It was on this weekend on 1988 that the Eddie Murphy comedy Coming to America first hit theaters! Directed by John Landis (Trading Places, An American Werewolf in London) this charming classic stars Murphy as Akeem Joffer, the young prince of the fictional nation of Zamunda. Unhappy with being forced into the marriage that has been arranged for him, he decides to travel to America to search for true love. And where else could a future king find his bride-to-be than in Queens, NY? Setting out to the borough with his best friend Semmi (Arsenio Hall), he renounces his wealth and takes a job at a McDonald’s ripoff restaurant called McDowell’s run bu Cleo McDowell (a scene-stealing John Amos). There he falls for Cleo’s beautiful — and engaged — daughter Lisa (Shari Headley) and becomes determined to win her heart. Much to the dismay of his loving-but-stern father, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones).
Rightfully, the movie was a box office sensation, bringing in nearly $300,000,000 during its original theatrical run. And even three decades later it seems as fresh and funny as it did all those years ago. From “Soul Glo” to Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate, the movie is packed with hilarious throw away gags, and it also jump-started the tradition of having Murphy play multiple roles in a film…something that dominated his career for years after in works like the Nutty Professor films. As for Coming to America, there was a failed attempt to bring it to television in 1989, but without the Murphy magic it was doomed to fail. See for yourself:
Earlier this year, Paramount Pictures announced plans for Coming to America 2, which would bring back the original cast. Whether or not this actually comes to fruition remains to be seen. One thing that is for certain is that Coming to America is a timeless comedy that seemingly gets better with age.
What are your favorite moments from the film?