Harlem Nights


1h 56m 1989

Brief Synopsis

In the waning days of Prohibition, Sugar Ray and his adopted son, Quick, run a speakeasy called Club Sugar Ray. When gangster Bugsy Calhoune learns Sugar Ray's place is pulling in more money than his own establishment, the Pitty Pat Club, he pays corrupt cop Phil Cantone to close Club Sugar Ray down. Quick doesn't exactly help the situation when he falls for Calhoune's gun moll, Miss Dominique La Rue.

Film Details

Also Known As
Les Nuits de harlem, Nuits de harlem, Les
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Action
Crime
Period
Release Date
1989
Production Company
Mark R Jennings
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures
Location
Los Angeles, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 56m

Synopsis

Jive with two of Hollywood's greatest funnymen in this cool comedy caper! Written and directed by Eddie Murphy, "Harlem Nights" (1989) co-stars all-time great Richard Pryor, as these two comic geniuses head back into the 1930s in this action-packed adventure. Murphy is Quick, Pryor is Sugar Ray, and the two run a sleek Harlem gambling house filled with gorgeous gals and smooth-talking card sharps. Quick and Ray soon discover they have an adversary in gangster Bugsy Calhoun, who wants the club for himself, and is using a corrupt cop and an alluring femme fatale to do the dirty work for him. But the streetwise father and son are not easily duped, and instead hatch a plan to teach the mobster a lesson he'll never forget.

Crew

Fred E. Ahlert

Song

Peter Albiez

Special Effects Foreman

Pamela Alch

Script Supervisor

Arthur Altman

Song

Bernadine M Anderson

Makeup

Bunny Andrews

Music Editor

Louis Armstrong

Song Performer

Ron Ashmore

Other

Edward Baken

Transportation Captain

James Balker

Wardrobe

Alan Balsam

Editor

Count Basie

Song

Count Basie

Song Performer

John Benson

Sound Editor

Pamela Bentkowski

Foley Editor

Chemin Sylvia Bernard

Casting Associate

Albany Bigard

Song

David Blumberg

Assistant

Steve Bonner

Other

Rene Botana

Location Manager

George Bowers

Editor

Bryn Boyd

Dolly Grip

Marc Brandin

Casting Associate

Nat Brandwynne

Song Performer

Garnett Brown

Original Music

Garnett Brown

Music Conductor

Ed Burza

Wardrobe

Norman A Burza

Costumes

Caryn E Campbell

Other

Gene S Cantamessa

Sound Mixer

Steve Cantamessa

Boom Operator

Philip Caplan

Camera Operator

Robert J Carlyle

Foreman

Roberto M Carneiro

Wardrobe

Mike Carroll

Other

Marie Carter

Makeup Assistant

Michael Casper

Sound

James Cavanaugh

Song

Buddy Clark

Song Performer

Kenneth C Clark

Special Effects

Fetteroff Colen

Production Assistant

Theresa Conant

Wardrobe

Edward Cooper

Lighting Technician

Joseph Cosko

Assistant Camera Operator

Sam Coslow

Song

Russell B Crone

Art Director

Gregroy J Curda

Foley Mixer

Alan B. Curtiss

Assistant Director

Desiree Dacosta

Assistant

Stephen C Dawson

Location Manager

Reginald Dekoven

Song

Yvonne Bonitto Doggett

Assistant

Eddy Duchin

Song Performer

Ken Dufva

Foley Artist

Roberto Duran

Other

Craig D Edgar

Assistant Art Director

Duke Ellington

Song

Duke Ellington

Song Performer

Juno J. Ellis

Adr Editor

Tom Embree

Electrician

Jon Falkengren

Dolly Grip

Dianne Farrington

Production Assistant

David Fein

Foley Artist

Richard W. Flores

Wardrobe

Bruce Fortune

Sound Editor

Chuck Gaspar

Special Effects Supervisor

Gerry Gates

Other

Thomas Gerard

Sound

Karen Ginsberg

Researcher

Karen Ginsberg

Assistant Director

Rocco Gioffre

Assistant

Norman Glasser

Lighting Technician

Lloyd Gowdy

Electrician

Jim Greenspan

Props

Nicholas Gross

Production Assistant

Joe Gutowski

Assistant Editor

Cecelia Hall

Sound Editor

Herbie Hancock

Music

Barbara Harris

Casting

Carey Harris Jr.

Property Master Assistant

Randall I Harris

Production Assistant

Jimmie Herron

Property Master

Lindsay P Hill

Video Assist/Playback

Harold D Hinzo

Sign Writer

Thomas Hoke

Transportation Coordinator

Billie Holiday

Song Performer

Jerome Holmes

Production Assistant

Frank Howard

Sound Editor

Carmon Howell

Grip

Martin Hubbard

Art Director

Mentor Huebner

Production

Darlene Jackson

Wardrobe

Jack Jennings

Assistant Art Director

Mark R Jennings

Cable Operator

James C Johnson

Assistant Editor

Jennie Johnson

Assistant

Arthur Johnston

Song

Frank Jones

Electrician

Thomas B Jones

Craft Service

Violette Jones-faison

Assistant

Alan S Kaye

Set Designer

Nick Kenny

Song

Harry S Knapp

Accounting Assistant

Christopher Lucien Koefoed

Associate Editor

Mark Konkel

Other

Norman Langley

Camera Operator

Teresa Volpe Laursen

Wardrobe

Daniel Leahy

Sound

Don Lewis

Electrician

Burton Lindemoen

Grip

Mark Lipsky

Producer

Anthony S Lloyd

Makeup Assistant

Renita Lorden

Property Master Assistant

Don Lynch

Hair Assistant

Art Mack

Grip

Robert Maddy

Set Designer

Maria Martin

Casting Associate

Victoria Martin

Foley Editor

W Scott Mason

Foreman

John Mccormack

Song

Scott Mcknight

Electrician

Kim Mclaren

Accounting Assistant

Carolyn Mclaurin

Production Assistant

Julie Mcnulty

Production Assistant

Richard A Mention

Assistant Camera Operator

Thomas Mertz

Special Effects

F Hudson Miller

Sound Editor

Irving Mills

Song

James M Morris

Location Manager

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Music

Eddie Murphy

Screenplay

Eddie Murphy

Executive Producer

Ray Murphy

Associate Producer

George R. Nelson

Set Decorator

John Nettles

Grip

Bob Noland

Color Timer

Betty M Nowell

Wardrobe

Karl Eric Nygren

Special Effects

Alan Oliney

Stunt Coordinator

Woody Omens

Director Of Photography

Woody Omens

Other

Donald Ortiz

Sound Editor

Vicente Paiva

Song

R J Palmer

Sound Editor

Mitchell Parish

Song

Lawrence G Paull

Production Designer

Tom Peitzman

Assistant

Don Petrie

Production Auditor

Teddy Powell

Song

Clarence Lynn Price

Construction Coordinator

Ray Rarick

Foreman

Robi Reed-humes

Casting

Lise Richardson

Music Editor

Ricardo Robinson

Assistant Camera Operator

Barbara Rosing Hoke

Production Coordinator

John Rusk

Assistant Director

David Russell

Storyboard Artist

Anthony Saenz

Location Manager

Neil Jay Saiger

Foreman

Walter G Samuels

Song

Robert Schaper

Music

Ron Schroeder

Production

Clement Scott

Song

Fred Seibly

Sign Writer

Rodney Sharpp

Apprentice

Steve Shaver

Electrician

Ron Sica

Props

Craig Sims

Sound Editor

Ralph Singleton

Unit Production Manager

Ralph Singleton

Coproducer

Aaron Siskind

Assistant

Eddie Bo Smith

Casting

Wayne H Smith

Other

Prince C Spencer

Other

Loring I Spicer

Wardrobe

Roger Spurgeon

Other

Fred Stafford

Adr Editor

Craig Staley

Props

Dorothy Steinicke

Assistant Director

Beth Sterner

Sound Editor

Robert L Stevenson

Hair

Al Stillman

Song

Billy Strayhorn

Song

Aida M Swinson

Wardrobe

John Z Szajner

Assistant Camera Operator

Bruce Talamon

Photography

Kelly Tartan

Apprentice

The Andrews Sisters

Song Performer

Barry K Thomas

Assistant Director

Neal Thompson

Titles

William Timmerman

Props

Joe I Tompkins

Costume Designer

Dawn Tshombe

Casting

Mathew Unger

Production Assistant

Robert D Wachs

Producer

Andrea Weaver

Costumes

Ward Welton

Other

Tania G Werbizky

Assistant

Mike Wever

Special Effects

Ronnie Sue Wexler

Props

Film Details

Also Known As
Les Nuits de harlem, Nuits de harlem, Les
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Action
Crime
Period
Release Date
1989
Production Company
Mark R Jennings
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures
Location
Los Angeles, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 56m

Award Nominations

Best Costume Design

1989

Articles

Richard Pryor (1940-2005)


The scathing, brilliantly insightful African-American comic who proved himself on many occasions to be a highly competent screen actor, died of a heart attack on November 10 at his Encino, California home. He was 65. He had been reclusive for years after he publicly announced he was suffering from multiple sclerosis in 1992.

He was born Richard Thomas Pryor III on December 1, 1940 in Peoria, Illinois. By all accounts, his childhood was a difficult one. His mother was a prostitute and his grandmother ran a brothel. His father was rarely around and when he was, he would physically abuse him. From a young age, Pryor knew that humor was his weapon of choice to cut through all the swath he came across and would confront in his life.

After high school, he enlisted in the Army for a two-year stint (1958-60). When he was discharged (honorably!) he concentrated on stand-up comedy and worked in a series of nightclubs before relocating to New York City in 1963. In 1964, he made his television debut when he was given a slot on the variety program On Broadway Tonight. His routine, though hardly the groundbreaking material we would witness in later years, was very well received, and in the late '60s Pryor found more television work: Toast of the Town, The Wild Wild West, The Mod Squad ; and was cast in a two movies: The Busy Body (1967) with Sid Caesar; and Wild in the Streets (1968) a cartoonish political fantasy about the internment of all American citizens over 30.

Pryor's career really didn't ignite until the '70s. His stand up act became raunchier and more politically motivated as he touched on issued of race, failed relationships, drug addiction, and street crimes. His movie roles became far more captivating in the process: the piano man in Lady Sings the Blues (1972); as a wise-talking hustler in a pair of slick urban thrillers: The Mack (1973) and Uptown Saturday Night (1974); the gregarious Daddy Rich in Car Wash; his first pairing with Gene Wilder as Grover, the car thief who helps stops a runaway train in his first real box office smash Silver Streak (both 1976); and for many critics, his finest dramatic performance as a factory worker on the edge of depression in Paul Schrader's excellent working class drama Blue Collar (1978).

On a personal level, his drug dependency problem worsened, and on June 9, 1980, near tragedy struck when he caught fire while free-basing cocaine. Pryor later admitted that the incident, was, in fact, a suicide attempt, and that his management company created the lie for the press in hopes of protecting him. Fortunately, Pryor had three films in the can that all achieved some level of financial success soon after his setback: another pairing with Gene Wilder in the prison comedy Stir Crazy (1980); a blisteringly funny cameo as God who flips off Andy Kaufman in the warped religious satire In God We Tru$t (1980); an a ex-con helping a social worker (Cicely Tyson) with her foster charges in Bustin' Loose (1981). He capped his recovery with Live on the Sunset Strip (1982), a first-rate documentation of the comic's genius performed in front of a raucous live audience.

In 1983, Pryor signed a $40 million, five-year contract with Columbia Pictures. For many fans and critics, this was the beginning of his downslide. His next few films: The Toy, Superman III (both 1983), and Brewster's Millions (1985) were just tiresome, mediocre comedies. Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling (1986), was his only attempt at producing, directing, and acting, and the film, which was an ambitious autobiographical account of a his life and career, was a box-office disappointment. He spent the remainder of the '80s in middling fare: Condition Critical (1987), Moving; a third pairing with Gene Wilder in See No Evil, Hear No Evil; and his only teaming with Eddie Murphy in Harlem Nights (1989).

In 1986, Pryor was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease of the nervous system that curtailed both his personal appearances and his gift for physical comedy in his latter films. By the '90s, little was seen of Pryor, but in 1995, he made a courageous comeback on television when he guest starred on Chicago Hope as an embittered multiple sclerosis patient. His performance earned him an Emmy nomination and he was cast in a few more films: Mad Dog Time (1996), Lost Highway (1997), but his physical ailments prohibited him from performing on a regular basis. In 1998, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington gave Pryor the first Mark Twain Prize for humor. It was fitting tribute for a man who had given so much honesty and innovation in the field of comedy. Pryor is survived by his wife, Jennifer Lee; his sons Richard and Steven; and daughters Elizabeth, Rain and Renee.

by Michael T. Toole
Richard Pryor (1940-2005)

Richard Pryor (1940-2005)

The scathing, brilliantly insightful African-American comic who proved himself on many occasions to be a highly competent screen actor, died of a heart attack on November 10 at his Encino, California home. He was 65. He had been reclusive for years after he publicly announced he was suffering from multiple sclerosis in 1992. He was born Richard Thomas Pryor III on December 1, 1940 in Peoria, Illinois. By all accounts, his childhood was a difficult one. His mother was a prostitute and his grandmother ran a brothel. His father was rarely around and when he was, he would physically abuse him. From a young age, Pryor knew that humor was his weapon of choice to cut through all the swath he came across and would confront in his life. After high school, he enlisted in the Army for a two-year stint (1958-60). When he was discharged (honorably!) he concentrated on stand-up comedy and worked in a series of nightclubs before relocating to New York City in 1963. In 1964, he made his television debut when he was given a slot on the variety program On Broadway Tonight. His routine, though hardly the groundbreaking material we would witness in later years, was very well received, and in the late '60s Pryor found more television work: Toast of the Town, The Wild Wild West, The Mod Squad ; and was cast in a two movies: The Busy Body (1967) with Sid Caesar; and Wild in the Streets (1968) a cartoonish political fantasy about the internment of all American citizens over 30. Pryor's career really didn't ignite until the '70s. His stand up act became raunchier and more politically motivated as he touched on issued of race, failed relationships, drug addiction, and street crimes. His movie roles became far more captivating in the process: the piano man in Lady Sings the Blues (1972); as a wise-talking hustler in a pair of slick urban thrillers: The Mack (1973) and Uptown Saturday Night (1974); the gregarious Daddy Rich in Car Wash; his first pairing with Gene Wilder as Grover, the car thief who helps stops a runaway train in his first real box office smash Silver Streak (both 1976); and for many critics, his finest dramatic performance as a factory worker on the edge of depression in Paul Schrader's excellent working class drama Blue Collar (1978). On a personal level, his drug dependency problem worsened, and on June 9, 1980, near tragedy struck when he caught fire while free-basing cocaine. Pryor later admitted that the incident, was, in fact, a suicide attempt, and that his management company created the lie for the press in hopes of protecting him. Fortunately, Pryor had three films in the can that all achieved some level of financial success soon after his setback: another pairing with Gene Wilder in the prison comedy Stir Crazy (1980); a blisteringly funny cameo as God who flips off Andy Kaufman in the warped religious satire In God We Tru$t (1980); an a ex-con helping a social worker (Cicely Tyson) with her foster charges in Bustin' Loose (1981). He capped his recovery with Live on the Sunset Strip (1982), a first-rate documentation of the comic's genius performed in front of a raucous live audience. In 1983, Pryor signed a $40 million, five-year contract with Columbia Pictures. For many fans and critics, this was the beginning of his downslide. His next few films: The Toy, Superman III (both 1983), and Brewster's Millions (1985) were just tiresome, mediocre comedies. Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling (1986), was his only attempt at producing, directing, and acting, and the film, which was an ambitious autobiographical account of a his life and career, was a box-office disappointment. He spent the remainder of the '80s in middling fare: Condition Critical (1987), Moving; a third pairing with Gene Wilder in See No Evil, Hear No Evil; and his only teaming with Eddie Murphy in Harlem Nights (1989). In 1986, Pryor was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease of the nervous system that curtailed both his personal appearances and his gift for physical comedy in his latter films. By the '90s, little was seen of Pryor, but in 1995, he made a courageous comeback on television when he guest starred on Chicago Hope as an embittered multiple sclerosis patient. His performance earned him an Emmy nomination and he was cast in a few more films: Mad Dog Time (1996), Lost Highway (1997), but his physical ailments prohibited him from performing on a regular basis. In 1998, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington gave Pryor the first Mark Twain Prize for humor. It was fitting tribute for a man who had given so much honesty and innovation in the field of comedy. Pryor is survived by his wife, Jennifer Lee; his sons Richard and Steven; and daughters Elizabeth, Rain and Renee. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall November 17, 1989

Released in United States on Video May 17, 1990

Re-released in United States on Video March 23, 1994

Directorial debut for Eddie Murphy.

Began shooting April 3, 1989.

Completed shooting July 17, 1989.

Released in United States Fall November 17, 1989

Released in United States on Video May 17, 1990

Re-released in United States on Video March 23, 1994