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Coming to America is a 1988 comedy film directed by John Landis. The screenplay was written by David Sheffield and Barry W. Blaustein based on a story originally created by Art Buchwald. The film stars Eddie Murphy, who plays an African prince who comes to the United States in hopes of finding a woman he can marry.


Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy), the prince and heir to the throne of a fictitious, wealthy African country called Zamunda, is discontented with being pampered all his life. The final straw comes when his parents, King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) and Queen Aeoleon (Madge Sinclair), present him with a bride-to-be, Imani Izzi (Vanessa Bell), whom he has never met and who is trained to obey his every command. Seeing that Imani is too perfect, Akeem concocts a plan to travel to the United States to find an independent-minded wife he can both love and respect and who accepts him for himself, not his status. He and his friend and personal aide, Semmi (Arsenio Hall) arrive in Queens, a borough of New York City, because according to Akeem, "What better place to find a queen than the city of Queens?" They rent a run-down apartment in the neighborhood of Jamaica and begin working at a local fast food restaurant called McDowell's (restaurateur Cleo McDowell's attempt to copy McDonald's), passing themselves off as poor foreign students.

Akeem falls in love with McDowell's daughter, Lisa (Shari Headley), 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, which is complicated by her obnoxious and lazy boyfriend Darrell (Eriq La Salle). Although Akeem thrives on working hard and seeing how commoners live, Semmi is not comfortable with the life of a poor man. When Akeem donates their travel money after Semmi nearly blows their cover, Semmi transmits a plea to King Joffer for more financial help. This causes the Zamundan royal couple to travel to the United States and reveal themselves to the McDowells.

Although her father is ecstatic that his daughter has attracted the interest of a prince, Lisa, who has fallen for Akeem, becomes angry and confused as to why he lied to her about his identity, as he tried to convince Lisa he was a simple goat herder from Zamunda, not the prince. She refuses to marry Akeem even after he offers to renounce his throne, and he returns to Zamunda with a broken heart, resigned to marry the woman chosen for him by his parents. On the way to the airport, King Joffe remarks that Akeem cannot marry Lisa anyway because of "tradition," and defending himself by saying "Who am I to change it?" Queen Aoleon responds curtly, "I thought you were the King."

At the final scene's wedding procession, Akeem waits dejectedly at the altar as his bride-to-be makes her way down the aisle, but when he lifts the veil to kiss her, he finds Lisa instead of his arranged bride. They ride off happily in a carriage after the ceremony to the cheers of Zamundans. Witnessing such splendor, Lisa is impressed that Akeem would have given it up just for her. Akeem proposes that he can make his abdication official, but Lisa playfully declines and decides to become a royal instead.

Classics in the film[]

  • 1986 Audi 5000 C3
  • 1980 Buick Skylark
  • 1987 Cadillac Coupe DeVille
  • 1985 Chevrolet Astro
  • 1978 Chevrolet Camaro
  • 1982 Chevrolet Caprice Classic
  • 1984 Chevrolet Cavalier
  • 1985 Chevrolet Impala
  • 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
  • 1969 Chevrolet Nova
  • 1982 Dodge Aries K
  • 1984 Dodge Daytona
  • 1978 Dodge Omni
  • 1986 Dodge Ramcharger
  • 1983 Ford LTD Crown Victoria
  • 1987 Ford Ranger
  • 1974 Ford Thunderbird
  • 1982 Honda Accord
  • 1976 International Harvester Loadstar 1600
  • 1976 Jeep Cherokee
  • 1981 Mazda GLC
  • 1986 Mercedes-Benz
  • 1986 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEL
  • 1984 Mercedes-Benz S-Klasse Stretched Limousine
  • 1982 Nissan Sentra
  • 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera
  • 1980 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight
  • 1976 Plymouth Volare
  • 1988 Pontiac Firebird
  • 1978 Pontiac Phoenix
  • 1975 Pontiac Ventura
  • 1983 SAAB 900 Turbo
  • 1987 Toyota Camry
  • 1986 Toyota Celica
  • 1982 Toyota Corolla