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Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Denholm Elliott ... see more see more... , Jamie Lee Curtis , Kristin Holby , Robert Curtis-Brown , John Bedford Lloyd , Robert Lee , Herb Peterson , W.B. Brydon , Maurice Woods , Jim Newell , Tom Degidon , William Magerman , Alan Dellay , Florence Anglin , Sue Dugan , Walter Gorney , B. Constance Barry , P. Jay Sidney , Avon Long , Tom Mardirosian , Charles Brown , Nicholas Guest , Robert Earl Jones , Peter Hock , Clint Smith , Ron Taylor , Giancarlo Esposito , James Eckhouse , Paul Gleason , Gwyllum Evans , Frank Oz , Eddie Jones , John McCurry , Michelle Mais , Bill Cobbs , Joshua Daniel , Jacques Sandulescu , Kelly Leigh Curtis , Bo Diddley , Alfred Drake , Lucianne Buchanan , Paul Garcia , Philip Bosco , Bill Boggs , James Belushi , Al Franken , Tom Davis , Don McLeod , Stephen Stucker , Richard Hunt , Paul Austin , John Randolph Jones , Jack Davidson , Bernie McInerney , Maurice Copeland , Ralph Clanton , Gary Howard Klar , Afemo Omilami , Barry Dennen , Bryan Clark , Barra Khan

The "nature-nurture" theory that motivated so many Three Stooges comedies is the basis of John Landis's hit comedy. The fabulously wealthy but morally bankrupt Duke brothers (Ralph Bellamy and Don Ame... read more read more...che) make a one-dollar bet over heredity vs. environment. Curious as to what might happen if different lifestyles were reversed, they arrange for impoverished street hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) to be placed in the lap of luxury and trained for a cushy career in commodities brokerage. Simultaneously, they set about to reduce aristocratic yuppie Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd to poverty and disgrace, hiring a prostitute (Jamie Lee Curtis) to hasten his downfall. When Billy Ray figures out that the brothers intend to dump him back on the streets once their experiment is complete, he seeks out Winthorpe, and together the pauper-turned-prince and prince-turned-pauper plot an uproarious revenge. With the good-hearted prostitute and Winthorpe's faithful butler (Denholm Elliott) as their accomplices, they set about to hit the brothers where it really hurts: in the pocketbook. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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85% liked it

85,963 ratings


88% liked it

41 critics

DVD Release Date: September 24, 2002

Stats: 3,793 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (3,793)

  • February 2, 2014
    A classic 80s comedy that's still surprisingly relevant in our day.
  • fb223580
    July 7, 2013
    That was amazing. Eddie Murphy killed it. Didn't like Winthorpe though.
  • February 1, 2013
    Billy Ray Valentine: Hey that's the motherf- I mean... that's the gentleman that had me busted. 

    "They're not just getting rich... They're getting even."

    Trading Places is one of the best comedies of the 80's and maybe ever. It's my personal favorite Eddie Murphy film and proba... read morebly tied for my favorite Dan Aykroyd and John Landis film(the other of course being The Blues Brothers). What we have here was an instant comedy classic, that is as much fun as it is funny. There's not a moment of wasted screen time. It's smart, it injects a variety of different forms of humor, and it's fast paced and widely entertaining. There's not much more you can ask for from a comedy. This is the cream of the crop. 

    So, two greedy, manipulative, and corrupt investors make a bet. The bet involves two totally different men. One, Louis Winthorpe runs the Duke brothers investment firm and has made them a lot of money in the process. He comes from a good environment. The other is Billy Ray Valentine, a hustler who makes his money acting like a wounded Vietnam vet. He came from a bad environment. One of the Duke brothers believes that if they throw Louis into the bad environment, he will become a no good thief. He also believes that if they put Valentine into the good environment, he will be able to run the firm just as well as Louis. The other doesn't. It's all part of a fun wager until, Louis and Valentine get wise to it.

    There's a lot to love about the movie from the great performances from Murphy and Aykroyd to an Oscar nominated score. The versatility showed by Murphy and Aykroyd is what makes their performances so memorable. They both give two different performances within the same movie. Both must act like poor, beaten bums and like wealthy, high class investors. Neither of them waver at any moment and it's pure comedic gold. Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Paul Gleeson, and Jamie Lee Curtis are all very good as well.

    Trading Places is a must see comedy for all film lovers out there. It's one of those select few comedies that really stands out above the rest for me. It's up there, for me, with movies like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. This is a comedic masterpiece and there's just no other way to describe it. If you haven't seen this before, watch it as soon as possible.
  • December 18, 2012
    One of the best movies. Ever.
  • September 6, 2012
    One of my many joys in life is sitting down to watch an Eddie Murphy film from the 80s, back when he was at his peak, and a true comedic master. This movie, a spin on The Prince and the Pauper, is a great example of prime Eddie.

    Directed by John Landis, this is the story of two ... read moreultra wealthy and bored brothers who, after bickering over the nature versus nurture debate decide to put it to the test with a bet that, if they can get a well to do white yuppie to switch places with a petty African American con man, that the black guy will thrive in high society, while the white guy will easily crack trying to make it as a poor man, and won't hesitate to turn to crime to survive.

    I won't give anything away, but I'll just say that the results are pretty funny. It's a decently sharp satirical romp that, despite a script that isn't that strong, still excels due to some fine direction, and some fantastic performances. Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd shine as the two guinea pigs, while Denholm Elliott is a true marvel as the butler who begrudgingly goes along with the scheme, originally serving Aykroyd's Louis, but becoming Murphy's Billy Ray's loyal servant simply because he is employed by those rich Duke Brothers (Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche) who don't care who gets hurt as a result of their idle betting.

    Jamie Lee Curtis makes a memorable appearance as the typical hooker with a heart of gold who tries to help Louis out, while a number of fun appearances are made by Paul Gleason, James Belushi, Frank Oz, Bo Diddley, and Al Franken among others.

    All in all, this is a pretty good film. It's not quite a masterpiece, but it rises above the tried and true premise and makes for some really entertaining viewing. It's just a shame that basically everyone involved here hasn't really risen to the heights they hit here in a long time.
  • February 11, 2012
    Louis (Dan Aykroyd) is a wealthy man who has it all, respect, love, money. Billy Ray (Eddie Murphy) is a down and out. As part of a bet of a cruel bet, their lifestyles are switched. Good cast.
  • July 3, 2011
    Hysterical comedy with Aykroyd/Murphy with a side of Curtis :) I really enjoyed it and had great elements of a good 80s movie :)
  • March 15, 2011
    A manipulative pair of wealthy brothers make a bet which sees a small time criminal and a Wall Street stockbroker filling each others shoes. John Landis was one of the most consistent directors of American comedies of the time and here we see Frank Capra dragged kicking and screa... read moreming into the 1980s; tits out, foul-mouthed and all. It's essentially a comedy of manners with the underlying message that all men are equal give the same opportunities in life, and the snobbery that often comes hand in hand with privelege takes a pummeling at Landis' deft hand. The rich characters of this film are shown at best to be laughable ninnies and worst, morally bankrupt racists, while Eddie Murphy's ghetto hustler's savvy means he is just at home on Wall Street as he is on the streets. It's one of Murphy's early films (in other words he was still funny) but it's really Aykroyd who steals the show and all the funniest moments come from his descent into poverty-stricken Hell ("Those men wanted to have SEX with me!") Maybe not as funny as I remembered it to be, it still has a nice mix of morality message and funny lines and the two stars are ably supported by Denholm Elliott as the Jeeves alike butler, Ameche and Bellamy as the insidious old coots and Jamie Lee Curtis' rack. One of the better comedies of the era and it has stood up pretty well.
  • March 11, 2011
    There were a lot of aspects I truly enjoyed in this Landis comedy from the early 80's. Comedian Eddie Murphy is riding high from SNL and discovers his talent and versatility in a role that explores his acting chops. There are tons of great performers including Don Ameche, Ralph B... read moreellamy, and the writing team of Franken and Davis. Still, the plot, dialouge, and scenes were lacking at every turn. Murphy was only given a meager amount of time to develop his character, while Akroyd was given sufficient screen time to show a boorish heave of a man. Jamie Lee Curtis' presence, I deemed unecessary, and the topless scenes were obviously unecessary as well. Just needed fine tuning.
  • January 16, 2011
    A good cast, an interesting story, and some laughs. Unfortunately it's not funny or interesting enough. This movie could have been better, but as it is it's okay.

Critic Reviews

Richard Schickel
April 2, 2008
Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine

Trading Places also makes Eddie Murphy a force to be reckoned with. Full Review

Dave Kehr
April 2, 2008
Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

This 1983 film re-creates a screwball comedy format and then eliminates everything but the crudest audience-gratification elements; any incursions into the more morally complicated side of the genre a... Full Review

Variety Staff
April 2, 2008
Variety Staff, Variety

Trading Places is a light romp geared up by the schtick shifted by Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. Full Review

June 24, 2006
Time Out

As a satire on the internecine savagery of fiscal doings under late Reaganite capitalism, the movie is not as biting as it thinks it is; but it's still the best hoot since Arthur. Full Review

Roger Ebert
October 23, 2004
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

What's most visible in the movie is the engaging acting. Murphy and Aykroyd are perfect foils for each other. Full Review

Janet Maslin
August 30, 2004
Janet Maslin, New York Times

[A] shrewd but very likable movie. Full Review

David Parkinson
August 3, 2013
David Parkinson, Radio Times

This blatant, unacknowledged reworking of The Prince and the Pauper is a rattling comedy showcase for the unique talents of Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, who have seldom recaptured the form they show ... Full Review

August 3, 2013
Total Film

While the two-hour running time overstretches the material, there are plenty of laughs -- as well as sly digs at the racism and greed of the American establishment. Full Review

David Sterritt
August 3, 2013
David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor

Directed by John Landis with a surprising amount of class, though he lets some of his old Animal House' vulgarity slip ostentatiously into the action. Full Review

Ralph Novak
August 3, 2013
Ralph Novak, People Magazine

It's all outrageously contrived, and only surprising restraint by director John Landis makes it work. The writing is superb, too, leaving the two funnymen free to do the most inspired textured portray... Full Review

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    • Billy Ray Valentine: That's my Harvard tie! Like, oh sure, he went to Harvard!
    • Gorilla: The party's over? It's only ten o'clock!
    • Ophelia: I'm a whore with a heart of gold.
    • Pawnbroker: I'm really Bo Diddly.
    • Billy Ray Valentine: I can't walk.

Trading Places : Watch Free on TV

Trading Places Trivia

  • Who directed Trading Places, Coming To America and The Blues Brothers?  Answer »
  • In this movie, some of the last lines are: "...Looking good, Billy Ray..." "...Feeling good, Winthorp!..." What movie is this?  Answer »
  • "Trading Places" was Eddie Murphy's __ Film?  Answer »
  • In Trading Places, How much money did Mortimer Duke(Don Ameche) bet Randolph Duke(Ralph Ballamy) if Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy characters change places?  Answer »

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