Trading Places

Critics Consensus

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

87%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 46

84%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 87,666

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Movie Info

Upper-crust executive Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) and down-and-out hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) are the subjects of a bet by successful brokers Mortimer (Don Ameche) and Randolph Duke (Ralph Bellamy). An employee of the Dukes, Winthorpe is framed by the brothers for a crime he didn't commit, with the siblings then installing the street-smart Valentine in his position. When Winthorpe and Valentine uncover the scheme, they set out to turn the tables on the Dukes.

Cast & Crew

Dan Aykroyd
Louis Winthorpe III
Eddie Murphy
Billy Ray Valentine
Ralph Bellamy
Randolph Duke
Don Ameche
Mortimer Duke
Kristin Holby
Penelope Witherspoon
Paul Gleason
Clarence Beeks
Alfred Drake
President of Exchange
Bo Diddley
Pawnbroker
George Folsey Jr.
Executive Producer
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News & Interviews for Trading Places

Critic Reviews for Trading Places

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (6)

  • Landis' direction is deft, but the sparkling performances are the real draw not only by Murphy and Aykroyd but also by Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy as the meddling oldsters, Denholm Elliott as the gentlemanly servant and Jamie Lee Curtis.

    October 23, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Trading Places is a comedy of unavoidable fits and starts.

    November 23, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Trading Places also makes Eddie Murphy a force to be reckoned with.

    April 2, 2008 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    April 2, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Trading Places is a light romp geared up by the schtick shifted by Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy.

    April 2, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    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.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Trading Places

  • Sep 21, 2018
    The Book of Job meets Pygmalion in this intelligent comedy that benefits from great performances (especially by Eddie Murphy), and, no matter how utterly implausible everything we see here is, at least it sells us the whole thing with enough conviction to make it a blast.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 13, 2015
    I am not sure why it took me so long to see this. Two comedy geniuses at the top of the game. It makes sense seeing as they are hardly ever seen in movies today.
    Ian W Super Reviewer
  • Jan 28, 2014
    Trading Places is certainly a goofy and over the top comedy, but one that remains funny more than 30 years later. Eddie Murphy excels at these eccentric roles, and the script is meant to be unrealistic but entertaining nonetheless. Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) is a well off day trader, but you can see his life isn't that realistic or genuine. Those around him, even his fiancee, seem to be simply a thinly veiled layer of relationships surrounding him. We also meet Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) who is a homeless man pandering for money while pretending to have various physical impairments to collect more money. The film's story revolves around Winthorpe's bosses, two elderly brothers who are just as rich as they are in lacking morals or compassion, who make a one dollar bet on the nature of heredity vs. environment with Winthorpe and Valentine swapping roles to test this theory. As we see Valentine move up in the world we see Winthorpe basically be kicked out on the street with nothing he once had and this causes him to go mad. Valentine eventually befriends Winthorpe as the two find out about the plot by the brothers and choose to beat them at their own game. Trading Places is lighthearted and eccentric in its humor and dances on the absurd at times. Still, this is a funny and entertaining comedy that still remains so today.
    Chris B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 06, 2013
    I appreciate the film trying to portray something that almost an universal theme And that is what would happen if a privileged/rich person and an impoverished person traded places and seeing how they would each do in a different world and what they would do to survive. I think this is a very universal theme and the film does have a good amount of social satire. But, somehow or other, the film isn't as funny as it thinks it is. The film doesn't exactly get into the complexities of how each character adjusts to the change in their situation for how much time they actually spend with them adjusting to the change. I just think the movie would've benefited from more scenes of Dan and Eddie together instead of just leaving the majority of their scenes for the last act of the film. Because of that there's long stretches of the film where nothing funny really happens. This mostly happens during the second act, and some of the third act, of the film. I don't know what happens, but the film isn't funny for a good chunk of time. Again, I get what the film was trying to do and it pulled it off well. I think they get two perfect old rich assholes, in Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche, to play the Duke brothers and they help get the story "over" in a way when a lot of the comedy doesn't work. The cast is very good, the film's problems are never due to the cast, just the script. That's not to say the film isn't good because it is. It has plenty of funny moments but it also has plenty of jokes that just fall flat. For example the stuff with the gorilla fell flat...none of those jokes worked, at all. So really, I'd still say this is a good movie with a fun cast but it's definitely a mixed bag as far as the comedy goes.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer

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