A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
As an all-too-typical 1980s cop flick, there isn't much in the way of positive messages.
Positive Role Models
Not much in the way of positive role models: Of the two lead characters, one is a chain-smoking cop constantly sipping from a flask of whiskey he keeps in his suit coat pocket, and the other is a convict whose primary topic of conversation is sex.
Violence & Scariness
Prison wardens, police detectives, and police officers are shown being shot and killed by the bad guys. Frequent gun violence. The two main characters get into a lengthy fistfight. Shots are fired into a crowd waiting at a BART station. A woman hits a man in the side with a baseball bat.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One of the characters has been in prison for almost three years and is constantly talking about wanting to have sex. Breasts and female buttocks are exposed in a scene in which one of the bad guys is sitting in a hotel with a prostitute.
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Frequent profanity of all varieties. Although "f--k," "a--hole," "s--t," and "p---y" are often used, the white cop uses terms such as the "N" word, "spear chucker," and "watermelon" when speaking to the African-American convict he has temporarily partnered up with to help solve the case. The word "faggot" is used, and two women living together are called "dykes."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Early in the movie, one of the main characters is shown pouring whiskey into his coffee. Throughout the movie, he's shown taking sips from a flask of whiskey he keeps hidden in his sport coat pocket. He also chain-smokes. His partner in the movie, a convict released for 48 hours to help solve the case, is shown drinking in bars. Other characters are shown drinking in bars and smoking; characters are shown smoking in the police precinct.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that 48 Hrs. is the hit 1982 movie starring Nick Nolte as a cop and Eddie Murphy as a convict put in an unlikely partnership to try to stop a cop-killing sociopath who has just escaped from prison. The frequent violence and gunplay, sex and nudity, and profanity ("f--k" is common) alone give this a solid R-rating; Nolte's character's often-enough usage of racial epithets such as the "N" word, "spear chucker," and "watermelon" when speaking with Murphy's character are as gratuitous as they are pointless, and that goes for usage of the words "faggot" and "dyke" as well. Given the now long-overused story formula to the graphic language and the smoking, 48 Hrs. has not aged well and is about as '80s as big hair and fat shoelaces. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Although it was a hit at the time and launched Eddie Murphy's film career, 48 HRS. has not aged well; not only that, most of the dialogue is pretty groan-worthy and trite. The biggest reason it doesn't stand the test of time is simply that its formula -- the "unlikely partnership" cop-action movie -- has been done to death since the movie's 1982 release. Furthermore, the movie's attempts at "realistic" dialogue, by giving Nolte's character no compunction about throwing out terms like the "N" word (among others) toward his black partner, are utterly pointless.
All in all, 48 Hrs. is just another dated '80s movie. Even a passing familiarity with the "unlikely partnership" formula of action movies should give the viewer a good idea of how the story will unfold.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.