Coming to America

  • Directors: John Landis
  • Producers: Leslie Belzberg, George Folsey Jr, Mark Lipsky
  • Writers: Story, Eddie Murphy, Screenplay, David Sheffield, Barry W Blaustein
  • Genres: Comedy, Romance
  • Actors: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Shari Headley, James Earl Jones, John Amos, Eriq La Salle, Samuel L Jackson

Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy), the prince and heir to the throne of the fictitious African country Zamunda, is discontented with being pampered all his life. The final straw is when his parents (James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair) present him with a bride-to-be (Vanessa Bell) he has never met before, trained to mindlessly obey his every command.

Akeem concocts a plan to travel to America to find a wife he can both love and respect. He and his servant & friend Semmi (Arsenio Hall) arrive in Queens County, New York, and after several scrapes, find an apartment in the neighborhood of Jackson Heights. They begin working at a local restaurant called McDowell’s (the restaurateur’s attempt to copy McDonald’s) passing themselves off as students. When he first meets Akeem and Semmi, owner Mr. McDowell (John Amos) explains all the minute differences between his place and McDonald’s, ending with the line, “They use the sesame seed bun. My buns have no seeds.”

Akeem falls in love with Lisa (Shari Headley), Mr. McDowell’s daughter, who possesses the qualities the prince is looking for. The rest of the film centers on Akeem’s attempts to win Lisa’s hand in marriage, while adjusting to life in America and dodging his royal duties and prerogatives. Unfortunately, Semmi is not comfortable with the life of a poor man and thus unintentionally causes a near-disaster when, alerted by a plea for more financial help, the Zamundian royal family travels to the United States. Lisa learns that Akeem is actually a prince and is at first angry and confused as to why he lied to her about it. At this point, she refuses to marry Akeem and Akeem returns to Zamunda with a broken heart. At the end, we see Akeem about to wed a bride who he discovers is Lisa. They ride off in a carriage after the ceremony.

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