Trading Places is a 1983 film directed by John Landis and produced by Aaron Russo. The screenplay was written by Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod. The film stars Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Denholm Elliott and Jamie Lee Curtis.
The storyline focuses on the story of an upper-class commodities broker and a homeless street hustler whose lives cross paths when they are unknowingly made part of an elaborate bet to test how each man will perform when their life circumstances are swapped. The storyline is often called a modern take on Mark Twain’s classic 19th-century novel The Prince and the Pauper and also bears a resemblance to another of Mark Twain’s stories, The Million Pound Bank Note.
When Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod were developing the idea for Trading Places they had originally wanted the film to star Richard Pryor as Billy Ray Valentine and Gene Wilder as Louis Winthorpe III but they were unable to participate. Dan Aykroyd was eventually cast as Louis Winthorpe III and and a young but increasingly popular Eddie Murphy in only his second feature-film was cast as Billy Ray Valentine. Despite objections from the studio, Paramount Pictures, John Landis also cast Jamie Lee Curtis, as she was famous for her roles horror films.
Principal photography took place from December 1982 and lasted until March 1983. The film was shot entirely on location in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New York City. During filming the script underwent minor changes; some improvisation was also encouraged its director.
When Trading Places was released it received generally positive reviews from the critics and audiences alike. On Rotten Tomatoes it currently holds a rating of 87% with the general consensus being, “Featuring deft interplay between Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, Trading Places is an immensely appealing social satire”. Roger Ebert praised the film and awarded three and half stars out of four. He said the ending was inventive for not involving a “manic chase”. He appreciated that Trading Places did not rely on obvious racial plot points or employ sitcom tropes for the social-status swaps of Winthorpe and Valentine. He commended the focus on developing each character so that they were funny because of their individual quirks and personalities. He concluded that this required a deeper script that would normally be developed for a comedy.
Commercially, Trading Places was considered a box office success. Made with an estimated production budget of $15 million it went on to take $1.7 million on its opening day and a further $7.3 million over it opening weekend. Trading Places finished as the third in the charts over the weekend primarily due to the release of Octopussy and Return of the Jedi . It went on to take $90,404,800 in US box office reciepts, finishing as the fourth highest earning film of the year and the second highest earning R-rated film of 1983.
Trading Places numerous award nominations. At the Golden Globe Awards the film received two nominations: Best Musical or Comedy and Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for Eddie Murphy. At the Academy Awards, Elmer Bernstein was nominated for Best Original Score, he actually used Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera buffa The Marriage of Figaro as an underlying theme for the soundtrack. At the British Academy Film Awards Denholm Elliott and Jamie Lee Curtis were named the Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod were nominated for Best Original Screenplay. Following the success of Trading Places, Eddie Murphy became one of the highest-paid and most sought after comedians in Hollywood.
Year of Film
Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Denholm Elliott, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kristin Holby, Paul Gleason
Origin of Film
Genre(s) of Film
Budget: $15,000,000 (Estimated)
Opening Weekend: $7,348,200 (USA)
Gross: $90,404,800 (USA)
Type of Poster
Style of Poster
Origin of Poster
Year of Poster
40″ x 30″
Single Sided or Double Sided
NSS # / Printer Markings
Printed in England by W.E. Berry Ltd Bradford
Take Two Complete Strangers… Make One of Them Rich the Other Poor… Just Watch the Fun While They’re Trading Places
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