Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986)

Down and Out in Beverly Hills



Critic Consensus: An enjoyable farce that relocates Jean Renoir's Boudu Saved From Drowning to '80s California, offering fine comedic performances from Nick Nolte, Richard Dreyfuss and Bette Midler.

Movie Info

When a suicidal hobo attempts to drown himself in their swimming pool, a wealthy family adopts the reluctant tramp. The family and their new companion clash and form unexpected bonds in this popular comedy inspired by Jean Renoir's Boudu Saved By Drowning.

Rating: R
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Leon Capetanos, Paul Mazursky
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 13, 2002


as Jerry Baskin

as Barbara Whiteman

as Dave Whiteman

as Orvis Goodnight

as Jenny Whiteman

as Max Whiteman

as Dr. Von Zimmer

as Sidney Waxman

as Pearl Waxman

as Mel Whiteman

as Sadie Whiteman

as Lou Waltzberg

as Sheila Waltzberg

as Caterer's Assistant

as Nagamichi

as Tom Tom

as Matisse

as Patrick

as Girl Feeding Kerouac

as Roxanne

as Iranian Neighbor

as Iranian Boy

as Caterer's Assistant

as Stylish Jogger

as Security Guard

as Security Guard

as Security Alarm Dispa...

as Sandra Goodnight

as Translator

as Minister Chan

as Chinese Delegation

as Chinese Delegation

as Chinese Delegation

as Chinese Delegation

as Party Guest

as Paramedic

as Water Man

as Helicopter Pilot

as Band Member
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Critic Reviews for Down and Out in Beverly Hills

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (6)

On the basically farcical level where it chooses to stay, it is a funny and likable movie.

Full Review… | May 23, 2011
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Although it is more of a comedy of manners than a well-developed story, there are enough yocks and bright moments to make it a thoroughly enjoyable outing.

Full Review… | July 22, 2008
Top Critic

This update of Renoir's Boudu Saved from Drowning starts life as a satire on the tribal rites of the new and filthy rich, but goes badly wrong somewhere down the line.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

As a comedy of manners it has a dependably keen aim, with its most wicked barbs leavened by Mr. Mazursky's obvious fondness for his characters.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Paul Mazursky hasn't only remade Jean Renoir's sublime 1931 Boudu Saved From Drowning: he's yuppified it, inverting virtually every meaning until the film becomes a celebration of the crassest kind of materialism.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Let me just say that Down and Out in Beverly Hills made me laugh longer and louder than any film I've seen in a long time.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Down and Out in Beverly Hills

"Down and Out in Beverly Hills" is a remake of the 1931 Renoir film "Boudu Saved from Drowning." It also mirrors the classic "My Man Godfrey" in many ways. Though it is based on classic material dealing with the rich relating to underprivileged or down and out peoples, Mazurksy subverts these ideals by filtering through the veil of eighties' materialism. While the original content could be categorized as viewing ostentatious attitudes as a form of class struggles emanating from the bourgeoisie vs. the proletariat, this adaptation deals more with silly slapstick and aggressive hatred of snazzy outfits. Materialism is a very important concept in characterizing the rich and powerful, but when employed in dealing with big ideals here, it's used more as a way to characterize Dave and Barbara (Dreyfuss and Midler) than to unpack ideas. Besides that, the comedy just isn't succinct. It tries to make broad statements about the upper class and instead flops around making fun of everything and anything. What comes of this is a loud, aggressive kind of comedy that isn't all that funny.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


An 80's movie I actually hadn't seen! Bit far fetched, especially the end - only thing that guy would have got in real life was a kicking - but mildly amusing and has the 80's comedy thing going for it.
Glad I had a chance to see it.

Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

One of the great comedies of the 1980s, blessed with a terrific cast, tells the story of a family of rich, spoiled Beverly Hills residents who take car of a tramp who failed to commit suicide in their pool. There are a few great laughs but the comedy works mostly through the characters and how the hobo ends of putting every inhabitant of the house through his own very special therapy. That's full of irony, very charming and extremely entertaining. Dreyfuss and Midler are perfect as yuppie couple, Nolte nails the tramp outstandingly. And when the Talking Heads sing their hymn "Once in a lifetime" over the final punchline in the end, we know what we always hoped for: at the end of the day, the rich are just as poor as us.

Jens S.

Super Reviewer

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