48 Hrs. (1982)

8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good cast and fun movie

Not as edgy as later buddy cop pictures

Movie Info

Movie Name:  48 Hrs.

Studio:  Eddie Murphy Productions

Genre(s):  Comedy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  December 8, 1982

MPAA Rating:  R


The boys are back…for the first time!

Albert Ganz (James Remar) is sprung from jail by Billy Bear (Sonny Landham) and hiding out in San Francisco.  When Albert and Billy kill two officers, Jack Cates (Nick Nolte) is forced to think creatively to bring Albert and Billy in.  Retrieving Billy and Albert’s old partner Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy) from prison, Jack recruits Reggie to help him find where Billy and Albert are hiding…and it also means uncovering why they are in San Francisco at all.

Directed by Walter Hill, 48 Hrs. was a buddy-cop action comedy that helped define the genre.  The movie featured the big screen premiere of Eddie Murphy (who was nominated for a Golden Globe) and was praised by critics.


I’m your worst nightmare!

48 Hrs. was one of those “adult” movies you hoped to see as a kid…like pretty much any Eddie Murphy movie in the ’80s.  The movie featured humor and action and this was a really new thing…pre-Murphy’s Beverly Hills Cop and pre-Die Hard.  Watching it now, 48 Hrs. is still a strong movie but might not be as edgy as it once was in a world filled with smart one-line cracking cops and con men.

The story for 48 Hrs. is rather unrealistic but smartly done.  I don’t see Nick Nolte running around with a convicted criminal on such a long leash regardless of the situation (nor do I see Murphy helping him even if there are circumstances).  In an age when civil liberties are trumpeted, it is a bit jarring to see cops who trounce on the rights of people and are heroes.  Simply knowing where a criminal is leaves a person open to destruction of property and having a gun shoved in your face.


I’ve had a really bad couple of days

Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy work well together (and Nolte’s character allegedly was the basis for Crockett on Miami Vice).  The relationship is much more standoffish than something like Lethal Weapon and there are much more racial jokes that would never be acceptable today.  Director Walter Hill brought a few of his Warriors friends with David Patrick Kelly, James Remar, and Sonny Landham who had a small role in that film.  The movie also has the stereotypical “screaming police captain” in Frank McRae who went on to portray the same role in other films.


Can I just go back to prison now?

The movie has that nice gritty police drama look that is a carryover from the ’70s.  The San Francisco setting makes for some nice location shoots but I would have liked to have seen more of the city since they seemed to be traversing the whole town.

48 Hrs. is a bit of a classic.  Younger viewers might not get into it as much as some other action comedies but the movie still is fun.  The success of the film was influential on tons of ’80s pictures and made a star out of Eddie Murphy.  The film spawned a sequel eight years later when Another 48 Hrs. was released in 1990.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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