Beverly Hills Cop is a 1984 American action comedy film directed by Martin Brest and starring Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley, a street-smart Detroit cop who heads to Beverly Hills, California, to solve the murder of his best friend. Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Ronny Cox, Lisa Eilbacher, Steven Berkoff and Jonathan Banks appear in supporting roles.
This first film in the Beverly Hills Cop series shot Murphy to international stardom, won the People's Choice Award for "Favorite Motion Picture", was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical, and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) in 1985. It earned $234 million at the North American domestic box office, making it the biggest hit of 1984.
Axel Foley is a reckless yet good-natured young Detroit police detective. His unauthorized cigarette smuggling sting operation goes sour when two uniformed officers intervene, resulting in a high-speed chase through the city where several vehicles, including police cars, are damaged. This earns him the anger of his boss, Inspector Douglas Todd, who threatens to fire him if such incidents continue.
Foley arrives at his apartment to find it's been broken into by his childhood friend, Mikey Tandino. Mikey did time in prison, but ended up working as a security guard in Beverly Hills, thanks to a mutual friend, Jenny Summers. Mikey shows Foley some German bearer bonds and Foley wonders how he got them, but chooses not to question him about it. After going out to a bar, they return to Foley's apartment, where two men knock Foley unconscious and then confront Mikey about the bearer bonds. Mikey took the bonds from his boss, Victor Maitland, a Beverly Hills art dealer who also happens to be a smuggler of illicit goods such as bearer bonds and illegal drugs. After beating Mikey up, they shoot Mikey in the back of the head and kill him.
Foley wants to go to Beverly Hills to investigate Mikey's murder, but Inspector Todd refuses to allow it because of his close ties to Mikey. Foley uses the guise of taking vacation time to head to Beverly Hills to solve the crime. He finds Jenny working in an art gallery and learns about Mikey's ties to Maitland. Foley, posing as a flower deliverer, goes to Maitland's office and tries to question him about Mikey, but is thrown through a window by Maitland's bodyguard and arrested. At the police station he meets Beverly Hills police officers Sergeant John Taggart, Detective Billy Rosewood, and Lieutenant Andrew Bogomil. Bogomil assigns Rosewood and Taggart to follow Foley, and after a series of encounters, including the trio's foiling of a robbery in a striptease bar, the three develop a mutual respect.
On the trail of Mikey's killers, Foley sneaks into one of Maitland's warehouses, where he finds coffee grounds, supposedly used to pack drugs. He also discovers that many of Maitland's crates have not gone through customs. After Foley is arrested again, this time after a scuffle at Maitland's country club, Bogomil demands to know why Foley is bothering Maitland. Foley finally admits that he suspects Maitland to be a smuggler, but is unsure of what exactly he is smuggling. Bogomil seems to believe Foley's story, but cannot authorize a search because of a lack of hard evidence. At this moment, Police Chief Hubbard, who has learned of Foley's ill-advised investigative actions, orders that Foley be escorted out of town. However, Foley convinces Rosewood to pick up Jenny instead and take her with them to Maitland's warehouse, where a shipment is due to arrive that day.
Foley and Jenny break into the warehouse and discover several bags of cocaine inside a crate. Foley tells Jenny to get Rosewood, but Maitland and his associates arrive. Maitland takes Jenny and leaves Foley to be killed. After some hesitation, Rosewood enters the warehouse and rescues Foley. Taggart tracks Foley and Rosewood to Maitland's estate, where he joins Foley and Rosewood in their efforts to rescue Jenny and bring Maitland to justice. When Bogomil hears reports of shots fired at Maitland's residence, he calls for backup at the location and heads out to join the others. After a firefight that kills most of Maitland's men, Foley kills Maitland's right-hand man Zack, who had killed Mikey. Maitland shoots and injures Foley, then uses Jenny as a shield. Bogomil's arrival distracts Maitland long enough to allow Jenny to break free; Bogomil and Foley then shoot and kill Maitland.
Chief Hubbard arrives and Bogomil fabricates a story that covers for Foley, Taggart, and Rosewood. When Hubbard asks Taggart to confirm the story, Taggart backs up Bogomil. Realizing that he will probably be out of a job in Detroit, Foley asks Bogomil to speak to Inspector Todd and smooth things over for him. Bogomil is reluctant, but relents after Foley talks about staying in Beverly Hills.
Taggart and Rosewood meet Foley as he checks out of his hotel, and pay his bill. Foley invites them to join him for a farewell drink, and they accept.
- Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley
- Judge Reinhold as Detective Billy Rosewood
- John Ashton as Sergeant John Taggart
- Lisa Eilbacher as Jenny Summers
- Ronny Cox as Lieutenant Andrew Bogomil
- Steven Berkoff as Victor Maitland
- James Russo as Mikey Tandino
- Jonathan Banks as Zack
- Stephen Elliott as Chief Hubbard
- Gil Hill as Inspector Todd
- Art Kimbro as Detective Foster
- Joel Bailey as Detective McCabe
- Bronson Pinchot as Serge
- Paul Reiser as Jeffrey Friedman
- Michael Champion as Casey
- Frank Pesce as Cigarette Buyer
- Gene Borkan as Truck Driver
- Damon Wayans as Banana Man
- Chuck Adamson as Warehouse Crate Opener #1
- Chip Heller as Warehouse Crate Opener #2
- David Wells as Police Dispatcher
- Michael Gregory as Beverly Palm Hotel director
- James Metro as Frank Evans
In 1977, Paramount executive Don Simpson came up with a movie idea about a cop from East Los Angeles who transferred to Beverly Hills. Screenwriter Danilo Bach was called in to write the screenplay. Bach pitched his idea to Simpson and Paramount in 1981 under the name Beverly Drive, about a cop from Pittsburgh named Elly Axel. However, his script was a straight action film and Bach was forced to make changes to the script, but after a few attempts the project went stale. With the success of Flashdance (1983), Simpson saw the Beverly Hills film as his next big project. Daniel Petrie, Jr. was brought in to rewrite the script and Paramount loved Petrie's humorous approach to the project, with the lead character now called Axel Elly, from Detroit. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer claimed that the role of Axel Foley was first offered to Mickey Rourke, who signed a $400,000 holding contract to do the film. When revisions and other preparations took longer than expected, Rourke left the project after his contract expired to do another film.
The script was then sent to Sylvester Stallone, who gave the script a dramatic rewrite and made it into a straight action film. In one of the previous drafts written for Stallone, the character of Billy Rosewood was called "Siddons" and was killed off half-way through the script during one of the action scenes. Stallone had renamed the lead character to Axel Cobretti with the character of Michael Tandino (James Russo) being his brother and Jenny Summers (Lisa Eilbacher) playing his love interest. Stallone's script of Beverly Hills Cop would have "looked like the opening scene from Saving Private Ryan on the beaches of Normandy. Believe it or not, the finale was me in a stolen Lamborghini playing chicken with an oncoming freight train being driven by the ultra-slimy bad guy." However, Stallone's ideas were deemed "too expensive" for Paramount to produce and Stallone ultimately pulled out two weeks before filming was to start. Two days later, the film's producers, Simpson and Bruckheimer, were able to convince Eddie Murphy to replace Stallone in the film, prompting massive rewrites. Besides Stallone and Rourke, other actors who were considered for the role of Axel Foley included Richard Pryor, Al Pacino, and James Caan.
Beverly Hills Cop was well received by critics and is considered by many as one of the best films of 1984. Eddie Murphy, in particular, received much acclaim for his performance. Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote "Beverly Hills Cop finds Eddie Murphy doing what he does best: playing the shrewdest, hippest, fastest-talking underdog in a rich man's world. Eddie Murphy knows exactly what he's doing, and he wins at every turn". Richard Schickel of Time magazine wrote that "Eddie Murphy exuded the kind of cheeky, cocky charm that has been missing from the screen since Cagney was a pup, snarling his way out of the ghetto". Axel Foley became Murphy's signature role and was ranked No. 78 on Empire magazine's list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. Also, Entertainment Weekly magazine ranked Beverly Hills Cop as the third best comedy film of the last 25 years. According to Christopher Hitchens, the British novelist and poet Kingsley Amis considered the film "a flawless masterpiece."
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes retrospectively collected reviews from 41 critics to give the film a score of 83%, with an average score of 7.2 out of 10. In 2003, the film was picked as one of the 1000 Best Movies Ever Made by The New York Times.
The soundtrack for Beverly Hills Cop won a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media (1986). The instrumental-only title tune "Axel F" is a cultural touchstone and has since been covered by numerous artists. The soundtrack was mastered by Greg Fulginiti, and would feature different artists plus electronic style music.
The soundtrack was released on MCA Records, successor-in-interest to Paramount's old record division, the Famous Music Group (specifically Paramount Records).
The track listing is as follows:
- "New Attitude" by Patti LaBelle
- "Don't Get Stopped in Beverly Hills" by Shalamar
- "Do You Really (Want My Love?)" by Junior
- "Emergency" by Rockie Robbins
- "Neutron Dance" by Pointer Sisters
- "The Heat is On" by Glenn Frey
- "Gratitude" by Danny Elfman
- "Stir It Up" by Patti LaBelle
- "Rock 'N Roll Me Again" by The System
- "Axel F" by Harold Faltermeyer
Main Article: Beverly Hills Cop (franchise) The film spawned two sequels, both starring Eddie Murphy, in 1987 and 1994. Judge Reinhold also reprised his role of Billy Rosewood for the sequels. The second film met with mixed reviews but was a box office success while the third film was less successful critically and commercially. Faltermeyer's "Axel F" was used in both sequels. In 2013 a television series was once described as in the works for CBS, and there are currently talks about a fourth film.
Main Article: Beverly Hills Cop (Video Game) Tynesoft released a game based on the films for Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro, PC, Amiga and Atari ST in 1990. Blast Entertainment released a Beverly Hills Cop game for the PlayStation 2 in 2006.
- Academy Award- nominated for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) - Danilo Bach and Daniel Petrie, Jr.
- British Academy Film Awards nominated for Best Score - Harold Faltermeyer
- Edgar Allan Poe Award nominated for Best Motion Picture - Daniel Petrie, Jr.
- Golden Globe Award nominated for Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical nominated for Best Motion Picture Actor - Comedy/Musical - Eddie Murphy
- Grammy Award won for Best Score Soundtrack Album - Marc Benno, Harold Faltermeyer, Keith Forsey, Micki Free, Jon Gilutin, Howard Hewett, Bunny Hull, Howie Rice, Sharon Robinson, Danny Sembello, Sue Sheridan, Richard Theisen, Allee Willis
- People's Choice Award won for Favorite Motion Picture Stuntman Award won for Best Vehicular Stunt (Motion Picture) - Eddy Donno
- This film is Number 22 on Bravo's list of the 100 funniest films.
American Film Institute Lists
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies - Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs - #63
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains: Detective Axel Foley - Nominated Hero