Surprising Facts About Coming to America

Let’s do this! Are you ready for some rockin’ trivia about Coming to America? This was a super-popular film back in the day, and it is now celebrating its 25th anniversary. My, how time flies! The McDowell’s in the film may have looked like a McDonald’s, but in real life it was a Wendy’s.

Every single character who appears in the barber shop is either played by Eddie Murphy, Clint Smith, Cuba Gooding Jr., or Arsenio Hall. And apparently, Eddie Murphy’s makeup while portraying a Jewish man was director John Landis’ revenge for Jewish comics wearing blackface. Play nice, guys!

Funny Facts about the Movie Coming to America

1 A Nice-Looking Cabbie

The taxi driver in the film is the man behind “Body by Jake!”

2 Who is That Robber?

It was Samuel L. Jackson who played the guy who tried to rob the McDowell’s.

3 Nice Moves!

We can thank Paula Abdul for that killer dance scene; she choreographed it!

4 Coming to America, Redux

Coming to America was originally featured with Tommy Davidson and Paul Bates.

5 A Family Affair

Eddie Murphy’s own brother appears in the film; he is the confused guy watching Curtis Vonde-Hall greet Eddie’s character.

6 Wait, Was That Cuba Gooding, Jr.?

Yes, it was! He appeared in the first barber shop scene of the film.

7 Coming to … Thriller?

The guy who directed Coming to America also directed Michael Jackson’s iconic “Thriller” video.

8 Rose-Colored Glasses

One of the rose bearers in the film was Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon, who played “Fancy” on the Jamie Foxx Show.

9 Double-Teamed

vJames Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair played the characters of Akeem’s father and mother, respectively. They also voiced Mufasa and Sarabi in The Lion King.

10 You Want Fries With That?

The fictional restaurant chain, McDowell’s, was nearly slammed with a lawsuit by a naive franchisee of McDonald’s.

11 Spike Lee was in the office?

Did you know that Spike Lee’s photograph was hanging in Lisa’s office? And Eddie also had his uncle in the film (he was the guy who fell down the stairs.) If you want to find McDowell’s, head over to 8507 Queens Blvd (or not!)

Related: the funniest facts about laughing!

Video: Coming to America (1988)

This was the official trailer for the movie when it came out in the theater. You really have to watch to remember this film in its historical context.

Many said it was Eddie Murphy’s best film ever. Do you agree?