Beverly Hills Cop

Movie review by
David Gurney, Common Sense Media
Beverly Hills Cop Movie Poster Image
Classic '80s Murphy vehicle; fun but foulmouthed.
  • R
  • 1984
  • 105 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 18 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No real positive messages. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

While at his core a decent cop, Foley has no problem bending the rules in order to manipulate any situation he's in -- including posing as a Rolling Stone interviewer accusing a fancy hotel of racism when the hotel doesn't have the reservation that he never made in the first place. 

Violence

A man is shot in the back of the head at close range. Gun and machine gun battles. Characters shot and killed, shot and injured. Fist fights. The lead character is thrown out of a plate glass window by several bodyguards. In order to escape the police, a man recklessly drives a truck, hitting other vehicles, nearly hitting pedestrians, causing accidents in intersections. 

Sex

Topless women in thongs dance in a strip club. 

Language

Frequent profanity, including regular use of "f--k" in nearly every scene. One use of the "N" word. "A--hole," "bulls--t," s--t," "son of a bitch." 

Consumerism

A truckload of Lucky Strike cigarettes are central to the film's opening scene. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

After having drinks in a bar, two characters are in an apartment hallway very drunk, stumbling and slurring speech. Drinking at a strip club. In establishing shots at the beginning of the movie, people shown drinking on street corners and on curbs out of bottles covered in brown paper bags. Cigarette smoking. Cops find cocaine hidden in a warehouse. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Beverly Hills Cop is a 1984 movie in which a young Eddie Murphy plays a cocky Detroit cop who goes to Beverly Hills to find out who killed his best friend. Much of what makes the film funny is his use of obscene or at least inappropriate language in a multitude of situations, including frequent use of "f--k" and one use of the "N" word. While he is a cop, his character, Axel Foley, uses the "ends justify the means" approach to police work, and almost every scene involves him lying to various people to pursue his goal. Violence is not pervasive, but when it appears, it's rendered realistically -- fistfights leave marks and gunshots produce blood and/or death. A man is shot and killed in the back of the head at close range. There's a strip club scene featuring female nudity. Axel and his best friend get drunk at a bar then stumble back to Axel's while slurring their speech. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bychangster.eminem August 1, 2010

A movie suited more for 12+

Look. There are shoot-outs, blood, and violence. Not the worst thing. The A-Team had more violence. So did Rambo. But still dependent on your child. As for the... Continue reading
Adult Written bywatchdog512 August 12, 2011

Wow, don't remember the foul langauge

Lots of foul language. I didn't remember it having this much. Definitely not for kids.
Kid, 10 years old September 15, 2009

Perfect for older kids.

This movie is so good, I'm speachless!
Teen, 13 years old Written bymoviereviewer April 9, 2008

a good action movie!

Most of the reviews I saw were downing the movie by saying it is inapropriate for children but i wtched the movie anyway and noticed that the only real issue is... Continue reading

What's the story?

Detroit police officer Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) experiences a severe case of culture shock when clues in the murder of his good friend lead him to Beverly Hills. Put under the watchful eyes of two Beverly Hills cops (Judge Reinhold and John Ashton), the maverick outsider infuriates his superiors and rattles the ritzy city with his wildly unorthodox detective skills. But Axel's entertaining antics expose the truth about Victor Maitland, a British art dealer who turns out to be the crime king who killed Foley's friend. It all comes down to an on-the-edge-of-your-seat shootout at Maitland's Beverly Hills mansion.

Is it any good?

Years after its original release, BEVERLY HILLS COP has not aged quite as well as one might have hoped. In its day, Eddie Murphy's rapid-fire, uncensored wisecracking was almost revelatory for a big-screen comedy, but since then, it has lost some luster. That's not to say that Murphy's Axel Foley isn't charming. It's still easy to side with Foley's mission to bring his friend's killer to justice. Yet this alone doesn't quite buoy the film as it did when it was completely fresh.

 

The soundtrack is definitive cheesy 1980s pop, however, the film stands above many subsequent action comedies. The look of it is impeccable, creating a time capsule of Beverly Hills's excess. Also, the action is relatively pared down to short but meaningful bursts, making it less cartoonish than a Tango & Cash (1989) or a Bad Boys (1995). That's why even with the age spots, BEVERLY HILLS COP still stands out as a stellar example of its genre. However, it is absolutely not appropriate for kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Axel.  Are his illegal methods justified by the criminal behaviors of his suspects? What about the situations where his lying and scheming has no material effect on his investigation (as when he lies to an hotel clerk to get a room)? 

  • At the time, the character of Axel Foley wasn't too far off from Eddie Murphy's persona and comedic style in both stand-up and on SNL. There are many movies that are vehicles for lead actors in which the character and the actor's public persona aren't too far off -- Clint Eastwood and Bill Murray, for example. What are some other examples of movies in which the lead actor's public persona meshes nicely with the role they play? 

  • There is frequent violence in the movie -- people shot and killed at close and far range, people punched and kicked, bruised and bloodied, car chases with frequent crashes and accidents in their immediate wake. Was this violence necessary for the movie? Why or why not? 

Movie details

For kids who love to laugh

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