Watch Trading Places
- 1 hr 58 min
In the classic 1983 comedy Trading Places, two wealthy businessmen, Randolph and Mortimer Duke, decide to settle a bet over whether it's nature or nurture that makes a successful person. To do so, they make a wager and conduct a social experiment where they switch the lives of two people from radically different socioeconomic backgrounds.
One of the men involved in the experiment is Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd), a privileged and affluent commodities broker working for the Dukes. The other is Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy), a homeless street hustler whom the Dukes frame for a crime he didn't commit. After being arrested, Billy is brought to the Duke's office where they offer him a proposition of a new start in life. In exchange for a job and a comfortable living arrangement, they ask him to participate in the experiment and switch places with Louis.
Louis gets framed for a crime, loses his job, and even his fiancee (Jamie Lee Curtis) leaves him. With nowhere to turn, he befriends Billy and the two team up to take revenge on the Dukes and expose their unethical business practices.
As Louis and Billy trade lives, they begin to understand each other's struggles and learn valuable lessons about the ways in which race and class impact their opportunities and experiences. Along the way, the film offers biting social commentary on the inequalities of American society while also delivering hilarious and memorable performances by both Murphy and Aykroyd.
Throughout the film, we see the stark differences in the lives of Louis and Billy. Louis takes for granted his wealth and status, never even considering the ways in which his success is propped up by systems of inequality. Billy, however, is all too aware of how much harder it is for him to succeed because of his race and socioeconomic background. As they switch places, they see firsthand how the other half lives â Louis struggles to adjust to life on the streets, while Billy adapts quickly to the world of finance.
In addition to Murphy and Aykroyd, the film boasts an exceptional supporting cast, including De'voreaux White as Billy's street-smart friend, Denholm Elliott as Louis's butler, and Bellamy and Don Ameche as the conniving Dukes. John Landis directs the film with a sharp eye for humor and satire, finding the perfect balance between its social commentary and its comedy.
Overall, Trading Places is a classic comedy that has stood the test of time. Its themes of race and class are just as relevant today as they were in 1983, and the film remains a hilarious and thought-provoking examination of the ways in which society shapes our opportunities and identities.
Trading Places is a 1983 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 58 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.5 and a MetaScore of 69.