Beverly Hills Cop
Axel Foley (portrayed by Eddie Murphy) sits on the hood of a red Mercedes-Benz convertible with a pistol pointing out on his left hand and his left foot resting above the word "Hills". The caption above reads "He's been chased, thrown through a window, and arrested. Eddie Murphy is a Detroit cop on vacation in Beverly Hills."
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMartin Brest
Screenplay byDaniel Petrie Jr.
Story by
Produced by
CinematographyBruce Surtees
Edited by
Music byHarold Faltermeyer
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$234 million[3]

Beverly Hills Cop is a 1984 American buddy cop action comedy film directed by Martin Brest, with a screenplay by Daniel Petrie Jr., and story by Danilo Bach and Daniel Petrie Jr. It stars Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley, a street-smart Detroit detective 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.

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. An immediate blockbuster, it received positive reviews and earned $234 million at the North American domestic box office, making it the highest-grossing film released in the U.S. in 1984.

Adjusted for inflation, it is the highest-grossing R-rated film in the U.S. since 1977, with a total box office gross of $730,714,743 in 2024.[4]


Axel Foley is a plainclothes Detroit detective whose latest unauthorized sting operation goes sour when two uniformed officers intervene, resulting in a high-speed chase through the city that causes widespread damage. Axel’s superior, Inspector Douglas Todd, reprimands him for his reckless behavior and threatens to fire him unless he changes his ways.

Axel arrives at his apartment to find it has been broken into by his childhood friend, Michael "Mikey" Tandino. Mikey had done prison time for a car theft the pair had committed when they were younger, but has since landed a role as a security guard in Beverly Hills thanks to 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, Zack and Casey, knock Axel unconscious, confront Mikey about the stolen bearer bonds, and murder him.

Axel asks to be assigned to investigate Mikey's murder, but Inspector Todd won't allow it due to his close ties to Mikey. Under the guise of taking vacation time, Axel travels to Beverly Hills to solve the crime himself. 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 to question him about Mikey, but is thrown out of a window by Maitland's bodyguards and arrested for trespassing.

At the local police station, Beverly Hills Police Department Lieutenant Andrew Bogomil assigns Sergeant John Taggart and Detective Billy Rosewood to follow Axel. They have a humiliating and comical encounter with him when he temporarily disables their car. As a result, Billy and Taggart do not get along with Axel at first, but the three begin to develop a mutual respect after they foil a robbery at a striptease bar.

Continuing his investigation, Axel sneaks into one of Maitland's warehouses, where he finds crates full of coffee grounds. He suspects they have been used to pack drugs, since he knows they are often used to cover the scent of drugs from police dogs. Axel also discovers that many of Maitland's crates have not gone through customs.

After being arrested again, this time after a scuffle with Zack at Maitland's country club, Axel attempts to alert Bogomil that Maitland must be a smuggler, but Beverly Hills Police Chief Hubbard, who has learned of Axel's ill-advised investigative actions, orders that he be escorted out of town. 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 he can get this new-found evidence to Billy, Maitland arrives with his associates Zack and Casey. Maitland takes Jenny and leaves Axel, ordering that he be killed. Zack then tells Axel that he was the one who killed Mikey. After some hesitation, Billy enters the warehouse and rescues Axel after a brief gunfight during which he kills Casey.

Taggart tracks Axel and Billy to Maitland's estate, where he joins the two in rescuing Jenny and bringing 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 manages to cover for all the participants without discrediting the Beverly Hills PD. Axel, realizing that his exploits while "on vacation" will likely get him fired from the Detroit PD, asks Bogomil to smooth matters over with Inspector Todd. When Axel mentions the possibility of setting up shop as a private investigator in Beverly Hills, Bogomil nervously agrees to wipe the slate clean for him.

Later, Taggart and Billy meet Axel as he is checking out of his hotel and pay his bill. He invites them to join him for a farewell drink, and they accept the offer.



Development and writing

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.[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 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.[6] David Cronenberg was also offered to direct the film but also turned it down.[7]

Sylvester Stallone was originally considered for the part of Foley.[8] Stallone gave the script a dramatic rewrite, removing all the story's humor and turning the film back into a standard action movie.[9][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.[10] 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.[5]

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] Producer Don Simpson let it be known they didn't want to move forward with Stallone's revisions; since Stallone wasn't willing to negotiate the rewrite, Simpson asked writer Charles "Chip" Proser if he could return the script to previous iteration, while leaving most of Stallone's character revisions intact. However Proser found the task (and turnaround time) preposterous.

"They offered me the rewrite when it was nothing more than Sylvester Stallone and an exotic gun—which was pretty ridiculous", remembered screenwriter Chip Proser, who would later write [an uncredited rewrite of] Simpson and Bruckheimer's Top Gun.[9]

According to co-producer Don Simpson, Stallone’s new script spent too much time on the star 'soaping down his muscles.'[11] Stallone ultimately dropped out two weeks before filming was to start, ostensibly to concentrate on his next picture, the 1984 film Rhinestone.[9] Stallone later used the bulk of these ideas as the basis for the 1986 film Cobra.[12]

Don Simpson would later tell friends a story—impossible to corroborate—about how he finally got Stallone off the project and got the project back on track: He and Stallone had a mutual interest in "youth treatments" and Simpson knew of a Swiss doctor who was experimenting with injections of a sheep hormone that increased tumescence. Simpson managed to get Stallone's name "put at the top of the list," Simpson boasted to a friend, for an appointment with the very exclusive doctor. Stallone flew to Switzerland, and Simpson promptly continued working on Beverly Hills Cop without him.[12]

Two days later, the film's producers, Simpson and Bruckheimer, convinced Eddie Murphy to replace Stallone in the film, prompting more rewrites.[13] Besides Stallone and Rourke, other actors who were considered for the role of Axel Foley included Richard Pryor, Al Pacino, and James Caan.[14] Harrison Ford was offered the role of Axel Foley but turned it down.[15] The final shooting draft of the script, which was extensively revised with Murphy's input, was not completed until the day production began.[16]


The film was budgeted at $14 million, including $4 million for Murphy, and was completed for around $13 million.[2] Production began in May 1984 and continued into the summer, taking place mostly in and around Los Angeles. The opening sequence was filmed over several days in Michigan, in Detroit and nearby Wayne.[16] Many scenes set in Beverly Hills were shot in Pasadena, as the city of Beverly Hills prohibited filming after 10:30 p.m.[16]



Main article: Beverly Hills Cop (soundtrack)

The soundtrack was released on MCA Records and won the Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media (1986). It featured three top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, the instrumental title tune, "Axel F", composed and performed by Harold Faltermeyer, the Glenn Frey song "The Heat Is On", and "Neutron Dance," performed by the Pointer Sisters. The soundtrack also had two Patti LaBelle hits, "New Attitude," which hit the top twenty on the US, and the Grammy Award-winning "Stir It Up."[17]


Box office

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.[18]

The film earned $234,760,478 in the United States, being the highest-grossing film released in 1984.[19] Adjusted for inflation, it is the third highest-grossing R-rated film of all-time behind The Exorcist and The Godfather.[20] For nearly two decades, Beverly Hills Cop held the record for having the highest domestic gross for an R-rated film until 2003, when it was taken by The Matrix Reloaded.[21]

Adjusted for inflation, it is the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time at the U.S. box office, with a total box office gross of $730,714,743 in 2024.[4] Box Office Mojo estimates that the film sold over 67 million tickets in the US.[22]

Critical response

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 83% from 53 critics with an average rating 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] 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."[24]

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."[25] 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.[26] 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."[27]

John Simon of National Review called Beverly Hills Cop "a truly contemptible film."[28]

In 2003, the film was picked by The New York Times as one of The 1000 Best Movies Ever Made.[29]


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 Screenplay 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
Online Film & Television Association Awards Hall of Fame – Motion Picture Inducted
People's Choice Awards Favorite Motion Picture Won
Stuntman Award Best Vehicular Stunt (Motion Picture) Eddy Donno Won

American Film Institute Lists


The film spawned a film series with three sequels, Beverly Hills Cop II, Beverly Hills Cop III and Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F, all starring Eddie Murphy. Judge Reinhold reprised his role for the sequels. John Ashton returned for the second and fourth film, but not third. 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.[34] The pilot was written by Shawn Ryan and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld. Brandon T. Jackson was cast as Axel Foley's son.[35] The series was not picked up, but Ryan reported that it tested well enough for Paramount to put a fourth film into production.[36]

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.[37] In April 2022, Mark Molloy was announced as the film's director, while Will Beall penned the script.[38] The official teaser trailer for the fourth film was released on December 14, 2023. The film was released in July 2024.[39]


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