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Trading Places (1983) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • 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
  • Philadelphia based Louis Winthorpe III was born into and has solely lived a life of privilege. He is Harvard educated, is successful at his job, has a lavish home paid for by his employers, and is wealthy. The children he will probably have with his fiancée Penelope will most likely also know nothing but privilege. But he and his friends, who all have similar backgrounds, are pompous and snobbish. His job is as managing director at Duke & Duke, a commodities brokerage house owned by brothers Randolph and Mortimer Duke. The Duke brothers often disagree with each other and make wagers on the outcome of these disagreements. Their latest wager is about "nature versus nurture": the importance environment plays versus one's natural bloodline in determining how one's life will turn out. The guinea pigs in their experiment are Winthorpe, whose life they will attempt to ruin to see how he reacts, and Billy Ray Valentine, a black hustler/crook who the Dukes and Winthorpe encountered in one of his scams. Like Winthorpe, Valentine was born into and has lived the only life he has ever known. They will attempt to place Valentine into every aspect of Winthorpe's life to see how he functions. Without either knowing of anyone else involved, Coleman, Winthorpe's manservant who is officially employed by the Dukes in his day-to-day job, and a streetwise hooker named Ophelia each play a role in the Duke's plan. Also deeply involved in their plan is a private detective the Dukes often use, Clarence Beeks. Beyond the outcome of the Dukes' experiment, can either Winthorpe or Valentine change the course of the new life set out for them by the Dukes, even if they knew what the Dukes were doing? Regardless, this experience will fundamentally change the lives of both Winthorpe and Valentine, but not at without the expense of others as well.

    - Written by Huggo
  • Mortimer and Randolph Duke are commodity brokers who enjoy a little wager now and then. For the latest bet, Randolph believes they can take a common criminal and make him a successful businessman in the company. The criminal, Billy Ray, is to be given the job and home of Louis, who in turn is set up for crimes he didn't commit, to see if he resorts to crime once he's lost his rich environment and friends.

    - Written by Rob Hartill
  • Louis Winthorpe III is a successful Philadelphia commodity broker with mansion, manservant and girlfriend to match. Billy Ray Valentine is a hustling beggar. Winthorpe's employers, the elderly Duke brothers, make a bet that by switching the lifestyle of the two Billy Ray will make good and their man will take to a life of crime. Suddenly Louis finds himself uncomprehendingly with no job, no home and only a new acquaintance, glamorous hooker Ophelia, prepared to help him. So at least in one way things could actually be worse.

    - Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Synopsis

Duke brothers Randolph (Ralph Bellamy) and Mortimer (Don Ameche) own Duke & Duke, a successful commodities brokerage in Philadelphia...

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