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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2002
Harlem Nights is one of the best movies ever made. It's a great period piece from the "roaring 20's". It has a cast of some of the greatest comic geniuses from every generation. Redd Foxx is classically funny in his usual manner paired with Della Reese; their exchange of witty banter throughout the entire movie leaves you cracking a smile. Eddie Murphy is as smooth as ever in one of his funniest films. Richard Pryor uses his subtle class to hold this one together. I know some of the language can be a bit much to some people who are not used to it being used as humor. A lot of critics did not think that this movie lived up to the cast involved in it. I am not sure what they were thinking that it should be. It couldn't have been any funnier. It has class, style, great costumes, good dialogue...great charisma between the actor/actresses. I think that if the critics didnt try to be so politically correct all of the time...they might have enjoyed this movie for what it is. Just good old fashioned fun.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2000
Eddie Murphy makes his directorial debut with a lushly produced, light hearted, enjoyable period piece about 1930s Harlem club owners. The all star cast turns in a pleasant ensemble performance, with an emphasis on smoothness rather than hilarity.
Film critics cut Murphy no slack, they shredded him for not living up to expectations of a comic masterpiece. They should take a laxative. Yes, yes, I agree that the plot is routine, it's a remake of The Sting, there is profanity, it's not a masterpiece, Eddie is more smooth than funny, yadda yadda yadda.
OK, so maybe Harlem Nights didn't live up to the hype. So what? It's still an enjoyable film. It's very entertaining to watch so many great performers all in one movie, even if they do pull their punches. The costumes are Oscar-caliber, the Herbie Hancock soundtrack is superfine, and everyone looks good.
I notice that Hollywood routinely produces a veritable torrent of well-cast B movies (and far worse). I notice that plenty of mainstream comedians break stereotype and try on non-comedic movie roles. Surely some of our most talented black performers can be given the latitude to do the same? Relax, and enjoy the movie for what it is.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 1999
A very funny movie which will become a classic. I have seen the movie at least 10 times. Hopefully one day it will be on DVD. The television version takes away some of the comedic dialogue. This all star cast that includes comedy greats such as Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, and celebrities such as Della Reese, and Arsenio Hall. It is almost certain to become a much sought after collectable.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2006
Though Amazon.com didn't think highly of this movie, I did, and thank goodness this movie was made!

Both Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx are not with us anymore, but this IS here. This film shows us the comedic talent of both these men, and to have stars like Eddie Murphy, Danny Aiello, and Della Reese is delicious icing on the cake.

Pryor as Sugar Ray and Murphey as Quick try to keep a vicious mobster from taking over their business. As you might think, they turn the tables on the bad buys!

Jasmine Guy stands out particularly as the mobster's girlfriend, and so does Della Resse as the hard-fighting madam with a heart of gold.

Thank-you, Eddie Murphy, for getting all these wonderful comedic talents together for us and prosperity! Because this movie exists we have them all forever.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2003
Fans of the movie know what would come next in the title of this review. I don't know about the black/white humor thing - I'm white and my husband and I and another couple find this movie side splitting. The talented comedians in this film are great! We have quoted lines to each other from this film for at least the last ten years, anyway. So glad it's out in DVD. It will make a great Valentine's gift for dh.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2005
This is one of my personal top 5 movies. I have no idea how many times I've watched it, but its funny to me each and every time. What a star-studded cast -- and they all come through with great performances.

I wish they had kept this group together for another movie project. It is priceless to watch the alpha dog trailblazers in Black standup work together - Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy. Simply amazing.

I highly recommend this movie, if you haven't already figured that out.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2000
Harlem Nights is without equal in the African American film list. It is a great story which pokes humour at the disparities in America. Who wouldn't find Eddie Murphy,Redd Foxx, and Richard Pryor funny? The movie is a classic. Even the scenes where they poke fun at the champ are hilarious. Della Reese is masterful. Harlem Nights is a great film. The language may be excessive at times but what else could you expect from Pryor and Murphy. Eddie Murphy continues to be a genius and one of the best comedians of all time. If you don't own a copy of Harlem Nights buy it, watch it and love it. It is wonderful.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2002
This movie is one of my all time favorites and I think the critics and others who scorn this movie have no sense of taste (must be the same critics and people who enjoyed The Blair Witch Project).
The comedic line up in this movie are legendary..Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, Eddie Murphy and they do a great job of ACTING in this movie. The critics and others seem to be disappointed that these Legendary Stand-Up comedians don't break charecter and go into a Stand-Up routine in the middle of the movie. This is a situational comedy and is as ever bit as funny as some of Eddie Murphys "praised" comedies like Beverly Hills Cop.
If you are looking for a Stand-Up routine this movie is probably not for you. If you enjoyed "The Blair Witch Project" (The worst movie I personally have ever seen) you probably wouldn't even understand this movie....BUT if you are looking for a great situational comedy that includes hilarious interactions with the absolute Greatest performers in Black Comedy...THIS MOVIE IS A MUST.
Redd Foxx as an Old Blind Stick-Man with an attitude on a craps table...I am in the Gaming Industry ...and trust me just that alone is Hilarious.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2002
The editorial for this film is total BS! I remember seeing this film in the theaters as a seven year old. Although I did not understand all of the jargon associated with the film, I laughed. The most funny scene was the "pinky toe" incident between Reese and Murphy. As a twenty year old, I still laugh at this film and it will always be in my top 10 films of all time. One reviewer put it into perspective. Caucasian humor is truly different than Black humor. For instance, what is the TV show "Friends" all about?!?!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
As far a comedy goes; one of my favorite genre, this is a strange, strange movie. Here we have some of the funniest men in the history of show business, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, Arsenio Hall and then you throw Della Reese into the mix and you should really have something. You should have had a true classic on your hands.

Now I liked this movie. It is the story of Sugar Ray (Richard Pryor) who owns a small speakeasy in Harlem. This is a small place, more or less a hole in the wall that served a few illegal (at the time) drinks, had a craps table and some girls hanging around to serve the customer's other needs. Sugar Ray was doing okay. Then along comes Quick (Desi Arnaz Hines II), a young man with little past and little likelihood for a future. One thing leads to another and Quick kills a man who has threatened Sugar Ray with a knife to his throat. The bond is made and the story is set.

Flash to the future.....

Things have gotten much better for Sugar Ray and Quick. The "club" is actually a very successful club, with a real bar, real gambling tables and real girls, i.e. a very nice brothel and a very nice Madame Vera (Della Reese). Because of their success, a local crime hood wants part of the action. The mobster, Bugsy Calhoon (Michael Lerner) is not a nice person at all. Sugar Ray and Quick are quite suspicious and put a plan into play.

There were high points in this movie and notable occurrences. This was Redd Foxx's last feature film. His interaction with Della Reese was absolutely hilarious. It just does not get better than this. A few years after this movie came out Richard Pryor was hit with multiple sclerosis which put an end to his acting career. This film featured three generations of top actors and comedians, something I cannot remember seeing before.

On the down side, from my take, Murphy was a bit flat in this production (he actually directed it) and Arsenio Hall might as well not have shown up. There is no doubt that the gratuitous foul language in this picture sort of went over the top at times and actually distracted from the overall work. This movie was not as successful at the box office as it should have been. With the actors involved in this work, it is a pity. It should have been a smash.

But that being said, this was an excellent movie. It entertained me; I enjoyed it, and as a matter of fact have watched it twice since my first viewing when it first came out.

I very much wish I could give this one five stars...if for no other reason than Redd Foxx was in it. I fear that I will have to give it four and that is mostly due to the fact that it sort of bends me out of frame that a wonderful opportunity to produce a classic was somehow missed and we will never get another shot at it with these particular wonderful actors.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks
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