• Being There (1994)

Being There

Release Date: May 1st, 1994

DVD Release Date: April 3rd, 2001

PG |2 hr 10 min

Plot Summary

Simple-minded Chance (Peter Sellers), a gardener who has resided in the Washington, D.C., townhouse of his wealthy employer for his entire life and been educated only by television, is forced to vacate his home when his boss dies. While wandering the streets, he encounters business mogul Ben Rand (Melvyn Douglas), who assumes Chance to be a fellow upper-class gentleman. Soon Chance is ushered into high society, and his unaffected gardening wisdom makes him the talk of the town.

Cast: Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Jack Warden, Melvyn Douglas, Richard Dysart, Richard Basehart, James Noble, David Clennon

Director: Hal Ashby

Genres: Comedy

Production Co: NatWest Ventures, Northstar, BSB, Enigma, Lorimar Film Entertainment, CIP, Fujisankei

Distributors: United Artists, Warner Bros.

Keywords: 1970s, Wife, Witty, Offbeat, Endearing

Ratings & Reviews

  • 100
    The Hollywood Reporter

    Hal Ashby's direction is perfect in realizing the offbeat humor and gentle satire of the piece. show more

  • 88
    Slant Magazine

    Elegiac and yet ruefully funny, Hal Ashby’s Being There is at once a profoundly philosophical fable about how we become truly human only in the face of our ineluctable mortality, as well as an incensed satire intent on skewering the mass media’s unhealthy sway among the corridors of wealth and power. show more

  • 100
    Roger EbertChicago Sun-Times

    It's a movie based on an idea, and all the conventional wisdom agrees that emotions, not ideas, are the best to make movies from. But Being There pulls off its long shot and is one of the most confoundingly provocative movies of the year. show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com


Nominated Actor
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1980)
Winner Best Performance By an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Nominated Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Nominated Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Nominated Film
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1980)
Winner Screenplay
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1980)
Nominated Best Director - Motion Picture
Nominated Actor in a Leading Role