A snobbish investor and a wily street con artist find their positions reversed as part of a bet by two callous millionaires.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Maurice Woods ...
Duke & Duke Employee
Richard D. Fisher Jr. ...
Duke & Duke Employee
Jim Gallagher ...
Duke & Duke Employee
Anthony DiSabatino ...
Duke & Duke Employee
Bonnie Behrend ...
Duke & Duke Employee
Sunnie Merrill ...
Duke & Duke Employee
James Newell ...
Duke & Duke Employee (as Jim Newell)
Mary St. John ...
Duke & Duke Employee
Bonnie Tremena ...
Duke & Duke Employee
David Schwartz ...
Duke & Duke Employee
...
...
Tom Degidon ...
Duke Domestic
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Storyline

Louis Winthorpe is a businessman who works for commodities brokerage firm of Duke and Duke owned by the brothers Mortimer and Randolph Duke. Now they bicker over the most trivial of matters and what they are bickering about is whether it's a person's environment or heredity that determines how well they will do in life. When Winthorpe bumps into Billy Ray Valentine, a street hustler and assumes he is trying to rob him, he has him arrested. Upon seeing how different the two men are, the brothers decide to make a wager as to what would happen if Winthorpe loses his job, his home and is shunned by everyone he knows and if Valentine was given Winthorpe's job. So they proceed to have Winthorpe arrested and to be placed in a compromising position in front of his girlfriend. So all he has to rely on is the hooker who was hired to ruin him. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Some very funny business. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 June 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black or White  »

Box Office

Gross:

$90,400,000 (USA)
 »

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

In the scene with Eddie Murphy in the restaurant and Dan Aykroyd standing outside in the rain, Eddie Murphy is asked for his opinion about wheat. At that moment, the entire room stops speaking and leans into hear his advice. This is a reference to a series of 1980s commercials for the brokerage firm, E.F. Hutton. The tagline was, "When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen." See more »

Goofs

When Billy Ray is pan handling, the Police officers pick him up and his blanket falls on the sidewalk and appears folded and not folded in following scenes. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Coleman: [holding a breakfast tray while Louis is still asleep] Your breakfast, sir.
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Crazy Credits

The names of the major actors/actresses are shown superimposed on short clips from the film. The clips showing Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy and Jamie-Lee Curtis respectively are obvious outtakes as they all crack up and burst into smiles and/or laughter. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 50 Greatest Comedy Films (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

THE BIG WALTZ
by Lyn Murray
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User Reviews

Great Early Vehicle for Eddie Murphy
22 June 2005 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

This is probably one of the funniest films of the 1980's. It not only is a play on the classic nature vs. nurture theme, but it is also a somewhat comedic commentary on the "greed is good" decade of the 80's. However, it is also a nice bridging of the generations as it features two of the biggest stars to come from "Saturday Night Live" Eddie Murphy does a fine job as con man Billy Ray and Dan Ackroyd is great as Louis. Jamie Lee Curtis is also wonderful as Ophelia. In fact, it was good to see her do something other than the "scream queen" roles which she became famous for during the early part of her career. She definitely shows the comedic timing that she would display later in her career and would make her one of the finest comedic actresses in film today. However, the one that really steals it for me is Denholm Elliot as Coleman. He delivers a very low key performance that is befitting for that role. This is a real gem.


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