Down and Out in Beverly Hills


Down and Out in Beverly Hills

Critics 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.



Total Count: 26


Audience Score

User Ratings: 15,944
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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.


Nick Nolte
as Jerry Baskin
Bette Midler
as Barbara Whiteman
Richard Dreyfuss
as Dave Whiteman
Little Richard
as Orvis Goodnight
Tracy Nelson
as Jenny Whiteman
Evan Richards
as Max Whiteman
Paul Mazursky
as Sidney Waxman
Donald F. Muhich
as Dr. Von Zimmer
Valerie Curtin
as Pearl Waxman
Jack Bruskoff
as Mel Whiteman
Geraldine Dreyfuss
as Sadie Whiteman
Barry Primus
as Lou Waltzberg
Irene Tsu
as Sheila Waltzberg
Salvador R. Espinoza
as Caterer's Assistant
Michael Yama
as Nagamichi
Eloy Casados
as Tom Tom
Mike the Dog
as Matisse
Ken Koch
as Patrick
Carolyn Allport
as Girl Feeding Kerouac
Sue Kiel
as Roxanne
Reza Bashar
as Iranian Neighbor
Joseph Makkar
as Iranian Boy
Salvator Espinoza
as Caterer's Assistant
Betsy Mazursky
as Stylish Jogger
Donald V. Allen
as Security Guard
Neil Cunningham
as Security Guard
Bobby Good
as Security Alarm Dispatcher
Margrit Ramme
as Sandra Goodnight
Pearl Huang
as Translator
Yung Sun
as Minister Chan
Eugene Choy
as Chinese Delegation
Mae Koh-Ruden
as Chinese Delegation
George Sasaki
as Chinese Delegation
Leland Sun
as Chinese Delegation
Andre Philippe
as Party Guest
Lew Hopson
as Paramedic
Carlton Cuse
as Water Man
Bill Cross
as Helicopter Pilot
Alexis Arquette
as Band Member
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Critic Reviews for Down and Out in Beverly Hills

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (5)

  • "Down and Out,"... is a failed fish-out-of-water story.

    Jan 4, 2018 | Full Review…
  • On the basically farcical level where it chooses to stay, it is a funny and likable movie.

    May 23, 2011 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jul 22, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    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.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    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.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5
  • 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.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Down and Out in Beverly Hills

  • Sep 23, 2015
    This is a film that time may have not been very kind to. Don't get me wrong, though, the film features some great performances from Bette Midler, Nick Nolte, and Richard Dreyfuss. Dreyfuss has an everyman quality about him that makes easily likable in films. Yet he can also play these characters that are slowly losing their mind as the film progresses and things start to unravel. If you've seen What About Bob? then you know exactly what I'm talking about, Dreyfuss' performance in that film is comedy gold and it's a movie that also features Bill Murray, so you can imagine how good he is. While this film doesn't see him go as nuts as What About Bob? there's still hints of it here. But, with that said, I liked this movie quite a bit. Like I said, perhaps time hasn't been as kind to it as one might expect, it's still what I would call a good movie. One of the things I liked about the movie, and perhaps it has nothing to do with quality per se, is the fact that the film is pretty progressive as far as characters go. The film is actually pretty diverse when it comes to characters. Perhaps not all of the characters were featured prominently, but the film does have a pretty diverse cast of characters. And, particularly, for a film in the 80s, where it was pretty much all white casts with a token black character forced in there somewhere, it's pretty impressive to see a film with such an open mind about casting. It's not like it improves the film's quality by much, but it's really cool to see from an era that lacked actual diversity. With that said, it's not like I'd call the film consistently funny. There's parts of it that work and parts of it that don't. I think the good stuff still outnumbers the jokes that miss, but it's also elevated by the performances of Richard, Bette, and Nick. The funniest part of the film would, absolutely, have to be Little Richard's, yes, first appearance in the film, where he goes absolutely nuts, yelling at people and insulting them and their dogs. It's not like he was a good actor, but I was wildly entertaining and Little Richard's yelling. To the point that I was hoping that every appearance he made would've been like this one. He'd just appear out of nowhere and start yelling. I suppose it wouldn't have made sense within the context of this story, but I wouldn't have cared. With that said, the story progression is good enough. Dave feels guilty at all the success he has achieved while others suffer on the streets, so he's taken Jerry, a homeless man, under his wing and let him stayed in his house. Plus, he's in a loveless marriage, so Jerry starts to help him loosen up and have a little fun. Usual stuff, but solid enough. Of course, if you couldn't tell, once Jerry starts helping out his wife, son, maid, and daughter with their problems then that's when Dave starts having a problem with Jerry. Again, it's nothing that you've never seen before, but it's all well-done. I think, probably, the best part of this is the fact that there's a certain mystery about Jerry. He gives all these supposed facts about his life, but you know that he's either lying or embellishing. You never do find out what Jerry was before he was homeless or what he did, but it's pretty interesting to think about the type of person he was and how he got to that point. But it's good that there's a little bit of mystery and intrigue to the character and Nolte does a great job with the character. As does Bette Midler. I wouldn't necessarily call her a trophy wife, but she's the type of wife that completely forgot where she came from now that she's found a little bit of wealth. She's got a snobbish attitude towards Jerry at first, but once you start to dig in a little deeper then you get to see her real personality. And, of course, Bette Midler is a talented actress so she also does a great job with her character. Now that I think about it, I really loved the cast in this film. I don't think there's any weak links in the entire group. Maybe Little Richard, but that's due to the fact that he wasn't an experienced actor and even then, his first appearance is the comedic highlight of the film. With that said, I definitely enjoyed this movie. It's good, it's well-written, it's smart and, most of all, it's got a great cast. Yet, at the same time, the film never gets to that next level. It's certainly enjoyable, but I wouldn't call it great, though I lament the fact that this film has, pretty much, been forgotten in the 30 years since its release. This is a solid Netflix watch.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Dec 31, 2010
    Funny comedy about a tramp who tries to kill himself in a rich family's swimming pool. They take him in. Good cast.
    Candy R Super Reviewer
  • Oct 23, 2010
    "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
  • Sep 21, 2010
    Paul Marzursky's slick hysterically funny satire about a disconsolate street vagrant, Jerry Baskin, played terrifically by Nick Nolte, who tries to commit suicide by jumping into the pool of a neurotic, nouveau-riche Beverly Hills family, he his rescued by the owner of the mansion, Dave Whiteman, played marvelously by Richard Dreyfuss, who invites him to stay at his home and get himself together, Dave's self-centered wife Barbara, played by wonderfully by Bette Midler is not crazy about that idea, and Jerry starts making serious changes to the entire household and begins to taking over their mixed up lives. Expertly directed by the late Marzursky, with exceptional supporting performances by little Richard, Tacy Nelson, Elizabeth Pena, Evan Richards, and the scene-stealing family dog, Matisse, played Mike, the Dog. A truly memorable 80s hit comic gem. Highly Recommended.
    Danny R Super Reviewer

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