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Being There (1979)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  19 December 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 49,226 users  
Reviews: 283 user | 95 critic

A simple, sheltered gardener becomes an unlikely trusted advisor to a powerful businessman and an insider in Washington politics.



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Benjamin Rand
President 'Bobby'
Vladimir Skrapinov
Ruth Attaway ...
Thomas Franklin (as Dave Clennon)
Fran Brill ...
Sally Hayes
Johanna Franklin
Oteil Burbridge ...
Ravenell Keller III ...
Brian Corrigan ...
Policeman by White House
Alfie Brown ...
Old Woman asked for lunch (as Alfredine Brown)
Don Jacob ...
David (as Donald Jacob)


A simple-minded gardener named Chance has spent all his life in the Washington D.C. house of an old man. When the man dies, Chance is put out on the street with no knowledge of the world except what he has learned from television. After a run in with a limousine, he ends up a guest of a woman (Eve) and her husband Ben, an influential but sickly businessman. Now called Chauncey Gardner, Chance becomes friend and confidante to Ben, and an unlikely political insider. Written by Scott Renshaw <as.idc@forsythe.stanford.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A story of chance See more »


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

19 December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chance  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ben Rand a very wealthy business man, in entombed in a pyramid-shaped tomb at the end of the movie. The pyramid has an eye at the top of it very similar to the pyramid on the back of a U.S. $1 bill. Also, "rand" is the monetary unit for South Africa, corresponding to the dollar in the U.S. See more »


When Chance is watching himself on the large screen in the store window display, he uses his home remote control to try and change the channels on that set, but it controls another TV instead. However the remote is of the earlier "ultrasonic" technology, and these sound waves DO NOT pass through glass at the required strength needed to work. Those of us born before the movie can recall that jiggling your keys would make a remote controlled TV unwittingly change channels, or turn off and on. At about this same time the now common "infrared" RCs were coming out, albeit at outrageous prices. These signals CAN in effect pass through glass, despite some losses due to reflection. For the scene to be technically correct they should have used an IR remote, which would not make those "ringing bell" metallic sounds. See more »


[first lines]
Chance the Gardener: Good morning, Louise.
Louise: He's dead, Chance. The old man's dead.
Chance the Gardener: I see.
[Chance goes back to watching TV]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Under the end titles of the theatrical release are outtakes of Peter Sellers as Chance recounting the encounter with Abbaz. Sellers breaks character and laughs during each attempt. The lines do not appear in the movie. Certain versions of the film have credits with white text on a black background without the outtakes. See more »


It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Performed by Fred Rogers
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User Reviews

Quietly Demonstrates What an Enormous Talent Peter Sellers Was.
7 July 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The original "Forrest Gump" came out in 1979 when Hal Ashby's "Being There" was first released. A quietly brilliant, hilarious, heart-wrenching and heart-warming motion picture that showed how great Peter Sellers (Oscar-nominated) was and how limitless his range was. He stars as a gardener at an old mansion in Washington, D.C. who has never been outside of the owner's small piece of property. When the owner dies, he has to leave the only home he has ever known. Sellers has no knowledge of anything except what he sees on television and he has a strange sort of child-like innocence that endears him to all he comes into contact with. After a minor accident, Sellers is taken to the home of a ridiculously wealthy political lobbyist (Melvyn Douglas in his second Oscar-winning performance) who is literally being kept alive as he has a rare form of cancer. Douglas immediately takes a liking to Sellers and so does his much-younger wife (Shirley MacLaine). Sellers is now in the spotlight though as he gets to meet the president (Jack Warden) and slowly starts to gain popularity and political support from those around him. Of course Sellers does not realize any of this as his understanding of such things are beyond his somewhat limited mental capabilities. A simply brilliant film that is carried by Sellers' amazing personal best performance. Everyone else is adequate, but this is Sellers' show. Douglas won the Oscar mainly due to sympathy votes, but surprisingly Sellers would die before Douglas as he passed away less than six months after receiving his Oscar nod of a massive heart attack. As good as Dustin Hoffman was in "Kramer vs. Kramer", I still wish that Sellers would have won the Oscar for this role which is one of the finest performances ever throughout the entire history of the cinema. 5 stars out of 5.

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