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Great Early Vehicle for Eddie Murphy
Sargebri22 June 2005
This is probably one of the funniest films of the 1980's. It not only is a play on the classic nature vs. nurture theme, but it is also a somewhat comedic commentary on the "greed is good" decade of the 80's. However, it is also a nice bridging of the generations as it features two of the biggest stars to come from "Saturday Night Live" Eddie Murphy does a fine job as con man Billy Ray and Dan Ackroyd is great as Louis. Jamie Lee Curtis is also wonderful as Ophelia. In fact, it was good to see her do something other than the "scream queen" roles which she became famous for during the early part of her career. She definitely shows the comedic timing that she would display later in her career and would make her one of the finest comedic actresses in film today. However, the one that really steals it for me is Denholm Elliot as Coleman. He delivers a very low key performance that is befitting for that role. This is a real gem.
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Murphy and Aykroyd at their best
Cube_TX11 December 2005
Could this movie honestly have been any more funny? I saw it again, as I have repeatedly for years, and still laughed. My new son had never seen it before and liked it as well. Murphy was at the top of his game back then and Aykroyd is the perfect snob-class elitist. Some of these jokes are so timeless that I still refer to them from time-to-time and they STILL get laughs, both from people who have and haven't seen this film.

Yes, the jokes are a bit dated and somewhat slapstick, but this was a sign of the times. Most 80s comedies were full of slapstick moments. Jamie Lee Curtis was at the height of her sexy image and I'd forgotten how well she'd played her role. The late Don Ameche is so animated that it played perfectly into the mood of the film.

You can find this film in the bargain bin of most stores these days. I saw it for sale for only $5.50. It's worth owning.
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Murphy and Aykroyd are Perfect!
caspian197831 January 2002
When it comes to great comic films, nobody recalls the magic between Murphy and Aykroyd in Trading Places. In the early 80's Eddie Murphy was considered the funniest black comedian next to Richard Pryor. Dan Aykroyd was one of the all time great cast members of Saturday Night Live. Both actors started on SNL and were ready to make their career in films. Trading Places is an example of a perfect comedy. It is funny yes, but there is so much more. With its story, the acting, and the political, racial, and economical plots in the film add to its greatness. One of the best comedies to come out of the 1980's, it stands as one of Eddie Murphy's best earlier films as well as Aykroyd's performances as a character actor. A wonderful and somewhat good family film. If you're that kind of family that is.
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Hilarious... best movie either Ackroyd or Murphy have done.
the-jerk3 May 2005
I skimmed over the comments to this movie and was heartened to see that so many people love it like I do. It just doesn't seem to be considered by the mainstream to be in the same league as, say, "Beverly Hills Cop" or "Coming to America" when talking about Eddie Murphy's movies, but the fact is that this is hands down his funniest part ever. And Dan Ackroyd is equally hilarious as the (at first) repulsively elitist Louis Winthorpe III. Add the stellar supporting cast, particularly Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy as the Dukes, Paul Gleason as the slimy Clarence Beeks, Jamie Lee Curtis as Ophelia, your standard hooker with a heart of gold (rarely done as well as here), and Denholm Elliott as Coleman the butler, and you hit a rich vein of comedy gold.

The plot is a classic farce situation. The Duke brothers, who clearly feel they are above everybody else, make a bet, for one dollar, over whether anybody regardless of breeding can, in the right environment, become an upper-crust gentleman. So as an experiment to see which one is right, they work circumstances so that the rich Louis Winthorpe III is turned into a miserly bum, while they have Billy Ray Valentine (Murphy) take his place. He takes over Louis's job, his house, and his standing in the community. Realistic? Well, no, not really, but this is a farce, so it doesn't really have to be. It is, however, hilarious, which is exactly what a farce should be.

If there's a running theme in this movie, it is duplicity and mistaken identity. People are constantly being mistaken for something they are not, or forced into a situation where they become something they are not. We see this happen not only with the two main characters in the basic plot, but also with Billy Ray pretending to be a Vietnam veteran, then a karate master; Louis, who despite all appearances as a wimp, claims to have stood up to Billy Ray during their earliest encounter in the movie, when he actually hands Billy Ray his suitcase, setting him up for an arrest, when he was not actually trying to steal anything; Ophelia, who for a price pretends to know Louis outside the police station, further besmirching his name; all three plus Coleman, who each dresses up as a different hilarious ethnic character to trick Clarence Beeks; and Beeks, who in a subsequent scene is mistaken for an actual gorilla because he's wearing a costume (Al Franken and Tom Davis as the baggage handlers, marveling over how human the "gorilla" appears, are priceless).

Eventually, Billy Ray finds out what is going on, and gets together with Louis to turn the tables on the Dukes. Ophelia (who has fallen for Louis) and Coleman (who feels guilty and used over his part in the whole ruse) help them out. Do they get their revenge? Watch the movie and find out. It will be well worth your while. This is easily the funniest movie either Ackroyd or Murphy have ever done (its only real competition in this regard is "The Blues Brothers") and to think this was originally meant as a vehicle for Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor is odd, because it's hard to imagine either of them in the parts done so well by Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy. John Landis keeps the pace going at a nice fast speed, and being a native Philadelphian, the locales and opening montage (including a scene of the Rocky statue) are a kick. But of course you'll love this movie even if you're not from Philly.
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Hugely funny film - Eddie Murphy's finest moment
stephen-15621 December 2000
Right from the opening credits, this film shows quality. It stands above other comedies due to the lack of filler material - every line is memorable. The cast is great; the two leads make the most of their characters (both as brokers and bums) but never overstep the mark, thanks partly to the tight editing. The plot becomes a little bizarre, but by that time you're already hooked, and the ending of the film is pure joy. To my mind, no recent comedy has been this good; it mixes high and low brow jokes without resorting to toilet humour, it doesn't pull any punches (spot the social commentary), the performances are masterful and the script achieves depth without sacrificing the one-liners or slowing the pace.
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Unusually good 80's comedy... contains a lot of sad truth
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews22 February 2006
I couldn't remember much of this movie when I borrowed it from a friend to watch for the second time... I can't have been very old when I first saw this, because there were not much more than one scene that I recognized. Even the title seemed new to me. Furthermore, I don't recall thinking about the film... about what it meant. This contains a lot of sad truth. The scenes of Aykroyd's character going from the peak of America's business life to rock bottom in a disturbingly short amount of time provide food for thought. Landis presents these events without pretense or heavy-handedness... he gives us the facts as they are. No bias. This direct, almost indifferent tone makes it all the more scary... this is the way it is, and that's accepted. The movie also has some insight to prove on racism and greed. Paul Gleason, whom I have only seen in The Breakfast Club(and Not Another Teen Movie, spoofing his character in aforementioned movie) plays a radically different role, yet still shows some of the authority he's famous for as the principal in The Breakfast Club. That was amusing to watch for someone who enjoyed said film so much. Jamie Lee Curtis bares a lot of skin, for those in the audience looking for that. Aykroyd and Murphy are both extraordinary. They get to play with their characters a lot, to great effect. They create so many funny moments, there are simply too many to list or for mere words to do justice; you'll just have to watch the film for itself. If you are a fan of either actor, you won't be disappointed. The language surprised me, with how uncensored it was, compared to today's standards. The plot is interesting, and based on an intelligent idea. The pacing is dynamic. The acting is all top-notch. The humor is mostly good and tasteful, with few but glaringly obvious exceptions(the fate of Beeks being an almost offensive one). The film has more heart than most of its kind... if you watch only one movie of this type, let this be it. I recommend this to fans of the actors and/or director, and people intrigued by the general idea. If you are even considering watching this... take my advice and do so. It is intelligent without being preachy and funny without trying too hard. John Landis has yet again created something big. 8/10
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CuriosityKilledShawn17 April 1999
Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper has seen many incarnations from Disney to The Simpsons. But none have been as cruel (and funny) and John Landis' Trading Places, which proves just how funny Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy used to be.

Louise Winthorpe III is a spoiled, snobby managing director at the Duke & Duke commodities brokerage. Billy Ray Valentine is a poverty-stricken street hustler. Randolph Duke makes a wager with his brother Mortimer that the men can be successfully swapped . The con is on as Valentine is plucked from the streets and Winthorpe is ungraciously dumped on them. There's loads of fun watching him hit absolute rock bottom while Valentine quickly becomes spoiled and snobby himself.

Jamie Lee Curtis is the hugely-boobed hooker with a heart of gold who takes Winthorpe in while the always brilliant Denholm Elliott is Coleman, the unwilling butler caught up in the Dukes' evil plan. Once all four unravel the scam they team-up to destroy the Dukes.

Trading Places is crammed full of hilarious scenes, great dialogue, and funny cameos. Who cannot resist Eddie Murphy's foreign exchange student disguise or Ackroyd's Lionel Josef. Even the gorilla in the train is a brilliant character.

For those of you who love dark, cruel comedies Trading Places is utterly essential. It may be very 80s, but it never gets old. It's a must see and must have.
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A very entertaining, thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended movie…
president24200722 May 2004
`Trading Places' is one of the best movies and one of the best comedies that I have had the privilege of viewing and almost every aspect of this movie is done to the highest excellence and the highest quality. I have always considered that some of the most entertaining and enjoyable movies came out during the 1980s and `Trading Places' definitely falls within this category.

Everything is a success with this movie –the high quality of acting from both the main actors and the supporting cast, the wonderful humour and engaging dialogue contained within the script, the development of the plot, the music selection provided for the various scenes and even the atmosphere and scenery contained in the movie. Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd are particularly outstanding in their various roles –and keep the excellent performances up in their reversal of roles. Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche and Denham Elliot also provide their characters with a great amount of depth and dimension and make what would have already been a wonderful comedy success even more entertaining. The only very minor criticism is that Jamie Lee Curtis is meant to portray a prostitute in this movie. Jamie Lee Curtis is much too high quality of an actress for the role of a prostitute and I think if the emphasis had been on her character's profession it would have weakened her contribution to the movie. But thankfully the writers and producers recognized that she shouldn't be portrayed in a one-dimensional role and her truly wonderful and highly excellent acting abilities shone through during the whole movie.

The script flowed naturally and had an edge to it that made it both entertaining and intriguing. Even though the storyline and outcome was slightly predictable, the scriptwriters succeeded in keeping you interested and keeping you entertained as the sequence of events unfolded. The humour contained in the movie is genuinely entertaining and doesn't sound forced or strained in the same way that it does in some other movies. Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy make a thoroughly wonderful team and I hope they someday consider doing another movie together. I think the 1980s marked the high point of Eddie Murphy's career and this was one of the movies that cemented his reputation as a great comedian.

I couldn't recommend this movie highly enough. A truly great comedy masterpiece and classic.
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Good, well written comedy
Seolas12 July 2003
One of the best comedies of the 1980's, this stars Eddie Murphy in one of his best roles alongside Dan Aykroyd. The plot is great, a poor, homeless man who has resorted to a life of crime (Murphy) and an upper class yuppie involved in the stock market (Aykroyd) trade places when two devious brothers (Aykroyd's employees) have a bet. This is a very well written, well acted, and well executed comedy, that makes you laugh, but also grips you with a strong plot. Also has a satisfying ending.
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"I had the most absurd nightmare, I was poor, no one liked me. Phinellipe hated me, and it was all because of this terrible awful Negro"
Smells_Like_Cheese22 December 2002
Trading Places, one of the best comedies of all time! I don't even know where to start on how great this movie is. I've been watching this movie since I was a kid, know that sounds weird as this is an adult comedy, but I actually loved it growing up. As an adult it just gets better and better each time I watch it. It's one of the most intelligent comedies mixed with some great slap stick and take on our society. What a great idea, take an educated man, take away everything he knows and owns and see if he could survive. Then take a man with no education, given the right encouragement if he would rise to the occasion. Trading Places isn't just one of the best comedies to come out of the 80's, but one of the best comedies of all time.

Duke brothers Randolph and Mortimer own Duke & Duke, a successful commodities brokerage in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Holding opposing views on the issue of nature versus nurture, they make a wager and agree to conduct an experiment switching the lives of two people at opposite sides of the social hierarchy and observing the results. They witness an encounter between their managing director, educated Louis Winthorpe III, and a poor street hustler Billy Ray Valentine; Valentine is arrested at Winthorpe's insistence because of a misunderstanding robbery attempt. The Dukes decide to use the two men for their experiment. Take away Winthorpe's fiancé, home, job, money, friends and respect, frame him on a drug charge, will he bounce back because of his education and manners? Give uneducated Billy Ray a great job, beautiful home, respect and encouragement, will he turn hardened criminal into an upstanding citizen? Trading places, what a great idea if the boys only knew of the Duke's scheme.

Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy were just way too awesome together and had amazing chemistry. Their comedic timing is always on key. A mix with Jamie Lee Curtis and Denholm Elliott added much more to the story and jokes with their reactions and presence. My favorite scene with Dan was definitely seeing him exit the prison with his fiancé and Jamie Lee Curtis has been paid to make it look like he's her lover/drug dealer and her all over him in front of his fiancé while he's just shocked as Jamie goes down on him and to add it all he gets a hard slap to the face! Ouch! But you'll have to pause the scene because you'll die of laughter. Eddie's best scene is also when he gets excited that he could go to his low life acquaintances and show off, he throws a party and they trash his house and he kicks them all out was so funny the way he did it. What a classic movie, one that I will watch again and again. I proudly show this movie to my friends when they need a good laugh. This movie is a treasure to comedies, it's well paced and one of the best movies of all time. The only change I would have made is that at the end when they are on their own private island they toast each other on a job well done and since ironically they ruined the Dukes with orange juice, it would have been more hilarious if that's what they were toasting with instead of champagne. But it's still a perfect movie, highly recommended.

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Mother always said you were greedy
lastliberal-853-2537082 November 2014
John Landis has directed a brilliant original screenplay by Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod.

Eddie Murphy is absolutely hilarious as a street hustler that was placed in the world of options trading by a couple of old farts who just like to bet with each other.

Of course on the opposite side, the real options trader, Dan Aykroyd, is dumped on the street.

Coming to save the day is Jamie Lee Curtis, who is funny and hot as a prostitute who feels sorry for Winthorpe (Ackroyd).

Denholm Elliott is positively lovable as the butler. Don Ameche and Ralph Bellemy play the betting Duke brothers.

SKIN-TASTIC Moment: In front of a mirror (and Dan Aykroyd) hooker- with-a-chest-of-gold Jamie Lee doffs her top and lets loose her magnificent money-markers in one of history's all-time hottest topless scenes.
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Very funny very entertaining movie - murphy's best?
mab848512 September 2003
I loved this movie the whole way through. All the characters are well portrayed: Murphy (at his funniest), Ackroyd (loved that Santa Claus scene with the salmon), Curtis who we see plenty of, Ameche and Bellamy as the amoral traders, and the utterly obnoxious Gleason (as Clarence Beeks) who gets his comeuppance in the end. Funny scenes all through this movie, lovely revenge-laden ending without violence - excellent movie, possibly Murphy's best.
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Decent comedy
rbverhoef14 June 2003
'Trading Places' stars Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in roles perfect for them. In other movies especially Murphy can get annoying but in this one that was not the case.

Aykroyd is Louis Winthorpe, a guy with a high position in the company Duke & Duke. Randolph & Mortimer Duke (Ralph Bellamy & Don Ameche) make a bet. They can put homeless guy Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) in the place of Winthorpe and make him as good and smart as him. On the same time they want to destroy Winthorpe's life and make sure he becomes a criminal. We follow Murphy in the high society and Aykroyd who has to live with a prostitute (Jamie Lee Curtis) because he has nothing.

Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis are all very funny. The story sound familiar but has some nice surprises. If you just need a nice film to entertain yourself this one is perfect.
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comical genius
martinreed4 April 2004
This is one of the funniest films i have ever seen, and having just come back from Philadelphia where i believe the film was partly made i can see why it was so brilliantly made.Eddie murphy is a genius ,Dan Ackroyd is histerical, and Jamie Lee Curtis is as beautiful as her mother.This film must be one of the best ever comedies ever made. Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche were suberb. The best actor though was the late Denholm Elliot, who in my eyes was the epitomy of the British serving class. How this film never got an oscar for, not only the actors but for the film itself is a mistake that the film industry will regret for a very long time.
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Entertaining comedy about chance places with powerful comic acting
ma-cortes20 April 2009
This amusing comedy deals an original premise when two magnate brothers( two classics actors Don Ameche,Ralph Bellamy) stake about if the environment affects on the richness and poorness . Then they scheme a personality change on a cocky broker(likable performance by Dan Aykroyd) falling in distress and a Philadelphia rogue(Eddie Murphy in his second movie ,the first one was 48 hours) turning into a finances expert.

Agreeable film in which an uptight commissioner well played by Aykroyd suffers uncountable penury, being rescued by a sympathetic prostitute finely acted by Jamie Lee Curtis. Eddie Murphy steals the show as a foul-mouthed street hustler, his best moment involves him impersonating a cripple. Packs ample and good secondary cast as Paul Gleason, James Belushi with veterans as Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy ; adding cameos by Frank Oz, Bill Cobbs and unbilled by Giancarlo Exposito,Nicholas Guest,Eddie Jones among them. Film fails on silly sub-argument about a gorilla and embarrassing incidents originates. Colorful cinematography by Robert Paynter and atmospheric musical score by the classic Elmer Berstein. Brilliantly directed by John Landis in his period of maxim splendor when he directed classic comedies movies such as ¨Kentucky fried movie, Into the night,Animal house¨ and of course ¨Blues brothers¨. If you're into craziness and overacting of the great Eddie Murphy this picture is for you.This comedy is still one of the funniest films ever made.
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MartinHafer10 June 2007
The summary says it all as far as I'm concerned, but IMDb demands more, so here goes...

The movie is very funny and was a welcome relief compared to some of the terrible films Eddie Murphy made early in his career (such as BEST DEFENSE)--ditto for Dan Aykroyd (NEIGHBORS). But in my opinion, the real stars in the films aren't the comedians, but the nasty old codgers (Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy) who manipulate both Murphy and Aykroyd for their own petty amusement. They are just plain evil and awful and seeing them in action was quite a treat for these two aging actors.

The film is about trading places, as rich-guy Aykroyd is forced to live on the street and homeless guy Murphy is suddenly elevated to wealth and privilege. Along the way, there are lots of laughs and the script generally is very good, though occasionally the humor becomes painfully unfunny and stupid (such as the gorilla scene near the end). But overall, the laughs greatly outweigh the lulls, so it's a wonderful film if you need a chuckle.
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Old-fashioned, familiar financial caper with new-fangled language and nudity.
barnabyrudge13 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Following his hit big-screen debut in 48 Hours, Eddie Murphy followed it up with another terrific comedy turn in Trading Places. Murphy is matched all the way by Dan Akroyd, Denholm Elliott, Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche in this light-hearted financial caper, all of them breathing life and wit into a plot that has been done many times before. In fact, apart from the periodic nudity and foul language, Trading Places comes over as a very old-fashioned comedy story.

Ultra-rich businessmen Randolph and Mortimer Duke (Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche) run a successful firm in Philadelphia, buying and selling their way to ever-increasing wealth. One of their best employees is business executive Louis Winthorp III (Dan Akroyd), a pampered brat who lives in a huge house and has his every need tended to by his faithful butler Coleman (Denholm Elliott). The Duke brothers disagree that Winthorp's success is the result of good breeding and education. Randolph believes that Winthorp was born into an easy life and that anyone - even a lowlife from the streets - could do his job if given the chance. Mortimer is adamant that a lowlife would fail in the world of big business and etiquette, and that Winthorp would still find a way to succeed in life if he were cast out on the streets. The brothers place a one-dollar wager against each other to determine who is right. Via a series of engineered lies, Winthorp loses his job, his house, his fiancée, his butler and his reputation. Then, foul-mouthed street hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) is plucked from the gutter and put in Winthorp's place. Winthorp struggles to adapt to his new-found poverty, while Valentine proves a surprisingly perceptive and effective financier. But when Valentine discovers that the whole thing is just a wager - and that the Dukes eventually plan to fire him from their firm - he tracks down Winthorp, and together they plan an audacious sting on the scheming brothers, aided by Coleman the butler and Winthorp's new girlfriend, street-wise hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis).

Trading Places is, in many ways, a 20th Century variation of the story of The Prince And The Pauper. The comic dialogue is expertly handled, and the casting is just genius. Who would have thought that old veterans like Bellamy, Ameche and Elliott would be able to bounce off a volatile, foul-mouthed fast-talker like Murphy to such brilliant effect? That's not to say the film is perfect. Others have pointed out, correctly, that the wit runs dry about two-thirds of the way in and the film becomes more caperish. The final third deals with the revenge plotted by Murphy and Akroyd against the Duke brothers - while it has some passable silliness (check out those stupid disguises they wear during the train journey to New York), it is all rather plot-heavy and seems disappointingly similar to those caper movies that were all the rage in the '70s (eg The Sting, Bank Shot, The Hot Rock, Silver Bears, etc.). Still, on the whole Trading Places is a lot of fun and, at least for two-thirds of the way, it is a comedy of real quality!
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80's comedy at it's finest
TheNorthernMonkee11 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers

One year before he famously became Ray Spengler in "Ghostbusters", Dan Ackroyd was superb in this film from 1983. Teaming up with comedian Eddie Murphy, Ackroyd was brilliant as the stock trader who's life is ruined by two arrogant businessmen's bets.

Louis Winthorpe III (Ackroyd) works for the major Duke Corporation. Earning money for arrogant brothers Randolph and Mortimer Duke (Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche), Winthorpe is thrown on the street when his bosses conduct a social experiment. Replaced by Billy Ray Valentine (Murphy), Winthorpe's life slowly collapses in on itself. Eventually with the help of Valentine and prostitute Ophelia (a young, occasionally topless, Jamie Lee Curtis), Winthorpe goes out on revenge.

With a film style which is typically 80's, "Trading Places" could so easily be cast aside like the majority of comedy from the decade. As an exception however, the story is a fun, lighthearted escapade with a stunning cast.

As the downward spiralling Winthorpe, Ackroyd gives perhaps his finest comedy performance, most notably shoving a huge cooked fish inside his Santa Claus outfit.

Eddie Murphy, as Ackroyd's contrasting number is great as a former bum who develops an obsession with keeping his house clean and who finds it hard to cope with his new found wealth.

In terms of supporting cast, Jamie Lee Curtis produces a decent performance as Ackroyd's love interest, although she never outperforms her role as Wanda in "A Fish Called Wanda" (1988). In contrast, deceased actors Denholm Elliot, Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy are great in their respective roles, whether loyal butler or cruel millionaire.

All in all, with a superb cast and the typical 80's comedy element, "Trading Places" is a great film. What makes it different from other 80's comedies ("Weekend At Bernies" for example) is that whilst others grow tiresome and old, this film is always a pleasure to watch. Whether for the first time or for the hundredth time, "Trading Places" is always a guaranteed laugh and a true feel good movie.
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Pairing of Murphy and Ackroyd are the best in comedy today
classldy10 November 1999
Murphy and Aykroyd work well off each other. They both know how to deliver the punchlines. Supporting cast helps bring the comedy to fruition. Delightful performances by veterans Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy knowing how to work with todays young talent.
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Eddie Murphy stars in The Book of Job
AlsExGal12 June 2016
Think about it. Many other biblical stories involve the punishment of 'wicked' people, but the Book of Job is God being a jerk to a good person just to prove a point with Satan, which God doesn't actually win because Job eventually becomes angry with God. So here the Duke brothers are actually being a jerk to two people. Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche play the old money Duke brothers, Randolph and Mortimer. In the classic movie era Ralph Bellamy could play the clueless good guy and he could also play very bad characters. Don Ameche tended towards the good guys in most of his films, or at least the well meaning. Well here these two are rotten to the core. They are not malicious, they just have no respect or regard for their fellow human beings whatsoever. Dan Akroyd plays Louis Winthorpe III, an employee of the Dukes who is their fair haired up and coming employee. He also comes from a wealthy background with a former debutante for a fiancée. Eddie Murphy plays Billy Ray Valentine, a poor conman, pretending to be a legless Vietnam vet to be a more successful panhandler. As a result of a mix-up, Billy Ray is accused of trying to rob Winthorpe, and Winthorpe chases Billy around his exclusive club, and holds him until the police get there.

Now the brothers, who have observed this commotion, have been having an argument about whether environment or breeding makes a man, and they bet one dollar against one another in an experiment in which they will disgrace Winthorpe, cause him to lose his money and his standing in the community, and make him poor. The other half of the experiment is to build up Valentine into someone that they can pass off as one of their employees, and they give him Winthorpe's old house to live in. The experiment will tell whether a change in environment will make a gentleman out of Billy Ray and cause Winthorpe to turn to crime.

How are the Dukes being a jerk to Billy Ray? Once the experiment is over they plan to throw him back out into the street.

Well the brothers successfully pull off both switches. As a result both Winthorpe and Billy Ray learn the people they thought were friends really aren't. Winthorpe's friends and fiancée abandon him. Billy Ray discovers his friends are hanging around "his house" just for freebies. Meanwhile a beautiful hooker (Jamie Lee Curtis) takes in Winthorpe who has no idea how to fend for himself without money or at least plastic. She is doing this for a price however, once Winthorpe can reclaim his fortune he promises to pay her well.

Funny thing, Curtis' hooker has a plan that would never work today. She is saving her money and putting them in T-Bills at 10% and plans to retire in a few years and live off the interest. Good luck with that plan today since you cant even get banks to pay you .01%. She'd be on her back until she was old and flabby and nobody wanted the ride.

How does this all work out? I'll just say "justly". That's all. Try to dig up this oldie from the 80's when greed was good and watch for yourselves.

Personally, the Dukes are so bad they are terrific. My favorite exchange between them:

Duke brother 1 - "Mother always said you were the greedy one".

Duke brother 2 - "She meant it as a compliment."
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Perfect Pair
AtomicAnthony24 January 2003
This is one of the most funniest movies ever. Ackyroyd and Murphy work GREAT together. The premise is wonderful. A poor person switching lives with a rich person, so original! I give this movie four stars. Great work!!!
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wilywilliam8 October 2002
Truly wonderful, from the opening score to the final credits, this film exceeds all expectations that one would wish to throw at John Landis. The Murphy/Ackroyd combination is perfect, and with excellent support from Curtis and Elliot, there are laughs galore. Murphy really is in his element as the fast talking Billy-Ray Valentine, while Ackroyd excels in the pomp of Louis Winthorpe III. But it is perhaps the lines of the 'incidental' actors that really set this movie apart. The two black cons are a wonderful double act - something like little and large, without the little. Meanwhile, Denholm Elliot as Coleman is his scathingly brilliant best. Watch this film, enjoy it, then watch it again!
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Laugh Your *** Off!
mrbrianheff6 October 2002
Gotta love that part where Eddie Murphy is Upstairs with the Duke Brothers and they are explaing the different types of items sold on the stock market and Duke says "Pork Bellies, which are used to make bacon, which you may find in a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich". Eddie murphy looks at the camera and it is SO funny!
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Oscar Wilde would have been proud
drewlj4 March 2002
This film is a classic social comedy. It is like an Oscar Wilde play Americanized and moved from London to Philly. Every time I watch it, something new makes me laugh. One usually expects poor screenwriting and directing from a silly comedy such as this, but that is not the case here. The eighties knew how to handle B-comedy. The script and acting are filled will subtleties and nuances that make it a hilarious in every aspect of the word. "Clearence Beeks" is the funniest of all the characters, with his one liners and actions. Eddie Murphy--enough said. Dan Akyroyd--a perfect fit for the role. Don Ameche is awesome too. Many of the lines are highly memorable, despite (or rather because of) their crudity. If you haven't seen this film--get off your butt and watch it. The comedy central (censored) version will NOT suffice.
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One of the Best Comedies of the 80's
claudio_carvalho29 December 2008
In Philadelphia, Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) is a successful commodity broker of the Duke & Duke, owned by the cheap millionaires Randolph (Ralph Bellamy) and his brother Mortimer (Don Ameche) Duke. Louis, who was graduated in Harvard, has an upper class lifestyle, living in a mansion with the butler Coleman (Denholm Elliott), who also drives his Mercedes Benz, and is engaged of the wealthy Penelope Witherspoon (Kristin Holby). After an incident in the sophisticated Heritage Club with the homeless beggar Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy), Randolph defends that the situations of Louis and Billy Ray were caused by the environment where each man lives while Mortimer defends a genetic issue. They bet one dollar and decide to force Louis and Billy Ray to switch places: they frame Louis, planting drugs and a theft in his pocket, and he is arrested and loses his job, house, car, savings and credit cards; and they invite Billy Ray for the position of Louis. The desperate Louis meets the golden hearted whore Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis), who lodges him at her house and helps him. When Billy Ray overhears the Duke Brothers discussing their bet in the bathroom, he seeks out Louis and together they plot their revenge.

"Trading Places" is certainly one of the best comedies of the 80's. Eddie Murphy in the beginning of his career was extremely funny and together with Dan Aykroyd, they are hilarious; the veterans Denholm Elliott, Don Ameche and Denholm Elliott are amazing; and Jamie Lee Curtis extremely sexy. I have just watched this movie again now on the DVD released by Paramount Pictures in Brazil (Special Edition for Collector) that shamefully does not have subtitles in Portuguese. I can read and understand English, but most of the Brazilian population does not. Therefore it is a complete lack of respect from this major distributor. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "Trocando as Bolas"
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