The 10 Best Sarcastic Black-White Buddy Cops


Eddie Murphy & Judge Reinhold
Beverly Hills Cop (1984), Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)

In the Beverly Hills Cop movies, Eddie Murphy wears uncomfortably tight jeans, says hilarious one-liners, and makes you cringe every time he tries to emote. But the real tour de force is turned in by white buffoon Judge Reinhold, who apparently researched his role by watching black comedians impersonate white guys.

Typical Sassy Exchange

Foley: You just hit a squad car!
Rosewood: It's okay, I know the guy. He's a jerk.

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Nick Nolte & Eddie Murphy
48 Hrs. (1982), Another 48 Hrs. (1990)

While Cates and Hammond may not be the most sarcastic of the white/black buddy cops, they're definitely the most awesomely filthy. One of their many back-and-forths has Hammond saying that he should have his "dick bronzed" because he's so good in the sack. And Cates is just as good in the racist prick department as Hammond is in the fucking department-at one point, he refers to Hammond as" an overdressed, charcoal-colored loser." Shortly thereafter, he calls Hammond the N-word and punches him in the face. Who doesn't love it when witty sarcasm borders on racially charged violence?

Typical Sassy Exchange

Hammond: Tell me a story.
Cates: Fuck you!
Hammond: Oh, that's one of my favorites.

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Bruce Willis & Reginald VelJohnson
Die Hard (1988)

Before they made the best action movie of the past 25 years, the makers of Die Hard had to solve a problem. In John McClane, they'd created the most sarcastic cop in the history of sarcasm and cops, but since the film's plot requires that he be alone for most of the movie, he didn't have any black people to make his sarcastic comments to.

Luckily, Die Hard was not made by inside-the-box thinkers. First, they gave McClane a jive-talking limo driver named Arguile who listens to Run DMC and makes Will Smith's performance in the opening credits of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air seem nuanced by comparison. Most importantly though, they gave the dad from Family Matters a walkie-talkie and told him to look up gravely and call McClane "Cowboy" a lot, thus allowing McClane to ooze sarcasm on the other end. Crisis averted. Still, despite what you might expect, they don't fuck in the end.

Typical Sassy Exchange

McClane: Is the building on fire?
Powell: No, but it's gonna need a paint job and a shitload of screen doors.

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Bruce Willis & Damon Wayans
The Last Boy Scout (1991)

This time, a hungover Bruce Willis is teamed up with Damon Wayans, who is hilariously miscast as one of the most talented quarterbacks to ever pick up a football. (If you're an un-athletic looking black guy and white people automatically assume you're good at sports, is it offensive, or just awesome? Sadly, we'll never know.)

Like Samuel L. Jackson in Die Hard 3, Wayans gets to pretend he's a cop even though he isn't. Even more mysterious-everyone keeps calling Willis' character Detective Hallanbeck even though he is very clearly John McClane-he's sarcastic when he's just killed someone, he gets even more sarcastic when he's in danger of being killed, he's always hungover even though he never seems to be drinking, and, most importantly, he's having trouble with his wife and smokes a lot.

Typical Sassy Exchange

Hallanbeck: This ain't no game, flash. Real guns, real bullets. It's dangerous.
Dix: Danger's my middle name.
Hallanbeck: Mine's Cornelius. You tell anybody, I'll kill you.

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Mel Gibson & Danny Glover
Lethal Weapon (1987), Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), Lethal Weapon 3(1992), Lethal Weapon 4(1998)

We've gotta go with Riggs and Murtaugh at number one if only because of their absolute centrality to the Lethal Weapon franchise. If you took away the black-white buddy cops from any of the other films on this list, you'd still have some movie leftover. Men in Black, for example, would still be a movie about aliens, and The Last Boy Scout would still have a convoluted plot about professional football and some fat guy in a cowboy hat.

But with Lethal Weapon, the pairing of a black cop with a white cop IS the premise of the movie. All four installments boil down to the same ingenious core concept: "Two cops solve crime while making sarcastic comments. One of them is black and the other is white. Also, Danny Glover says, 'I'm too old for this shit.' Roll credits."

Typical Sassy Exchange

Riggs: You want me to drive?
Murtaugh: No, you're supposed to be suicidal, remember? I'll drive.
Riggs: Anybody who drives around in this town IS suicidal.

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