If I had to choose my second favourite comedian turned actor after Robin Williams when it comes to movies that I have enjoyed a great deal, then it would have to be Eddie Murphy.
He is regarded as one of Hollywood's greatest funnymen with a trademark laugh, a fast-talking motormouth & endless wisecracks, who has had a great career run spanning the 1980s and 1990s. And despite lamenting his post - 2000 efforts, most of which aren't as good as his classics, his impact on-screen through his cinematic efforts of the 1980s and 1990s are what truly defines Eddie's legacy as a celebrity and as a performer. Especially as being one of the few sought after African-American stars after Richard Pryor to break out, and who has gone on to attain Hollywood superstar status.
In 2016, Murphy made his on-screen comeback in the publicly well-received drama, Mr Church.
Here are my 10 personal favourite Eddie Murphy films/roles/onscreen characters of his that I've enjoyed the most, and in no particular order:
48 Hrs (1982) - this big screen debut was what broke Eddie Murphy as a major tour-de-force movie star. As Reggie Hammond he plays a con artist alongside cop Nick Nolte, as they track down a killer. Their unconventional partnership helped kick-start the buddy cop genre movie phase, which was later succeeded by the likes of Lethal Weapon, Tango and Cash, Rush Hour and many others after it.
Trading Places (1983) - Murphy lights up the screen as pauper Billy Ray Valentine, a street hustler who trades places with a wall street broker, Louis, under a $1 bet alongside fellow SNL mate, Dan Ackroyd and acts as a perfect foil in this John Landis comedy
Beverly Hills Cop (1984) - the career-defining character Axel Foley made quite an impact, yet he looked better and cooler in terms of appearance in the sequel, 4 years later. Beverly Hills Cop was an action comedy like no other when it was released in 1984 and its huge success helped immortalised Eddie as the go-to, in demand guy in Hollywood in the 1980s.
Coming to America (1988) - fish- out -of -water tale as the genuinely likable African prince who goes to America to find his princess. It was also the first project where Eddie as Hakeem played a more clean-cut and less foul-mouthed character. This was one of his much less reserved comedy roles, in contrast to Axel Foley and Reggie Hammond.
Boomerang (1992) - second romantic comedy helping following on from Coming To America, if that was his 80s rom-com offering, then Boomerang counts as Eddie's 90s rom-com equivalent. But whereas Coming to America was a huge hit and deservedly so, this gem is overlooked. With equally great support by Robin Givens and pre-super stardom, Halle Berry, this is not only one of the best African American rom coms ever produced, this is also one of the best romantic comedies, period as far as I see it.
Vampire In Brooklyn (1995) - a cinematic bomb on general release worldwide over 20 years ago, Vampire In Brooklyn is a supernatural horror comedy with an African-American theme starring Eddie Murphy and Angela Bassett. In watching this film today, though it is flawed in some areas, this is still a pretty interesting film with a narrative that becomes engrossing and a turn by Eddie Murphy as blood-thirsty vampire, Maximilian that is unlike any other before and after it.
Shrek (2001) - Donkey is to Eddie Murphy as Genie from Aladdin is to Robin Williams, when it comes to his most well-known voice-over animated sidekick character. Even though I'm not a big fan of the Shrek movies, I find bucktoothed Donkey amusing, charming at times and sarcastic. He was funnier as Donkey compared to the dragon, Mushu in Mulan; upbeat, blunt yet honest and wise.
Beverly Hills Cop 2 (1988) - second helping from the Beverly Hills Cop franchise as Detroit's finest helps fellow officers, Rosewood and Taggart in solving the alphabet crimes. Whilst it doesn't hold a candle to the prequel, this is still an entertaining and amusing action comedy. Although it is more action and drama-orientated compared to Beverly Hills Cop 1, as a sequel alone this is still a very good effort.
Bowfinger (1999) - even though it is billed as a Steve Martin comedy vehicle, I consider it as a joint Steve Martin/Eddie Murphy movie. He plays dual characters like he did in The Nutty Professor in identical twin brothers, the arrogant Kitt and lovable, yet goofy Jiff Ramsey and the Murphy and Martin partnership worked like a charm, alongside the witty and amusing script.