Edward Regan Murphy, popularly known as Eddy Murphy is a renowned actor who is known for being able to play different characters in one film, with each of these characters distinct from the other. Eddy Murphy’s movies have established his genius as a comic and an actor as well.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York on the 3rd of April in 1961. He is the second child of his parents, one of who he gets his talent for comedy and acting from. By the time he was nine, his father had died and his mother became critically ill which led to him and his brother getting into foster care. Murphy has credited the time he spent in foster care as the period he laid the foundation of his comedic talent.
This actor’s career in entertainment began in 1980 and since his career started, he has worked in comedy, music, television, and film. In 2015, he held the position of the sixth-highest grossing actor in America.
The number of Eddy Murphy’s movies are well above 30 and his body of work features films from different genres, but mostly comedy. He has also worked as a voice actor for animated films. As an actor, Murphy has not been exempt from public scrutiny and his performances have been scrutinized by critics. He is one of the people who have awards for how well they have done in a movie and how badly they have done as well. As well as he has delivered both top-notch performances, some of his films have fallen flat and have been disappointing to both audiences and critics.
Compiling a list of his best and worst movies is not one of the easiest of tasks but if you want to find 10 of Eddy Murphy’s movies ranked from best to worst, keep reading.
10 Eddy Murphy Movies Ranked From Best to Worst
1. Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
This Eddy Murphy movie is one of his earliest roles after he began his career as an actor and it was his fourth major film. The actor plays the role of a detective named Axel Foley whose close friend is killed. He is refused the opportunity to work on the case because of his closeness to the victim and also because of the issues he has with his boss in Detriot who despises him for his reckless behavior while on the job. Foley then heads to Beverly Hills to solve the case which he does so successfully.
The film thrives on an exquisite balance of comedy and action and it was the highest-grossing film of the year 1984, managing to beat Ghostbuster, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Footloose. For his performance, Murphy was nominated for two Golden Globes.
2. Dreamgirls (2006)
This 2006 musical has been rumored to be the story of the 60s singing group, The Supremes. Dreamgirls is the story of the runnings of the music industry from the 60s to the 80s. Eddy Murphy plays the role of James “Thunder” Early, who was also called Jimmy. The character was a soul and R&B singer and was tailored after the likes of James Brown and Marvin Gaye. Early’s career spirals as he loses control of different aspects of his life, including his marriage. For the work, he did on the film he won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar.
3. Boomerang (1992)
Eddy Murphy is Marcus, a playboy who works in advertising and meets his match in Jacqueline Broyer, a woman who becomes his boss. But he finally reaches a level of emotional maturity with Angela Lewis, another woman introduced to him by Broyer. Eddy Murphy was cast alongside two beautiful and talented actress with Broyer been played by Robin Given and Halle Berry playing Lewis.
This was his first major romance film, with the actor playing mostly comedies in his previous films. But his work on this film is not limited to his acting as he also had a hand in the writing of the script. Although critical reactions to the film were mixed, it has been regarded as dealing with black characters and actors in a way that was novel and is a canon in the fodder of African-American romance films.
4. Trading Places (1983)
Eddy Murphy’s performance in this 1983 film earned him another Golden Globe nomination. He plays the role of Billy Ray Valentine, who is a homeless man that finds his life changed in the space of a night. This change was facilitated by two brothers, Randolph and Mortimer Duke (played by Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche) who decided to place a wager on the nature versus nurture argument. Valentine is made to take the position of Louis Winthorpe (Dan Aykroyd) who in turn is forced to live a life of penury all of which is made by the Duke brothers. Valentine and Winthorpe are able to serve these brothers a taste of their medicine.
5. Bowfinger (1999)
This is one of Eddy Murphy’s more successful films with him getting to play, Kit Ramsey and his brother Jiff. Ramsey is an actor that has been roped into acting in a film that the amateur director Robert Bowfinger, played by Steve Martin is making. Like the best Eddy Murphy movies, which Bowfinger happens to be part of, the attempts at comedy are precise and do not fall short. But the acting of Steve Martin and Eddy Murphy are not the only great aspects of this film – its subject matter and the chemistry between the two actors was also laudable.
One of Murphy’s characters is part of a group that has been described as a parody of the Church of Scientology and the actor, Murphy who has never been a part of this organization is able to properly act out the delusion that is a part of the lives of members of these organizations.
6. Coming to America (1988)
This Eddy Murphy movie was released in 1988 and it was the first film where the actor played different characters. His primary role was that of Prince Akeem of Zamunda. Akeem is a prince who all his life has had his desires met by simply snapping his fingers. But when it comes to picking a wife, he decides to visit Queens in America as he thinks he will find a woman not attracted to him because of his status. The story that follows is one full of comedy and brilliant acting. The story was originally written by Murphy which helped with him getting the lead role.
In this film, he is cast alongside Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, and Shari Headley. Of the entire cast, Murphy and Hall are the only two people who play more than one character with Murphy playing four roles and Hall playing three. The Duke brothers in the film, Trading Places are also featured in this film while they are still in penury and living on the streets.
7. Shrek (2001)
With the use of his vocal talents and very distinctive voice in this animated film, Eddy Murphy plays the role of Donkey, the talkative companion of Shrek, voiced by Mike Myers. For the entirety of the film, Donkey’s talkative nature causes discomfort to the other characters but he proves himself a worthy friend at different occasions. Eddy Murphy’s performance in the film was applauded by critics and in the other sequels and spinoffs, he reprised his character.
8. A Thousand Words (2012)
In one of his lesser critically acclaimed roles, Eddy Murphy is the literary agent, Jack McCall. He was in the habit of deceiving clients to make sure they sign him up as their agent until he meets a guru who cursed him with a tree. For each word Jack speaks a leaf would fall from the tree and when all the leaves fall from the tree, he would die. The story shows how McCall, a man who had no problems with words now had to consciously use words. Jack goes through the five stages of grief until he learns to get rid of his past trauma.
This film was released in 2012, four years after getting shot and certain elements that would have made it great in the year it was meant to be released did not fit the year it was actually released. There was a general consensus on how bad the film was by the audience and critics, therefore, it was nominated for three Golden Raspberries.
9. Norbit (2007)
This film is a result of collaborations between Eddy Murphy and his elder brother, Charlie. The film is steeped in stereotypical characterization and crude jokes but critical reactions to the film were mostly mixed, with some critics arguing in favor of his performance as three people while others are not able to get beyond the film’s failings.
Norbit was released a year after Dreamgirls and it is believed that the negative reaction to it had affected Murphy’s chance of winning his Golden Globe nomination. Despite the three Raspberry awards it won, the film won the Academy Award for Best Makeup and made $159.3 million on a budget of $60 million.
10. The Adventure of Pluto Nash (2002)
This Eddy Murphy movie is a blend of science fiction and comedy which is not a common occurrence in films. But this is one of the worst films in the history of cinema. The film was made on a budget of $100 million and only managed to make $7.1 million. Every aspect of the film was panned by critics from the directing to the acting.