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Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986)

R | | Comedy | 31 January 1986 (USA)
A rich but troubled family find their lives altered by the arrival of a vagrant who tries to drown himself in their swimming pool.



(play), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Orvis Goodnight
Mike the Dog ...
Matisse (as Mike)
Donald F. Muhich ...
Dr. Von Zimmer
Sidney Waxman
Pearl Waxman
Jack Bruskoff ...
Mel Whiteman
Geraldine Dreyfuss ...
Sadie Whiteman
Lou Waltzberg
Sheila Waltzberg


Beverly Hills couple Barbara and Dave Whiteman are very rich but not happy Dave is a hard working business man, his wife is only interested in yoga, aerobics and other meditation classes, and he sleeps with the house maid. Their teenage son is confused about his sexuality and their daughter is suffering from eating disorders. While they are celebrating thanksgiving having plenty of food, street tramp Jerry is hungry, homeless, sleeping rough and has lost his dog. Jerry decides to end his life by drowning himself in their swimming pool. Dave rescues him and invites him to stay for a while. How does this stranger change the life style of this family? Written by Sami Al-Taher <staher2000@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


See what happens when a dirty bum meets the filthy rich.




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

31 January 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le clochard de Beverly Hills  »

Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)


$62,134,225 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Paul Mazursky: As the accountant Sidney Waxman. See more »


Jerry loses his dog on Thanksgiving Day morning. Throughout the day he frantically searches along a very busy Rodeo Drive as crowds of people are eating and shopping. However, because it's Thanksgiving, all retail stores and most businesses (except movie theatres) should be closed on that day. See more »


Doctor Von Zimmer: Has there been some recent change in living arrangements?
Barbara Whiteman: [flatly] We have a houseguest.
Doctor Von Zimmer: Oh.
[looks at Jerry]
Doctor Von Zimmer: How long are you staying?
Dave Whiteman: He's staying as long as he likes. And if the doggy doesn't like it, then the doggy can find other living arrangements.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits open on scenes showing sites featured in Beverly Hills The end credits scroll on the alleyway outside the Whiteman's home, during which a bum pushing a trolley walks by, pauses to check on the Whiteman's dumpster, then continues on his way. See more »


Referenced in Video Violence (1987) See more »


Written by David Byrne & Brian Eno
Performed by The Talking Heads
Courtesy of Sire Records and EMI Records, Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

How did I get here?
26 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When Nick Nolte was arrested for DUI in 2002 and they published his mug shot picture I thought it was Jerry Baskin. I first saw this film during it's initial theatrical release and found it very amusing. This is a re-telling of playwright René Fauchois' Boudu sauvé des eaux that was made into a film in 1932. In this story the rescued drowning man is played by Nick Nolte who is a down and out former actor who is homeless and had but one friend, his stray dog. He can't find his dog and wanders into the backyard of a Beverly Hills dysfunctional and affluent family where he plans to end it all by drowning in their swimming pool. Homeowner Richard Dreyfuss comes to the rescue and the homeless man, Jerry becomes a wanted and unwanted guest in their home. Bette Midler is Dreyfuss' wife, Tracy Nelson is the daughter, Evan Richards is the son, Elizabeth Pena is the maid and Little Richard is the next-door-neighbor. A fun situational comedy, the screenplay was written by Paul Mazursky and Leon Capetanos who collaborated on several films with Mazursky. Mazursky is a multi-talented director/writer/producer/actor who also appears in this film. He got wrote and produced I Love You Alice B. Toklis and then went on to big success as the director of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. In the 70's he had some other notable films that he directed including Harry and Tonto and An Unmarried Woman but his only film of note in the 80's was Moscow on the Hudson and after Down and Out in Beverly Hills directed only seven other films of little note and his writing creativity seems to have stalled to as he only wrote four more screenplays in the past 20 years. Cinematographer Donald Mcalpine is this film's photographer. He's had recent success with Chronicles of Narnia. Some of his other films include Mrs. Doubtfire, Predator, My Brilliant Career and Breaker Morant. Andy Summers of the rock band the Police provides the music score. The Talking Heads song Once in a Lifetime which was 6 years old was used as the theme song of the film and it suddenly became a charting single. This is a good film if you've never seen it and a good look back to the 80's. I would give it an 8.0 out of 10.

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