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Being There (1979)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 26 May 1980 (Denmark)
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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
4,912 ( 399)
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

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:

Getting there is half the fun; being there is all of it! 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

Hal Ashby: The bearded man at a filing cabinet in the newsroom, just before Chance's TV appearance. See more »

Goofs

While at dinner for the first evening with Ben and Eve, Chauncey's wine glass fills and empties within seconds. 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

There are two known versions of the closing credits. One features outtakes from the film featuring Sellers during the scene where Chance is getting his leg examined. And the second version, added in at the behest of Peter Sellers who was not happy with its inclusion, features the credits rolling over static, accompanied by the film's theme and sound clips from various television programs, and closed by a clip from a Gatorade commercial from the era. Most prints on television and home video use the first version of the credits. Version #2 was used on the general theatrical release, and in the 1980 MGM/CBS Home Video release of the film. Version #1 was reinstated when the film was reissued on video by CBS/FOX Video in 1983. See more »

Connections

References Double Indemnity (1944) See more »

Soundtracks

Gnossiennes #4 & #5
by Erik Satie
Rearranged by Johnny Mandel
See more »

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User Reviews

Quietly Demonstrates What an Enormous Talent Peter Sellers Was.
7 July 2002 | by tfrizzellSee all my reviews

The original "Forrest Gump" came out in 1979 when Hal Ashby's "Being There" was first released. A quietly brilliant, hilarious, heart-wrenching and heart-warming motion picture that showed how great Peter Sellers (Oscar-nominated) was and how limitless his range was. He stars as a gardener at an old mansion in Washington, D.C. who has never been outside of the owner's small piece of property. When the owner dies, he has to leave the only home he has ever known. Sellers has no knowledge of anything except what he sees on television and he has a strange sort of child-like innocence that endears him to all he comes into contact with. After a minor accident, Sellers is taken to the home of a ridiculously wealthy political lobbyist (Melvyn Douglas in his second Oscar-winning performance) who is literally being kept alive as he has a rare form of cancer. Douglas immediately takes a liking to Sellers and so does his much-younger wife (Shirley MacLaine). Sellers is now in the spotlight though as he gets to meet the president (Jack Warden) and slowly starts to gain popularity and political support from those around him. Of course Sellers does not realize any of this as his understanding of such things are beyond his somewhat limited mental capabilities. A simply brilliant film that is carried by Sellers' amazing personal best performance. Everyone else is adequate, but this is Sellers' show. Douglas won the Oscar mainly due to sympathy votes, but surprisingly Sellers would die before Douglas as he passed away less than six months after receiving his Oscar nod of a massive heart attack. As good as Dustin Hoffman was in "Kramer vs. Kramer", I still wish that Sellers would have won the Oscar for this role which is one of the finest performances ever throughout the entire history of the cinema. 5 stars out of 5.


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