Beverly Hills Cop

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Beverly Hills Cop
Beverly Hills Cop.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Martin Brest
Produced by
Screenplay by Daniel Petrie, Jr.
Story by
Starring Eddie Murphy
Music by Harold Faltermeyer
Cinematography Bruce Surtees
Edited by
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • December 5, 1984 (1984-12-05)
Running time
105 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million[2]
Box office $316.4 million[3]

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" 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 earned $234 million at the North American domestic box office, making it the highest-grossing film of 1984 in the U.S.


Young and reckless Detroit police detective Axel Foley's latest unauthorized sting operation goes sour when two uniformed officers intervene, resulting in a high-speed chase through the city which causes widespread damage. His boss Inspector Douglas Todd reprimands Axel for his behavior and promises to fire him if another such incident happens again. Axel arrives at his apartment to find it has 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 Axel some German bearer bonds and Axel wonders how he got them, but chooses not to question him about it. After going out to a bar, they return to Axel's apartment, where two men knock Axel unconscious and then confront Mikey about the bearer bonds, beat him up, and 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. 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 through 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. 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, Axel sneaks into one of Maitland's warehouses, where he finds coffee grounds, which he suspects were used to pack drugs. He also discovers that many of Maitland's crates have not gone through customs. After being arrested again, this time after a scuffle at Maitland's country club, Axel admits to Bogomil that Maitland is a smuggler, but is unsure of what exactly he is smuggling. In addition, Police Chief Hubbard, who has learned of Axel's ill-advised investigative actions, orders that Axel be escorted out of town. However, Axel 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.

Axel and Jenny break into the warehouse and discover several bags of cocaine inside a crate. Before Axel can get this new found evidence to Rosewood, Maitland and his associates arrive. Maitland takes Jenny and leaves Axel to be killed, but after some hesitation, Rosewood enters the warehouse and rescues Axel. Taggart tracks Axel and Rosewood to Maitland's estate, where he joins the two in their efforts to rescue Jenny and bring Maitland to justice. After wiping out most of Maitland's men, Axel kills Maitland's right-hand man Zack, identifying him as Mikey's killer. With Bogomil's help, Axel executes Maitland and rescues Jenny. Bogomil fabricates a story to Hubbard that covers for all the participants without discrediting the Beverly Hills Police force. Realizing that he will be fired in Detroit, Axel asks Bogomil to speak to Inspector Todd and smooth things over for him. Later, Taggart and Rosewood 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.


Sylvester Stallone was originally considered for Foley but turned down the script.[4]


  • 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. If you look closely, you can see that he is actually laughing. Reinhold put his hand in his pocket and pinched his thigh really hard to prevent himself from laughing.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • During his tirade at the Beverly Palms Hotel, Axel 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 T-shirt that Axel Foley wears in the film is from Mumford, an actual Detroit-area school attended by one of the filmmakers. When the film came out, the school received orders for the shirts from customers all over the world.
  • 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.
  • Axel Foley was originally going to be played by Sylvester Stallone or Mickey Rourke. Stallone left the project and used some of his script ideas to make Cobra. Other actors who were considered for the role of Axel Foley were Harrison Ford, Michael Keaton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Richard Pryor and James Caan.
  • When filming the scenes in the police station sequences, Eddie Murphy became very tired. The crew offered him coffee but he refused to drink any because he refuses to take drugs of any kind. Eventually, Murphy relented and took small sips of coffee to stay awake. As a result of his first caffeine intake, Murphy became very energized and ad-libbed the "super-cops" monologue.
  • Inspector Todd of the Detroit Police was played by then Detroit Police Department Homicide Dectective Gilbert R. Hill. Det Hill later ran and won a seat on and served as President of the Detroit City Council.
  • This was the highest grossing R-rated film in the US until The Matrix Reloaded (2003) eclipsed it 19 years later. If inflation were taken into account it would rank as the third most attended R-rated film after The Exorcist (1973) and The Godfather (1972).
  • 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."
  • 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 shooting script was literally pasted together from the half dozen or so scripts written for this project over the years. When they were stuck, Eddie Murphy would improvise dialog or create a scene.
  • The movie was written for 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 and Eddie Murphy was in, prompting massive rewrites.
  • 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.
  • During the opening montage, a man can be seen waving his arms around for a small group. As stated in the filmmaker commentary, the man is actually miming out the bus spin from the truck chase seen soon afterwards that he happened to see filmed.
  • The Axel Foley theme was done with three synthesizers: a Roland Jupiter 8, a Roland JX-3P, and a Yamaha DX-7.
  • When trying to find Foley and Rosewood, the LAPD 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 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. Coincidentally, the same song was played during the Torchy's Bar scene in 48 Hrs (1982), also starring Eddie Murphy.
  • According to Steven Berkoff (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.
  • Bronson Pinchot plays Serge, a prissy gallery employee from an unnamed European country. He would later go on to play Balki on Perfect Strangers (1986), a similar character, and use a variation of his "Serge" character's signature line, "Don't be stupid" line. Every time he was asked something he would reply "Of course I do, don't be ridiculous."
  • The first film to have a release of over 2000 theaters in the USA.
  • Many of the opening shots were filmed in 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.
  • Damon Wayans' film debut as The Banana Man at the Beverly Palms Hotel.
  • The Chief mistakenly refers to Detective Rosewood by the wrong name, as “Rosemont”. In Beverly Hills Cop II (1987), Chief Lutz also refers to Rosewood by the wrong name, "Roseweed".
  • The completed movie made such an impression on Paramount executives that they committed to a sequel moments after the first private executive screening of the completed film.
  • Martin Scorsese was offered the chance to direct but he turned it down, saying the premise reminded him too much of Coogan's Bluff (1968).
  • 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.
  • The pistol Axel Foley uses in the movie is a Browning P35 (known in the USA as the Browning Hi-Power, manufactured by Fabrique Nationale in Herstal, Belgium). It is a 9mm pistol, the same pistol the SAS (British SpecOps) use.
  • Danilo Bach completed his draft in 1977, six years prior to production.
  • Broke The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)' R rated weekend box record of 11,874,268 with its total of 15,214,805 in December 1984.
  • Jonathan Banks plays a killer in this movie. In a reversal of roles, in 48 Hrs (1982), starring Eddie Murphy, he plays a police detective that gets killed, and Murphy was the criminal.
  • Steven Berkoff is said to loathe the film.
  • The concept for Beverly Hills Cop was generated in 1975 by Michael Eisner, who was head of Paramount Pictures at the time. While driving an old station wagon that he first owned in New York City, Eisner was stopped for speeding on the freeway, and the police officer treated him with condescension due to the condition of his vehicle. Eisner realized how much status in Los Angeles, CA, was driven by materialism, and reportedly exchanged the station wagon for a Mercedes Benz the following day. However, he became dedicated to enshrining the event in a film about a Beverly Hills policeman. In the coming years,Eisner remained dissatisfied with potential scripts until Daniel Petrie, Jr.,who had never been credited as a feature film writer, submitted his screenplay in Sep 1983.
  • At 1 hour 45 minutes, this has the longest running-time of all the Beverly Hills Cop movies.
  • David Cronenberg was asked to direct but turned it down.
  • Outside Victor Maitland's house is a Delorean, built in Ireland.
  • In the movie poster for the film, where Axel is leaning on the Mercedes and holding a gun, he is shown with a 1911-style ..45-cal. automatic. However, he uses a Browning 9mm throughout the film. It's also worth noting that this particular error also is seen in the poster for Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) where Axel is leaning against the famous Beverly Hills sign. This error was corrected in the poster for Beverly Hills Cop III (1994) which does show Axel brandishing a Browning 9mm.
  • The gated entrance to Victor Maitland's house was also used in the film Blind Date (1987).
  • Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
  • When Axel and Jenny Summers sneak into the art gallery's warehouse the second time around, and Axel breaks open the crate with the coffee grounds and drugs inside, the address of the art gallery where Jenny works is written on the lid of the crate. The address reads "9994 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, California".
  • During production, filming was prohibited in the streets of Beverly Hills past 10:30 p.m., so the filmmakers moved locations to Pasadena, California where the town's mansions stood in for those in Beverly Hills, California.
  • Principal photography for this movie began on 7 May 1984 with locations in Detroit and Los Angeles. The script was completed the same day filming began, and that it was consistently revised based on Murphy's improvisations.
  • James Russo (who played Mickey Tandino) had a small role as a convenience-store robber in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), which also starred Judge Reinhold, although here they had no scenes together.
  • Steven Berkoff filmed his role in six weeks.
  • In this movie Lisa Eilbacher plays Bronson Pinchot's (who played Serge) boss. In an earlier movie 10 to Midnight (1983) she plays Charles Bronson's daughter.
  • Second unit stunts, chase scenes, and opening credits were filmed over five days in Detroit during summer 1984. The "cigarette spill-over" crash sequence was filmed on John R and Brush Streets in the Highland Park district, the smashed fruit truck scene was located at Michigan Avenue and 30th Street, and the two-ton truck collision was shot several blocks away, on Jackson Avenue and 30th Street. Other Detroit locations included the Warehouse District, the residential area adjacent to Wayne State University, and the Ford Motor Company assembly plant in Wayne, MI.
  • As can be seen when Axel Foley shooting his gun, he is left handed.
  • The accent Bronson Pinchot uses would be the same for his character Balki on the TV sitcom Perfect Strangers (1986-1993).
  • The clerk who checks Axel out of the hotel is director Martin Brest.
  • 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. 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 Sylvester Stallone draft of the script took place at night and ended with a car chase between Victor in a Lamborghini and Axel in a turbo-boosting Pontiac GTO. Victor is ultimately killed when his car smashes into an oncoming train.
  • The earliest version of the script involved a cop in East Los Angeles. 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.


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 Los Angeles who transferred to Beverly Hills.[5] 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.[5] 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.[5] With the success of Flashdance (1983), Simpson saw the Beverly Hills film as his next big project.[5] 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.[5] 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.[5] 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.[6] 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 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."[5] 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.[7] Besides Stallone and Rourke, other actors who were considered for the role of Axel Foley included Richard Pryor, Al Pacino, and James Caan.[8]


Beverly Hills Cop received critical acclaim upon its release, and is considered by many as one of the best films of 1984.[9][10][unreliable source?] 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".[11] 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".[12] 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.[13] 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."[14]

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.[15] In 2003, the film was picked as one of the 1000 Best Movies Ever Made by The New York Times.[16]

Box office[edit]

The film was released on December 5, 1984, and played in 2,006 theaters.[3] It debuted first at box office, making $15,214,805 in its first five days of release. Thanks to word of mouth, the film generated higher revenue in the weeks following the first week, with the highest one being in its fourth week of release, when it grossed $20,064,790 in five days. It stayed #1 for 14 non-consecutive weeks and tied Tootsie for the films with the second most weeks at #1 (the first is Titanic).[17] The film earned approximately $234,760,478 domestically and became the highest-grossing film of 1984.[18] It also became the highest-grossing R rated film of all-time, a rank it would hold until The Matrix Reloaded in 2003 (adjusted for inflation, Beverly Hills Cop is the third highest-grossing R rated film of all-time behind The Exorcist and The Godfather).[19] The film was also the second highest-grossing film worldwide in 1984, behind Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.[citation needed] Box Office Mojo estimates that the film sold over 67 million tickets in the US.[20]


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 featured 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).

  1. "New Attitude" by Patti LaBelle
  2. "Don't Get Stopped in Beverly Hills" by Shalamar
  3. "Do You Really (Want My Love?)" by Junior
  4. "Emergency" by Rockie Robbins
  5. "Neutron Dance" by Pointer Sisters
  6. "The Heat is On" by Glenn Frey
  7. "Gratitude" by Danny Elfman
  8. "Stir It Up" by Patti LaBelle
  9. "Rock 'N Roll Me Again" by The System
  10. "Axel F" by Harold Faltermeyer

Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Position
1985 Billboard 200 1

Awards and nominations[edit]

American Film Institute Lists



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.

Television series

In 2013, a television series was reported to be in the works for CBS.[25] The pilot was written by Shawn Ryan and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. Brandon T. Jackson was cast as Axel Foley's son.[26] The series was not picked up, but Ryan reported that it tested well enough for Paramount to put a fourth film into production.[27]

Video games


  1. ^ "BEVERLY HILLS COP (15)". British Board of Film Classification. December 10, 1984. Retrieved November 28, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Beverly Hills Cop Production Budget". Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Beverly Hills Cop". Box Office Mojo. 
  4. ^ O'Connell, Sean. "Sylvester Stallone turns down Beverly Hills Cop Script according to book". Retrieved August 11, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Cronin, Brian (2013-01-16). "Movie Legends Revealed: Sly Stallone as Axel Foley?". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  6. ^ "Re-Cast: Five Blockbusters Completely Changed For Their Star". Empire Magazine. Retrieved 2010-11-13. 
  7. ^ Gruson, Linsey (1984-12-16). "EXIT STALLONE, ENTER EDDIE MURPHY". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  8. ^ Gruson, Linsey (1984-12-16). "20 Fascinating Facts About The 'Beverly Hills Cop' Franchise". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-06-12. 
  9. ^ "The Greatest Films of 1984". AMC Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  10. ^ "The Best Movies of 1984 by Rank". Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Beverly Hills Cop, Film Review". The New York Times. April 29, 2003. Archived from the original on October 3, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Cinema: Eddie Goes to Lotusland". Time. December 10, 1984. Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Empire's The 100 Greatest Movie Characters". Empire. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  14. ^ "The Amis Inheritance". New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Beverly Hills Cop Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  16. ^ "The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made". The New York Times. April 29, 2003. Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Longest Top Ranking Movies (Conesecutive Weeks". Box Office Mojo. 
  18. ^ Box Office Mojo 1984 DOMESTIC GROSSES
  19. ^ Box Office Mojo All Time Grosses R-Rated tab
  20. ^ "Beverly Hills Cop (1984)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 31, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies of All Time". July 25, 2006. Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies"". Retrieved May 21, 2010. 
  23. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies Nominees
  24. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains Nominees
  25. ^ 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.: 26. 
  26. ^ Child, Ben. "Beverly Hills Cop TV series shot down". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 January 2016. 
  27. ^ Obenson, Tambay A. "'Beverly Hills Cop' TV Series Officially Dead. BUT Pilot Tested Well, So 4th Movie In Development". Indiewire. Retrieved 26 January 2016. 
  28. ^ "Beverly Hills Cop (PS2) & Video Games". Retrieved 2016-07-13. 

External links[edit]