Beverly Hills Cop

Beverly Hills Cop is a 1984 American buddy cop action comedy film directed by Martin Brest, written by Daniel Petrie Jr. and starring Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley, a street-smart Detroit cop who visits Beverly Hills, California to solve the murder of his best friend. Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Ronny Cox, Lisa Eilbacher, Steven Berkoff, Paul Reiser, and Jonathan Banks appear in supporting roles.

Beverly Hills Cop
Beverly Hills Cop.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMartin Brest
Screenplay byDaniel Petrie Jr.
Story by
Produced by
CinematographyBruce Surtees
Edited by
Music byHarold Faltermeyer
Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Eddie Murphy Productions
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release dates
  • December 1, 1984 (1984-12-01) (Los Angeles)
  • December 5, 1984 (1984-12-05) (United States)
Running time
105 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$13 million[2]
Box office$316 million[3]

This first film in the Beverly Hills Cop franchise shot Murphy to international stardom, won the People's Choice Award for "Favorite Motion Picture" and was nominated for both the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1985. It was an immediate blockbuster, receiving critical acclaim and earning $234 million at the North American domestic box office, making it the highest-grossing film released in 1984 in the U.S.


Young and reckless Detroit Police Department detective Axel Foley's latest unauthorized sting operation goes sour when two uniformed officers intervene, resulting in a high-speed chase through the city that causes widespread damage. His superior, Inspector Douglas Todd reprimands Axel for his behavior and threatens to fire him unless he changes his ways on the force. Axel arrives at his apartment to find it has been broken into by his childhood friend, Michael (Mikey) Tandino. When they were kids, Mikey and Axel committed grand theft auto together, and Mikey took the rap for it and served time in prison. He ended up working as a security guard in Beverly Hills thanks to a mutual childhood friend, Jenny Summers. Mikey shows Axel some German bearer bonds and Axel wonders how he got them, but chooses not to question him about it. After hanging out at a bar, they return to Axel's apartment where two men, Zack and Casey knock Axel unconscious, confront Mikey about the bearer bonds and then kill him.

Axel asks to investigate Mikey's murder, but Inspector Todd refuses to allow it because of his close ties to Mikey. Axel uses the guise of taking vacation time to head to Beverly Hills to solve the crime alone. He finds Jenny working in an art gallery and learns about Mikey's ties to Victor Maitland, the gallery's owner. Posing as a flower deliveryman, Axel goes to Maitland's office and tries to question him about Mikey, but is thrown out a window by Maitland's bodyguards and arrested. At the police station, Lieutenant Andrew Bogomil assigns Sergeant John Taggart and Detective Billy Rosewood to follow Axel. Taggart and Billy have a humiliating encounter with Axel when he sabotages their car. As a result, Billy and Taggart do not get along with Axel at first, but the three do begin to develop a mutual respect after they foil a robbery at a striptease bar.

On the trail of Mikey's killers, Axel sneaks into one of Maitland's warehouses, where he finds crates full of coffee grounds, which he suspects were used to pack drugs while covering their scent from police dogs. He also discovers that many of Maitland's crates have not gone through customs. After being arrested again, this time after a battle with Zack at Maitland's country club, Axel admits to Bogomil that Maitland must be a smuggler. Police Chief Hubbard, who has learned of Axel's ill-advised investigative actions, orders that Axel be escorted out of town. However, Axel convinces Billy to pick up Jenny instead and take her with them to the warehouse, where a shipment is due to arrive that day.

Axel and Jenny break into the warehouse and discover several bags of cocaine inside a crate. Before Axel can get this newfound evidence to Billy, Maitland and his associates arrive. Maitland takes Jenny and leaves Axel to be killed, but not before Zack admits to Axel he was the one who killed Mikey. After some hesitation, Billy enters the warehouse and rescues Axel during a brief gunfight in which he kills Casey. Taggart tracks Axel and Billy to Maitland's estate, where he joins the two in their efforts to rescue Jenny and bring Maitland to justice. Together, the trio wipe out a number of Maitland's men, including Zack. With Bogomil's help, Axel then fatally shoots Maitland and rescues Jenny. Bogomil fabricates a story to Hubbard that covers for all the participants without discrediting the Beverly Hills PD. Realizing that his exploits while "on vacation" are likely to get him thrown off the Detroit police force, Axel requests that Bogomil straighten matters over with Inspector Todd; when Axel mentions the possibility of setting up shop as a PI in Beverly Hills, Bogomil nervously agrees to wipe the slate clean for him. Later, Taggart and Billy meet Axel as he checks out of his hotel, and pay his bill. Axel invites them to join him for a farewell drink, and they accept the offer.



Development and writingEdit

The Beverly Hills City Hall featured prominently in the Beverly Hills Cop films as the police headquarters.

In 1977, Paramount executive Don Simpson came up with a movie idea about a cop from East L.A. who transferred to Beverly Hills.[4] 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.[4] 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.[4] With the success of Flashdance (1983), Simpson saw the Beverly Hills film as his next big project.[4] 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.[4] 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 to do another film. Martin Scorsese was offered to direct the film but turned it down as he felt that the film's concept was too similar to Coogan's Bluff.[5] David Cronenberg was also offered to direct the film but also turned it down.[6]

Sylvester Stallone was originally considered for the part of Foley.[7] Stallone gave the script a dramatic rewrite and made it into a straight action film.[4] 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.[8] Stallone had renamed the lead character to Axel Cobretti, with the character of Michael Tandino being his brother and Jenny Summers playing his love interest. Stallone has said that his script for 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."[4] However, Stallone's ideas were deemed "too expensive" for Paramount to produce and Stallone ultimately pulled out two weeks before filming was to start. Stallone would later use the bulk of these ideas as the basis for the 1986 film Cobra. Two days later, the film's producers, Simpson and Bruckheimer, convinced Eddie Murphy to replace Stallone in the film, prompting more rewrites.[9] Besides Stallone and Rourke, other actors who were considered for the role of Axel Foley included Richard Pryor, Al Pacino, and James Caan.[10] Harrison Ford was offered the role of Axel Foley but turned it down.[11]

The film was budgeted at $14 million, including $4 million for Murphy, but was brought in at a cost of just $13 million.[2]



The soundtrack was released on MCA Records and won the Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media (1986). The instrumental title tune, "Axel F", composed and performed by Harold Faltermeyer, has been covered by numerous artists. The soundtrack also featured the song "Neutron Dance," performed by the Pointer Sisters, which became a Billboard Top 10 hit, and two Patti LaBelle hits, "New Attitude," which hit the top twenty on the US Billboard Hot 100, and the Grammy Award-winning "Stir It Up."[12]


Box officeEdit

Beverly Hills Cop was released on December 5, 1984, in 1,532 theaters.[3] It debuted in first place at the US box office, making $15,214,805 in its first five days of release. It expanded on December 21 into 2,006 theatres.[3] The film stayed at number one for 13 consecutive weeks and returned to number one in its 15th weekend making 14 non-consecutive weeks at number one tying Tootsie for the film with the most weeks at number one.[13] The film earned $234,760,478 in the United States, being the highest-grossing film released in 1984.[14] Adjusted for inflation, it is the third highest-grossing R-rated film of all-time behind The Exorcist and The Godfather.[15] For nearly two decades, Beverly Hills Cop would hold the record for having the highest domestic gross for an R-rated film until 2003 when it was taken by The Matrix Reloaded.[16] Box Office Mojo estimates that the film sold over 67 million tickets in the US.[17]

Critical responseEdit

Beverly Hills Cop received critical acclaim upon its release. 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."[18] 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."[19] 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.[20] 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."[21]

John Simon of National Review called Beverly Hills Cop "a truly contemptible film."[22]

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes retrospectively collected reviews from 53 critics to give the film a score of 83%, with an average score of 7.3/10. The site's consensus reads, "The buddy cop movie continues its evolution unabated with this Eddie Murphy vehicle that's fast, furious, and funny."[23] In 2003, the film was picked by The New York Times as one of the 1000 Best Movies Ever Made.[24]


Award Category Recipient(s) Result
Academy Awards Best Original Screenplay Danilo Bach and Daniel Petrie Jr. Nominated
BAFTA Awards Best Score Harold Faltermeyer Nominated
Edgar Allan Poe Award Best Motion Picture Daniel Petrie Jr. Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical Nominated
Best Motion Picture Actor - Comedy or Musical Eddie Murphy Nominated
Grammy Award 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 Awards Favorite Motion Picture Won
Stuntman Award Best Vehicular Stunt (Motion Picture) Eddy Donno Won
  • This film is No. 22 on Bravo's list of the 100 funniest films.[25][26]

American Film Institute Lists


The film spawned a film series with two sequels, Beverly Hills Cop II and Beverly Hills Cop III, both starring Eddie Murphy, in 1987 and 1994, respectively. Judge Reinhold reprised his role for the sequels. The second film met with mixed reviews but was a box office success, while the third film was unsuccessful both critically and commercially.

In 2013, a television series was reported to be in the works for CBS.[29] The pilot was written by Shawn Ryan and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. Brandon T. Jackson was cast as Axel Foley's son.[30] The series was not picked up, but Ryan reported that it tested well enough for Paramount to put a fourth film into production.[31]

On November 14, 2019, Deadline Hollywood announced that Paramount Pictures made a one-time license deal with an option for a sequel to Netflix to create the fourth film.[32] In April 2022, Mark Molloy was announced as the film's director, while Will Beall penned the script.[33]


  1. ^ "Beverly Hills Cop (15)". British Board of Film Classification. December 10, 1984. Archived from the original on January 7, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Word-Of-Mouth Gets Par's 'Cop' Into 1,971 Sites". Variety. December 5, 1984. p. 3.
  3. ^ a b c "Beverly Hills Cop". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on July 14, 2019. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Cronin, Brian (January 16, 2013). "Movie Legends Revealed: Sly Stallone as Axel Foley?". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on June 16, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  5. ^ Lobrutto, Vincent (November 30, 2007). Martin Scorsese: A Biography. ISBN 9780313050619.
  6. ^ "12 Fun Facts About 'Beverly Hills Cop'".
  7. ^ O'Connell, Sean. "Sylvester Stallone turns down Beverly Hills Cop Script according to book". Archived from the original on August 12, 2016. Retrieved August 11, 2016.
  8. ^ "Re-Cast: Five Blockbusters Completely Changed For Their Star". Empire Magazine. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  9. ^ Gruson, Linsey (December 16, 1984). "EXIT STALLONE, ENTER EDDIE MURPHY". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 15, 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  10. ^ Gruson, Linsey (December 16, 1984). "20 Fascinating Facts About The 'Beverly Hills Cop' Franchise". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 14, 2014. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  11. ^ "Daily News - Google News Archive Search".
  12. ^ "Billboard Singles". All Media Guide / Billboard. Retrieved March 6, 2010.
  13. ^ "Longest Top Ranking Movies (Conesecutive Weeks". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on October 22, 2019. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  14. ^ "1984 Yearly Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". Archived from the original on March 13, 2017. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  15. ^ Box Office Mojo All Time Grosses Archived August 7, 2019, at the Wayback Machine R-Rated tab
  16. ^ "Female-Led 'Ghostbusters' Confirms Franchise's 'Anyone Can Do It' Appeal".
  17. ^ "Beverly Hills Cop (1984)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on December 15, 2018. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  18. ^ "Beverly Hills Cop, Film Review". The New York Times. April 29, 2003. Archived from the original on October 3, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  19. ^ "Cinema: Eddie Goes to Lotusland". Time. December 10, 1984. Archived from the original on August 23, 2010. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  20. ^ "Empire's The 100 Greatest Movie Characters". Empire. Archived from the original on September 5, 2011. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  21. ^ "The Amis Inheritance". New York Times. Archived from the original on September 12, 2012. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  22. ^ Simon, John (2005). John Simon on Film: Criticism 1982-2001. Applause Books. p. 185.
  23. ^ "Beverly Hills Cop Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on March 30, 2021. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  24. ^ "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made". The New York Times. April 29, 2003. Archived from the original on March 29, 2005. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  25. ^ "Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies of All Time". July 25, 2006. Archived from the original on July 23, 2010. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  26. ^ "Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies"". Archived from the original on July 3, 2010. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  27. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies Nominees" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on October 26, 2013. Retrieved July 4, 2011.
  28. ^ "AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains Nominees" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on August 3, 2012. Retrieved July 4, 2011.
  29. ^ Hibberd, James (February 22, 2013). "Hollywood Insider: What's Going on Behind the Scenes: TV's Pilot Season Goes (Very) High-Concept". Entertainment Weekly. New York: Time Inc. Archived from the original on October 25, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  30. ^ Child, Ben (July 22, 2013). "Beverly Hills Cop TV series shot down". The Guardian. Archived from the original on January 18, 2017. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  31. ^ Obenson, Tambay A. (July 22, 2013). "'Beverly Hills Cop' TV Series Officially Dead. BUT Pilot Tested Well, So 4th Movie In Development". Indiewire. Archived from the original on February 2, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  32. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (November 14, 2019). "Netflix Licenses From Paramount Rights To Make 'Beverly Hills Cop' Sequel With Eddie Murphy & Jerry Bruckheimer". Archived from the original on November 14, 2019. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  33. ^ Kroll, Justin (April 8, 2022). "'Beverly Hills Cop 4': Mark Molloy To Direct Next Installment For Netflix". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on April 8, 2022. Retrieved April 8, 2022.

External linksEdit