Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Obba Babatunde 
  • Director: Ted Demme 

Life is one of the best Eddie Murphy movies. It is a comedy-drama starring Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence.

It follows two men sentenced to life in prison for a crime they didn’t commit. The film follows their journey as they try to survive the harsh realities of prison life.

Life is a surprisingly heartfelt buddy comedy-drama that both meets and goes beyond audience expectations.

It has been a cult favorite for more than 20 years and demonstrates the creative versatility of performers Martin Lawrence and Murphy.

The film benefits significantly from the steady direction of Ted Demme, who allows his performers to shine while still controlling their overblown urges. 

A 50-year odyssey of friendship and injustice in the harsh Jim Crow South begins when two con artists are arrested and given hard labor sentences in Mississippi. 

Lawrence plays the part well, while the rest of the ensemble lends a helping hand to Murphy’s superb performance.

Few Murphy films elicit strong emotional responses, but this one does. 

The film is filled with laughs, but it also has a lot of heart. It’s an emotional journey that will leave you feeling uplifted and inspired. 

4. Coming to America (1988)

  • Cast: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones 
  • Director: John Landis 

Coming to America is one of the most beloved Eddie Murphy movies.

It follows Prince Akeem (Murphy) as he travels from his home in the fictional African nation of Zamunda to Queens, New York, searching for true love. 

It’s not surprising that Paramount paid Murphy over $40 million to create a film about an African prince finding love in New York City at this point in his career because Murphy was generating revenue for the studios, which would have been unheard of five years before. 

Murphy’s strongest performance in this movie combines heart, humor, and a cast of lovable characters.

Murphy is excellent as Prince Akeem (among a host of other amusing characters he plays), and Arsenio Hall is excellent as his devoted sidekick Semmi.

Still, it’s the world-building that elevates the movie beyond the others. 

5. Boomerang (1992)

  • Cast: Eddie Murphy, Robin Givens, Halle Berry 
  • Director: Reginald Hudlin 

Next on our list of best Eddie Murphy movies is Boomerang.

Boomerang is a romantic comedy starring Eddie Murphy as Marcus Graham, an advertising executive who has a habit of using women and discarding them.

He meets his match in Jacqueline (Robin Givens), who turns the tables on him. 

Early in the 1980s, Eddie made the successful shift from television to cinema, and by 1993, when Boomerang was released, he was at the pinnacle of fame. 

It also signifies the end of Eddie Murphy’s initial phase of his career, which began 13 years earlier on Saturday Night Live.

Compared to his early films, Boomerang and Harlem Nights are more subdued. 

Eddie Murphy is more professionally produced and slicker than the film, but the film is still absolutely hilarious.

They are supported by a stellar cast that includes Halle Berry, another up-and-coming actress, David Alan Grier, a young Chris Rock, and rising star Martin Lawrence. 

6. Dr. Dolittle (1998)

  • Cast: Eddie Murphy, Ossie Davis, Oliver Platt 
  • Director: Betty Thomas 

Dr. Dolittle is a family comedy starring Eddie Murphy as the titular character. The film follows Dr. John Dolittle (Murphy), a doctor who can communicate with animals.

He embarks on an adventure to save a rare species of Pacific Western Bear with the help of his animal friends. 

Actors are supposedly advised to “never deal with children or animals” in Hollywood.

Yet, the business was extremely enthusiastic about technology, making it appear like animals’ mouths were moving. 

That is the hook for the Murphy film Dr. Dolittle, based on the children’s book series.

This time, the comic plays a doctor who can communicate with animals; mischief happens as he tries to deal with this unwanted intrusion. 

7. The Nutty Professor(1996)

  • Cast: Eddie Murphy, Jada Pinkett Smith, James Coburn 
  • Director: Tom Shadyac 

Next on our list of best Eddie Murphy movies is The Nutty Professor. The Nutty Professor is an update of the 1963 Jerry Lewis classic.

The film follows Sherman Klump (Murphy), an overweight professor who invents a potion that turns him into the slim and handsome Buddy Love (also Murphy). 

Eddie Murphy returned to The Nutty Professor after taking a nearly three-year hiatus from acting, and it instantly restored his reputation as a box-office success.

The Nutty Professor significantly changed Eddie Murphy’s career, perhaps not for the better. 

It was a great smash with both reviewers and moviegoers. Professor Sherman Klump, played by Eddie Murphy, is an obese man who creates a serum that reduces him and makes him into the annoying but lovable Buddy Love. 

Murphy plays all other characters in the film, with Jada Pinkett serving as his love interest and friend.

With six different roles, Eddie Murphy portrayed most of the Klump family, for which he received many accolades. 

Although it was not his first time, The Nutty Professor was the one that would persuade him to do it more frequently.

It would only sometimes be a wise decision, as it wasn’t in The Nutty Professor. 

8. Mulan (1998)

  • Cast: Eddie Murphy, Ming-Na Wen, BD Wong 
  • Director: Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook 

Mulan, a beloved Disney animated film, tells the tale of a young Chinese woman who poses as a male to replace her father in the army.

The film features the voice of Eddie Murphy as Mushu, a dragon who serves as Mulan’s guardian and protector. 

To suggest that Murphy later in his career shifted to family films would be an understatement.

While the quality of those efforts varied greatly, Mulan is unquestionably a standout.

From then forward until 2019, Murphy would only release one R-rated film (Life), beginning with this Disney classic in 1998. 

It’s also not surprising that Murphy would find comfort in animation, considering his manic tendencies and lightning-fast delivery. 

Murphy flies through a succession of one-liners and jokes as Mushu, the dragon tasked with assisting the main character in realizing her destiny, in a manner reminiscent of Robin Williams’ performance in Aladdin. 

Murphy appears to be enjoying himself, and he even got to sing in the film (unfortunately, his song was cut, but his voice is still a steady vehicle for star power here).

The movie’s success would pave the way for the comic to launch a completely new profession, one in which his delivery of lines behind the camera shines almost as brightly as Murphy does on camera. 

9. Dreamgirls (2006)

  • Cast: Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx, Beyonce 
  • Director: Bill Condon 

Dreamgirls is next on our list of best Eddie Murphy movies. It is a musical drama film based on the 1981 Broadway musical of the same name. 

The movie follows the story of three female singers who formed a singing group and rose to fame in the 1960s.

Eddie Murphy stars as James “Thunder” Early, a soul singer struggling to make it big. 

Dreamgirls was hugely successful, earning Eddie Murphy and numerous production accolades from critics.

Except for the animated Shrek films, Eddie Murphy had a run of really terrible films, so in a sense, it was a return for him. Dramatically changing that streak was Dreamgirls. 

Eddie Murphy received a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Jimmy Early, a sleazy R&B performer whose career virtually implodes from the start. 

For the first time in years, Murphy garnered a lot of praise for his performance and was nominated for an Oscar.

Because Dreamgirls and Eddie Murphy’s performances in it are both great, everything was richly deserved. 

10. Shrek (2001)

  • Cast: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz 
  • Director: Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson 

Shrek is one of the best Eddie Murphy movies. It is an animated fantasy-comedy film based on the 1990 book of the same name.

The movie follows the story of a green ogre who embarks on a quest to save his swamp from being taken over by fairy tale creatures. 

A talking jackass may be considered Murphy’s signature role throughout his career by some.

Murphy’s boisterous, animated Donkey is a crucial component of the adored Shrek franchise and a fitting counterweight to the gruffness of the green ogre over multiple movies and TV specials. 

Murphy was present from the beginning of a movie that would experience numerous cast changes (Chris Farley was the first Shrek, and Janeane Garofalo was the original Fiona). 

The movie would become a box office success and a pop (meme?) culture powerhouse, garnering Murphy some of the highest praise of his career for his skillful voice acting and further solidifying his reputation as a family picture actor. 

11. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

  • Cast: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton 
  • Director: Martin Brest 

The film Beverly Hills Cop, about a Detroit police officer who travels to Beverly Hills to look into his friend’s murder in a classic “fish out of water” tale, is brilliant in every way, and Eddie Murphy’s performance is about as good as it gets in a comedy. 

As a result, Beverly Hills Cop unquestionably established how big of a star Eddie Murphy had become.

The movie was a huge success and made Eddie Murphy a household name. It was the highest-grossing film of 1984 and was nominated for an Academy Award. 

Eddie Murphy’s performance as Axel Foley, the street-smart Detroit cop, is considered one of his best performances.

His comedic timing and delivery of lines are spot-on, and he brings a lot of energy to the role. 

The movie also features great action sequences and car chases that engage the audience.

Beverly Hills Cop is a classic comedy that stands the test of time and is one of Eddie Murphy’s best films. 

12. Bowfinger (1999)

  • Cast: Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Heather Graham 
  • Director: Frank Oz 

Bowfinger is a comedy film starring Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy.

The movie follows the story of Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin), an aspiring filmmaker who attempts to make a low-budget movie with the help of an eccentric cast and crew. 

Murphy enjoys taking on several personas, and this Hollywood parody is one of his best performances.

The comedian portrays action star Kit Ramsey and Jiff Ramsey, a nerdy lookalike brought in to help the production finish filming, in this mega-low budget movie directed by conman Bobby Bowfinger (Steve Martin). 

Eddie Murphy plays two roles in this movie: Kit Ramsey, a famous action movie star, and Jiff Ramsey, Kit’s lookalike brother. 

Murphy is hilarious in both roles, playing Steve Martin’s character perfectly. His performance is one of his best comedic roles and showcases his talent for physical comedy. 

This is one of the best Eddie Murphy movies. Bowfinger was a critical success and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.  

13. Dolemite is My Name (2019)

  • Cast: Eddie Murphy, Wesley Snipes, Keegan-Michael Key 
  • Director: Craig Brewer 

The last on our list of best Eddie Murphy movies is Dolomite is My Name. Dolemite is My Name is a comedy film based on comedian Rudy Ray Moore’s life.

The movie follows the story of Moore as he attempts to make a name for himself in the entertainment industry by creating his character, Dolemite. 

This boisterous Netflix biopic of renowned blue comedian Rudy Ray Moore, aka Dolemite, continued Murphy’s return.

Nevertheless, even without nominations, it’s always a pleasure to watch Murphy invested in and enthusiastic about a project. 

Murphy is the perfect choice to tell Moore’s narrative to a wider audience since Moore was a larger-than-life figure.

Murphy is “a comic icon still so electrifying; he can make a movie out of thin air,” according to Rolling Stone. 

Murphy’s performance is one of his best in recent years, as he brings Moore’s larger-than-life personality to life.

He captures the spirit and energy of Moore perfectly, making Dolemite Is My Name one of Eddie Murphy’s best films. 

Conclusively, Eddie Murphy has had a long and successful career in Hollywood, with many iconic roles. These are some of the best Eddie Murphy movies.

From his breakout role in Beverly Hills Cop to his recent biopic Dolemite is My Name, Murphy has proven to be one of the most talented comedic actors of all time. 

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