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Trading Places (1983)


Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 41
Fresh: 36
Rotten: 5

Critics Consensus: Featuring deft interplay between Eddie Murphy and Dan Dan Aykroyd, Trading Places is an immensely appealing social satire.

Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 6
Fresh: 5
Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: Featuring deft interplay between Eddie Murphy and Dan Dan Aykroyd, Trading Places is an immensely appealing social satire.


Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 86,007



Movie Info

The "nature-nurture" theory that motivated so many Three Stooges 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. … More

R (adult situations/language, violence)
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Sep 24, 2002
Paramount Pictures


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Critic Reviews for Trading Places

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (5) | DVD (23)

Trading Places also makes Eddie Murphy a force to be reckoned with.

Full Review… | April 2, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

This 1983 film re-creates a screwball comedy format and then eliminates everything but the crudest audience-gratification elements; any incursions into the more morally complicated side of the genre are quickly curtailed.

Full Review… | April 2, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Trading Places is a light romp geared up by the schtick shifted by Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy.

Full Review… | April 2, 2008
Top Critic

As a satire on the internecine savagery of fiscal doings under late Reaganite capitalism, the movie is not as biting as it thinks it is; but it's still the best hoot since Arthur.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

What's most visible in the movie is the engaging acting. Murphy and Aykroyd are perfect foils for each other.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

[A] shrewd but very likable movie.

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

This blatant, unacknowledged reworking of The Prince and the Pauper is a rattling comedy showcase for the unique talents of Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, who have seldom recaptured the form they show here.

Full Review… | August 3, 2013
Radio Times

While the two-hour running time overstretches the material, there are plenty of laughs -- as well as sly digs at the racism and greed of the American establishment.

Full Review… | August 3, 2013
Total Film

Directed by John Landis with a surprising amount of class, though he lets some of his old Animal House' vulgarity slip ostentatiously into the action.

Full Review… | August 3, 2013
Christian Science Monitor

It's all outrageously contrived, and only surprising restraint by director John Landis makes it work. The writing is superb, too, leaving the two funnymen free to do the most inspired textured portrayals either has managed in movies.

Full Review… | August 3, 2013
People Magazine

Edgy, bawdy '80s comedy not meant for kids.

Full Review… | January 1, 2011
Common Sense Media

...a fun-filled film all the way around.

Full Review… | December 6, 2010
Movie Metropolis

Preposterous lighthearted one-joke comedy.

Full Review… | February 14, 2010
Ozus' World Movie Reviews of the most impressive comedies to emerge out of the 1980s.

Full Review… | July 2, 2009
Reel Film Reviews

Fast-paced and energetic social satire fleshed out with lots of enjoyable silliness.

Full Review… | April 2, 2008

The Saturday Night Live veterans Murphy and Ackroyd are the show-stealers here in this decent family comedy.

Full Review… | April 2, 2008
Empire Magazine

The rise of Valentine and the fall of Winthorpe are a source of great fun.

Full Review… | April 2, 2008
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Eddie Murphy stars in one of his greatest roles.

Full Review… | May 26, 2006
Combustible Celluloid

Because Eddie doesn't have to carry the whole movie, he is free to make every word that comes out of his mouth infinitely appealing.

Full Review… | December 6, 2005
Film Threat

Hilarious chemistry between Aykroyd and Murphy.

September 21, 2005

great fun

February 26, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

Audience Reviews for Trading Places

A classic 80s comedy that's still surprisingly relevant in our day.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

That was amazing. Eddie Murphy killed it. Didn't like Winthorpe though.

Letitia Lew
Letitia Lew

Super Reviewer

Billy Ray Valentine: Hey that's the motherf- I mean... that's the gentleman that had me busted. 

"They're not just getting rich... They're getting even."

Trading Places is one of the best comedies of the 80's and maybe ever. It's my personal favorite Eddie Murphy film and probably tied for my favorite Dan Aykroyd and John Landis film(the other of course being The Blues Brothers). What we have here was an instant comedy classic, that is as much fun as it is funny. There's not a moment of wasted screen time. It's smart, it injects a variety of different forms of humor, and it's fast paced and widely entertaining. There's not much more you can ask for from a comedy. This is the cream of the crop. 

So, two greedy, manipulative, and corrupt investors make a bet. The bet involves two totally different men. One, Louis Winthorpe runs the Duke brothers investment firm and has made them a lot of money in the process. He comes from a good environment. The other is Billy Ray Valentine, a hustler who makes his money acting like a wounded Vietnam vet. He came from a bad environment. One of the Duke brothers believes that if they throw Louis into the bad environment, he will become a no good thief. He also believes that if they put Valentine into the good environment, he will be able to run the firm just as well as Louis. The other doesn't. It's all part of a fun wager until, Louis and Valentine get wise to it.

There's a lot to love about the movie from the great performances from Murphy and Aykroyd to an Oscar nominated score. The versatility showed by Murphy and Aykroyd is what makes their performances so memorable. They both give two different performances within the same movie. Both must act like poor, beaten bums and like wealthy, high class investors. Neither of them waver at any moment and it's pure comedic gold. Ralph Bellamy, Don Ameche, Paul Gleeson, and Jamie Lee Curtis are all very good as well.

Trading Places is a must see comedy for all film lovers out there. It's one of those select few comedies that really stands out above the rest for me. It's up there, for me, with movies like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. This is a comedic masterpiece and there's just no other way to describe it. If you haven't seen this before, watch it as soon as possible.

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

One of the best movies. Ever.

Jason Robinson

Super Reviewer

Trading Places Quotes

Billy Ray Valentine:
That's my Harvard tie! Like, oh sure, he went to Harvard!
– Submitted by Brian f (11 months ago)
The party's over? It's only ten o'clock!
– Submitted by Jesse K (18 months ago)
I'm a whore with a heart of gold.
– Submitted by Jesse K (18 months ago)
I'm really Bo Diddly.
– Submitted by Jesse K (18 months ago)
Billy Ray Valentine:
I can't walk.
– Submitted by Evan T (2 years ago)

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