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The "nature-nurture" theory that motivated so many comedies is the basis of John Landis's hit comedy. The fabulously wealthy but morally bankrupt Duke brothers (Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche) 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


Awarded by
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Denholm Elliott Best Supporting Actor 1983 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Eddie Murphy Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy 1983 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Elmer Bernstein Best Original Song Score or Adaptation Score 1983 Nominee
British Academy of Film and Television Arts Jamie Lee Curtis Best Supporting Actress 1983 Winner


Eddie Murphy
as Billy Ray Valentine
Dan Aykroyd
as Louis Winthorpe III
Ralph Bellamy
as Randolph Duke
Don Ameche
as Mortimer Duke
Denholm Elliott
as Coleman
Jamie Lee Curtis
as Ophelia
Kristin Holby
as Penelope
Robert Curtis-Brown
as Todd
James Belushi
as Harvey
Paul Gleason
as Clarence Beeks
James Eckhouse
as Guard
Jacques Sandulescu
as Creepy Man
Maurice Woods
as Duke & Duke Employee
John Bedford Lloyd
as Andrew
Lucianne Buchanan
as President's Mistress
Tom Davis
as Baggage Handler
William Magerman
as Duke Domestic
Clint Smith
as Doo Rag Lenny
Philip Bosco
as Doctor
Bernie McInerney
as Trader
Sue Dugan
as Duke Domestic
Walter Gorney
as Duke Domestic
Ron Taylor
as Big Black Guy
Bill Boggs
as Newscaster
Bo Diddley
as Pawnbroker
Afemo Omilami
as Longshoreman
Bill Cobbs
as Bartender
Bryan Clark
as Official #2
Jim Newell
as Duke & Duke Employee
Ralph Clanton
as Official #1
Gwyllum Evans
as President of Heritage Club
Frank Oz
as Corrupt Cop
Al Franken
as Baggage Handler
Barry Dennen
as Demitri
Florence Anglin
as Duke Domestic
Michelle Mais
as Hooker #1
Alan Dellay
as Duke Domestic
Stephen Stucker
as Station Master
Peter Hock
as Cop #2
Eddie Jones
as Cop #3
Nicholas Guest
as Harry
Gary Klar
as Longshoreman
John Randolph Jones
as Trader #2
Maurice Copeland
as Secretary of Agriculture
Robert Earl Jones
as Attendant
Paul Austin
as Trader #1
Tom Degidon
as Duke Domestic
Giancarlo Esposito
as Cellmate #2
Tom Mardirosian
as Officer Pantuzzi
Jack Davidson
as Trader #3
Don McLeod
as Gorilla
Herb Peterson


John Landis
Aaron Russo
Herschel Weingrod
John Landis
Elmer Bernstein
Composer (Music Score)
Malcolm Campbell
Gene Rudolf
Production Designer
Irwin Russo
Associate Producer
George Folsey, Jr.
Executive Producer
Deborah Nadoolman
Costume Designer
James J. Sabat
Sound/Sound Designer
David Sosna
First Assistant Director
Bonnie Timmermann
Jack Engel