8.0/10
64,616
335 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)
Reviews
Popularity
4,857 ( 527)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

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)
Edit

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:

"I like to watch". See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Peter Sellers was nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor. Some said the reason Sellers lost was because of the outtakes at the very end of the movie as the credits are rolling. Sellers himself later said the outtakes "broke the spell" of the movie. See more »

Goofs

When the President is shown aboard Air Force One asking aids about "Chancey Gardner", immediately prior is shown a twin engine Boeing 737 taking off. A 737 has never been outfitted as a presidential plane. More accurately, a Boeing 707 taking off should have been shown. 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

Referenced in American Masters: Woody Allen: A Documentary (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No. 8
(uncredited)
Written by Franz Schubert
See more »

User Reviews

 
A great work from two great men
27 January 2005 | by hellomynameishenrySee all my reviews

On the face of it, this was always going to be a cinematic treat. Hal Ashby, who in my opinion had the greatest sense of humour in Hollywood directing Peter Sellers, one of the finest comic actors of all time.

What i didn't expect was an excellent supporting cast with superb performances from Shirley MacLaine and Melvyn Douglas and a watertight script from Kosinski. What gave me the biggest pleasure was Ashby's subtle portrayal of his own politics. Sellers' character's rise and rise is set against, in the beginning at least, images of the socially deprived. In most of Ashby's films there is a strong sense of the anti-establishment but what is brilliant in this movie is that Ashby gets inside the establishment to ridicule it and yet at the same time bring across a strong sense of humanity in the richer character's isolation and loneliness.

Politics or not Ashby's perfect pacing bring the best out of Sellers whose film career, Strangelove aside, was hit and miss. This movie is definitely a hit from the most underrated film director Hollywood has ever had the arrogance to forget to miss.


71 of 94 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 335 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

West Germany | USA

Language:

English | Russian | Italian

Release Date:

8 February 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Being There See more »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$30,177,511

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$30,177,511
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page



Recently Viewed