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Which Way Is Up? (1977)

Richard Pryor is playing three different roles here. The first being a poor orange picker named Leroy Jones who gets laid off when by mistake he joins the worker's union during one of their... See full summary »



(as Lina Wertmuller), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Annie Mae
Mr. Mann
Marilyn Coleman ...
Sister Sarah
Thelma (as BeBe Drake-Hooks)
Gloria Edwards ...
Ernesto Hernández ...
Jose Reyes (as Ernesto Hernandez)
Morgan Roberts ...
Diane Rodriguez ...
Estrella Reyes
Dolph Sweet ...
The Boss
Tour Guide (as Timothy Thomerson)
Daniel Valdez ...
Chuy Estrada (as Danny Valdez)
Luis Valdez ...
Ramon Juarez


Richard Pryor is playing three different roles here. The first being a poor orange picker named Leroy Jones who gets laid off when by mistake he joins the worker's union during one of their demonstrations. Afterwards he is forced to leave his wife and family behind which also includes Leroy's father (also played by Pryor) to go to Los Angeles. Leroy ends up working for the same company that fired him back home. He is a manager at the company but he is now distant from his former pals. He meets and falls in love with Vanetta who is a labor organizer which leaves him splitting time between his wife Annie Mae and Vanetta. When Leroy finds out that the Reverend Lenox Thomas (also played by Pryor) has got his wife pregnant while he was absent, he then make the moves on the reverend's wife. Written by mts77

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 February 1979 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

A munka gyümölcse  »

Box Office


$3,200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


At the beginning of the film Leroy (Richard Pryor) listens in on his father Rufus (also Richard Pryor) having sex in the other room. The sounds of his father and the woman - "Don't do that baby. Sock it to me. [moaning]" - was sampled in 2 Live Crew's 1989 hit "Me So Horny" on the album 'As Nasty As They Wanna Be'. That song also features a sample from Full Metal Jacket (1987). See more »


Referenced in TruInside: The Jerk (2016) See more »


Which Way Is Up?
Words and Music by Norman Whitfield
Sung by Stargard
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Richard Pryor hilariously portrays three characters in Which Way Is Up?
14 February 2012 | by (Baton Rouge, La.) – See all my reviews

It's been about 30 years since I almost watched the entirety of this movie (the only reason I couldn't was because I was 13 at the time and my mom wouldn't let me watch the rest when she caught me watching a sex scene!) so now that I have indeed done so on Netflix Streaming, I'm sooo glad I did! Richard Pryor must of had the time of his life making this movie with director Michael Schultz especially when-in the only time in his career-he portrayed three characters: Leading player Leroy Jones, his father Rufus, and reverend Lenox Thomas. The story deals with unions, promotions, adultery, sexual problems, and trying to find a balance of it all. Leroy has his hands full dealing with wife Margaret Avery as Annie Mae, Lonette McKee as social activist Vanetta, and Marilyn Coleman as Sister Sarah, wife of the reverend. Pryor's scenes with Ms. McKee are the most romantic, while his sequences with Ms. Avery and Ms. Coleman are the most comic. But they all have some poignancy about them that makes one care for them. Pryor himself is at his best with his takes on each character and the way Leroy changes his demeanor for whatever occasion. In other words, I found Which Way Is Up? quite hilarious so yeah, that's a high recommendation.

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