'Coming to America' at 35: The Case for it Being Eddie Murphy's Best Film

The case for it being his best

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Paramount Pictures

When a major film has a major anniversary, there’s always one question—what's its impact? 35 years in, it’s more than safe to say that 1988’s Coming to America is a film that has withstood the test of time. It was a comedic game changer, and yet another movie in Eddie Murphy’s late 1980s reign that paved the way for him to become one of the all-time greats. The costumes and visual elements are something that’s still relevant and referenced today, serving as inspiration for projects that would follow in the remaining years of the 80s,  90s, and beyond (the music video for Busta Rhymes’ “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” was inspired by Coming to America).

RELATED: 'He Got Game' At 25: How the Film Sparked A Cultural Revolution

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Paramount Pictures

Make no mistake, Eddie Murphy’s filmography is unshakeable with plenty of movies that can be argued as his best, but here's the case for Coming to America being his greatest.

The Comedy

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Paramount Pictures

Coming to America was hella funny and full of life lessons that you understand more and more as you mature. Here’s a few quotes/lines from the movie that we found notable.

“I want a woman that will arouse my intellect as well as my loins.” — Prince Akeem

“When you think of garbage, think of Akeem.” — Prince Akeem

“What does dumb f*ck mean?” — Prince Akeem

“Is it just me, or does every woman in Queens have some kind of an emotional problem?” – Prince Akeem

“No journey is too great when one finds what he seeks.” — Prince Akeem

“Well, that’s where you messed up, son, you can’t go to no bar to find a nice woman. You gotta go to a nice place, a quiet place like a library, there’s good women there and ‘erm, church, they’re good girls.” — Clarence

The Costumes

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Paramount Pictures

The costumes were the epitome of elegant and regal. Here’s a refresher.

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Paramount Pictures
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Paramount Pictures
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Paramount Pictures

The Impact

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Paramount Pictures

In the 35 years since its release, Coming to America has defined what it means to have a generational impact. If you are a late 1980s or 1990s baby, Coming to America is a film that was passed down to you, and if you haven’t already, you’ll be passing it down to your children, younger siblings, nieces and nephews, etc.

There were and still are a lot of preconceived ideas and notions about Africa, and Coming to America helped change those misconceptions for quite a bit of people. The film was royal, opulent, exquisite, and any other fancy word you think of. Stunning, regal, gorgeous, and wealthy are also other terms that fit the bill.

Personal observation here… I find some similarities between Coming to America and Black Panther. Obviously they are both very different films from one another, but you had the fictional nations of Zamunda and Wakanda, of the elements we mentioned above—royalty, opulence, wealth, etc., both had and still have major influence. When Black Panther came out in 2018, you had people showing up to the movie theater in African garments, and tons of folks dressed as the characters for Halloween that year. Obviously Coming to America has been highly influential in the entertainment industry, which is why we're discussing it today.

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Marvel Studios

As we mentioned earlier, the music video for Busta Rhymes 1997 hit single “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” was inspired by Coming to America, as the movie was supposedly playing during the recording of the song.

The Best Scenes in 'Coming to America'

These are just a few of our favorite scenes from the film that really hammer home our feelings of this being Eddie Murphy’s number one film.

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