8.0/10
59,448
309 user 117 critic

Being There (1979)

Trailer
2:45 | Trailer
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)
Reviews
Popularity
4,758 ( 733)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 12 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: 12 Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Young, rich, and obsessed with death, Harold finds himself changed forever when he meets lively septuagenarian Maude at a funeral.

Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Vivian Pickles
Certificate: AL Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The bumbling Inspector Clouseau travels to Rome to catch a notorious jewel thief known as "The Phantom" before he conducts his most daring heist yet: a princess' priceless diamond with one slight imperfection, known as "The Pink Panther".

Director: Blake Edwards
Stars: David Niven, Peter Sellers, Robert Wagner
Certificate: 16 Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two Navy men are ordered to bring a young offender to prison, but decide to show him one last good time along the way.

Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Randy Quaid, Otis Young
Certificate: AL Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

To prove that he still is strong and powerful, Philippe Douvier decides to kill Clouseau. Once news of his "death" has been announced, Clouseau tries to take advantage of it and goes undercover with Cato to find out who tried to kill him.

Director: Blake Edwards
Stars: Peter Sellers, Herbert Lom, Burt Kwouk
Coming Home (1978)
Certificate: 12 Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A woman whose husband is fighting in Viet Nam falls in love with another man who suffered a paralyzing combat injury there.

Director: Hal Ashby
Stars: Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Bruce Dern
Comedy | Crime | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Fu Manchu's 168th birthday celebration is dampened when a hapless flunky spills Fu's age-regressing elixir vitae. Fu sends his lackeys to round up ingredients for a new batch of elixir, ... See full summary »

Directors: Piers Haggard, Richard Quine, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Peter Sellers, Helen Mirren, David Tomlinson
Certificate: AL Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Inspector Clouseau is put on the case when the Pink Panther diamond is stolen, with the Phantom's trademark glove the only clue.

Director: Blake Edwards
Stars: Peter Sellers, Christopher Plummer, Catherine Schell
Certificate: 12 Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Two British former soldiers decide to set themselves up as kings in Kafiristan, a land where no white man has set foot since Alexander the Great.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Christopher Plummer
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 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

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:

A story of chance See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

AL | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA | West Germany

Language:

English | Russian | Italian

Release Date:

2 October 1980 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Chance See more »

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Buffy Sainte-Marie can be seen in one of the TV shows Chance watches. She appears with Big Bird. See more »

Goofs

When Chance is watching himself on the large screen in the store window display, he uses his home remote control to try and change the channels on that set, but it controls another TV instead. However the remote is of the earlier "ultrasonic" technology, and these sound waves DO NOT pass through glass at the required strength needed to work. Those of us born before the movie can recall that jiggling your keys would make a remote controlled TV unwittingly change channels, or turn off and on. At about this same time the now common "infrared" RCs were coming out, albeit at outrageous prices. These signals CAN in effect pass through glass, despite some losses due to reflection. For the scene to be technically correct they should have used an IR remote, which would not make those "ringing bell" metallic sounds. 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

CBS edited 3 minutes from this film for its 1984 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Features Get Smart (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

I'd Like To Get To Know You
(uncredited)
Written by Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway
Performed by Michael Troy
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Masterpiece
12 December 2003 | by DanB-4See all my reviews

"To see me as a person on screen would be one of the dullest experiences you could ever wish to experience" - quote from Peter Sellers.

Peter Sellers had many quotes like this in which he spoke of his near self-hatred, hated seeing himself, and that when he was not doing comedy, he was dull and unfunny. That makes his portrayal of Chauncey Gardner that much more amazing, because he portrays a very simple man totally comfortable within himself.

Being There is a great film. It deals with a simple premise - if you act in a certain way, people will make unquestioned assumptions about you. Chauncy is slow witted and has the mind of small child, and all that he knows in gardening. However, he dresses in nice suits, has impeccable manners and is not shy, so he is accepted into social circles. When he speaks of gardening, his ramblings are mistaken for metaphors and he is instantly considered an economic genius.

This is wrapped around a beautiful film, in which Chauncey wanders from one circumstance into another, never changing his demeanor, never faltering. I an reminded of Mr Magoo walking blindly down a succession of steel girders thinking they are stairs. Essentially, he is not in peril because he does not know he is in peril. The charm of this film exists in Chauncey's unwavering personality, and how it affects the world of phonies and bureaucrats he has come to inhabit.

Although the film sometimes comes across as forced, and some of the encounters with Eve (Shirley MacLaine) come off forced, the film is still a masterpiece. Its theme and Sellers' stunning performance lauch it into the catoegory of greatness.

There is much debate amongst the lovers of this film over its final scene. If you have not seen it, rent it, and draw your conclusions. Like many great movies steeped in mood and metaphor, we are left to draw our own conclusions.

The phrase "I like to watch" has become so famous from this movie - it refers to Chauncey's love for TV and the fact that it is his reference point for his existance. (Such has when he tries to click a remote to thwart off muggers). But there is a great deal more to Being There. It is a Top 10 Selection of 70s, Hal Ashby's best film and Peter Sellers greatest performance. **** out of ****.


97 of 114 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 309 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed