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Being There (1979)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  19 December 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 49,223 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?


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 »


While at dinner for the first evening with Ben and Eve, Chauncey's wine glass fills and empties within seconds. 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 Captain Kangaroo (1955) See more »


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

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.

53 of 72 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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