Trading Places

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Trading Places is a 1983 film about a snobbish investor and a wily street con artist who find their positions reversed as part of a bet by two callous millionaires.

Directed by John Landis. Written by Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod.
They're not just getting rich... They're getting even. taglines

Billy Ray Valentine[edit]

  • [while acting blind and legless] Hey, baby, what's happening? How are ya doing? Once you have a man with no legs, you never go back, baby. I know what you're thinkin'. You seen "Porgy and Bess"? [the woman begins to walk away] We can make it, baby! Me and you!... You BITCH!
  • [after demonstrating some fake karate moves while in jail] That's called the "quart of blood" technique. You do that, a quart of blood will drop out of a person's body.
  • [watching cops subduing an unruly suspect] May I suggest using your night stick officer?
  • When I was a kid, if we wanted a jacuzzi, we had to fart in the tub.
  • Hey that's the motherf- I mean... that's the gentleman that had me busted.
  • [introducing himself] Billy Ray Valentine, Capricorn.

Louis Winthorpe III[edit]

  • [to Penelope, as he is leaving jail] Those men wanted to have sex with me!
  • I had the most absurd nightmare. I was poor and no one liked me. I lost my job, I lost my house, Penelope hated me and it was all because of this terrible, awful Negro. [sees Billy and attacks].
  • He was wearing my Harvard tie. Can you believe it? MY Harvard tie. Like oh, sure, HE went to Harvard.


  • [noticing Louis watch her undress] By the way, food and rent aren't the only things around here that cost money. You sleep on the couch.


  • Officer Reynolds: [to Louis] Strip, you little shit, before I tear your ass!
  • Corrupt Cop: [Takes some PCP out of a baggie and tastes it] That's PCP! Phenycyclidine. Angel dust! You ever seen what this stuff does to kids? You're looking at 3 to 5 mandatory... Louis!
  • Bunny: And she stepped on the ball.
  • Even Bigger Black Guy: It ain't cool being no jive turkey so close to Thanksgiving.
  • Harvey: Monkey? MONKEY! I'm a gorilla, you clown!
  • Beeks: Hey. Back off! I'll rip out your eyes and piss on your brain.


Randolph Duke: Ezra. Right on time. I'll bet you thought I'd forgotten your Christmas bonus. There you are.
Ezra: Five dollars. Maybe I'll go to the movies... by myself.
Mortimer Duke: Half of it is from me.
Ezra: Thank you, Mr. Mortimer.
Ezra leaves table
Ezra [talking to himself quietly]: Morons.

Louis: Randolph. Mortimer.
Mortimer Duke: Winthorpe, my boy, what have you got for us?
Louis: Well, it's that time of the month again. Payroll checks for our employees, which require your signatures. And no forgetting to sign the big ones!
Mortimer Duke: We seem to be paying some of our employees an awful lot of money.
Louis: [laughs] Can't get around the old minimum wage, Mortimer.

Randolph Duke: Money isn't everything, Mortimer.
Mortimer Duke: Oh, grow up.
Randolph Duke: Mother always said you were greedy.
Mortimer Duke: She meant it as a compliment.

Billy Ray: [Billy Ray is in jail] I wish my bitches would get here. I ain't got time to be sitting in this cell with you.
Big Black Guy # 1: Where is your bitches, Mr. Big-Time Pimp?
Billy Ray: [to Cellmate #2] Didn't I tell you that the phone in my limousine is busted, and I can't get in contact with my bitches?
Cellmate #2: [to Big Black Guy] Yeah! The phone in the limo was busted. What is ya, ignorant?

Big Black Guy #1: You beating up on a man. You putting a man in a hospital? How come I don't see no marks on you?
Big Black Guy #2: Yeah!
Billy Ray: 'Cause I'm a karate man, see! And a karate man bruises on the inside! They don't show their weakness. But you don't know that because you're a big Barry White looking motherfucker! So get outta my face!

Billy Ray is in the Jacuzzi; Coleman takes Billy Ray's street clothes and closes door
Billy Ray [from Jacuzzi]: When you think of love, does your heart go round and round?
Mortimer: What's he doing in there?
Coleman: I believe he is singing, sir.
Randolph: They're very musical people, aren't they?
Coleman: What should I do with his clothes, sir?
Mortimer: Send them to the laundry. He'll want something nice and clean to wear to the ghetto...after I've won the bet.

Coleman: Your … friends seemed to enjoy themselves, sir. In all, I'd say it was quite a success.
Billy Ray: [disgusted] They wasn't no "friends" of mine, Coleman. Just a bunch'a freeloaders treatin' my house like it was a goddamn zoo.
Coleman: Why don't you retire, sir? You've got a big day ahead of you tomorrow.
Billy Ray: Yeah...I think I will, uh, "retire."

Heritage Club President: May I have your attention please? There is something vile that has never reared its ugly head in our two hundred and seven years of existence. There is a thief in the Heritage Club. And by "thief," I do not mean the ordinary street punk our own Winthorpe had the courage to stand up to yesterday. Mild applause No, this thief is 100 times lower. And without further ado, may I introduce Mr. Clarence Beeks of Lyndhurst Security?

Billy Ray: [after breaking a vase] Hey, sorry about that.
Randolph Duke: It's perfectly all right William. It was your vase.
Billy Ray: That was a cheap vase, right? That was a fake? Right?
Randolph Duke: I believe we paid $35,000. But if I remember correctly, we valued it for the insurance company at $50,000. You see, Mortimer? William has already made us $15,000.
[Coleman, Mortimer, Randolph, and Billy Ray start laughing]
Billy Ray: You want me to break something else?
Randolph Duke, Mortimer Duke, Coleman: NO!

Billy Ray: What if I can't do this job, Coleman? What if I'm not what they expected?
Coleman: Just be yourself, sir. Whatever happens, they can't take that away from you.

Billy Ray: No thanks, guys, I already had breakfast this morning.
Mortimer: This is not a meal, Valentine. We are here to try to explain to you what it is we do here.
Randolph: We are commodities brokers, William. Now, what are commodities? Commodities are agricultural products. Like coffee, that you had for breakfast, … wheat, which is used to make bread, … pork bellies, which is used to make bacon - which you might find in a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. [Billy Ray turns and gives a long look at the camera] And then there are other commodities, like frozen orange juice, … and gold. Though, of course, gold doesn't grow on trees like oranges. [He chuckles] Clear so far?
Billy Ray: [who isn't but is nodding and smiling as though he understands, which he doesn't] Yeah.
Randolph: Good, William! Now, some of our clients are speculating that the price of gold will rise in the future. And we have other clients who are speculating that the price of gold will fall. They place their orders with us, and we buy, or sell, their gold for them.
Mortimer: Tell him the good part.
Randolph: The good part, William, is that, no matter whether our clients make money or lose money, Duke & Duke get the commissions.
Mortimer: Well? What do you think, Valentine?
Billy Ray: Sounds to me like you guys a couple of bookies!
Randolph: [chuckling, patting Billy Ray on the back] I told you he'd understand.

Pawnbroker: Burnt my fingers, man.
Louis: I beg your pardon?
Pawnbroker: Man, that watch is so hot, it's smokin'.
Louis: Hot? Do you mean to imply stolen?
Pawnbroker: I'll give you 50 bucks for it.
Louis: 50 bucks? No, no, no. This is a Rouchefoucauld. The thinnest water-resistant watch in the world. Singularly unique, sculptured in design, hand-crafted in Switzerland, and water resistant to three atmospheres. This is the sports watch of the '80s. $6,955 retail!
Pawnbroker: You got a receipt?
Louis: Look, it tells time simultaneously in Monte Carlo, Beverly Hills, London, Paris, Rome, and Gstaad.
Pawnbroker: In Philadelphia, it's worth 50 bucks.
Louis: (defeated) Just give me the money.
Pawnbroker takes a handful of notes out of his pocket and starts counting it out. Winthorpe looks at display case and sees something.
Louis: How much for the gun?
Pawnbroker looks at him in bewilderment

Randolph: Exactly why do you think the price of pork bellies is going to keep going down, William?
Billy Ray: Okay, pork belly prices have been dropping all morning, which means that everybody is waiting for it to hit rock bottom, so they can buy cheap and go long - which means that the people who own the pork belly contracts are goin' batshit. They're thinking, "Hey, we're losin' all our goddamn money, and Christmas is around the corner, and I ain't gonna have no money to buy my son the G.I. Joe with the kung-fu grip, right? And my wife ain't gonna f... my wife ain't gonna make love to me 'cuz I ain't got no money, right?" So they're panicking right now, they're screaming, "SELL! SELL!" 'Cuz they don't wanna lose all their money, right? They're panicking out there right now! I can feel it! They out there!
[on the ticker machine, the price keeps dropping]
Randolph: He's right, Mortimer! My God, look at it!
Billy Ray: I'd wait till you get to around sixty-four, then I'd buy. You'll have cleared out all the suckers by then.
Randolph: (punches his calculator) Do you realize how much money he's just saved us?
Mortimer: Money isn't everything, Randolph!
Randolph: (on telephone) This is Randolph Duke. Advise our clients interested in bellies to buy at 64. Mr. Valentine has set the price.

[Billy Ray overhears the Dukes talking in the bathroom]
Randolph: Pay up, Mortimer. I've won the bet.
Mortimer: Here, one dollar.
Randolph: [chuckling] We took a perfectly useless psychopath like Valentine, and turned him into a successful executive. And during the same time, we turned an honest, hard-working man into a violently, deranged, would-be killer! [laughs] Now, what are we going to do about taking Winthorpe back and returning Valentine to the ghetto?
Mortimer: I don't want Winthorpe back, after what he's done.
Randolph: You mean, keep Valentine on as managing director?
Mortimer: Do you really believe I would have a nigger run our family business, Randolph?
[Valentine's eyes widen with outrage]
Randolph: Of course not. Neither would I.

[Louis attacks and starts choking Billy Ray, thinking he's responsible for ruining his life]
Coleman: Oh, dear!
Billy Ray: [Choking] It … was … the … Dukes! It … was … the … Dukes!
Louis: You're a DEAD MAN, Valentine!!! [Coleman and Ophelia pull him off Valentine]
Billy Ray: [Gasping] It was an experiment! They used us as guinea pigs, man! [Louis calms down] The Dukes used us as guinea pigs, to see how our lives would turn out. They made a bet.
Coleman: I'm afraid it's true, sir.
Ophelia: I believe him, Louie.
Louis: The Dukes … ruined my life … over a bet. For how much?
Billy Ray: A dollar.
Louis: $1. Fine. That's the way they want it? No problem.

Billy Ray: [watches Louis clean his shotgun] You know, you can't just go around and shoot people in the kneecaps with a double-barreled shotgun 'cause you pissed at 'em.
Louis: Why not?
Billy Ray: It's called assault with a deadly weapon; you get twenty years for that shit!
Louis: Listen, do you have any better ideas?
Billy Ray: Yeah. You know, it occurs to me that the best way you hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people.
Coleman: [Bringing more shotguns to Louis] You have to admit, sir, you didn't like it yourself a bit!

Billy Ray and Louis: [in perfect unison, as they both suddenly stand} CLARENCE BEEKS!!!
Billy Ray: The Dukes just gave that guy ten grand!
Louis: 10 grand?!? I saw an outlay to him in the payroll for 50,000! Mortimer said it was for research.
Billy Ray: Yeah, research on how he can get his hands on that top-secret crop report two days before it goes public!
Louis: [whispering in shock, horror, and realization] My God. The Dukes are going to corner the entire frozen orange juice market!
Ophelia: Unless somebody stops them.
Coleman: [carrying tray] Or beats them to it. [all turn and look at him] Eggnog?

Billy Ray: Merry New Year!
Beeks: Happy New Year. In this country we say "Happy New Year."
Billy Ray: Oh, ho, ho, thank you for correcting my English which stinks!

Coleman: [offering Billy Ray a sip from his flask; they are both in Halloween costumes] Would you like a sip of whiskey?
Billy Ray: I do not drink, it is against my religion!
Coleman: Religion is a good thing I say, taken in moderation.

Louis: Nenge! Nenge Mboko, from Cameroon? Do you remember me? It's Lionel Joseph!
Billy Ray: Lionel! From the African Education Conference!
Louis: Yah, mon, I was Director of Cultural Activities at the Haile Selassie Pavilion.
Billy Ray: I remember the pavilion - we had big fun there!
Both: Boo bwele boo bwele boo bwele ah ha! Boo bwele boo bwele boo bwele ah ha!
Billy Ray: Oh, memories!

Louis: [after giving the secret knock] Who is it?
Billy Ray: Open the door, man!

Louis: [approaching the New York Commodities Exchange] Think big, think positive, never show any sign of weakness. Always go for the throat. Buy low, sell high. Fear - that's the other guy's problem. Nothing you have ever experienced will prepare you for the absolute carnage you are about to witness. The Super Bowl, the World Series - hah, they don't know what pressure is. In this building, it's either kill or be killed. You make no friends in the pits and you take no prisoners. One minute you're up half a million in soybeans and the next, boom, your kids don't go to college and they've repossessed your Bentley. Are you with me?
Billy Ray: Yeah, we got to kill the mother... we got to kill 'em!

Mortimer: That's not right! How can the price be going down?
Randolph: Something's wrong! Where's Wilson?
Mortimer: [sees Louis and Billy Ray] What are they doing here?
Randolph: They're selling, Mortimer!
Mortimer: Why, that's ridiculous! [Something occurs to him] Unless that crop report …
[They look at each other in shock and horror]
Randolph: God help us!

[Randolph and Mortimer Duke are both on their way to the pits, panicking at the idea that their plan could fail]
Mortimer: I told you we shouldn't have committed everything, you asshole!
Randolph: We've gotta get Wilson! And tell him to sell!!!

Louis: [after ruining the Dukes] Happy New Year!
Randolph: [hoarsely] Winthorpe.
Mortimer: [stunned] Valentine.
Billy Ray: Hey! How'd y'all make out today?
Mortimer: How could you do this to us after everything we've done for you?
Billy Ray: Oh, see, I made Louis a bet here! See, Louis bet me that we couldn't both get rich and put y'all in the poor house at the same time. He didn't think we could do it. I won.
Louis: [grinning] I lost. $1! [Produces a one dollar bill and hands it to Billy Ray]
Billy Ray: Thank you, Louis.
Louis: After you.
Billy Ray: Certainly.
[Billy Ray and Louis depart exchange to the stunned silence of the Dukes]

Official #1: Margin call, gentlemen.
Mortimer: Why, you can't expect us to -
Official #2: You know the rules of the exchange, Mr. Duke. All accounts to be settled at the end of the day's trading,without exception.
Randolph: You know perfectly well we don't have three hundred and ninety-four million dollars in cash!
George: I'm sorry, boys. [to Official #1] Put the Duke brothers' seats on the exchange up for sale at once; seize all assets of Duke & Duke Commodities Brokers, as well as all personal holdings of Randolph and Mortimer Duke.
Randolph: My God. [clutching his heart] We're ruined.
[He begins to totter on his feet]
Mortimer: This is an outrage! I demand an investigation! You can't sell our seats! A Duke has been sitting on this exchange since it was founded! We founded this exchange! It's ours!! It belongs to US!!!
Randolph: My God...
[He collapses]
George: Mortimer, your brother's not well! We'd better call an ambulance!
Mortimer: FUCK HIM! Now you listen to me! I want trading reopened right now! Get those brokers back in here! Turn those machines back on!! [shouts, echoing throughout the trading hall] TURN THOSE MACHINES BACK ON!!!

[Randolph is being wheeled out on a stretcher]
Mortimer: You and your Nobel Prize! You idiot!
Randolph: Where's Beeks? Where in the hell is Beeks?
Louis: [to Billy Ray] Beeks!
Billy Ray: [to Louis] Yeah, I forgot all about that guy.
[Tramp steamer. Beeks is still gagged and bound in a gorilla costume, and caged with the male gorilla from the train]
Dock worker #1: Okay, one male gorilla.
Dock worker #2: Wait a minute. There's two of them in that cage.
Dock worker #1: One gorilla, two gorillas. Big deal. Whole bunch is getting sent back to Africa. It's a big scientific experiment. What do I know? Anyway, take a look. They're in love.
[The male gorilla grunts contentedly]

[Last lines]
Louis: Looking good, Billy Ray!
Billy Ray: Feeling good, Louis!


  • They're not just getting rich... They're getting even.
  • Some very funny business.
  • Take two complete strangers, make one of them rich the other poor... just watch the fun while they're... TRADING PLACES


External links[edit]

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