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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. Simultaneously, they set about to reduce aristocratic yuppie Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd to poverty and disgrace, hiring a prostitute (Jamie Lee Curtis) to hasten his downfall. When Billy Ray figures out that the brothers intend to dump him back on the streets once their experiment is complete, he seeks out Winthorpe, and together the pauper-turned-prince and prince-turned-pauper plot an uproarious revenge. With the good-hearted prostitute and Winthorpe's faithful butler (Denholm Elliott) as their accomplices, they set about to hit the brothers where it really hurts: in the pocketbook.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide


  • Denholm Elliott
  • Dan Aykroyd
  • Maurice Woods
  • Richard D. Fisher Jr.
  • Jim Gallagher
  • Anthony DiSabatino
  • Bonnie Behrend
  • Sunnie Merrill
  • James Newell
  • Mary St. John

Did You Know?


  • (Cameo) Kelly Curtis: The country club member "Muffy" is played by the sister of Jamie Lee Curtis, and the exteriors of that scene were filmed at The Curtis Institute of Music.
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  • When the President of the Heritage Club announces that there is a thief among them there is a Baltimore City Flag standing right behind him.
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    • [offering Billy Ray a sip from his flask; Coleman dressed as a priest, Billy Ray in African garb]
    • Coleman: Would you like a sip of whiskey?
    • Billy Ray Valentine: I do not drink, it is against my religion!
    • Coleman: Religion is a good thing I say, taken in moderation.
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Atom User Reviews

5.0 out of 5
Verified Review

Eddie Murphy and Danny Aykroyd in their prime, then throw in Jamie Lee Curtis, what more could you ask.

Jim L



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

Metacritic review by Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

It's the funniest new movie on town. [July 22, 1983]

Metacritic review by Gene Siskel
Gene Siskel
Chicago Tribune

It's easily the best of the movies I've seen by the various Saturday Night Live alumni, and part of the reason it's funny and satisfying is that it doesn't strain. [09 Jun 1983]

Metacritic review by Jay Carr
Jay Carr
Boston Globe