Trading Places, a comedy released in
1983, was a modern twist on Mark Twain’s book The
Prince and the Pauper. The movie starred Dan
Aykroyd as Louis Winthorpe III, Jamie Lee Curtis as
Opehlia, and Eddie Murphy as Billy Ray Valentine.
Trading Places was a hit with most critics back in 1983,
and the movie ultimately was a great financial success.
It was the fourth highest grossing film of 1983, and the
58th highest grossing R rated film to date.
In this movie, two rich brothers,
Randolph and Mortimer Duke, are having a friendly debate
around the subject of nature versus nurture, when the
two agree to a bet $1 to settle the matter. They will
have a rich person switch roles with a poor person, by
manipulating their circumstances, and then study the
outcome. The rich person happens to be Louis Winthorpe
III (Aykroyd), who has a plush job with the Duke
Brothers, a plush house, and a plush life. On Poor
person, Billy-Ray Valentine (Murphy) is a homeless
street hustler, just trying to find ways to eat. The
Duke Brothers have Louis fired from their firm after
planting drugs on him, and they freeze his bank
accounts. He ends up taking refuge with a prostitute
named Ophelia (Curtis), who befriends Louis in the hopes
of some future reward for her philanthropy. On the
other hand, Billy Ray is not only given Louis’ job, but
also his home, car, etc. Billy Ray quickly turns from
street hood to legitimate business man.
Ray learns about the $1 bet between the brothers, he
seeks out Louis in an effort to mutually seek revenge.
They hatch a plan to trick the Duke Brothers into
investing in orange juice concentrate futures. Just
before the true crop report is released, Louis and Billy
Ray sell off all the futures they purchased in the
scheme. While they got rich, the Dukes got poor as they
were unable to cover the margin loss. In front of the
Dukes, Billy Ray collects $1 from Louis, stating that
the two had a bet around betting rich making the Dukes