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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)
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Popularity
912 ( 3,383)
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:

Life is a state of mind. 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

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 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

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

Features The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

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


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