The R-Rated Movie You Forgot Starred Comedian Eddie Murphy
Walter Hill’s buddy cop film “48 Hrs.” stars Nick Nolte as Jack Cates, a grizzled SFPD officer who teams up with convict Reggie Hammond (Murphy) to catch two cop killers, Albert Ganz (James Remar) and Billy Bear (Sonny Landham). However, Hammond is only out of jail for two days, meaning he and Cates have — you guessed it — 48 hours to solve the case.
“48 Hrs.” is Murphy’s film debut, but it’s difficult to tell considering his confidence and ease as a presence on the big screen. Critic Roger Ebert famously wrote that Murphy “becomes a star in just one scene,” specifically when Hammond enters a racist country bar and, posing as a cop, completely controls the situation and gets some crucial information.
It’s hard to imagine seeing early dailies of Murphy and Nolte together and not being excited by the movie. Yet cast member Chris Mulkey told The New York Times in 2006 that the studio executives hated Murphy’s performance. However, both Hill and Nolte defended his work, and he stayed in the picture. The film’s box office gross, critical acclaim, and Murphy’s subsequent career certainly vindicated both the actor and the director.