Harlem Nights

Metascore
16

Overwhelming dislike - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 14
  2. Negative: 11 out of 14

Where To Watch

Stream On
Stream On

Critic Reviews

  1. 50
    People may go to see Eddie Murphy once, twice, three or even six times in disposable movies like Harlem Nights, but if he wants to realize his potential he needs to work with a better writer and director than himself.
  2. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    50
    The best thing about the film is the way it allows Richard Pryor to rise above the demeaning buffoon roles he's been playing for the last few years and finally play a character with dignity and style. [17 Nov 1989, p.89]
  3. Harlem Nights isn't the embarrassing vanity production it might have been, there's still not a lot to be said for it.
  4. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    38
    I don't mind that Nights is a potty-mouth benchmark; crude verbiage is appropriate to the leads, as well as the film's subject matter. This is, however, an amazingly mean two hours. Even the funniest gag involves Murphy's fatal shooting of three men. [17 Nov 1989, p.6D]
  5. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Dave Kehr
    25
    In Harlem Nights, Eddie Murphy continues his one-man war against the female gender. Those women he doesn't kill outright are punched, maimed and slugged with garbage cans. But apparently they deserve it-there isn't a single female character in the film who isn't a prostitute. [17 Nov 1989, p.A]
  6. Harlem Nights is not the disaster some people might have been expecting. Mr. Murphy has appeared in far worse films written and directed by people much more experienced.
  7. The plot exposition gets laborious in spots, the period flavor is only occasional and approximate, and the direction tends to be clunky, yet the strong secondary cast helps to take up some of the slack.
  8. 20
    Self-serving, storyless tripe.
  9. 10
    This blatantly excessive directorial debut for Eddie Murphy is overdone, too rarely funny and, worst of all, boring.
  10. 10
    Unfortunately, entertainer-for-life Murphy, directing for the first time, seems to have spent his energies on topping the bill rather than on the bill itself.
  11. 10
    Eddie Murphy's directorial work is amateurish at best. And as a performer he looks as if he is in agony, as if his mother made him stand in front of the camera for punishment.
  12. Los Angeles Times
    Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    10
    The movie is full of phallic gags about little-bitty guns and crude jokes at physical or emotional infirmities. [17 Nov 1989, p.6]
  13. Time
    Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    10
    The movie veers uneasily from not-funny comedy to not-persuasive melodrama. Murphy forgets that the dialogue in old-fashioned crime pictures was as highly stylized as the settings. In place of sharply polished wisecracks, he gives us the steady mutter of the witless, unfelt obscenities that are the argot of our modern mean streets. [27 Nov 1989, p.88]
  14. The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    Reviewed by: Chris Dafoe
    0
    As it stands, Murphy has put his idols and friends in front of a camera, given them a watered down version of The Sting and hoped they'd make the best of it. They don't. [23 Nov 1989, p.C12]
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 53 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 9
  2. Negative: 1 out of 9
  1. DreH
    Jun 25, 2009
    10
    Ok.. i decided to stroll the bottom movies out of random bored to see what was there. Then i saw Harlem Nights. I think i must be missing Ok.. i decided to stroll the bottom movies out of random bored to see what was there. Then i saw Harlem Nights. I think i must be missing something, or they all watched a boot-legged version of this movie. This movies is definitely one of the better movies ever made, with a stellar cast. I think this comedy is more cultural based and appeal to a specific crowd. That does not make this a bad movie, but just a movie not for everyone. But bottom 200, by no means Full Review »
  2. AngelE.
    Nov 30, 2008
    10
    Easily one of Eddie Murphy' best movies. Every character and scene in this movie is memorable. You will remember ( you shot my pinky toe Easily one of Eddie Murphy' best movies. Every character and scene in this movie is memorable. You will remember ( you shot my pinky toe and stop shooting that little piece of s##t ) quotes for years to come. If you have seen this film then you know what I am talking about. Full Review »
  3. Ozy
    Dec 16, 2014
    10
    Why oh why oh why is this movie rated so low by the 'experts' ?? I understand that a number of people wont like this movie, like people whoWhy oh why oh why is this movie rated so low by the 'experts' ?? I understand that a number of people wont like this movie, like people who watch gone with the wind for 10,000th time on Saturday night. People like my mother who wont find the movie all that amusing because there were no real romantic scenes. Or people like my 5th grade teacher who hated cursing. Yeah fair enough they may hate it - but their views are not the be all and end all view of this movie. I have watched this movie several times and enjoyed it thoroughly. I laughed all the way thru. I loved the chemistry between the characters i thought the movie was brilliant. Sorry experts, you are Wrong. Full Review »