Coming to America (1988) - Rotten Tomatoes

Coming to America (1988)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Coming to America Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Coming to America casts comedian Eddie Murphy as pampered African prince Akeem, who rebels against an arranged marriage and heads to America to find a new bride. Murphy's regal father (James Earl Jones) agrees to allow the prince 40 days to roam the U.S., sending the prince's faithful retainer Semmi (Arsenio Hall) along to make sure nothing untoward happens. To avoid fortune hunters, Prince Akeem conceals his true identity and gets a "Joe job" at a fast-food restaurant. Murphy and Hall play multiple roles, and there are innumerable celebrity cameos peppered throughout the proceedings -- including the Duke Brothers (Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy) from Trading Places. Coming to America made further headlines when humorist Art Buchwald sued the film's producers for plagiarizing one of his works. Buchwald carried the case to trial, where he won a sizeable judgement against the film's producers. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovimore
Rating: R (adult situations/language, nudity)
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Directed By:
Written By: Barry W. Blaustein, David Sheffield
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 9, 1999
Paramount Pictures


Eddie Murphy
as Prince Akeem, Clare...
Arsenio Hall
as Semmi, Morris, Rév...
James Earl Jones
as King Jeffe Joffer
John Amos
as Cleo McDowell
Madge Sinclair
as Queen Aoleon
Shari Headley
as Lisa McDowell
Calvin Lockhart
as Col. Izzi
Allison Dean
as Patrice McDowell
Eriq La Salle
as Darryl Jenks
Jake Steinfeld
as Cab Driver
Don Ameche
as Mortimer Duke
Ralph Bellamy
as Randolph Duke
Garcelle Beauvais
as Rose Bearer
Victoria Dillard
as Bather/Dancer
Feather Simon
as Rose Bearer
Stephanie Simon
as Rose Bearer
Sheila Johnson
as Lady-in-Waiting
Raymond D. Turner
as T-Shirt Hawker
Billi Gordon
as Large Woman
Cuba Gooding Jr.
as Boy Getting Haircut
Ruben Hudson
as Street Hustler
Paulette Banoza
as Soul Glo Woman
Clyde R. Jones
as Soul Glo Man
Patricia Matthews
as Devil Woman
Mary Bond Davis
as Big Stank Woman
Clyde Jones
as Soul Glo Man
Kara Young
as Stuck-up Girl
Carla Earle
as Tough Girl
Lisa Gumora
as Kinky Girl
June Boykins
as Strange Woman
Janette Colon
as Fresh Peaches
Vanessa Colon
as Sugar Cube
Monique Mannen
as Boring Girl/Dancer
Karen Renee Owens
as Ex-Siamese Twin/Danc...
David Sosna
as Cartier Delivery Man
Vondie Curtis-Hall
as Basketball Game Vend...
Sharon Renee Owens
as Ex-Siamese Twin / Da...
Samuel L. Jackson
as Hold-Up Man
as Dottie Dog
Arthur Adams
as Mr. Jenks
Montrose Hagins
as Grandma Jenks
Tonja Rivers
as Party Guest
Mindora Mimms
as Awareness Woman
Elaine Kagan
as Telegraph Lady
Cynthia Finkley
as Awareness Woman
Michael Tadross
as Taxi Driver
Steve White
as Subway Guy
Helen Hanft
as Subway Lady
Birdie M. Hale
as Elderly Passenger
Jim Abrahams
as Face on Cutting-room...
Shaun Earl
as Dancer
Vanessa Bell
as Imani Izzi
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Coming to America

Critic Reviews for Coming to America

All Critics (39) | Top Critics (7)

Murphy has dealt audiences the movie equivalent of a royal flush and he is now clearly Hollywood's reigning king of comedy.

Full Review… | July 7, 2015
New York Daily News
Top Critic

The director is ... rather distracted; John Landis seems to be browsing through the scenes rather than gobbling them down.

Full Review… | June 6, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Starts on a bathroom joke, quickly followed by a gag about private parts, then wanders in search of something equally original for Eddie Murphy to do for another couple of hours.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

Superb comic timing, a satirical edge, and Murphy's extraordinary gift for mimicry lift it right out of the trough of mediocrity to which it is all but consigned by its utterly predictable storyline.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A screenplay that seems to have escaped its doctors before it was entirely well.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

In Landis' hands, the film doesn't live up to even the meagerest of expectations.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Coming to America


John Landis directs this funny film about a pampered African prince named Akeem who, not happy about being in an arranged marriage, and getting tired of a pampered lifestyle, heads to America to try living like a regualr guy and find a wife on his own terms. It's basically just one big update of the Prince and the Pauper/fish out of water sort of thing, but, since this is the 80s, it features Eddie Murphy when he was still tremendously funny AND making good movies...I miss those days.

Murphy is great as Akeem, though he seems a bit mroe subdued in the lead. Thankfully, he plays multiple characters, and this give him the chance to really let loose when he takes on those other roles. He's famolus for it now, but this is the first time he did this routine. Arsenio Hall gets in on the fun too, and the best side character each plays would have to be the Jewish man at the barber shop for Eddie (the makeup job is superb and very convincing), and the crazy lady at the bar for Hall.

Too bad those guys didn't work together all the time, or weren't able to stay in their prime forever, because they have grrat chemistry together, and this is when they were at some of their best. We also get appearances from James Earl Jones (who gets to be atypical and silly), as well as a stand out, but all too brief cameo from Samuel L. Jackson (in his second ever film role) as a bum who tries to hold up a fast food joint. It's a brilliant and extremely memorable scene.

The film is funny throughout, but it feels like the best stuff is few and far between. Also, the film feels a little long and draggy at times, as if the great director John Landis was just very unfocused and unsure of how to use all of the great talent at hand to its fullest.

All in all though, this is some good stuff, though perhaps a bit overrated. It's funny, yeah, but underwhelming. It's still worth a look though.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer



Back when Eddie Murphy wasn't bombarding us with stupid, low brow and unfunny kids films he made Coming to America and to this day it remains one of his most cherished, warmest and funniest films. Murphy is phenomenal playing witty, fast talking smart arses but slowing down his pace here it still works amazingly as a comedy. However, the plot moves forward a bit quicker than it should and becomes more dramatised in it's second half and it is an undeniably predictable storyline but unlike his more recent films it's decently written, well intended and quite funny. There is also a great supporting cast featuring James Earl Jones who was perfectly cast as Eddie's father and I thought his performance was absolutely hilarious.

Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Remember the days when Eddie Murphy's movies were actually funny? It seems but a distant memory now, but every once in a while I make a little re-visit to the 80's, just to remind myself of a time when it wasn't all about fat suits and farting at the dinner table. Granted that he plays a multitude of roles in this one too, but at least the jokes are on the money and the make-up extremely convincing. A hilarious fish-out-of-water comedy, that even more than 20 years after its making, is still as side-splitting as ever. This, along with "Beverly Hills Cop", are my hands down favourite Eddie Murphy flicks, that always manages to get a laugh out of me. Not to mention the great supporting cast, which includes a prime-performing Arsenio Hall, the legendary James Earl Jones and a brief, but memorable cameo by Samuel L. Jackson. Maybe not a comedy to everyone's taste, but I for one really love it.

Mike S

Super Reviewer

Coming to America Quotes

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– Submitted by Alecia D (20 months ago)
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– Submitted by Stefan G (3 years ago)

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