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
Take two complete strangers, make one of them rich the other poor... just watch the fun while they're... TRADING PLACES
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Did You Know?
: [4th wall] When the Duke brothers talk down to Billy Ray Valentine about commodities, he looks directly into the camera as if saying, "These guys must think I'm a complete idiot." See more
After Randolph states it will take more than just loosing his job to drive Winthorpe to criminal activity, and listing the other misfortunes that may be required, it is Mortimer that adds to surround him with the "wrong sort of people" to push him over the line. However, Mortimer doesn't believe that environment influences behavior, and states so with his race horse analogy (showing a lack of understanding since race horses won't succeed without training, i.e. environment) so why would HE be making this suggestion? It is understandable when he puts up the front for Valentine, so as not to bias the "experiment", but it wasn't necessary here since they hadn't started, yet. See more
[holding a breakfast tray while Louis is still asleep
Your breakfast, sir.
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