101 Funniest Screenplays

For posterity, this is the first movie in which Eddie Murphy played multiple characters: a pampered African prince arriving in Queens to look for a more enlightened wife, mainly, but also several denizens of a local barbershop. Barry Blaustein and David Sheffield wrote the screenplay, based on a story by Murphy. The trio knew each other well: At Saturday Night Live, Blaustein and Newman often wrote sketches with Murphy, and they later wrote the comedian’s Nutty Professor remakes. Speaking to the film’s legacy, Landis told The Detroit News that Coming to America “was an opportunity to make a big-budget, glossy Hollywood movie starring almost all African-American actors in which their color had nothing to do with the plot.”