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Being There (1979)

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

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(novel), (screenplay)
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4,333 ( 133)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 15 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
Alfie 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:

Life is a state of mind. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

19 December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chance  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Peter Sellers prepared for the role of Chance by recording his voice over and over again, experimenting with different styles and tones. He chose a deliberately blank style to convey the character. See more »

Goofs

When Chance is bumped into by Eve's car his left leg is injured. But it's his right leg that is examined and treated by the doctor at the Rand mansion. 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 Cheech and Chong's Next Movie (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Also Sprach Zarathustra
Written by Richard Strauss (uncredited)
Arranged and Performed by Eumir Deodato
Courtesy of CTI Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Great Shirley MacLaine
25 August 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Matched with her introverted opposite, the on-screen DC gardener Chance, Peter Sellers, Shirley Maclaine is the extroverted Eve, who uses sensuality striving to draw the most ultimately withdrawn mild-mannered man out of his cocoon.

There is a terrifically comical scene when MacLaine is on a fur rug beside Sellers' bed. She's gyrating in every imaginable orgasmic way while the asexual gardener watches the world (instead of her) the only way he knows how: on television.

The problem is, the gentleman of the house has deceased. This means that Sellers will have to leave and face a world he doesn't know.

Given that MacLaine usually plays quite extroverted and hilarious characters and Sellers usually played understated and bumblingly hilarious characters, mixing the two of them in "Being There" became a smash hit. This may be one of her finest performances. It should be viewed as Sellers' pen-ultimate finale.

In fact, the scene when he walks away is literally eerie. I won't say why because I want you to watch "Being There," to find out.


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