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Trading Places (1983)

R  |   |  Comedy  |  8 June 1983 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 94,883 users   Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 152 user | 67 critic | 9 from

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 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


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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Take two complete strangers, make one of them rich the other poor... just watch the fun while they're... TRADING PLACES See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

8 June 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Black or White  »

Box Office


$90,400,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The character Clarence Beeks shares his name with a jazz musician who recorded under the name "King Pleasure." See more »


When Louis is walking past the restaurant in the rain, the scene switches to him a number of times and you can hear the hard rain falling. The first time the camera shows a close up of Louis however, the camera is still inside the restaurant yet the sound of rain falling is heard, drowning out the crowd noises in the restaurant that are heard continuously (other than when Valentine is making his prediction about the Russian wheat crop) when the camera is inside. See more »


[first lines]
Coleman: [holding a breakfast tray while Louis is still asleep] Your breakfast, sir.
See more »

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 »


By Joseph Beal & James Boothe (as Jim Boothe)
Performed by Brenda Lee
Courtesy MCA Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

17 April 1999 | by (The Penumbra) – See all my reviews

Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper has seen many incarnations from Disney to The Simpsons. But none have been as cruel (and funny) and John Landis' Trading Places, which proves just how funny Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy used to be.

Louise Winthorpe III is a spoiled, snobby managing director at the Duke & Duke commodities brokerage. Billy Ray Valentine is a poverty-stricken street hustler. Randolph Duke makes a wager with his brother Mortimer that the men can be successfully swapped . The con is on as Valentine is plucked from the streets and Winthorpe is ungraciously dumped on them. There's loads of fun watching him hit absolute rock bottom while Valentine quickly becomes spoiled and snobby himself.

Jamie Lee Curtis is the hugely-boobed hooker with a heart of gold who takes Winthorpe in while the always brilliant Denholm Elliott is Coleman, the unwilling butler caught up in the Dukes' evil plan. Once all four unravel the scam they team-up to destroy the Dukes.

Trading Places is crammed full of hilarious scenes, great dialogue, and funny cameos. Who cannot resist Eddie Murphy's foreign exchange student disguise or Ackroyd's Lionel Josef. Even the gorilla in the train is a brilliant character.

For those of you who love dark, cruel comedies Trading Places is utterly essential. It may be very 80s, but it never gets old. It's a must see and must have.

47 of 54 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

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Most quoted movie after Pulp Fiction old-skool101
Coleman the butler colingar
taking briefcase twice. cjware1974-535-342216
Valentine's sudden 'knowledge' robdrum4
I've Always Been Confused About Coleman's Knowledge of The Dukes' Plan. ChairmanOfTheBored
calling the 80's viewers of this film old-skool101
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