Being There 1979

Amazon Instant Video

(71) IMDb 8/10
Available in HD

Having lived his life as the gardener on a millionaire's estate, Chance (Peter Sellers) knows of the real world only what he has seen on TV. When his benefactor dies, Chance walks aimlessly into the streets of Washington D.C., where he is struck by a car owned by wealthy Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine). Identifying himself, the confused man mutters Chance...gardener, which Eve takes to be Chauncey ...

Starring:
Peter Sellers,Richard Basehart
Runtime:
2 hours, 9 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

Being There

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director Hal Ashby
Starring Peter Sellers, Richard Basehart
Supporting actors Jack Warden, Melvyn Douglas, Shirley Maclaine, Richard Dysart
Studio Warner Bros.
BBFC rating Suitable for 12 years and over
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Wil Ames on 11 Jun. 2003
Format: DVD
There's no 'probably' about this film. This is the best piece of acting ever by Peter Sellers. Best known for his roles in The Goons and Pink Panther series, Sellers outshines them all in this film. It wasn't very well publicised when new, and remains unknown to many. If you like slapstick - forget it. If you want funny voices - forget it. But if you want to see (possibly) the best British actor ever, in a starring role in a film that gives credit to the true professional that he was, then Buy, buy, buy...
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Emre Yigit on 10 Feb. 2003
Format: DVD
I first saw the film when it came out, and it stuck in my memory. Not your typical Sellars (i.e. neither the slapstick of the Pink Panther nor the so-tedious-it-was-funny of The Party), the film is a comedy of manners more than anything else.
In brief, the story revolves around a certain Chauncy "Gardner" (Sellers) who, upon his employer's death, finds himself thrust out into the rude world. A simple man, with no skills to recommend him but gardening, his life outside the estate in which he has lived since his birth starts with a car accident (involving Maclaine) and progresses gently to the point where he is being discussed as a Presidential candidate.
Many fine scenes, some unforgettable lines ("I like to watch.") and an interesting final walk.
Heartily recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. James West on 20 Feb. 2011
Format: Blu-ray
I had never seen this film, but hearing a friend talk about it I decided to buy it and have just watched it.

The film is a strange unsettling story, about a simple man who works as a gardener, and whose main pleasure in life apart from gardening is watching TV.

After the old man whose garden he works in dies, he lands up out in the big bad world, where his gardening related anecdotes and ability to feed back to people what they want to hear, has him feted as a financial guru. One word of warning, this is a 12 rated film, but there is a sex scene that made uncomfortable viewing with a couple of 14 year olds. Peter Sellers is startlingly good as the main character, just the year before he died, but there is also a strong supporting cast - he certainly doesn't have it all to himself. I though Shirley MacLaine was very good as someone who tried to connect with Sellers character on an emotional level, something he was incapable of. The film was long at 130 minutes, my daughters thought it was too long, and it was quite slowly paced which helped to make its point.

The picture was presented in 1.85:1 effectively filling a wide-screen TV, and was a bit of a mixed bag to be honest. The colours are good, and have a look of the 1970's, but the focus is a bit soft at times and lacking in the detail we have come to expect from blu-ray. So its not reference material, but it is never unpleasant to watch.

Sound quality is ok , the dialogue comes across well - and it isn't a film that depends on a huge soundscape. It can be a little flat, but hearing the speech is always important to me and it certainly achieves that.

So overall this is a key cinema moment that is well worth watching.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By nicjaytee on 16 Jan. 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Seeing this film for the first time, 25 years on from its original release, two things really hit home. Firstly it's very good - the acting and direction are excellent, it's funny, it's a clever story, and it makes you think. All pretty good credentials for any film. Secondly - and here's where its true brilliance lies - its underlying message hasn't dated at all and, if anything, is more relevant and effective than it was when it was made.
And the message itself? Superficially, it's an exploration of how, in a world dominated by the fleeting demands of mass media, someone with absolutely no knowledge at all can become a megastar and, once established as such, can demand respect and gain power far beyond their capabilities. And, beneath that... well, that's where the fun starts. Is it an exploration of the shallowness of western society? Is it a study of people's weaknesses & needs? Is it a religious allegory? Is it, in terms of most of the characters, a huge tragedy? Is it all or none of these?
The ending, which generates much debate about its "meaning" - is he walking on water in a messianic way or is he simply so stupid that he doesn't realise he's walking, by accident, on a submerged jetty? - is quite brilliant as are the final "over the titles" cuts of Sellers being unable to deliver his deadpan lines without laughing at them, leaving you with the uncomfortable feeling that the "joke" might be on you in trying to read too much into what's on offer here. In the end, of course, it's what you want it to be and that's the whole point of the story - we make people, situations and films themselves into what we want them to be not what they necessarily are. Subtle, enigmatic and, above all, highly entertaining.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Aug. 2003
Format: DVD
Peter Sellers was nominated for an Academy Award for this, his penultimate film.
As it turned out, The Terrible Revenge of Fu Manchu, was his final film. Really, this should have been his last film -- a beautiful testament to an extraordinary career.
The film is a snapshot of the life of Mr Chancey, played by Sellers.
Chancey is clearly backward and yet manages to convince the other characters that he is some sort of genius and prophet.
Seller's portrayal of Chancey is understated and quite brilliant, the end sequence is startling and revelatory.
This is the greatest film you've never seen.
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