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Being There (1979)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  19 December 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 49,216 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


Getting there is half the fun; being there is all of it! 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?


Every contract that Peter Sellers signed included a clause which stipulated that his accommodations must have the bed facing East-West. Chance says: "I like to sleep with my head facing North". The attorney he's with says "But this bed is facing west!" 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 »


Features Match Game 73 (1973) See more »


It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Performed by Fred Rogers
See more »

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User Reviews

Perhaps one of the saddest movies ever made?
12 January 1999 | by (London England) – See all my reviews

To learn that Peter Sellers spent the last ten years of his life dedicated to producing this film, reluctantly taking parts in the Pink Panther series to gain enough money to do so, is dedication enough to tell you that this film meant a lot to Sellers.

It is sad that Sellers died just one year after completing the film, which to me stands as a testament to his talent.

Being There was not a successful film, indeed many people have never heard of it. If you haven't seen it, track it down. It is one of the most touching films I have ever seen.

111 of 158 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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