Beverly Hills Cop hit theaters on December 5, 1984–which means this is also the 30th anniversary of Eddie Murphy going from Saturday Night Live to becoming the hugest movie star of the 1980s. Trading Places had already been a huge hit, but Beverly Hills Cop proved that Eddie was right to leave SNL behind.
Beverly Hills Cop tapped into the fast-talking street savvy that Murphy had showed off as a temporarily paroled criminal in 1982’s 48 Hrs. He embodies absolute comedic perfection as Axel Foley, a Detroit detective who travels from the mean streets of Motown to posh byways of Beverly Hills to investigate the murder of his childhood friend.
As the ultimate wiseass fish-out-of-water, Murphy unforgettably soaks the local snobs and pampered police department in a nonstop barrage of insults, comeuppances, and hilarious pranks–one of which unforgettably includes a banana in a plainclothes officer’s tailpipe.
Beverly Hills Cop was originally written for Sylvester Stallone and intended to be played straight. It’s impossible now to imagine that version. Aside from Murphy’s indelible ownership of the film, Cop also launched and/or showcased outrageously funny turns from up-and-comers such as Paul Reiser, Judge Rheinhold, and–as a flamingly eccentric art gallery owner–Bronson Pinchot in the role that would soon land him television immortality as Perfect Strangers‘ Cousin Balki.
Even the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack was a smash, generating the chart-toppers “The Heat Is On” by Glenn Frey, “Neutron Dance” by the Pointer Sisters, and the über-’80s synthesizer instrumental “Axel F” by Harold Faltermeyer. So let’s look to the past and enjoy the original trailer–and, yeah, we’ll admit there was a sequel, but don’t bring up Beverly Hills Cop III. We don’t even like this talk of Beverly Hills Cop 4…