Number 4 in our countdown of the best movies released over the July 4th holiday is the only pure comedy on the list.
In the 1980s, THE name synonymous with comedy in America was Eddie Murphy. From “Saturday Night Live,” to “48 Hours,” to “Trading Places” to the “Beverly Hills Cop” movies, to “The Golden Child,” Murphy rarely missed.
Released over the 4th of July holiday in 1988, “Coming To America” was a comedic tour-de-force. Playing no less than 4 characters (including an elderly Jewish white man), to equal hilarity, Eddie Murphy was never more on top on his game.
Also, playing 4 characters to hilarious effect was Eddie’s co-star and real-life best friend, Arsenio Hall. The supporting cast included John Amos, Louis Anderson, Frankie Faison, James Earl Jones, and in one of his first ever big screen appearances.appearances, and almost unrecognizable Samuel L. Jackson.
In the film Murphy plans the pampered prince of a fictional African country who comes to America to find his bride rather than settle for the arranged marriage that is his country’s tradition.
I’m not sure if this movie could be made today. Even though I’ve never heard ONE complaint from an African-American, I have a feeling the politcal correctness police would take GREAT issue at some of the things portrayed in this film.
In any event, it was funny then, it’s funny 30 years later. Made for a budget of $39 million, “Coming To America” made more than $288 million at the box office. It was Paramount’s highest grossing film for the year and the third highest grossing film overall (behind “Rain Man” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”)