33 years ago, Harlem Nights was released. It had an all-star comedy cast that included Richard Pryor, Robin Harris, Eddie Murphy, Redd Foxx, Charlie Murphy, Arsenio Hall.
The film tells the story of “Sugar” Ray and Vernest “Quick” Brown (Pryor and Murphy) as a team running a nightclub in the late 1930s in Harlem while contending with gangsters and corrupt police officials.
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It also starred Danny Aiello, Della Reese, Michael Lerner, Jasmine Guy, Lela Rochon, Stan Shaw and more.
The film is a cult classic that gave us countless quotable scenes and despite negative reviews and it was a financial success that grossed $95 million against a $30 million budget.
As we celebrate the film that gave us way too many laughs to count, here are nine interesting Harlem Nights facts you probably didn’t know about.
The movie starred three generations of African-American stand-up comics and actors: Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor, and Eddie Murphy.
It’s the only film that Eddie Murphy wrote, directed, executive produced, and starred in
This is Redd Foxx’s final film
The word “fuck” and its various derivatives are spoken 133 times in the movie.
Redd Foxx and Della Reese chemistry albeit vulgar on the set inspired Eddie Murphy to create a series starring the two. The result was The Royal Family (1991), which was Foxx’s final project before his death.
Despite being set in Harlem, the entire film is shot in LA
The film is loosely based on the real-life feud between Jewish gangster Dutch Schultz and Black gangster Bumpy Johnson over control of Harlem’s lucrative “numbers” gambling rackets in the mid 1930s.