Follow TV Tropes


Film / Beverly Hills Cop

Go To
"Trust me!"

Beverly Hills Cop is a 1984 American buddy action comedy film directed by Martin Brest and starring Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley, a hip, street-smart detective in mid-1980s Detroit; as something of a loose cannon, he's not well respected by Da Chief, but the other guys on the force love him. One day, an old friend of his visits — then ends up killed by hitmen just outside Axel's apartment. Determined to find out what happened despite being warned away from the case, Axel takes vacation time and follows the killers' trail back to Beverly Hills, California.

Hilarity Ensues as Axel adjusts to the more straight-laced world of Beverly Hills, using his comedic timing and unflappability to get himself out of some sticky situations. As he tries to build a case against the Mooks that killed his friend back in Detroit, he manages to talk his way into (and out of) the Beverly Hills jail, his hotel, a bonded warehouse, a country club, and more. Just when he's about to crack the case, the Big Bad Victor Maitland (Steven Berkoff) arrives and kidnaps his not-quite-love-interest, Jenny Summers (Lisa Eilbacher), forcing the Beverly Hills police detectives he's been trying to win over to come and help. The movie ends in a massive, scenery-chewing shootout at the villain's huge mansion, with the local detectives learning that sometimes bending the rules isn't so bad after all.

The film that cemented Eddie Murphy as a megastar, it was followed by Beverly Hills Cop II (1987) and Beverly Hills Cop III (1994). After a long period of Development Hell, a fourth film, Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley, is currently being produced by Netflix.

Beverly Hills Cop provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: While walking through Beverly Hills for the first time, Foley spots two guys in very goofy, ostentatious red-and-black leather suits — the exact kind of outfit that Raw helped popularize in fashion. Axel cracks up.
  • Advertised Extra: Mikey's actor, James Russo, is credited in the opening credits alongside Axel, Rosewood, Taggart, Jenny and Maitland, among others. Mikey gets offed in the first fifteen minutes.
  • The Alleged Car: Axel's beat up old Chevy Nova, which is apparently a Running Gag between him and Jenny.
  • Artistic License Law Enforcement:
    • It would be unusual for a detective and a sergeant to be assigned to a single incident involving one person disturbing the peace in a police department for a city as large as Beverly Hills. It's possible that since Axel was a cop they wanted to make sure the case was being handled efficiently.
    • After returning from the warehouse, Axel sneaks into the back seat of Rosewood and Taggart's car and jump scares them as a goof. In real life for obvious reasons police officers never casually leave their doors unlocked, even if it was an unmarked car.
  • Audit Threat: When Axel is caught illegally searching for evidence, he pretends to be a customs inspector and threatens a bonded warehouse employee who questions his authority with a security audit. The employee drops his objections. Axel does this by pointing out a Porsche he allegedly saw outside, which probably didn't even exist, but said employee still didn't want to risk it.
  • Badass Boast: Axel very calmly and softly tells Maitland, "Y'know, Victor, I know that you're into a lot of crooked shit, and I have a pretty good idea that you had Mikey killed, and when I find out for sure, I'm gonna fuck you up real bad."
  • Badass in Distress: Axel is captured by Maitland's mooks in the warehouse and nearly executed. Thankfully Rosewood arrives just in time to save him.
  • Bad Omen Anecdote: Billy explicitly calls out the Bolivian Army Ending of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid near the end, when he and Taggart are pinned down by enemy gunfire. It's clear that he is having the time of his life while doing so. Taggart, on the other hand, is less than amused.
  • Banana in the Tailpipe: Trope Namer. To throw Taggart and Rosewood off his trail, Axel orders food delivered to their car, which is outside the hotel. While they are distracted, he gets a bunch of bananas from a buffet attendant and stuffs them in the car's tailpipe. When they attempt to follow him, it stalls out. Bogomil reams them out for it, and Foster and McCabe, the team that is eventually reassigned to tail Axel, teases Billy by giving him an "anti-banana disguise" (a pair of gag glasses with a banana for a nose).
  • Banana Peel: A man driving a tractor-trailer rig full of stolen cigarettes intentionally runs into a fruit truck, causing it to spill its contents all over the road. This causes a transit bus to slip on the fruit and go into a spin.
  • Batman Cold Open: The film starts with Axel Foley undercover trying to bust a cigarette smuggling operation and turns into a big chase with him hanging from the back of a speeding semi and dozens of police cars.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: It starts with Axel, dressed in jeans and a hoodie, bluffing his way into a suite at the Beverly Palm Hotel by pretending to be a freelance reporter doing an exclusive interview of Michael Jackson for Rolling Stone and threatening to call the hotel staff racists. The theme continues throughout all three films.
  • Behind the Black: As Zack walks along the corridor leading past the dining room of the Maitland mansion during the final shootout, the camera is seen from the window facing in towards the dining room as Zack moves past one of the entryways. Had Zack looked to his left, he most likely would have seen Axel himself, lying in wait after being shot, who ambushes and kills Zack as he walks past the far entryway and turns around.
  • Big Bad: Victor Maitland is a drug smuggler who ordered Mikey's death, prompting Axel to investigate him.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Occurs twice. The first time comes after Axel tells Billy to Wait Here outside Maitland's warehouse, and Billy is subsequently forced to go rescue him. The second is when Bogomil bursts in on the Mexican Standoff between Axel and Maitland, with Jenny as the hostage.
  • Black and Nerdy: Detective Foster, one-half of the second team assigned to shadow Axel, who has no problem lampshading it:
    McCabe: We're the first team.
    Foster: Yeah, and we're not gonna fall for a banana in the tailpipe.
    Axel: [nasally voice] You're not gonna fall for the banana in the tailpipe? [normal voice] It should be more natural, brother. It should flow out, like this - "Look, man, I ain't fallin' for no banana in my tailpipe!" See, that's more natural for us. You been hanging out with this dude too long.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Bogomil's cover story at the end about Axel being part of a multijurisdictional task force on organized crime is so obviously made up on the spot that the police chief is on the verge of cracking up over it, but he lets it pass, given the incredible nature of the bust they've just pulled off.
      Chief: You actually expect me to believe that report, Lieutenant?
      Bogomil: That's the report I'm filing, sir.
      Chief: [looks around at the other cops] Sergeant Taggart, why don't you tell me what really happened?
      Taggart: It happened... exactly the way the lieutenant said it did, sir.
      Chief: [Beat] Well... I guess congratulations are in order. That report had better be on my desk in the morning. [leaves]
      Axel: You were lying your ass off!
      • Maitland has his goons throw Foley through a window, and claims Foley threw himself out. The police buy Maitland's story since he's perceived to be much more credible than Axel.
      • After the banana-in-the-tail-pipe incident, Axel drags Taggart and Rosewood to a strip club when he knows both officers are on-duty. They happen to foil a robbery while they're there (Axel does a good chunk of the work), and all three are dragged back to the station to explain to Bogomil why they were there. Axel tries to cover for them by claiming that they simply followed him to the strip club and apprehended the would-be robbers on their own, and calls them "super-cops"; Taggart denies this, and ends up telling the truth instead. Axel Lampshades this by stating that his "super-cop story" was actually working before they "fucked it up", earning a Blink and You'll Miss It smile from Bogomil.note 
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Discussed by Rosewood during the big shootout, to Taggart's horror.
    Rosewood: You know what I keep thinking about? You know the end of Butch Cassidy? Redford and Newman are almost out of ammunition, and the whole Bolivian army is out- out in front of this little hut?
    Taggart: [gives Billy a Death Glare] Billy, I'm gonna make you pay for this.
  • Book Ends:
    • At the beginning of the movie, Inspector Todd angrily tells Axel to go to the hospital to get his head checked out after Mikey gets killed. At the end, Lieutenant Bogomil, in a much friendlier tone, tells Axel to go to the hospital to get his shoulder looked at after the shootout at Maitland's mansion.
    • Patti LaBelle's "Stir it Up" is heard first when Axel arrives in Beverly Hills, and again when he leaves at the end of the film.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Inverted with Axel's Browning Hi-Power. During the shootout at Maitland's mansion, Axel fires nine shots from the first magazine before reloading and eight from the second, several shots less than the Hi-Power's typical 13-round magazine.
  • By-the-Book Cop: The basic premise of the film is the contrast between Axel's Cowboy Cop methods and the by-the-book methods of the Beverly Hills Police Department. Over the course of the story, Taggart, Rosewood, and Bogomil all ease up to varying degrees.
    • Billy starts to idolize Axel and, in the second film, takes a level in badass to emulate him.
    • Taggart learns to trust his instincts and act on probable cause, but he's always angry about it.
    • Bogomil lies blatantly to the police chief in order to cover for Axel at the end.
  • Catchphrase: Axel: "Trust me!" Jeffrey: "This is not my [locker/office]!" Todd: "You're damn right!"
  • The Cavalry: The entire Beverly Hills police force shows up just in the nick of time to rescue Taggart and Rosewood.
  • Character Development: Both Rosewood and Taggart have moments when they are forced to abandon their By-the-Book Cop methods in order to rescue Axel and Jenny, respectively.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Billy shows symptoms of this, with Taggart getting to play straight man to his bizarre non-sequiturs.
    Billy: It says here that, by the time the average American is 50, has more than five pounds of undigested red meat in his bowels.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Axel's speech is littered with profanity, which is deliberately contrasted with the Beverly Hills cops' elaborate politeness. When Axel is first being interrogated, his F-bomb gets him punched in the stomach by Taggart, after which Bogomil offers to allow him to press charges. Axel is visibly surprised by this.
    Taggart: We're more likely to believe an important local businessman than a foul-mouthed jerk from out of town.
    Axel: "Foul-mouthed"? Fuck you, man.
    • Axel must have learned it from Inspector Todd, who doesn't just Cluster F-Bomb, he CARPET F-Bombs.
  • Cool Guns: Axel uses a Browning Hi-Power.
  • Cops Need the Vigilante: Detective Axel Foley isn't a cop in Beverly Hills. His antics are amusing, but illegal.
  • Covers Always Lie: On the movie poster, Axel leans on a Mercedes while holding a .45-cal automatic. However, he uses a Browning 9mm throughout the film.
  • Cowboy Cop: In the opening, Axel is running a sting operation with a truckload of stolen cigarettes. The problem is that he didn't tell anyone he was doing so, leading to a beat cop blowing the deal. Inspector Todd chews him out over this, implying that it's hardly the first time he's gone off without authorization.
  • Creator Cameo: Director Martin Brest appears at the end of the movie as the clerk who checks Axel out of the hotel.
  • Creepy Blue Eyes: Victor Maitland has the watery blue.
  • Crooks Are Better Armed: When the protagonist cops invade Victor Maitland's estate, they're armed with pistols, plus Taggart's shotgun. The mooks who attack them are armed with fully automatic submachine guns, while Zack carries a shotgun.
  • Cult Soundtrack: The soundtrack with music by the Pointer Sisters and Harold Faltermeyer became a hit album by itself.
  • Da Chief:
    • Axel's boss, Inspector Todd, who was played by an actual Detroit cop.
    Axel: Wait a second, look. I just thought, that if there was a problem -
    Todd: Don't think, Axel! It makes my dick itch!
    • Also, Chief Hubbard of the Beverly Hills Police Department. He has a different style than Todd, but is just as stern.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Chief Hubbard has some choice words for Axel after recounting his behavior in Beverly Hills.
    Chief Hubbard: I just bet you are the pride of your department in Detroit.
  • Damsel in Distress: Jenny is kidnapped by Maitland after she and Axel discover Maitland's drug smuggling operation in the warehouse. This is basically done to give the main characters a reason to storm Maitland's mansion without waiting for backup, as any reasonable cop would do under normal circumstances.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Taggart and Billy exchange straight man and funny guy roles throughout the film, but usually it's Taggart snarking at something Billy says. Axel also alternates between deadpan and overtly laughing at the antics of the Beverly Hills cops.
  • Death Glare: Taggart is good at these; just ask Axel and Billy. Inspector Todd has a pretty serious one too, as does Chief Hubbard.
  • Delicious Distraction: Axel successfully distracts Rosewood and Taggart on a long stakeout by sending over a lavish dinner, and uses the opportunity to sabotage their car so they can't follow him later. He does it again against Detectives Foster and McCabe, but this time only uses the distraction to introduce himself.
  • Destination Defenestration: Axel: "I was thrown. Through. A fucking. Window!"
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Axel distracts Detectives Foster and McCabe by sending them coffee and doughnuts, ultimately paid for by the Beverly Hills Police Department.
  • Double Tap: Zack murders Mikey with two shots to the back of the head.
  • The Dragon: Zack is Maitland's bodyguard and apparent enforcer-in-chief; Axel flips him into a buffet table in their first encounter, and shoots him dead in their last.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Zack does this several times during his cat-and-mouse game with Axel during the climax, which is a good indicator for Axel to start running.
  • Drives Like Crazy: The crook driving the cigarette truck deliberately rams into multiple cars for his amusement.
  • '80s Hair: Thanks to some of the female hairstyles in the second movie, it's much more obviously set in a wealthy neighborhood in The '80s than the first.
  • Everything Is Racist: How Axel manages to get a hotel room in the Beverly Palms Hotel.
    Axel: Don't you think I realize what's going on here, miss? Who do you think I am, huh? Don't you think I know that if I was some hotshot from out of town that pulled inside here and you guys made a reservation mistake, I'd be the first one to get a room and I'd be upstairs relaxing right now. But I'm not some hotshot from out of town, I'm a small reporter from "Rolling Stone" magazine that's in town to do an exclusive interview with Michael Jackson that's gonna be picked up by every major magazine in the country. I was gonna call the article "Michael Jackson Is Sitting On Top of the World," but now I think I might as well just call it "Michael Jackson Can Sit On Top of the World Just As Long As He Doesn't Sit in the Beverly Palm Hotel 'Cause There's No Niggers Allowed in There!"
  • Fingertip Drug Analysis: Axel does this when he searches the warehouse with Jenny and finds bags of white powder under the coffee. It ain't sugar.
  • Fish out of Water: Axel Foley, a streetwise Detroit police detective, must solve a murder case in swanky Beverly Hills.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Axel, who "fractured an occasional law".
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you frame-by-frame the scene where Axel throws Zack over the buffet table, you can clearly see the faces of their stunt doubles.
  • Fruit Cart: In the opening scene, the stolen cigarette truck hits a flatbed truck selling fruit and vegetables off the bed. As an added bonus, the spilled juice from the fruit causes a huge commuter bus to skid and spin out 180 degrees in the street.
  • Funny Foreigner: Serge (played by Bronson Pinchot), one of Jenny's employees at the gallery, has a truly absurd accent that goes entirely unexplained.
  • The Gadfly: It's rare to find a scene where Foley doesn't spend time pushing the buttons of whoever he's talking to. He even does it to his own boss, and that's after getting in trouble for an unauthorized sting operation! He gets under Taggart's skin so quickly that the latter slugs him in the stomach.
  • Getting the Boot: This happens to Axel - through a glass window.
  • Guile Hero: Axel may be a good shot, but the majority of the headway he makes in the course of his investigations comes from his ability to talk his way through a situation and influence people who have something he needs.
  • Hero of Another Story: Rand, the unseen cop whom Inspector Todd assigns Mikey's murder investigation.
    Axel: I heard a rumor that you're gonna use Rand on this case and between the two of us, the guy doesn't know the time of day.
    Todd: Don't mess with me now, Axel.
    Axel: This is the first time he's left his desk in twelve years.
    Todd: At least he's had twelve years. Anyway, it's a homicide case and it belongs to Rand.
  • Hollywood Law: An interesting example, because, instead of ignoring Maitland's fourth amendment rights, Axel is actually needlessly sensitive to them. When he and Jenny go to search Maitland's warehouse for drugs, Billy asks why he can't come along; Axel explains that, because Billy is a cop in that jurisdiction, and they don't have probable cause, the judge would rule the search illegal and deem it inadmissible in court. Of course, realistically, any judge with a single digit IQ would also hold that Axel was acting as an agent of the Beverly Hills police, so that justification is unnecessary. The real reason they could legally search the warehouse is that Jenny is the manager of Maitland's gallery and has a key, given to her by Maitland himself, to the gallery's warehouse, where the incriminating crate is simply sitting on the floor. If the police are admitted to a place with the consent of a person who would normally have access, then they do not need a warrant if there's probable cause. If the manager of a business willingly permits the police to search said business, the police do not need a warrant.
  • Human Ladder: Taggart and Rosewood try this to scale a wall during the infiltration of Victor Maitland's mansion while Axel goes around. They struggle with it several times before they finally get over the wall, much to Axel's amusement.
  • Human Shield: When Axel confronts Maitland at the climax, he holds Jenny Summers in front of him.
    Maitland: Be careful, old boy. You might hit me.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: Inspector Todd points out to Axel that Mikey was killed by professionals, and that they weren't worrried about Axel. "If they were, you'd be lying beside him in that meat wagon." Justified Axel was knocked out by the killers, who then put two bullets in Mikey's head. As Axel hadn't seen their faces (and they didn't know he was a policeman), they left him alone.
  • Ignoring by Singing: After messing up the cigarette sting operation Axel is bothered by Jeffrey. Axel uses the "la la la" version while trying to get Jeffrey to stop.
    Axel: I am not listening to you.
    Jeffrey: Great. Real mature.
    Axel: I am not listening to Jeffrey, but he's still talking.
    Jeffrey: I hate when you do that.
  • I'll Kill You!: After Maitland has Jenny dragged out and put in his car:
    Axel: If somethin' happens to her...
    Maitland: Hmmm? I'm all ears.
    Axel: I'll kill you.
    Maitland: Really? That would be a neat trick.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Maitland's goons apparently trained on how to shoot up statuary rather than people; despite rocking out at full-auto with their Uzis, they can't hit anything.
  • Incoming Ham: IS THAT FUCKING FOLEY IN HERE?!?!?!? Inspector Todd's entrance causes the entire locker room to go silent except for Axel's sotto voce Oh, Crap!.
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: While pulling a Bavarian Fire Drill in a bonded warehouse Axel Foley threatens a clerk who's asking awkward questions.
    "I bet you that is your Porsche that's parked outside, isn't it? Isn't that your Porsche? Is it? How would you like me to have the IRS come down here and crawl up your fuckin' ass with a microscope? 'Cause they'll do it! I've seen them do it! It's not a pretty sight!"
  • I Resemble That Remark!:
    Taggart: We're more likely to believe an important local businessman than a foul-mouthed jerk from out of town.
    Axel: Foul-mouthed? Fuck you, man.
  • It Came from Beverly Hills: If the title didn't clue you in already, most of the film's action takes place in Beverly Hills and its environs.
  • Jump Scare: A non-horror example of the trope: One happens near the end of the film, when Victor shoots Axel.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Axel has no jurisdiction in Beverly Hills but manages to bluff his way through an investigation with a quick badge flash and/or straight-up lying.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Apart from getting thrown into the buffet table, most of the scenes with Zack are played quite serious, such as the scene where he confronts Mikey before shooting him in the back of the head. During the final shootout, he sends Foley running multiple times and is only taken down when Foley waits for him and greets him with a three-round burst.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: The two goons shooting at Rosewood and Taggart with Uzis surrender when The Cavalry arrives. Then Rosewood proclaims them all under arrest.
  • Leitmotif: The instrumental piece "Axel F" has become a sort of national anthem for The '80s.
  • Lemming Cops: When the Beverly Hills cops are driving en masse into Maitland's mansion, some of his mooks try a getaway only to crash and cause the entire line of police cars to get into a chain of rear-end collisions, and Bogomil to break his By-the-Book Cop face to exclaim, "Oh, shit!"
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Detective Billy Rosewood is generally a nice guy, although somewhat naive and dim-witted. Do not aim, or worse yet, fire, a gun at him. You will see the flash, the bullet will kill you, and your dead ears will never hear the report. He never needs a second shot.
  • Meaningful Background Event: As Zack moves around a corner late in the final shootout, the viewer can see a slight hint of blue in the lower right-hand portion of the screen. As the camera moves, this is revealed to be Axel's knee, revealing that he waited for him so he could shoot him.
  • Mexican Standoff: Occurs briefly at the end of the first movie, with Axel squaring off against Maitland, with Jenny as hostage. Bogomill breaks it up by entering the scene, giving her an opportunity to break free and giving the two cops a clear shot.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: A gangland style murder and some German bearer bonds in Detroit lead Axel to uncover a large cocaine smuggling operation in Beverly Hills.
  • Multiple Gunshot Death: After Jenny frees herself from Maitland and dives for cover, Axel and Bogomil take the opportunity to very loudly fire every bullet they have into him.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Zack does this to Axel after revealing that he murdered Mikey. When he leaves with Maitland, he leaves Casey to take over for him.
  • No Warrant? No Problem!: This is Axel Foley's modus operandi (especially because he's a Detroit cop, and thus has no jurisdiction), but one example stands out on the first film, where he makes a Lampshade Hanging that he has no probable cause to check Maitland's warehouse for drugs (to keep Officer Rosewood from following him), and pulls a Bavarian Fire Drill on the guards involving Audit Threats when they think it's wrong for him to be there.
  • Non-Specifically Foreign: Serge. What the heck was that accent supposed to be?
  • Not Helping Your Case: Lampshaded by Jenny. All things considered, it wasn't the best look for Axel to barge into Victor Maitland's office unannounced and ask very pointed questions in a way that would guarantee any reasonable person have him thrown out. Subverted, of course, when Maitland turns out to be the one behind Mikey's killing in the first place.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Jenny fills the basic plot-role of the love interest: Axel even has to storm the villain's lair at the end to rescue her, but she and Axel never become more than just friends.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Beverly Hills Police have some traits of this, but come around in the end.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • Not exactly intentional on his part, but the police and criminals of Beverly Hills alike mistake Axel's less than textbook approach as ignorance and stupidity. That doesn't stop him from taking advantage of their underestimation.
    • He also deliberately uses a "foolish black man" act several times to get past people by convincing them he's just a simpleminded servant.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: When Axel gets shot in the shoulder by Maitland, he keeps going on one arm. It's even lampshaded near the end.
    Chief Hubbard: "What is that man doing here?"
    Axel: "Bleeding, sir."
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Axel spends most of his time as a wisecracking, easygoing smartass. But when Maitland is getting ready to take Jenny away, Axel goes completely cold and very quietly tells Maitland that if Jenny is harmed, he's a dead man. Jenny isn't hurt, but Maitland ends up riddled with bullets anyway.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: Axel keeps his service automatic shoved into his belt, behind his back. Jeffrey and Inspector Todd do this as well. It is somewhat surprising to see Todd carry his gun in this manner, since the actor who plays him (Gilbert Hill) was a police detective in real life.
  • Pistol-Whipping: When Zack comes to kill Mikey, his associate clubs Axel with his pistol.
  • Platonic Declaration of Love: When Axel asks Michael Tandino why he once took the fall in a car theft and didn't tell the police about Axel's involvement, Tandino tells him "Because I love you, man."
  • Playing Drunk: While at the strip bar with Taggart and Rosewood, Axel pretends to be drunk to make a suspected armed robber think he's harmless and get close enough to take him out.
  • Police Brutality: Even if Axel was egging him on, Taggart still assaulted a man who was in policy custody. Bogomil calls him out on it.
  • Precision F-Strike: When the Beverly Hills cops curse, it's a sign of a significant O.O.C. Is Serious Business moment.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Averted; Mikey needs two shots to the head before he dies.
  • Prohibited Hero Saves the Day: Axel Foley is explicitly prohibited from investigating Mikey's murder. He does it anyway, and ends up taking down Victor Maitland.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Lieutenant Bogomil, who in early scenes comes off as a by-the-book Obstructive Bureaucrat, proves himself one of these when he actually listens to Axel's theories about Maitland and launches an investigation. Later, he overhears that Axel and two of his officers are Storming the Castle without authorization. Instead of getting angry, he assumes they have a good reason and responds by sending half of the Beverly Hills Police department to back them up, while arming himself to personally join the gunfight.
    Dispatcher: Sir, reports of shots fired, same location. 609 Palm Canyon Road.
    Bogomil: [as he straps on a holster and his personal weapon] Put it out as a nine-nine-eight! Officers need assistance! Undercovers on scene!
    Dispatcher: Sir?
    Bogomil: Do it! I want all North End units to roll, South End units stay in their location. Damn!
    Dispatcher: All units, 609 Palm Canyon Road. Undercover officers at location.
    • He also reprimands Taggart for assaulting Foley and even offers Foley the chance to file charges against him. This is particularly justified since assaulting anyone during questioning is a legal and PR nightmare for any police precinct.
    • Also Inspector Todd, who, although infuriated with Axel's flagrant disregard for police procedure and the entire Lucky Strike fiasco, understands that Axel does what he does because he cares about being a good cop but just has to learn the patience to play by the rules.
  • Reformed Criminal: Axel regularly notes that he "wasn't always a cop".
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • Axel manages to get himself a luxury suite in a posh Beverly Hills hotel by claiming to be a Rolling Stone reporter and threatening to write an article claiming the hotel was racist because they "lost" his non-existent reservation.
    • Similarly, how does Axel manage to bypass the maitre'd at the Harrow Club, let alone get an audience with Maitland while he's having brunch? By pretending he's Victor's lisping gay lover, "Ramon", who might've given him herpes. It's such a deeply uncomfortable encounter for the waiter that he lets him through, no questions asked.
  • Robbing the Mob Bank: Michael Tandino steals millions of dollars in bearer bonds from Victor Maitland. Unfortunately for him, Maitland is a major drug dealer, who sends hit men to find Tandino, recover the bonds, and execute him.
  • Rock Star Parking: The series has several, including instances where more than one car is able to find a spot right in front of the destination.
  • Saved by the Awesome: It's strongly implied that the reason the police chief lets Bogomil get away with his Blatant Lies at the end is the magnitude of the drug bust that was just made.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Some of Maitland's security goons try a getaway upon realizing that the entire Beverly Hills police force is on its way into the mansion. They wind up crashing their van and getting arrested anyway.
  • Sequel Non-Entity: Jenny is neither seen nor mentioned in either of the sequels.
  • Sherlock Scan: At the strip bar, Axel is able to determine that two guys are about to rob the place solely on the fact that they were wearing overcoats in the middle of June.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better:
    • The robbers in the strip club are both armed with shotguns.
    • Zack uses a shotgun when he faces Axel during the final shootout.
    • In anticipation of a shootout, Sgt. Taggart wisely grabs a shotgun from the trunk of his car before storming Maitland's compound with Axel and Rosewood.
  • Shout-Out: The haggling between Axel and the cigarette buyer was inspired by dialogue said between Charlie and Johnny Boy in Mean Streets.
  • Signature Laugh: Axel, so much that it was used in all the advertising.
  • Situational Hand Switch: During the final shootout, the right-handed Axel is forced to switch shooting hands twice; first to blind-fire around a corner and later because Maitland shoots him in the shoulder.
  • Soft Glass: Axel gets thrown through a window. Naturally, he's fine.
  • Stealing from the Hotel: Axel loves his hotel's bathrobes. When Taggart offers to buy him one to take home, he tells them he's already got a couple in his bags.
  • The Stoic: Zack never changes his expression or voice. Well, almost never...
    • Not So Stoic: After Axel flips him into the buffet table, Zack looks pissed and has to be talked down by Maitland.
  • Storming the Castle: Maitland's mansion, with one of the most hilarious shootout scenes ever filmed.
  • Strange Cop in a Strange Land: Axel is not a policeman in Beverly Hills, but rather a Detroit cop whose Cowboy Cop ways clash with the more straight-laced Beverly Hills PD. Downplayed, because his Cowboy Cop ways clash with his own superiors in Detroit as well.
  • Suddenly Shouting: The only time Maitland ever raises his voice is when he tells Jenny to shut up.
  • Surprise Inspection Ruse: Axel Foley sneaks into the impound area of a bonded warehouse to check on the shipment that Victor Maitland received from abroad. When a security guard approaches him he demands to see the guard's supervisor, claims to be "Inspector Rafferty, U.S. Customs" and says he's doing a security check. He then demands to go over all of their paperwork (so he can find out about Maitland's shipment).
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: For a goofy, almost comedic cop movie, a lot of things end up having very real and unfun consequences:
    • Axel's antics, like doing an unauthorized sting operation that lead to a destructive car chase around Detroit leaves him in hot water with his boss, Inspector Todd. His further antics in Beverly Hills nearly cost him his job until Bogomil talks to Todd.
    • Axel's friend, Mikey, steals some German bearer bonds from his boss, thinking that he wouldn't notice a few missing; it's no surprise he ends up dead a couple scenes later, especially after it's revealed that his boss is a violent drug smuggler.
    • After Mikey is killed, Axel argues with Inspector Todd about not being put on the investigation; Todd tells him exactly why he can't be a part of the case:
      Inspector Todd: Yes we are, aren't we? Now let's take a close look at that. 1) A hoodlum friend, 2) a professional hit, 3) In a cop's apartment! This whole things stinks to high Heaven!
    • Axel cons his way into Victor Maitland's office to ask him about what Mikey did for him, only for Victor to call his henchmen to throw Axel out of a window. Shortly after, cops arrive, but instead of arresting Victor, they arrest Axel because Victor told the police that Axel broke in, started being a nuisance, and threw himself out the window (which is true, except for the self defenestration) and because Axel was carrying a gun (cops can't carry their duty weapons outside their jurisdiction). Victor being a respectable businessman, while Axel is a scruffy, foul-mouthed out-of-towner who argues and swears at the police officers (Rosewood and Taggart) interrogating him only helps in digging himself deeper.
    • After getting distracted repeatedly, getting their car sabotaged by Axel, with bananas, losing track of him more than once, and willingly accompanying him to a strip club, all while on-duty, Rosewood and Taggart are relieved of their duty. Bogomil then replaces them with their stuck-up rivals, McCabe and Foster, who end up being no better at tailing Axel than Rosewood and Taggart.
    • Axel finally lets Bogomil, Rosewood, and Taggart in on why he's investigating Victor Maitland and reveals that he's found evidence of Maitland being a drug smuggler. Bogomil believes him, but because Axel's out of his jurisdiction, all his evidence is circumstantial. Not only that, but thanks to all of Axel's off-the-book, Cowboy Cop antics, including damaging a police car with bananas, wrecking a private event, and playing pranks on four different police officers, Chief Hubbard demands that Axel is to be escorted outside the city limits, or he'll be arrested for all his crimes against the Beverly Hills Police Department. Thankfully, it doesn't stick as Taggart, Rosewood, and Foley go after Maitland on their own, especially after he's kidnapped Jenny.
    • Speaking of the banana sabotage, Axel has to use multiple bananas to make it stick, and there aren't any Pinto moments in the aftermath thereof. Of course, Axel being Axel, he probably thought to use more than one banana from the word "go".
  • Swiss-Cheese Security: Axel gets into a Federal Customs facility merely by hopping a fence, then flashing his badge to the first person he sees and ordering everyone around. They assume that, if he's inside the perimeter, he must belong inside the perimeter.
    • Moreover, when Axel confronts the manager of the facility, he cites his own presence as proof of Swiss-Cheese Security and thus grounds to have the entire place scrutinized.
    Axel: Tell me something. Answer a question for me. How can a black man, dressed like me, just march into the bonded area and start poking around without anybody asking me ANY QUESTIONS WHATSOEVER?
    Security Manager: [stammers] Uh... I... don't know.
    Axel: Thank you, that's the answer I was looking for. [snatches their badges] Why don't you just hand me your ID's? Someone's going to lose their job over this.
  • Taken Off the Case: After Foley manages to put a banana in the tailpipe of their car and disable it and later lures them to a strip bar where they foil a robbery, officers Taggart and Rosewood are taken off the case by their lieutenant, and two other detectives are assigned to tail Foley.
  • Talk to the Fist: Taggart gut-punches Axel after the latter drops an f-bomb during an interview; this showcases just how different they are that Axel can provoke a By-the-Book Cop to violence.
    Taggart: Who are we going to believe, a respected local businessman, or a foul-mouthed jerk from out of town?
    Axel: Foul-mouthed? Fuck you, man.
    Taggart: You watch your mouth. [punches him]
  • Tap on the Head: One of Maitland's mooks knocks Axel out before Mikey is killed. He later taunts Axel about it while beating him up.
    Casey: "How's that little bump on the head I gave you in Detroit? Healed up nice, I hope."
  • There Is No Kill like Overkill: Axel and Bogomil empty their guns into Maitland, shooting him at least twenty times when just one or two shots would have probably been sufficient enough to take him down. And then Maitland falls down the stairs, bloodied and full of bullets.
  • Those Two Guys: Rosewood and Taggart, as well as Foster and McCabe.
  • Title Drop: "Billy's a Beverly Hills Cop".
  • Too Dumb to Live: Really, Mikey? Stealing bearer bonds from your employer, whom youn know is a dangerous criminal? How did you think this would end?
  • Truth in Television: Law enforcement officials are trained to continue firing upon an armed assailant until the subject is no longer standing or their weapons run dry. That, and adrenaline.
  • Try and Follow: While hes out driving, Axel sees Foster and McCabe tailing him in his rear view mirror. He stops at a traffic light and waits through the green and yellow cycles, confusing the duo behind him. Just as the light turns red, Axel speeds through the intersection. By the time Foster and McCabe recover from their surprise and try to give chase, they're cut off by the cross traffic.
  • Tuckerization: Jeffrey was named after Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was then president of Production at Paramount.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Often exploited by Axel. He'll act foolishly, but it's always a ploy to get advantage of someone.
  • Unconventional Food Usage: Axel, Rosewood, and Taggart find lots of coffee grounds in Maitland's warehouse. Later, in Bogomil's office, Taggart wonders about the significance of the coffee grounds. Bogomil explains that drug smugglers use them to throw drug-sniffing dogs off when sniffing for drugs.
  • Unexplained Accent: Serge's bizarre accent is unremarked upon by everyone except Axel.
  • Villain Ball: Much of the plot depends on Victor Maitland being a moron. If he had just played dumb and told Axel that he had no idea who would want to kill his friend Mikey, that, yes, he uses bearer bonds in his business all the time, which is completely normal in the art world, and no, he has no idea why Mikey would have brought bearer bonds with him to Detroit, that would have been the end of the movie, as Axel at that point had no real basis of suspicion against him. Instead, he calls in a group of thugs to his office to have Axel literally thrown out of a window, at which point Axel is quite suspicious of Maitland. When Maitland catches Axel and Jenny in one of his warehouses, having discovered 80 kilos of cocaine, he could have had them killed on the spot. Instead, he takes Jenny hostage to his mansion, leaving Axel behind to get roughed up by his henchmen. That, of course, allowed Rosewood to rescue Axel, and for the two of them, with Taggart in tow, to go rescue Jenny. If Maitland had had any common sense, the movie would have been much shorter.
    • Fridge Logic: Considering how much subtext about racism there was in the movie, the filmmakers may very well have been trying to imply that Maitland was a latent racist who couldn't abide a black man talking to him so disrespectfully and felt the need to teach him a lesson.
  • Wait Here: Axel tells Billy to wait outside the bonded warehouse, as he doesn't have probable cause to enter. When it becomes obvious that Axel and Jenny are in trouble, Billy is forced to decide whether he's willing to go outside the book in order to save them, setting up his moment of Character Development.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Axel's friend Mikey gets offed in the opening act to set up the plot.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Rosewood hates machine guns.
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Victor Maitland's line to Axel Foley:
    "Now listen to me, my tough little friend. I don't know from under what stone you crawled, or where you get these ridiculous ideas about me, but it seems painfully obvious you haven't the slightest fucking idea who you're dealing with. Now, my advice to you is crawl back to your little stone in Detroit before you get squashed."


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Beverly Hills Cop 1990, Beverly Hills Cop 2006


TV Edits of Movie Swearing

To comply with standards and practices, harsher swear words will often be removed or altered in TV versions of movies, especially on network channels. Sometimes, the results are unconvincing or downright bizarre.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (43 votes)

Example of:

Main / Bowdlerise

Media sources: