->'''Prince Akeem''': I want a woman who will arouse my intellect as well as my loins!\\
'''Semmi''': ...but where will you find such a woman?\\
'''Prince Akeem''': In America!

1988 comedy starring the underrated comedic duo of Creator/EddieMurphy and Arsenio Hall (before his show).

Heir to the throne of [[{{Bulungi}} Zamunda]], [[TheWisePrince Prince Akeem Joffer]] (Eddie Murphy) spends his days being pampered and spoiled by all those who serve him; he is not even allowed to dress himself or tie his own shoes. This lifestyle has grown frustrating for the young prince, especially when it comes to his future bride [[ArrangedMarriage being chosen for him]] without his say. Akeem implores his father, [[Creator/JamesEarlJones King Jaffe Joffer]], to allow him to choose his own wife, but the monarch declares that the prince cannot defy tradition and insists that the courtship ceremony continue that evening on Akeem's 21st birthday.

That night, Akeem meets his future bride. She is beautiful, obedient and [[ExtremeDoormat completely unable to think for herself]]. Despite his best efforts, Akeem cannot convince her to act as anything other than a mindless slave. He resolves that he will find his own wife; a woman with grace, elegance, taste and culture who loves him for his personality, while still having the kind of strength of will he can respect -- a woman suitable for a king. Tricking his father into letting him travel before getting married, Akeem takes his best friend and servant, Semmi (Arsenio Hall), and heads out to find his future queen. Never having been to North America, the duo decide to conduct their search in the most logical place they can think of: [[TheBigRottenApple Queens, New York City.]]

Akeem and Semmi pose as [[KingIncognito poor African college students]] while they conduct their search, but [[FunnyForeigner being naive to the way America works]] they can only attract women with serious emotional problems. Akeem is almost ready to give up until, one night, he attends a rally where he lays eyes on [[PluckyGirl Lisa McDowell]]. She is his dream in every way and Akeem is convinced that he has found his future Queen, but there's only one problem: [[HilarityEnsues she's already taken...]]

Considered something of a SpiritualSuccessor to ''Film/TradingPlaces'' (also directed by Creator/JohnLandis), the story was conceived by Eddie Murphy and Art Buchwald (though Murphy was given sole credit for its conception in the credits, something that Buchwald wasn't too happy about). It enjoyed both domestic and worldwide success when it was released, even grabbing a couple of Academy Award nominations for costumes and makeup. The film is also notable for being the first in which Eddie Murphy plays more than one role, a trend that he would continue throughout the rest of his career.

!!This film contains examples of:

* AbhorrentAdmirer:
** Subverted at Akeem's ceremony where he meets his bride-to-be. When the bride's father first introduces his daughter, a large woman pushes her way through the audience, but it turns out she's only introducing the bride. Akeem is just as abhorred by the beautiful ExtremeDoormat who is supposed to be his bride. Played straight in the TerribleIntervieweesMontage, with a woman, [[CrosscastRole played by Arsenio Hall]], who "want[s] to tear [Akeem]" apart as well as Semmi, making him SpitTake.
** If his BreakingTheFourthWall at the end is any indication, Darryl doesn't seem to be overly pleased at being the subject of Lisa's sister's amorous intentions.
* AdiposeRex: King Joffer is one, seeing as he's played by Creator/JamesEarlJones.
* AlterKocker: Played by Eddie Murphy, of all people.
* AlternateHistory: A Type 2 on the SlidingScaleOfAlternateHistoryPlausibility.
** At one point, Creator/JamesEarlJones remarked on how his royal marriage had been arranged. So the codified Zamundan monarchy went back at least three generations. That means Zamunda was a monarchy at least as far back as the end of UsefulNotes/WorldWarI. Once the [[UsefulNotes/TurksWithTroops Ottoman Empire]] royalty was broken, old-style monarchy slowly disappeared from DarkestAfrica. But in this world, Zamunda not only survived amongst post-colonial dictatorships and nascent plutocracies, it flourished. And it retained a strict [[StandardRoyalCourt European-style royal court]], which held real power. Arsenio Hall may be a bit of a UpperClassTwit and a RightHandHottie, but he expects to be the right hand of the king of an entire country. That's some [[Series/TheBorgias Borgia-level]] shit.
** On the other hand, there are some hints in the film - such as Zamunda using the pound as its currency, Akeem and Lisa's wedding ceremony being a Christian one (which would imply that the Royal Family and hence most of the country was Christian), Zamundan police and soldiers wearing British-style uniforms, the mentioned popularity of soccer - that suggest that Zamunda was influenced by British rule. It may very well have been a British protectorate at one point, like Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland and Uganda, for example. Lesotho and Swaziland are also two of the three remaining monarchies in Africa (Morocco is the third).
* AnimalReactionShot: Dottie, the little dog at Cleo's place, even giving the audience AsideGlance.
* ArrangedMarriage: Akeem is given a bride as a 21st birthday present.
* AsideGlance: See BreakingTheFourthWall.
* AtomicFBomb: "YES! YES! FUCK YOU TOO!!!", but said in a joyful mood.
* BetaCouple: Darryl and Lisa.
* BigApplesauce / TheBigRottenApple The better part of this film takes place in Queens Village, New York, said to be the poorest neighborhood in Queens, at a time when nobody made a fuss over the New York City subway cars being covered in graffiti. In addition, Akeem and Semmi work a minimum wage job and stay at a tenement in order to maintain their cover.
* BlandNameProduct: [=McDowell's=], a knock-off of UsefulNotes/McDonalds. It's {{Lampshaded}} wonderfully.
-->'''Cleo:''' Look... me and the [=McDonald=]'s people got this little misunderstanding. See, they're [=McDonald=]'s... I'm [=McDowell's=]. They got the Golden Arches, mine is the Golden Arcs. They got the Big Mac, I got the Big Mick. We both got two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions, but their buns have sesame seeds. My buns have no seeds.
** The building used for the restaurant appears to be a disguised Wendy's.
** Cleo is actually seen reading from a [=McDonald=]'s operations manual.
* {{Bowdlerise}}d: This film has been shown on TV on channels such as Creator/ComedyCentral and ''Creator/ABCFamily''.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: Briefly; after convincing his empty-headed bride to start barking like a dog and hop up and down like an imbecile, Akeem stares at the camera in exasperation.
** Semmi does this too, after hearing Akeem proclaim that a view from a ''run-down apartment'' in Queens is "Life. Real life! A thing we have been denied for far too long."
** And Darryl, when he realizes Lisa's sister is trying to have sex with him.
** And Dottie, the little dog at Cleo's home.
* BrideAndSwitch: [[spoiler:When Akeem goes back home, it turns out Lisa came over to marry him.]]
* {{Bulungi}}: Zamunda.
* BurgerFool: Semmi and Akeem. (Akeem wanted to find a girl who would like him, not the Crown Prince)
* ButtMonkey: Semmi
* CelebrityParadox: Given that the cameo by the Duke brothers shows that this film takes place in the same universe as ''Film/TradingPlaces'', Akeem must have an IdenticalStranger in the person of Billy Ray Valentine.
* ChalkOutline: "[[NoodleIncident Damn shame what they did to that dog.]]"
* ChekhovsGun: Akeem flips a coin with his image on it in order to choose between traveling to New York or Los Angeles to find his bride. Later, Cleo shows Lisa some more money with Akeem's image as proof of him being a prince. "When I say the boy has his own money, I mean '''he has his own money'''!"
* ChekhovsSkill: At the beginning, Semmi and Akeem spar with staffs, with Semmi taunting Akeem throughout. These become important in thwarting the hold-up at the [=McDowell=]'s restaurant.
* CityMouse: Semmi
* ClusterFBomb: "Fuck you, fuck you, and fuck ''you''! [[MoodWhiplash Who's next]]?
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: When Akeem discusses his reservations about getting married (pointing out that he's never even been outside the kingdom), his father assumes Akeem wants to bed as many women as possible before getting married.
** When Akeem happily shouts "Good morning, my neighbors!" on his first morning in Queens, someone across the streets shouts "Hey, fuck you!". Akeem mistakes it for a greeting, and shouts "Yes! Fuck you, too!".
** King Jaffe Joffer does this throughout the movie. For instance, after angering Lisa and Cleo [=McDowell=]:
-->'''King Jaffe:''' I know you have been inconvenienced, and I am prepared to compensate you. Shall we say one million American dollars?
-->'''Cleo:''' (''furiously'') [[PapaWolf No way!]]
-->'''King Jaffe:''' Very well then, two million.
* ContinuityCameo: The Duke brothers from ''Film/TradingPlaces''. They're homeless and broke now until Akeem gives them a huge wad of cash.
** "Mortimer, [[HesBack We're Back."]]
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Though it's established early on that both Akeem and Semmi are excellent stick fighters, everyone in America views them this way until the holdup scene.
* DeadpanSnarker: Semmi, and for the most part he doesn't even have to say anything... it's just his expressions.
* DefectorFromDecadence: Prince Akeem.
* DerailingLoveInterests: Handled realistically with Darryl. He's always nice to Lisa and her family and doesn't cheat on her. That never changes, but the dismissive and rude way he treats everyone else he deems beneath him says much more about his true character.
** During the dinner party scene, Darryl makes it clear that while he does love Lisa, he is also a sexist who believes that women want to be told what to do. His lie to her father about her accepting his proposal probably didn't help either (he hadn't even actually proposed yet).
* DescriptionCut: After foiling the robbery, Cleo tells Akeem and Semmi this:
-->'''Cleo:''' Say, leave Sunday night open. I'm having a little get-together at my house.
-->'''Akeem:''' (''to Semmi'') You see? It is working! He has accepted us as equals!
-->(''cut to Akeem and Semmi standing outside in the cold as valets'')
* EarnYourHappyEnding
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: At the Black Awareness rally, when Lisa asks the audience to donate, Darryl, Lisa's [[RomanticFalseLead boyfriend]] immediately passes the donation bin without donating, whereas Akeem immediately donates (albeit a much larger sum than he intended, since he's so intrigued by her).
* ExactWords:
--> '''Cleo''': He got his own money and, baby, when I tell you he's got his own money, I mean the boy has gotten his '''own money'''!
--> (''He hands lisa a Zamunda banknote with Akeem's picture on it.'')
** When Akeem tries to make his arranged bride more independent by ordering her to not do everything he says, she refuses. Doing exactly what he told her to do by refusing to not do whatever he told her to do.
* ExtremeDoormat: Akeem's arranged bride, who hops on one foot and barks like a dog when he tells her to. Disappointed, Akeem decides to seek out a wife with an actual brain instead.
* FairytaleWeddingDress: Lisa's dress has a crinoline around six feet wide and a train at least fifty feet long.
* FeetFirstIntroduction: During King Jaffe's grand entrance with his motorcade in Queens, he's shown feet first stepping on the rose petals his servant girls throw down wherever he goes.
* FictionalCounterpart: [=McDowells=]. It's very heavily lampshaded / parodied--so much so, the movie had to get [=McDonald's=] permission to do as much as they did.
* FishOutOfWater: Akeem and Semmi are completely unaware of how America works.
* FlyoverCountry: Lampshaded.
-->'''Semmi''': [looking at America on a globe] The land is so big. The choices so infinite. Where shall we go: L.A. or New York?
* ForgotICouldChangeTheRules: At the end, King Jaffe and Queen Aeoleon are arguing about what to do concerning their son. Jaffe insists that while he hardly wants to see his son unhappy, tradition insists that he would not be able to marry Lisa anyway, and he can hardly go against tradition. Aeoleon snidely retorts "I thought you were the ''King''."
* FunnyForeigner: Akeem initially comes off as this to Lisa and her family.
* GiftedlyBad: Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate.
-->'''Sweets:''' That's boy's good!
-->'''Clarence:''' Mmm, good and terrible.
* GoldDigger: Lisa's sister Patrice when she thinks Semmi is a prince. [[PairingTheSpares She later latches onto Darryl]].
* HollywoodToneDeaf: Randy Watson.
** Akeem when he sings "To Be Loved" loudly and off-key after his first date with Lisa.
* IdiotBall: Did Darryl seriously not consider that setting up his "engagement" to Lisa ''behind her back'' might irk her just a ''tiny'' bit?
** Apparently not; his beliefs about women are exposed before said "engagement" in a conversation with Akeem:
-->'''Akeem''': Where I'm from, we have to be very aggressive.
-->'''Darryl''': I'm all for that. Especially with women. You know, they may not admit it, but they want a man to take charge. Tell them what to do. ''(Cue the "engagement" scene)''
** On this evidence, Imani - a bride who says yes to ''all'' kinds of orders - would probably be a better match for Darryl.
* ImportantHaircut: Parodied when Akeem asks for an "American haircut". Snip!
* InnocentSwearing: "What does dumbfuck mean?"
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold:
** Semmi. Even though he acts like a selfish jerk and a hindrance to Akeem throughout most of his courtship with Lisa, his heart is in the right place; while he clearly doesn't want Akeem to be unhappy, he is simultaneously aware King Jaffe would not immediately approve of Lisa as the Royal Bride. [[spoiler: Thank heavens all ends well then.]]
** Cleo [=McDowell=]. He can be a bit jerk-ish to Akeem and Semmi at times, and tried to force his daughter to marry Darryl, but it was only because he doesn't want her to struggle financially like he did. Not to mention he goes into PapaWolf territory when King Jaffe insults him and his family, and gets even more pissed when Jaffe tries to pay him off.
%% ** King Jaffe.
* KingIncognito: It's the premise of the movie.
* KissOfDistraction: During Akeem's second date with Lisa, they go to a museum where they see an exhibit about Zamunda, Akeem's home country. But when he sees a photograph of himself as the Prince with his King and Queen parents, he immediately kisses her to keep her from seeing it.
%% * LargeHam(s): It would be easier to point out the non-hams.
* LogoJoke: After the Paramount logo assembles, the camera zooms in, flies over the logo, and spends the opening credits flying over the landscape of Zamunda.
%% * MadonnaWhoreComplex: Lisa is the Madonna, Patrice is the whore.
* MarryForLove: One of the Prince's main motivations for coming to America.
* {{Metaphorgotten}}: King Jaffe Joffer's lecture about how arranged marriages aren't so bad.
--> '''King Jaffe:''' So you see, my son, there is a very fine line between love and nausea!
* MisplacedWildlife: The elephants lined up at the beginning of the engagement ceremony seem to be Asian. This is forgivable, as African elephants are much more aggressive and unpredictable, and difficult to train.
* NiceToTheWaiter:
** Akeem is polite/respectful to those serve him, as well as his co-workers at [=McDowell=]'s. Contrast with Darryl, who pushes Louie Anderson's character around.
*** Oddly enough, Cleo is too. Strange for someone who grew up very poor and employs many of the same.
** Akeem's mother is very kind and considerate to everyone, especially those who Joffe believes are beneath them.
%%* OfficialCouple: Akeem and Lisa.
* OhCrap:
** Akeem, when he brings Lisa to his apartment for the first time, and finds that Semmi has "fixed it up"... very nearly blowing their cover in the process.
** Semmi, when he returns to find Lisa's sister Patrice in the revamped apartment; she's come to see Akeem, and is demanding an explanation for how Akeem and Semmi are living so well on a minimum wage. Luckily, Semmi convincingly lies his way out of the situation, which buys him and Akeem time until...
** Akeem sees flower petals, alerting him that his father is in America looking for him.
-->'''Patrice:''' Why are you hugging [Akeem]? He's just the servant. ''(points)'' [Semmi]'s the prince!\\
'''King Jaffe:''' Who told you that?!\\
''(Everyone looks at Semmi, who is morbidly frightened)''
* PapaWolf: [[spoiler:Cleo [=McDowell=] surprisingly enough. He may want his girls to marry rich guys but insult her and offer to give him money for troubling you and he'll "break a foot off in your royal ass." Plus the fact that he's not a gold digger and genuinely just wants his girls to not have to struggle financially.]]
* PimpedOutDress:
** The wedding dress at the end, [[PrincessesPreferPink a pink one]].
** The 'Queen to Be's' glittering golden gown with the enormously long train qualifies as well.
* PrecisionFStrike
'''Random person:''' Hey, fuck you!\\
'''Akeem:''' YES! YES! FUCK YOU TOO!
* PrettyInMink: The queen wears a few furs when she is in New York, and the King has his lion skin.
* RichInDollarsPoorInSense: Averted and played straight; although definitely naive, the wealthy Prince Akeem has a good head on his shoulders and adjusts quite well to the life of an American on minimum-wage. However, his lower class servant Semmi, accustomed to the luxuries of the Royal Palace and the privileges of being personal assistant to the prince, spends the movie whining like a SpoiledBrat about everything. It helps that at the beginning of the movie Akeem has dreamed of a life of doing things himself after being pampered his entire life (the guy has never even wiped his own ass!) and thus a life of manual labor is a dream come true for him. This is lampshaded by Lisa who comments that she's never seen someone take so much pride in cleaning a floor as Akeem does. Akeem and Semmi's attitudes are contrasted nicely in an exchange between the two while they are working at [=McDowell's=]:
-->'''Semmi:''' What's not fair is me doing manual labour. ''(He looks worryingly at his nails)'' I am badly in need of a manicure.\\
'''Akeem:''' Oh. Listen to you. "I am badly in need of a manicure". ''(Semmi motions as if he is about to snap)'' Were you going to say something? ''(Semmi, realising he has no other choice, gets back to work)''
%% * RichSuitorPoorSuitor: Well, more like Rich Suitor vs. Secretly Richer Suitor Disguised As Poor Suitor.
* RunningGag: Throughout the movie, references to the ersatz-Jheri-Curl, Soul-Glo, are shown.
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: King Jaffe tries to pay off Mr. [=McDowell=] for being "inconvenienced." Which only serves to [[PapaWolf piss]] [[ScrewTheMoneyIHaveRules him off]]. (Fortunately, King Jaffe is understanding, and Queen Aeoleon is more than willing to tell her husband to put a sock in it by this point.)
* SeinfeldianConversation: The old men in the barber shop talk about [[UsefulNotes/MuhammadAli boxers]].
* SelfMadeMan: Cleo [=McDowell=] grew up in a slum, and was able to start a successful (if obviously plagiarized) restaurant. His attempt to marry Lisa off to a rich boy is so she doesn't have it as hard as he had it.
* ShoutOut:
** Akeem gives the money Semmi was spending to two homeless men, who turn out to be the brothers from ''Film/TradingPlaces''. Also, the old Jewish guy in the Barbershop calls Akeem [[Series/Roots1977 "Kunta Kinte"]]. John Amos, who plays Cleo [=McDowell=], played old Kunta Kinte in ''Roots''.
** Akeem says hello to a small elephant named Literature/{{Babar}}.
* SlidingScaleOfShinyVersusGritty: A major theme of the movie, for both the plot and the comedy.
* SpitTake: Semmi does one after being hit on in a bar by a CreepyCrossdresser... that wasn't supposed to be a crossdresser. "She" was played by Arsenio Hall, [[TalkingToHimself hitting on himself]].
* TheStinger: During the credits, there's a scene where the AlterKocker tells a joke about a man trying to get a waiter to taste his soup.
-->''"Ahhh, vadda ya know from funny, ya bastard?"''
* TableSpace: Jaffe and his wife sit at one end of a long table, while Akeem sits at the other end. They communicate through an intercom. Akeem getting up to walk to the opposite end to talk to his parents face-to-face is a massive ordeal. This is apparently symptomatic of Akeem's entire relationship with his parents. When he does sit with them, his father remarks in surprise that he's grown a mustache.
* TerribleIntervieweesMontage: Akeem and Semmi's attempt to find his queen at a bar:
-->I have a secret... [Prince Akeem and Semmi lean forward to listen closely] I worship the Devil!
-->[takes two shots in a row] See, that's the problem. I can't find a man that can satisfy me. Now some guys go an hour, hour in a half, that's it. A man's gotta put in overtime for me to get off [takes another shot].
-->I'm not interested in a man unless he drives a BMW.
-->Hey, baby, I'm almost single. My husband's on death row.
--> *Holding one hand right over a lit lighter flame as she speaks* I was Joan of Arc in my former life.
* ThrowTheDogABone: Akeem hands a large bundle of cash to a pair of homeless men sleeping outside... who turn out to be Randolph and Mortimer Duke from ''Film/TradingPlaces''.
* {{Unishment}}: King Jaffe Joffer is outraged with how Akeem and his servant Semmi have been living in a squalid New York City apartment, and working for a local fast food restaurant. Semmi's "punishment"?
-->'''King Jaffe:''' You will confine yourself to our royal suite at the Waldorf-Astoria. [to Oha] And see that he puts on some decent attire. [To the female servants] And I want you to bathe him '''thoroughly'''.
-->'''Semmi:''' [happily] Oh, thank you, your majesty! [He then shamefully lowers his head again]
* UnusualEuphemism: Still can be offensive, but references to native African fauna is a bit jarring.
%% * VideoCredits
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: What did King Jaffe do about the chosen bride who has just spent her ''entire life'' preparing to be a princess? For all we know, she [[OffscreenInertia could still be hopping on one foot while barking]]. Or, hopefully, just went back home - and maybe grew a personality.