Beverly Hills Cop

Year: 1984
Studio: Paramount
Director: Marty Brest
Producer: Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Judge Rheinhold, Ronny Cox, Steven Berkoff, John Ashton

The one that started it all for two of Hollywood's most successful ever producers, the men who bought chic to the job of film producing – Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson.

The studio system that gave rise to them was facilitated by Eisner and his earlier contemporaries, who'd come from TV. Unlike the way the movies worked, they believed the producer was the key creative role in a production, the director just another on-set technician. And the exalted heights Simpson and Bruckheimer reached bore this theory out. Unlike their directors, they were the larger than life personalities surrounded by chicks, drugs, fast cars and riotous living.

Even today, almost ten years after Simpson's death from the life that caught up to him in the end, Bruckheimer is still more of a brand than many of the directors that currently work in his stable (like Tony Scott).

And while Flashdance was the first big product of their partnership, it was Beverly Hills Cop that projected them and the formula that kept box office cash registers jangling into the stratosphere for the next two decades.

Tying a movie to a rock soundtrack in an early experiment in cross-promotion (one that paid off beautifully for the studio and record company and remains the template to this day) ; an African American in a lead role; the widespread profanity; the pioneering action comedy still homaged, referenced and outright copied today; Cop actually achieved a lot of firsts in Hollywood.

Not a bad result for a film that was almost going to star Sylvester Stallone and have no humour whatsoever before he passed on it.

The plot was the same as that of a million movies before and since; fish out of water honest cop finds corruption at the highest level and roots it out in his distinctive cowboy style.

But Eddie Murphy bought his Saturday Night Live personality to the role and transformed it into one of the most memorable characters of the 1980s (watch for the scene when he turns to laugh at the two guys in leather as they pass; the red outfit with black stripes is the same one he wears on stage in Delirious).

Shakeseparean actor Steven Berkoff lends his weight to one of his few movie appearances as the villain – the only role most people who aren't into the theatre recognise him from. The only other role I've seen him in is the villain in the irascible Cindy Crawford thriller Fair Game .

But it resonated hugely with a generation of kids (including me) who continued to stuff Simpson, Bruckheimer and Paramounts' pockets full for years afterward.

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