Here are 10 trivia facts about Beverly Hills Cop from 1984, which originally appeared as our Mystery Movie Quiz on our Facebook page. There are hundreds of pieces of behind-the-scenes information about this movie. Please feel free to comment and add more trivia we might have missed.
1. This movie held a theatrical record for 25 years.
Paramount hit it big in 1984 with the release of Beverly Hills Cop, which would go on to replace National Lampoon’s Animal House as the highest-grossing R-rated comedy film in Hollywood history. Eddie Murphy’s action/comedy would hold that record in the U.S. for 25 years, until it was in turn surpassed by 2009′s The Hangover.
Director Martin Brest, the story goes, wasn’t sure if he should take the reins of the movie when asked by producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and he supposedly made his final choice based on the flip of a coin. He tossed a quarter and, when it came up heads, he agreed to helm Beverly Hills Cop. After the film became a huge hit, Brest had the lucky quarter mounted and displayed in his office.
2. A first-time actor portrayed their real-life profession in the movie.
Gilbert R. Hill was an actual homicide detective with the Detroit Police Department when he took the role of Motown police inspector Todd. After appearing in Beverly Hills Cop I, II, and III, he recalled, “The only difference between Inspector Todd and my real life is that I don’t curse as much in real life.” Hill later became a member of the Detroit City Council and served as its president, eventually running for Detroit’s mayor.
3. For its genre, this movie was a first.
At one time, getting a movie shown in 2,000 theaters at one time was quite a feat. Beverly Hills Cop was the first comedy movie in history to simultaneously play in more than 2,000 U.S. movie screens.
4. Many of the lines were improvised in the film.
According to producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the role of Detroit detective Axel Foley was first offered to Mickey Rourke, but when his contract to do another film was expiring, he had to back out and the part was offered to Sylvester Stallone. Although Danilo Bach wrote the original story seven years earlier, the script went through major changes with Stallone on board, and it is said there were as many as six different possible scripts.
Then, just two weeks before principal filming was to begin, it was announced that Stallone was out and Eddie Murphy was in (with its original storyline, when Sly departed, both Al Pacino and James Caan were considered good possibilities before Murphy was cast). Blending together many ideas from all the different scripts whenever they seemed to be at an impasse, Eddie Murphy was perfect at improvising dialogue and even helped create totally new scenes. Two years later, many of the Stallone-suggested ideas, which he took with him upon leaving, became the more serious 1986 actioner Cobra.
5. Part of the story involves art collecting.
When Stallone was on board, there was a love interest between his Axel Foley and art gallery manager Jenny (Lisa Eilbacher). After his brother was killed in the script (in the final film, it was Murphy’s good friend), Stallone suspects the business’s owner of being a drug smuggler, keeping the action in and around the art gallery.
6. A member of the supporting cast became a regular on a TV show based on his character in this film.
Eventually adding more humor to the action movie, Bronson Pinchot was given additional screen time after director Brest heard Pinchot’s Russian accent. Bronson said he was able to nail his mannerisms and accent for his character of art gallery worker Serge thanks to a former co-worker, who was always saying, “Don’t be stupid,” which found its way into the movie. Fans of Pinchot will remember he played a similar role when he was immigrant Balki on the 1986-93 ABC sitcom Perfect Strangers. That show used a variation of the “Don’t be stupid” line with Balki often exclaiming, “Don’t be ridiculous.”
7. Coffee plays a role in the film.
When Eddie Murphy is convinced art dealer Victor Maitland (Steven Berkoff) is smuggling drugs, his investigation takes him to the gallery warehouse. There he discovers crates filled with coffee, disguising the drugs.
8. This film won a People’s Choice Award for favorite motion picture.
Beverly Hills Cop was very well received by moviegoers and critics alike and became known as one of the best films of 1984. It was nominated for an Oscar (Best Screenplay) and two Golden Globes( Best Picture and Eddie Murphy for Best Actor). It won a Grammy for Best Soundtrack and took home the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture.
Time Magazine’s Richard Schickel 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” and from Janet Maslin of The New York Times came, “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”.
9. The lead star’s films collectively rank him among the top perfomers for theatrical gross revenue.
In a list compiled in 2009, the receipts from Eddie Murphy’s movies–from his 1982 debut in 48 Hrs. to 2009′s Imagine That and including his voice role in the first three Shrek films–put him in the number-one slot for “total box office revenue.” However, there seems to be some discrepancy depending upon which source one looks at. Box Office Mojo, for example, lists Murphy as being in second place, behind Tom Hanks. Regardless of #1 or #2, this is quite respectable.
And even more respectable… it’s been reported that Eddie doesn’t drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, and that the only drug he takes is caffeine. Hats off to you, Mr. Murphy!
10. The movie spawned a number of sequels.
Beverly Hills Cop was followed by two sequels, although neither had as much success in theaters: Beverly Hills Cop II in 1987 and 1994′s Beverly Hills Cop III. Judge Reinhold returned as detective Billy Rosewood in both sequels (Reinhold, Murphy and Gilbert Hill were the only main cast members in all three films). It’s been rumored a third sequel, Beverly Hills Cop IV, is in the works, slated for 2014.
Now, enjoy some of the action-packed scenes from the 1984 theatrical trailer for Beverly Hills Cop: