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Being There (1979)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 26 May 1980 (Denmark)
2:45 | Trailer

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



(novel), (screenplay)
3,957 ( 128)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
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


Life is a state of mind. See more »


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

26 May 1980 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Chance  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Finnish certificate # 88400 delivered on 31-7-1980. 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 »


Featured in Hollywood: The Gift of Laughter (1982) See more »


Different Ways
Performed by Buffy Sainte-Marie and Caroll Spinney
See more »

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User Reviews

Sellers deserves the Oscar not hanks,
9 December 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When I first saw Being There I was all of 10 years old, and for some reason, I loved it. And yet I could never exactly say why. Several years latter while looking for another movie, I happen across this video and read the review. Chance Gardner played charmingly by Peter Sellers, ( I think that is what the reviewer wrote) stumbles his way into the upper crest where he is mistaken for someone with deep knowledge of the world. Other reviews point out this movie is cynical characterization of self absorbed people in politics and media. As a kid I didn't get that, and now on further reflection what I liked about this movie was how these people where drawn to Chances innocence. In some ways Forrest Gump tried to attempt to tell this story line, but only manages to rehash old stereotypes. Being There depicts in clever, real characters who use a veil of politeness to cover up a cynicisim they have of their world and their own power. But for a kid and maybe why it has a cult following is because the heart of the show, whats addicting about is no matter how self absorbed we become, our best nature is drawn to a simple life, absent of complications. After watching the movie again, the dark comedy is more apparent, but I am happy to say that in the "Life and death of Peter Sellers", Sellers himself interpreted the character as I thought of it when I was kid. Gardner is a man who is sublimely content with no past and no future, and therefore no worries. As a kid I kind of new that as innocence. So if you rent this movie don't just see it as a black comedy, but also see it how a kid might, and for that matter how Peter Sellers saw it.

116 of 151 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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