Richard Pryor

Harlem Nights

Year: 1989
Directed By: Eddie Murphy
Written By: Eddie Murphy


What I like about this movie is that it is a gangster movie, and not a gangsta movie.  Nothing against gangsta films, but they tend to dominate films and stories about African American organized crime.  There was a time before gangsta rap and the culture it would create, and this is a film that shows us some of it. This film is considered a comedy but I think that is because of how many funny people play the lead roles.  This is a funny movie but I think it is a serious film as well. It has a terrific cast and Eddie Murphy did a good job making the film.

This is a cool movie because it has such a cool setting.  I really like movies set during the age of prohibition in the 20s.  I like the hats, the suits, and the overall style in general. Eddie Murphy did a good job directing the picture and he does great in the lead role.  As Quick he plays the cool and head strong gangster that is being groomed to take over.  As his mentor Richard Pryor plays a great part as Sugar Ray.  I have never been a really big fan of Pryor but I like him as the cool and calm “candy store” owner he plays here.  I grew up with my dad watching Sanford and Son all the time and I really liked seeing Redd Foxx in a movie part. Like Pryor he is really funny in this movie and brings a lot to the cast. Della Reese is incredible as the head mistress woman Vera.  She is intimidating when she fights Quick but shows later that she can also be tenderhearted and caring.

This is a movie that gets darker and more serious as it progresses.  I have always found that a bit unnerving when watching it because I don’t know if I am supposed to be laughing anymore.  About the time Quick kills Dominique La Rue in bed the movie has made a full transition and the jokes are fewer and farther in between.  I still like this movie despite that though.  It has a great cast, a cool story, and it covers an era I am always happy to see.  This movie is worth your time and I would recommend it to anyone.


I really like this movie poster. I think it resembles the film, the genre and the time period all in one. It is very geometric looking and uses an original looking sharp pointed sans serif. I really love how the guys at the top break out of the shape. It is not only symbolic but also very aesthetic, especially when it comes to the fundamentals of art. Another cool little part of this poster is at the bottom. The woman’s dress flows into the background. This again breaks the geometric rectangle. This is one of my favorite posters so far that I have put on the blog.

NEXT MOVIE: Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)