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Being There (1979)

 -  Comedy  -  19 December 1979 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 43,988 users  
Reviews: 263 user | 88 critic

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

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Writers:

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

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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

A story of chance See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

19 December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chance  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Ruth Attaway. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Arrested Development: The Ocean Walker (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No. 8
(uncredited)
Written by Franz Schubert
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A great work from two great men
27 January 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

On the face of it, this was always going to be a cinematic treat. Hal Ashby, who in my opinion had the greatest sense of humour in Hollywood directing Peter Sellers, one of the finest comic actors of all time.

What i didn't expect was an excellent supporting cast with superb performances from Shirley MacLaine and Melvyn Douglas and a watertight script from Kosinski. What gave me the biggest pleasure was Ashby's subtle portrayal of his own politics. Sellers' character's rise and rise is set against, in the beginning at least, images of the socially deprived. In most of Ashby's films there is a strong sense of the anti-establishment but what is brilliant in this movie is that Ashby gets inside the establishment to ridicule it and yet at the same time bring across a strong sense of humanity in the richer character's isolation and loneliness.

Politics or not Ashby's perfect pacing bring the best out of Sellers whose film career, Strangelove aside, was hit and miss. This movie is definitely a hit from the most underrated film director Hollywood has ever had the arrogance to forget to miss.


47 of 65 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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