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
2,665 ( 503)
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 ... 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

This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #864. See more »

Goofs

When Eve and Chance first enter the Rand estate by limousine the car turns left inside the gate, but when they arrive at the front door they are approaching from the right. 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

In different versions, the credits are either shown over retakes of Chance saying a line that was not in the movie, or (for TV and video) shown over TV white noise. See more »


Soundtracks

Bacchanale
(uncredited)
from "Samson and Delilah"
Written by Camille Saint-Saëns
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User Reviews

A well-kept secret
5 September 2000 | by healymSee all my reviews

This film is an absolute jewel. The main character, played by Peter Sellers, is the exact opposite of the film itself. Chauncey/Chance is simple, vapid, unconcerned and utterly unselfconscious, yet he radiates an image of being ponderous, calculating, and complex. The film is deceptively straightforward and uncomplicated on the surface, but is rich and complex upon reflection. The film is very enigmatic (even the title seems to make no sense, even though it seems like it should) and lends itself to interpretation. This is one of those films that you have to talk about after seeing it, and you'll find endless points of view to consider. More than that, however, this film is historically fascinating. Taken as a whole, the movie, the book, the behind the scenes intrigue, the place it holds in the careers of the Stars, the writers and the directors, makes this an exceptionally interesting and enjoyable film.


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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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