8.0/10
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302 user 108 critic

Being There (1979)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 26 May 1980 (Denmark)
A simple, sheltered gardener becomes an unlikely trusted advisor to a powerful businessman and an insider in Washington politics.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
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4,216 ( 119)

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From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ruth Attaway ...
Louise
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Thomas Franklin (as Dave Clennon)
Fran Brill ...
Sally Hayes
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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:

A story of chance See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

26 May 1980 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Chance  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

When Eve and Chance first enter the Rand estate by limousine the car turns left inside the gate, but when they arrive at the front door they are approaching from the right. 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]
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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 Californication: ...And Justice for All (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

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


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