Being There (1979) USA
Being There Image Cover
Additional Images
Director:Hal Ashby
Studio:Warner Home Video
Producer:Andrew Braunsberg
Writer:Jerzy Kosinski, Jerzy Kosinski
Date Added:2006-03-27
Awards:Won Oscar. Another 10 wins & 10 nominations
Picture Format:Anamorphic Widescreen
Aspect Ratio:1.85:1
Languages:English, Unknown
Subtitles:English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
HiFi Sound
Hal Ashby  ...  (Director)
Jerzy Kosinski, Jerzy Kosinski  ...  (Writer)
Shirley MacLaine  ...  Eve Rand
Peter Sellers  ...  Chance the Gardener
Melvyn Douglas  ...  Benjamin Turnbull Rand
Jack Warden  ...  President
Richard Dysart  ...  Dr. Robert Allenby
Richard Basehart  ...  Vladimir Skrapinov
Ruth Attaway  ...  Louise
David Clennon  ...  Thomas Franklin
Fran Brill  ...  Sally Hayes
Denise DuBarry  ...  Johanna
Oteil Burbridge  ...  Lolo
Ravenell Keller III  ...  Abraz
Brian Corrigan  ...  Policeman outside White House
Alfredine P. Brown  ...  Old Woman (as Alfredine Brown)
Donald Jacob  ...  David
Don Jacob  ...  David (as Donald Jacob)
Peters Sellers  ...  
Richard A. Dysart  ...  
Alfie Brown  ...  Old Woman asked for lunch (as Alfredine Brown)
Comments: Getting there is half the fun; being there is all of it!

Summary: Thanks to an extraordinary, delicately balanced performance by Peter Sellers, Being There received mixed reviews during its theatrical release in 1979, but has since become a celebrated comedy with a loyal following. It's one of the most unusual black comedies ever made, simply because it stretches a simple premise over 130 minutes of straight-faced, strangely compelling commentary on politics, media, and celebrity in media-savvy America. Adapted by Jerzy Kozinsky from his own novel, the movie's about a simple-minded, middle-aged gardener who, after a lifetime of seclusion and safety in a Washington, D.C. townhouse, gets his first exposure to reality beyond the walls of his sheltered existence. His only reference to the world is through his childlike addiction to television, and when a chance encounter brings him into the inner fold of a dying billionaire (Melvyn Douglas), he suddenly finds himself the toast of Washington's political elite. His simple phrases about gardening are misinterpreted as anything from economic predictions to sage political advice, and under the sharp direction of Hal Ashby, Sellers has the audacity to take this comedic conceit to its logical extreme. Being There is not for all tastes--especially not for those who don't appreciate comedic subtlety. But as a showcase for the daring genius of Peter Sellers, this is a classic movie in a category all its own. --Jeff Shannon