8.0/10
64,629
336 user 130 critic

Being There (1979)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 8 February 1980 (USA)
Trailer
2:46 | Trailer
A simpleminded, sheltered gardener becomes an unlikely trusted advisor to a powerful businessman and an insider in Washington politics.

Director:

Hal Ashby

Writers:

Jerzy Kosinski (novel), Jerzy Kosinski (screenplay)
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Popularity
4,679 ( 178)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Sellers ... Chance
Shirley MacLaine ... Eve Rand
Melvyn Douglas ... Benjamin Rand
Jack Warden ... President 'Bobby'
Richard Dysart ... Dr. Robert Allenby
Richard Basehart ... Vladimir Skrapinov
Ruth Attaway Ruth Attaway ... Louise
David Clennon ... Thomas Franklin (as Dave Clennon)
Fran Brill ... Sally Hayes
Denise DuBarry ... Johanna Franklin
Oteil Burbridge ... Lolo
Ravenell Keller III Ravenell Keller III ... Abbaz
Brian Corrigan Brian Corrigan ... Policeman by White House
Alfie Brown Alfie Brown ... Old Woman asked for lunch (as Alfredine Brown)
Don Jacob Don Jacob ... David (as Donald Jacob)
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Storyline

Simple-minded gardener Chance has spent all his life in the Washington D.C. home of an old man. When the man dies, Chance is put out on the street with no knowledge of the world except what he has learned from television. After a run-in with a limousine, he ends up a guest of Eve and her husband Ben, an influential but sickly businessman. Now called Chauncey Gardner, Chance becomes friend and confidante to Ben, and an unlikely political insider. Written by Scott Renshaw <as.idc@forsythe.stanford.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A story of chance See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After the novel's release and the subsequent purchase of rights to the book, Peter Sellers successfully lobbied for the lead role by sending a telegram to author Jerzy Kosinski with the message, "Gardener available for work". It was during casting and after the success of the later Pink Panther movies that Sellers became the only choice for the lead role. See more »

Goofs

When Chance is watching himself on the large screen in the store window display, he uses his home remote control to try and change the channels on that set, but it controls another TV instead. However the remote is of the earlier "ultrasonic" technology, and these sound waves DO NOT pass through glass at the required strength needed to work. Those of us born before the movie can recall that jiggling your keys would make a remote controlled TV unwittingly change channels, or turn off and on. At about this same time the now common "infrared" RCs were coming out, albeit at outrageous prices. These signals CAN in effect pass through glass, despite some losses due to reflection. For the scene to be technically correct they should have used an IR remote, which would not make those "ringing bell" metallic sounds. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Chance the Gardener: Good morning, Louise.
Louise: He's dead, Chance. The old man's dead.
Chance the Gardener: I see.
[Chance goes back to watching TV]
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Crazy Credits

Under the end titles of the theatrical release are outtakes of Peter Sellers as Chance recounting the encounter with Abbaz. Sellers breaks character and laughs during each attempt. The lines do not appear in the movie. Certain versions of the film have credits with white text on a black background without the outtakes. See more »

Alternate Versions

CBS edited 3 minutes from this film for its 1984 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Clerks (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

I'd Like To Get To Know You
(uncredited)
Written by Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway
Performed by Michael Troy
See more »

User Reviews

 
Sellers a work of Art.
13 December 2003 | by tbonea28See all my reviews

Being There is a film about a simple and mildly retarded gardener, played by Peter Sellers who's entire adult life was gardening for an elderly gentleman and watching television. When the old man dies, Chancey is left homeless and on his own. Due to his past recluse surroundings he is unaware of the every day technology, such as telephone, elevators etc., which leads to some comical situations. He is saved from the streets, by a wealthy woman, Eve Rand, played by Shirley MacLean. When her limo backs into him she takes him home to be treated by her dying husbands physician Dr Allenby played by Richard Dysort. Everyone mistakes Chancey's simple mutterings as profound insight and wisdom. Benjamin Rand played by Melvin Douglas is a wealthy influential business tycoon who is well connected in politics and a personal friend of the President, played by Jack Warden. They also mistake the simple utterance's as insightful.

Although the film is comical at times, it is also very sad, as Chancey lacks awareness of what's going on around him most of the time. He has no reaction, even when Eve Rand, tries to seduce him, which is one of the many humourous scenes.

The filming and directing is good and the film moves along with a good pace, and is very entertaining and a must see for all Peter Sellers fans. Once again Sellers shows the incredible talent, that he was so well known for.


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Details

Country:

West Germany | USA

Language:

English | Russian | Italian

Release Date:

8 February 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Being There See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$30,177,511

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$30,177,511
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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