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Beverly Hills Cop is a 1984 American action-comedy film directed by Martin Brest and starring Eddie Murphy, John Ashton, Judge Reinhold, and Ronny Cox. Murphy stars as Axel Foley, a street-smart Detroit cop, who heads to Beverly Hills, California to solve the death of his best friend (although the trailer says that he's on vacation).

This first film in the Beverly Hills Cop series shot Murphy to international stardom, won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical (1985). It earned an estimated US$234 million at the box office, narrowly making it the biggest hit of 1984 (ahead of Ghostbusters).


Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy aged 23) is a young, talented, but extremely reckless Detroitmarker police detective, having been reformed from his hoodlum years. His latest act of attempting to catch crooks through a cigarette smuggling operation goes sour when some uniformed officers show up, questioning their suspicious activity, and earns him the wrath of his boss, Inspector Douglas Todd (Gil Hill).

Foley's childhood friend and former criminal cohort Mikey Tandino (James Russo), long gone from Detroit, shows up in Foley's apartment (by breaking in) and tells him he's working in Beverly Hills, Californiamarker as a security guard, through the efforts of a mutual friend, Jenny Summers (Lisa Eilbacher). After going out to have a few drinks, both men return drunk to Foley's apartment, where Foley is knocked cold and Mikey is confronted by two thugs, questioning him about some missing bearer bonds that he had shown Foley earlier. Mikey is then murdered, and after being refused the investigation because of his close personal ties, Foley uses the guise of going to Beverly Hills for a vacation to ascertain the motive and solve the crime.

Foley's search soon leads him to Victor Maitland (Steven Berkoff), Mikey's most recent employer and a respected art dealer who Foley soon begins to suspect is involved in some questionable activities, including Mikey's murder. However, his investigation is hampered by the Beverly Hills Police Department, who are even less enthusiastic about Foley's crime fighting methods than the Detroit Police Department. As evidence of Maitland's unsavory activities piles up, Foley eventually convinces his Beverly Hills counterparts to assist him in bringing Maitland to justice.



Danilo Bach completed his draft in 1977, six years prior to production. The earliest version of the script involved a cop in East L.A. who was transferred to Beverly Hills, before evolving into the story of a cop from the East Coast who came to Beverly Hills to avenge the death of his friend. Drafts before the script was locked in (and became more of the comedy it ended up being) gave the cop's name as Axel Elly and set the out-of-Beverly Hills action in Pittsburgh.

When asked by the producers, director Martin Brest flipped a quarter to decide whether to undertake the direction of the film or not. As the movie proved to be an enormous hit, he framed the quarter and hung it upon his wall.

On the DVD featurette, producer Jerry Bruckheimer claimed that the part of Axel Foley was first offered to Mickey Rourke, who signed a $400,000 USD holding contract to do the film. When revisions and other preparations took longer than expected, Rourke left the project to do another film. It was then offered to Sylvester Stallone, with the character of Michael Tandino being his brother, and Jenny Summers being his love interest. Two weeks before filming was to start, Stallone was suddenly out Eddie Murphy was in, prompting massive rewrites. According to Eddie Murphy on Inside the Actor's Studio, Stallone also envisioned a "harder edged" screenplay. After his departure due to differences in scope (he wanted more action than the producers would budget for) the role was re-written for Murphy. Stallone went on to use his version of the film as the basis for his movie Cobra. According to Steven Berkoff (Victor Maitland) in a UK newspaper interview, Sylvester Stallone quit the film because of disagreements about which kind of orange juice was to be put in his trailer. Besides Stallone and Rourke, other actors who were considered for the role of Axel Foley included Al Pacino and James Caan. In one of the previous drafts written for Sylvester Stallone, Billy Rosewood was called "Siddons" and was killed off half-way through the script during one of the action scenes deemed "too expensive" for Paramount to produce.

In the process of casting the characters of Rosewood and Taggart, the director paired up various finalists and asked them to do some improvisation to get a feel for the chemistry between the actors. He paired up Judge Reinhold and John Ashton and gave them the following direction: "You are a middle aged couple, married for years. You are having a conversation on an average evening." Judge Reinhold immediately picked up a nearby magazine and the two improvised the "5 pounds of red meat in his bowels" bit almost verbatim as it eventually appeared in the movie. This got them the parts. Only after Martin Brest cast Judge Reinhold and John Ashton was the decision made to keep Rosewood alive due to his chemistry with Taggart. The original finale for the Stallone draft of the script took place at night and ended with a car chase between Victor in a Lamborghini and Foley in a turbo-boosting Pontiac GTO. Victor is ultimately killed when his car smashes into an oncoming train.

The shooting script was literally pasted together from the half dozen or so scripts written for this project over the years. Police Chief Hubbard (Stephen Elliott) walks into his first scene carrying some rolled-up sheets of paper. It is actually one of many reworked scripts, which was given to him to memorize and rehearse only minutes before the shooting of the scene started. When they were stuck during production, Eddie Murphy would improvise dialog or create a scene. Eddie Murphy improvised much of his comic lines, as did John Ashton and Judge Reinhold. Literally hundreds of takes were ruined by cast members or actors or the director himself, who were unable to stop laughing during shooting because of this. During the "super-cops" monologue, Ashton is pinching his face hard and looking down in apparent frustration. In actuality, Ashton is actually laughing. Reinhold put his hand in his pocket and pinched his thigh really hard to prevent himself from laughing.

Many of the opening shots were filmed in real-life Detroit, unbeknownst to the "actors", who later gave their consent. In fact, Martin Brest was escorted by the police, who would refuse to follow him when they thought it was too dangerous. Brest and crew, however, soldiered on with their work, unescorted. The T-shirt that Eddie Murphy wears in the film is from Mumford, an actual Detroit area school attended by one of the filmmakers. When film came out, the school received orders for the shirts from customers all over the world.

Axel Foley's boss (Gilbert R. Hill) was a real-life detective in the Detroit Police Department, who later became a Detroit City Council member and mayoral candidate, losing to Kwame Kilpatrick in 2001. When filming the "Beverly Hills Police Station" sequences, Eddie Murphy was feeling groggy from the stuffy environment and was described "to be so pure, that he didn't drink coffee". Eventually, Murphy relented by taking small sips of coffee just to stay awake for filming inside the building. As a result of the first sips of coffee, Eddie's performance in the scene skyrocketed and he ad-libbed the part about Rosewood and Taggart being super-cops without having the capes.

In the art gallery, there is a large art piece containing several figures. One of the figures, a maitre' d with a chain around its neck, is modeled after director Martin Brest. Originally, two men were supposed to be working in the art gallery scenes. When the director heard Bronson Pinchot's Serge impersonation, however, he thought it was so hysterical he scaled back the other part to give Pinchot more screen time. The second actor shows up only briefly with his shirt collar open too wide, on which Serge comments. Bronson Pinchot got the accent and mannerisms for his character Serge from a crew member he worked with on an earlier project. Like his character, that crew member always said, "Don't be stupid." In addition to getting the inspiration of Serge from a crew member on Beverly Hills Cop, Bronson Pinchot would later go on to play Balki Bartokomous on Perfect Strangers (1986) and use a variation of the "Don't be stupid" line. Every time he was asked something he would reply "Of course I do, don't be ridiculous."

During his tirade at the Beverly Palms Hotel, Axel Foley pretends to be writing an article called "Michael Jackson: Sitting on Top of the World" for Rolling Stone magazine. In real life, Playboy ran an article called "Eddie Murphy: Sitting on Top of the World." The city hall building seen in the film is the actual Beverly Hills City Hall. However, the exterior was very run-down and the plants were dying, so the film crew had to clean it up and grow new plants so it would look better on film.

The scene in which Axel Foley, Rosewood, and Taggart give an explanation to Bogomil about the strip club arrest was improvised according to a making-of featurette. The song which plays during the strip club scene is "Nasty Girl", by Vanity, and was recommended by the real-life stripper who was hired for the scene.

When trying to find Axel Foley and Rosewood, the Beverly Hills Police control room use a "satellite tracking system" (the ancestor of the modern-day Global Positioning System or GPS). Such a system did not exist at the time and was made up to advance the plot, but later did come into existence in real life. The pistol Eddie Murphy uses in the movie is a Browning High Power 9mm pistol, the same pistol the SAS (British SpecOps) use. It takes a 14 round, double stacked magazine.


The soundtrack won a Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special (1986). The instrumental-only title tune "Axel F" is very recognizable and has since been covered by numerous artists. The soundtrack was mastered by Greg Fulginiti.

Selected items from the soundtrack:

Songs not on Soundtrack

Though not officially in the soundtrack, "Nasty Girl" by Vanity 6 is heard in the strip club, but is credited in the end credits of the film. Since the film's release in 1984, there has never been an official release of the soundtrack score which was composed by Harold Faltermeyer. The only part of the soundtrack score that has been commercially released is "Axel F", featured on the soundtrack release.

However, two tracks of score were released on B sides to the vinyl singles of "Axel F":
  • "Discovery" - This piece of score is heard in the scene where the drugs are discovered by Axel Foley in the warehouse.
  • "Shootout" - This piece of score is heard in the scene where Billy Rosewood waits outside the warehouse and then decides to go in.

There are also 12" extended versions of the "Axel F" theme which were released on the vinyl singles in the 1980s.

Chart positions

Year Chart Position
1985 Billboard 200 1


Awards and nominations

American Film Institute recognition

Audio sample

Video games

See also


  1. The Movie Game Database

External links


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