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Being There (1979)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 26 May 1980 (Denmark)
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2:45 | Trailer

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A simple, 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)
Reviews
Popularity
4,334 ( 424)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 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 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

A simple-minded gardener named Chance has spent all his life in the Washington D.C. house 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 a woman (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:

"I like to watch". See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | West Germany

Language:

English | Russian | Italian

Release Date:

26 May 1980 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Being There See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$30,177,511
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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

Final film of Ruth Attaway. See more »

Goofs

Not only is it a Boeing 737, but it is an American Airlines commercial jet. 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]
See more »

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 Entourage: Guys and Doll (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Performed by Fred Rogers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Sellers deserves the Oscar not hanks,
9 December 2004 | by skippymolloySee all my reviews

When I first saw Being There I was all of 10 years old, and for some reason, I loved it. And yet I could never exactly say why. Several years latter while looking for another movie, I happen across this video and read the review. Chance Gardner played charmingly by Peter Sellers, ( I think that is what the reviewer wrote) stumbles his way into the upper crest where he is mistaken for someone with deep knowledge of the world. Other reviews point out this movie is cynical characterization of self absorbed people in politics and media. As a kid I didn't get that, and now on further reflection what I liked about this movie was how these people where drawn to Chances innocence. In some ways Forrest Gump tried to attempt to tell this story line, but only manages to rehash old stereotypes. Being There depicts in clever, real characters who use a veil of politeness to cover up a cynicisim they have of their world and their own power. But for a kid and maybe why it has a cult following is because the heart of the show, whats addicting about is no matter how self absorbed we become, our best nature is drawn to a simple life, absent of complications. After watching the movie again, the dark comedy is more apparent, but I am happy to say that in the "Life and death of Peter Sellers", Sellers himself interpreted the character as I thought of it when I was kid. Gardner is a man who is sublimely content with no past and no future, and therefore no worries. As a kid I kind of new that as innocence. So if you rent this movie don't just see it as a black comedy, but also see it how a kid might, and for that matter how Peter Sellers saw it.


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