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Which Way Is Up? (1977)

Richard Pryor is playing three different roles here. The first being a poor orange picker named Leroy Jones who gets laid off when by mistake he joins the worker's union during one of their... See full summary »

Director:

Michael Schultz

Writers:

Lina Wertmüller (as Lina Wertmuller), Carl Gottlieb (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Pryor ... Leroy Jones / Rufus Jones / Reverend Lenox Thomas
Lonette McKee ... Vanetta
Margaret Avery ... Annie Mae
Morgan Woodward ... Mr. Mann
Marilyn Coleman Marilyn Coleman ... Sister Sarah
Bebe Drake ... Thelma (as BeBe Drake-Hooks)
Gloria Edwards Gloria Edwards ... Janelle
Ernesto Hernández Ernesto Hernández ... Jose Reyes (as Ernesto Hernandez)
Otis Day ... Sugar
Morgan Roberts Morgan Roberts ... Henry
Diane Rodriguez Diane Rodriguez ... Estrella Reyes
Dolph Sweet ... The Boss
Tim Thomerson ... Tour Guide (as Timothy Thomerson)
Daniel Valdez Daniel Valdez ... Chuy Estrada (as Danny Valdez)
Luis Valdez Luis Valdez ... Ramon Juarez
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Storyline

Richard Pryor is playing three different roles here. The first being a poor orange picker named Leroy Jones who gets laid off when by mistake he joins the worker's union during one of their demonstrations. Afterwards he is forced to leave his wife and family behind which also includes Leroy's father (also played by Pryor) to go to Los Angeles. Leroy ends up working for the same company that fired him back home. He is a manager at the company but he is now distant from his former pals. He meets and falls in love with Vanetta who is a labor organizer which leaves him splitting time between his wife Annie Mae and Vanetta. When Leroy finds out that the Reverend Lenox Thomas (also played by Pryor) has got his wife pregnant while he was absent, he then make the moves on the reverend's wife. Written by mts77

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 June 1978 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

A munka gyümölcse See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character "Reverend Lennox Thomas" is named after Richard Pryor, using two of his middle names. See more »

Quotes

Annie Mae: Leroy, can't you just whisper sweet things into my ear?
Leroy Jones: [into her ear] Open yo legs, bitch!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in 2 Live Crew: Me So Horny (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Which Way Is Up?
Words and Music by Norman Whitfield
Sung by Stargard
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Richard Pryor at his Best
10 December 2012 | by kaljicSee all my reviews

For anyone wanting to experience the comic genius which was Richard Pryor, this movie is the starting point. This movie is often neglected. Most bios of Richard Pryor emphasize his concert films, many of which are good and hilarious. Some bios point out to his other movies like Car Wash; but his role in this particular film was far too brief, and was really a cameo appearance. Others cite movies like Stir Crazy or The Toy. However, in these movies his comic genius was either trivialized or squandered.

In this movie he was able to display the fullest array of his talent in one place. Pryor plays three roles in this movie. In the first role he plays the protagonist who is driven away from his home by corporation thugs, makes his life in the big city and returns home with his new spouse and the now changed family that he left behind. The plot and the protagonist is loosely based on the Lina Wertmuller film, The Seduction of Mimi. In the second role, he plays his father, which in reality is a concert character which is based on his own invention, Mudbone. In the third role he plays the Minister Lennox, another familiar Pryor invention.

The movie does have some drawbacks, primarily of which is the music, which is a faux-disco Hollywood standard soundtrack. At times, the movie seems a bit dated. What is not dated is the humor. The movie is hilarious and a showcase of the many sides of Richard Pryor. While Richard Pryor will be missed, this movie should not.


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