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Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986)

R  |   |  Comedy  |  31 January 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 12,211 users   Metascore: 82/100
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A rich but troubled family find their lives altered by the arrival of a vagrant who tries to drown himself in their swimming pool.



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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dave Whiteman
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
Barry Primus ...
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 <>

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?


Nick Nolte's character remarks that he became a bum in part because he was "pretty active politically in the '60s. Sold some draft cards." In real life, Nolte received five years' probation for selling fake draft cards in the 1960s. See more »


Near the end of the film during the pool scene when they've all jumped in, if you look closely you will see Max Whiteman in the pool. But just a a couple of minutes later, he appears on screen with his friends and then jumps into the pool with them. See more »


Dave Whiteman: Oh, come on! The dog is running the whole house!
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 Nick Nolte: No Exit (2008) See more »


Clair de lune
Music by Claude Debussy
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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