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Coming to America (1988)



Average Rating: 3.3/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 5

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 266,178

My Rating

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


Comedy, Romance

Mar 9, 1999

Paramount Pictures

Watch It Now



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All Critics (38) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (12) | DVD (19)

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

June 6, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop 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.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The main pleasure in America comes in the romancing of prince and pauper. But the comedy is a mere handmaiden.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...a worthy followup to Murphy and Landis' first collaboration, Trading Places.

August 11, 2014 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Silly, curse-happy '80s Eddie Murphy vehicle.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Murphy gives his sweetest, most touching, and most genuinely likable performance to date, playing a character who embraces society instead of holding it in contempt.

June 6, 2009 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The winning combination of Landis and Murphy redeems the very predictable storyline, which is chock-full of snappy one-liners and impressive caricatures by Murphy and Hall.

June 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4

very funny and shows Eddie Murphy in his prime

March 5, 2009 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Not only a great comedic effort but Eddie Murphy's best romantic film as well.

February 21, 2009 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

[Landis] takes a very specific joy in the act of moviemaking and calls attention to it, placing it at a level above the romantic story.

January 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

so brilliant, it almost makes up for The Golden Child.

June 28, 2007 Full Review Source:

Eddie Murphy does everything in this movie successfully, which was probably a bad idea because it made him think that he could write and direct Harlem Nights...

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Murphy's last enjoyable film before a long slump

October 7, 2004
Kalamazoo Gazette

Good comedy romance. Murphy is sincere and the cameos from now-celebrities like Samuel L. Jackson are fun.

July 14, 2003

One of Murphy's better outings, which admittedly isn't saying much.

October 3, 2002
Flipside Movie Emporium

It's as entertaining as it gets.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal
Montreal Film Journal

Landis' last great comedy is a true Eddie Murphy-fest.

July 26, 2002

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.
April 21, 2012
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.
April 20, 2012
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.
March 21, 2012
Mike S

Super Reviewer

It was an ok film, nothing great.
June 23, 2011
Bethany Murphy

Super Reviewer

    1. Landlord: Damn shame what they did to that dog...
    – Submitted by Alecia D (6 months ago)
    1. Clarence: Damn boy, what's this some kind of weave or something?
    2. Prince Akeem: It is my natural hair. I've been growing it since birth.
    3. Clarence: Aw shit that aint nothin but an ultra perm!
    – Submitted by Alecia D (6 months ago)
    1. Randy Watson: Sexual Chocolate. Sexual Chocolate!
    – Submitted by Nigel M (12 months ago)
    1. Prince Akeem: Good morning, my neighbors!
    2. Subway Guy: Hey, fuck you!
    3. Prince Akeem: [genuinely happy] Yes, yes! Fuck you too!
    – Submitted by Stefan G (2 years ago)
    1. Rev. Brow: If loving the Lord is wrong, then I don't wanna be right!
    – Submitted by Guy G (2 years ago)
    1. Landlord: Hey Stu, your rent's due, motherfucker!
    – Submitted by Mana Y (2 years ago)
View all quotes (13)

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