Movie Discussion – Trading Places (1983)


It was on TV this afternoon and I ended up watching it.  Dan Akroyd.  Eddie Murphy.  Jamie Lee Curtis as a hooker with a heart of gold.

It was on all the time when I was a kid so it took me on a stroll down memory lane.

If you’ve never seen it, it asks the “nature vs. nurture” question that plagues us today.  Do people possess an innate ability to thrive or fail or is it possible to pluck anyone out of a bad environment, put them in a good one and see them succeed?

To that end, the Duke Brothers, a pair of elderly Wall Street tycoons frame their firm’s manager Winthorp (Dan Akroyd) to see if he thrives or fails when he hits the skids.  Meanwhile, they appoint Billy Ray (Eddie Murphy) as the firm’s manager and give him a lot of money to see whether he thrives or fails when thrust into success.

Also, there are a lot of boobs.  Many gratuitous 1980s boobs belonging to women who are either dead or very old now.  Depressing.

Questions for my 3.5 readers


Do you think environment matters when it comes to a person’s success or failure?  Are people in tough situations bound to fail or are there people who can make the best out of any situation?


Why aren’t there any boobs in movies anymore?  Movies used to have boobs all the time.  Now I barely see any.  What gives?

Meanwhile, movies are more violent than ever with people getting shot, hacked up, eaten by CGI movies but put one pair of boobs on the screen and to quote the Joker, “everyone loses their minds!”

NOTE: Downside – there is a blackface scene in which Dan Akroyd goes undercover as a Jamaican while wearing blackface and fake dreads.  Even by 1983 standards that was a little bit off.  So there’s that but overall despite that one scene, the movie does have a good message about not automatically disparaging someone who doesn’t come from a perfect background, that had you lacked opportunity you might struggle too.

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2 thoughts on “Movie Discussion – Trading Places (1983)

  1. thflg says:

    I was in high school in ’83 so the boobies were much appreciated, being rather rare in my real world. I think they’re gone thanks to the rating system and marketing. Too many boobies will lose you that PG-13 rating and that’s the target these days. I googled and 18 of the top 20 movies of 2013 were PG-13 or below. Damn you MPAA, damn you to hell!

    As far as the nature/nurture thing it’s really a toss-up. I’m extremely smart, my brother is dumb as a post. We were raised basically the same but then went in two very different directions. Now, 30 years later, I make piles of cash but i live alone and have few friends. My brother is always broke but has a loving wife, seven kids, and last year his first grandchild. Which of us is the success?

    I like the “old” movie review, I’m watching Trading Places tomorrow. Memory lane can be fun.

  2. I liked this movie. I don’t think environment matters as much as the person. You can put a lazy person in an environment where people are hard working and they will still find a way to be lazy. You can put a slob in a suite at an exclusive hotel, and the room will still end up sloppy.

    If you’re looking for boobs on the screen, the upcoming political conventions should fill the bill.

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