48 HRS (1982) - Rotten Tomatoes

48 HRS1982

48 HRS (1982)



Critic Consensus: Marking an auspicious feature film debut for Eddie Murphy, 48 Hrs. is a briskly paced action comedy that succeeds largely due to the outstanding chemistry between its two leads.

48 HRS Photos

Movie Info

A variation on the "buddy-cop" hybridized genre, 48 HRS. greatly bolstered the career of Nick Nolte and made comedian Eddie Murphy a bonafide box-office sensation. When a pair of reckless cop-killers break out of prison, grizzled detective Jack Cates (Nolte) is left no alternative but to spring fast-talking hustler Reggie Hammond (Murphy) from the penitentiary in order to find the criminals. The catch: the pair only have 48 hours to complete their assignment before Hammond must return to prison. Naturally, the two despise each other and even engage in fisticuffs, but eventually the danger facing them proves a strong enough common bond for them to play on the same team, and even achieve a little mutual admiration. ~ Jeremy Beday, Rovi

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Nick Nolte
as Jack Cates
Eddie Murphy
as Reggie Hammond
Sonny Landham
as Billy Bear
James Keane
as Vanzant
Tara King
as Frizzy
Todd Allen
as Young Cop
Bill Dearth
as Thin Cop
Ned Dowd
as Big Cop
Jim Haynie
as Old Cop
Jack Thibeau
as Detective
Jon St. Elwood
as Plainclothesman
Sandy Martin
as Policewoman
Peter Jason
as Cowboy Bartender
Marcelino Sánchez
as Parking Attendant
Bennie E. Dobbins
as Road Gang Guard
Walter Scott
as Road Gang Guard
W.T. Zacha
as Road Gang Guard
Begonia Plaza
as Indian Hooker
Loyd Catlett
as Prison Guard
B.G. Fisher
as Prison Guard
Reid Cruickshanks
as Prison Guard
R.D. Call
as Duty Sergeant
John Hauk
as Henry
Ola Ray
as Vroman's Dancer
Bjaye Turner
as Vroman's Dancer
Nick Dimitri
as Torchy's Patron
John Dennis Johnston
as Torchy's Patron
Rock Walker
as Torchy's Patron
Dave Moordigian
as Gas Station Attendant
J. Wesley Huston
as Security Guard
Gary Pettinger
as Cop with Gun
Jack Lightsy
as Bartender
Bob Yanez
as Interrogator
Luis Contreras
as Gang Member
Suzanne M. Regard
as Cowgirl Dancer
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News & Interviews for 48 HRS

Critic Reviews for 48 HRS

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (6)

What makes it work are Walter Hill's switchblade-sharp direction, and the inspired teaming of Nolte and Murphy.

November 12, 2018 | Full Review…

Neither jokes nor fast, flashy action can completely distract audiences from the failure to establish an authentic, rather than a purely conventional connection between Nolte and Murphy.

June 6, 2009 | Full Review…

All in all, a superior genre piece, if not the height of Hill's artistry.

March 1, 2007 | Full Review…

A down-the-line thriller, plain, fast and efficient.

January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The movie's story is nothing to write home about. It's pretty routine. What makes the movie special is how it's made. Nolte and Murphy are good, and their dialogue is good, too -- quirky and funny.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

[It] is more memorable for its characters than for its high style, more a series of energetic scenes than a collection of handsome imagery. It has life, ferocity and humor in place of icy, stylized elegance, and that seems more than a fair trade.

August 30, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/5

Audience Reviews for 48 HRS

This is yet another formulaic action film from the overblown eighties, complete with naked broads, gunplay, and a maniacal killer. Much like other eighties films there's a deadline before everything blows up in the protagonist's face and someone dies. This is the first Eddie Murphy vehicle, made during his time on SNL and led to his impressive film career. Here a hostage situation leads to a craggy policeman going on a vendetta with the unneeded deaths of two police officers, and springing a convict from his cell for 48 hours to help catch the guys responsible. While Cates (Nick Nolte) is an irresponsible, violent, and corrugated kind of cop, he does abide by some rules. Though he continually tries to apprehend the criminals and get information he needs through illegal means he always comes close before being foiled by other policemen who don't know he's a cop. After finding out that a convicted criminal may hold the key to finding the place where money for a hostage will be exchanged, he springs Reggie Hammond (Eddie Murphy). The rest of the film is the two playing off one another while being shot at and running after bad guys in elaborate car chases throughout the city. Though there's a lot of great dialogue and social commentary in this film, Nolte and Murphy are not an appropiate pairing. Both are loose cannons, and though Reggie is more talk than anything, he still engages in dangerous situations and exhibits little to no fear. Cates also shows no fear, and bumbles through every encounter with a crook like a godlike entity that can ricochet bullets and kill off everyone in his way. They aren't tortured heroes and aren't especially interesting except for their feats of daring. I don't see any real character development besides Nolte being grumpy and Murphy being a smart ass. If there was more balance, or at least some backstory for Reggie this would feel like a much more comprehensive film. The action isn't very engaging and very little of this doesn't drag. Except for being a platform for Murphy's off the wall humor at times this has very little appeal.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


I feel REALLY late to the party on this one. Good, but nothing spectacular. To be fair this movie has been copied, parodied, and ripped-off so much it's hard for it so seem as fresh as I'm sure it was when it came out.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

A great action comedy film about a partnership between a cop and a convict as they try to bring down a cop killer. The combination between Murphy and Nolte is fantastic! The plot is solid and the action is in full supply. A film with lots of action, laughs, and great acting make this film engaging and an enjoyment to watch.

Shawn Ewing
Shawn Ewing

Super Reviewer

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