[[caption-width-right:300:"It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child."]]

->''"Lord loves a working man, don't trust whitey..."''
-->-- '''Navin R. Johnson'''

An American comedy film from 1979, directed by Carl Reiner and featuring Creator/SteveMartin in his first starring role.

The film follows Navin R. Johnson (Martin), a bum, who tells his life story. After finding out that he is not a natural born child of his black parents, Navin decides to leave home and make it for himself in the world. Despite the fact that he is woefully unprepared, Navin manages to land himself a job, escape a decidedly random psychopath, run away with a traveling carnival, find the woman of his dreams (Creator/BernadettePeters), and hit it rich, before finally losing everything and ending up a bum in the street. Along the way, the film details Navin's interactions with the people and world around him, where his common misunderstandings of every-day situations often [[HilarityEnsues lead to hilarious results]].

[[IThoughtItMeant If you're looking for tropes about jerks]], see {{Jerkass}} and TheJerkIndex.

!!'''Tropes associated with this work:'''

* AbsoluteCleavage: During the "snails on the food" scene in which Marie is wearing a low-cut dress and looking up in an unintentionally provocative way.
-->'''Navin''': "[[DoubleEntendre Two boobs]]! That's what he takes us for!"
* AdaptationExpansion: Many of the film's gags came from Steve Martin's stand up routine, such as claiming he was "born a poor black child" and wandering through the audience, picking up random things off tables and exclaiming it was "all he needed."
* BadassFamily: Navin's adopted black family is just really pleasant and likable bunch of people. What makes them even more badass is how they were able to find a way to make their own fortune and create a better life (even if their new house was not very different from their old one.
* BallsOfSteel: Navin makes the mistake of kicking the crotch of [[MeaningfulName "Iron Balls" McGinty.]]
* BenevolentBoss: Harry Hartounian, the owner of the gas station, who not only gives Navin his first job but even a place to sleep! All he (jokingly) asks in return is "when you're rich and famous, you'll send me a postcard." To say thanks, Navin does just that later in the movie.
* BerserkButton: Navin was raised by a black family and, for much of his life, thought he was black. [[NWordPrivileges He takes the N-word very personally]].
* BettyAndVeronica: Marie and Patty.
* BigDamnKiss: Parodied. During the beach scene, Navin moves in to kiss Marie, she resists, and it turns into a struggle where it's... more or less a competition to see who can make the goofier face.
-->'''Navin (afterward):''' Was it good for you too?
* BookEnds: The film starts and ends with Navin singing and dancing with his family at home.
* ChekhovsGun: After Navin gets his first job, he promises to send some of everything he makes back to his family. [[spoiler:Later, once he's homeless, it turns out that he continued sending his family checks after he got rich. They began investing the money and are fairly well off by the end of the movie.]]
* ClingyJealousGirl: Patty the motorcycle daredevil.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: Navin's whole life is this trope; it'd be easier to name the scenes where Navin ''doesn't'' miss the point by a mile. The famous "[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tcwz8-EfFYE He hates these cans!]]" scene is a notable example.
* ConspicuousConsumption: The first thing Navin does after finding out how much he really cashed his check for.
** '''Partially''' averted. It doesn't occur to Navin and Marie to move out of their tiny apartment until their live-in butler and maid suggest it.
* ContrivedCoincidence: PlayedForLaughs by the ending;
-->'''Navin:''' How did you find me?\\
'''Father:''' I dunno. This is the first place we looked.
** It also turns out that Navin's father is, unexpectedly, a financial wizard who makes millions by investing the funds that Navin was sending home.
* CreatorCameo: Carl Reiner plays himself leading a class-action suit against Navin.
* CryCute: After Navin's court case and his subsequent downward spiral, Marie starts bawling about how much she misses how things used to be with Navin, before the money and fame.
-->'''Marie:''' I just heard a song on the radio that reminded me of the way we were!
-->'''Navin:''' What was it?
-->'''Marie:''' "The Way We Were!"
* CucumberFacial: Seen during Marie's stint selling face cream.
* DancePartyEnding: The film ends showing Navin, Marie, and his family singing and dancing at their home.
* DescriptionCut: Upon discovering his name in the phone-book:
-->'''Navin:''' Things are gonna start happening to me now!\\
''[Cut to the Sniper picking names at random out of a phone-book:]''\\
'''Sniper:''' 'Johnson, Navin R.'. Sounds like a typical bastard.
* DinnerOrderFlub: Marie gets the escargot at a fancy restaurant.
--> '''Navin:''' You would think that in a fancy restaurant at these prices you could keep the snails off the food!
* DisproportionateRetribution: A throwaway gag has the butler's wife being executed by firing squad for taking too many cash advances on her credit card.
* {{Dissimile}}: In a letter to his parents, Navin describes his girlfriend as looking just like mom, "except she's white and blonde".
* TheDitz: Navin, to extreme levels.
-->'''Navin''': You mean I'm gonna stay this color?
* DoorstopBaby: How Navin wound up with the Johnsons.
* DownerEnding: {{Subverted}}. It seems like the movie would end with Navin languishing alone and forgotten in poverty, [[spoiler: until Marie and his adoptive family show up for a more proper HappyEnding.]]
* ExorcistHead: Navin's reaction to the size of the check from Stan Fox.
* FelonyMisdemeanor: [[ItMakesSenseInContext CAT JUGGLING!!]]
* FreudianExcuse: The Sniper's rampage was prompted by the breakdown of his marriage and the fact that he was quitting smoking.
* GeniusDitz: Navin lacks common sense, but he knows enough about automobiles to make the Opti-Grab.
* GilliganCut: After the newscast with Carl Reiner announcing his plans to sue Navin, Navin assures Marie that they won't lose the lawsuit by saying "We're going to receive a fair trial from an impartial jury." Cut to the cross-eyed judge and jurors ruling in favor of Reiner.
* GroinAttack: Unfortunately, the recipient is one [[MeaningfulName "Iron Balls" McGinty.]]
** Patty playing a little too aggressively with Navin's "special purpose."
* HandOrObjectUnderwear: Navin uses dogs.
* HappilyAdopted: There's no question that Navin was very happy with his adoptive family growing up, and that they loved him as deeply as they did any other family member.
* HeelFaceTurn: Navin's would-be assassin decides to take up a less violent line of work - as a private detective.
* HowWeGotHere: Navin is introduced as a bum living in an alley, and then back we go to his old house for the story proper.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: The kind of jerk Navin is.
* KindheartedSimpleton: Part of Navin's charm. As much of a bonehead as he is, for much of the movie he has nothing but the best intentions.
* LiteralMetaphor: Navin literally learns the difference between shit and Shinola.
** Then, promptly steps in the not-Shinola.
* LongList: And that's all Navin needs!
** He actually has several!
* MsFanservice: Bernadette Peters wears several revealing outfits. Very, very well.
* MovingBuildings: Navin attempts to prevent a car full of thieves from escaping before he can call the cops by tying a rope between their car and the side of a building. When they drive off anyway, they end up dragging half the building away with them. And it's a church. With a wedding being celebrated, and the groom and bride trapped in different parts.
* NWordPrivileges: PlayedForLaughs as Navin beats the crap out of racist developers.
* NiceHat: Complete with 3 foot long feather.
* NouveauRiche: Navin during the second act.
* ObliviousAdoption: Again, Navin was raised by an all-black family. He only realizes this when his mother tells him.
--> ''"You mean I'm gonna '''stay''' this color?"''
* OverlyLongGag: "I know we've only known each other four weeks and three days, but to me it seems like nine weeks and five days." Navin then proceeds to [[LongList list every single day he spent with her]], explaining how long each of them felt and how they add up.
** All the things Navin claims are "all [he] needs!".
** Navin listing all of the incredibly specific (and increasingly absurd) things that he always told his family he wanted to have and has now bought.
* PreAssKickingOneLiner: As Navin beats down racist landlords, he says "Sir, you are ''talking'' to a nigger!"
* RagsToRiches: And then back to rags.
* RandomEventsPlot: The story switches gears several times, but it's tied together by Navin gradually finding love, money and fame. [[spoiler: And losing it all. And then finding love again.]]
* RoadTripAcrossTheStreet: Navin's journey starts by hitchhiking down to the end of the block where his home is.
-->'''Navin:''' Thanks for the company, I hope I can repay you someday!
* ShooTheDog: {{Averted}}, as much as Shithead wanted it {{played straight}}.
* TalkingAnimal: Shithead. Except only Navin can understand him, and even then his translation isn't always accurate.
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: The [[{{Tagline}} tagline]] was "A rags to riches to rags story." Nonspecific, but that's basically the whole movie.
* TrophyWife: Navin's boss (Jackie Mason) brings his hot wife to the garage to explain the importance of keeping the place safe. Without such a lucrative business how could he, of all people, get and keep such a woman? He explains that if anything happened to the business she'd leave him in a second. She nods in agreement.
* UmbrellaDrink: Navin is very partial to them, after seeing how cool they looked in a magazine.
* UnusualEuphemism: Navin's "special purpose" (yeah, it's his junk).
* VisualPun: Navin's family had to tear down their old house, but they built a bigger house in its place. If you look closely, you'll notice that it's the exact same hovel as before, only scaled up about 40%. [[ExactWords He did say "bigger," not necessarily "nicer."]]

->''"Come, Shithead!"''