8.0/10
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309 user 123 critic

Being There (1979)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 26 May 1980 (Denmark)
Trailer
2:45 | Trailer

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ON DISC
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)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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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:

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

Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the Top 100 Funniest American Movies. 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]
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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

Referenced in Rectify: Bob & Carol & Ted Jr. & Alice (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Gnossiennes #4 & #5
by Erik Satie
Rearranged by Johnny Mandel
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User Reviews

 
Sellers a work of Art.
13 December 2003 | by tbonea28See all my reviews

Being There is a film about a simple and mildly retarded gardener, played by Peter Sellers who's entire adult life was gardening for an elderly gentleman and watching television. When the old man dies, Chancey is left homeless and on his own. Due to his past recluse surroundings he is unaware of the every day technology, such as telephone, elevators etc., which leads to some comical situations. He is saved from the streets, by a wealthy woman, Eve Rand, played by Shirley MacLean. When her limo backs into him she takes him home to be treated by her dying husbands physician Dr Allenby played by Richard Dysort. Everyone mistakes Chancey's simple mutterings as profound insight and wisdom. Benjamin Rand played by Melvin Douglas is a wealthy influential business tycoon who is well connected in politics and a personal friend of the President, played by Jack Warden. They also mistake the simple utterance's as insightful.

Although the film is comical at times, it is also very sad, as Chancey lacks awareness of what's going on around him most of the time. He has no reaction, even when Eve Rand, tries to seduce him, which is one of the many humourous scenes.

The filming and directing is good and the film moves along with a good pace, and is very entertaining and a must see for all Peter Sellers fans. Once again Sellers shows the incredible talent, that he was so well known for.


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