->''"It occurs to me that the best way to hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people."''
-->-- '''Billy Ray Valentine'''

''Trading Places'', a 1983 {{comedy}} film directed by Creator/JohnLandis, stars Creator/DanAykroyd, Creator/EddieMurphy and Creator/JamieLeeCurtis.

Louis Winthorpe III (Aykroyd), a privileged commodities broker, has a nearly-perfect life: he lives in a big house owned by his rich employers, has a beautiful rich fiancée, and exclusive country club memberships. During the opening minutes of the film, Winthorpe runs afoul of [[LazyBum supposedly homeless con man]] Billy Ray Valentine (Murphy), and an unfortunate mixup gets Valentine arrested for trying to steal Winthorpe's briefcase.

Winthorpe's bosses, financial tycoons Randolph and Mortimer Duke (Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche), debate "nature vs. nurture" after witnessing Valentine's arrest. Mortimer believes good breeding makes a man a success, no matter how much opportunity the world provides to him, while Randolph believes a rich man will deteriorate and a poor man will succeed if placed in the right environment. The Dukes decide to run a social experiment by ruining a rich man's life, putting a poor man in the rich man's place, and seeing what happens. Winthorpe and Valentine become the Dukes' "test subjects", and the brothers make a bet on the outcome for "the usual amount".

The Dukes frame Winthorpe for possession of drugs and use a hooker named Ophelia (Curtis) to further humiliate him in front of his fiancée; Winthorpe loses his job, his house, and his fiancée in short order, [[ThisBedOfRoses and he ends up living with Ophelia]], [[HookerWithAHeartOfGold who takes pity on him]]. After ruining Winthorpe's life, the Dukes arrange for Valentine's release from jail, then give him Winthorpe's job and house. Randolph's prediction comes true: Winthorpe's life spirals out of control while Valentine becomes a success (even though he gains some of the same attitudes against the poor that Winthorpe held).

Valentine eventually finds out about the experiment as well as the brothers' plans to undo all the success he's been having just for their own amusement, then befriends Winthorpe in order to turn the tables on the Dukes. The duo plans an appropriate revenge involving a frozen-concentrated-orange-juice crop report, a train to New York, a commodities exchange floor, and the help of Ophelia and Winthorpe/Valentine's butler, Coleman.

!!This film provides examples of:

* AllJustADream: Winthorpe, at first. Then he sees Valentine and goes for the throat.
* AngryBlackMan: Billy Ray to a certain extent.
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking:
** Winthorpe's descent into criminality is summarized as "pilfering in our club, embezzling funds, selling drugs, and now he's dressing up like Santa Claus."
** Also, when Valentine gets Winthorpe's job, exiles him from his house, and basically takes over his life, Winthorpe seems most upset by Valentine wearing Winthorpe's Harvard tie.
* ArtisticLicenseCars: Coleman starts Winthorpe's Mercedes 600 Grosser and immediately drives it away. The 600 has a complex hydraulic system that operates everything from the windows and seats to the suspension. It would have to idle for some time to build up sufficient hydraulic pressure.
* ArtisticLicenseEconomics: Subverted with the ending. Modern viewers might come away with the impression that it could never happen in real life (because [[spoiler:it's obvious insider trading]]), but at the time, it was legal in commodities markets, and this film was part of what got it banned[[note]]The law is even called the Eddie Murphy Law... at least unofficially[[/note]]. Other changes in the nature of the stock market that would keep it from working today are a result of TechnologyMarchesOn[[note]]On the floor trading doesn't happen anymore, for the most part, and the nature of the "con" at the end would be impossible with automated, computer trading[[/note]].
* ArtisticLicenseGeography: Washington Union Station is depicted as having level platforms. It didn't in 1983, but level platforms were installed in 1988.
* AsideGlance: It's a John Landis film, so this is [[SignatureStyle to be expected]]. Billy Ray does it twice.
* BadBoss: The Dukes spend an entire movie destroying a loyal employee [[spoiler: all over a one dollar bet, and decide not to help him]].
* BadSanta: Winthorpe as Drunken Santa With A Gun.
* BadassBoast: Billy Ray in prison. It nearly ends in tears.
--> ''"A karate man bruises on the inside! They don't show their weakness. But you don't know that because you're a big Music/BarryWhite looking motherfucker! So get outta my face!"''
* BathroomStallOfOverheardInsults: [[spoiler: This is how Billy Ray finds out what the Duke boys were really up to.]]
* BatmanGambit: [[spoiler: Winthorpe and Valentine give the Dukes a fake crop report, expecting that they'll use it to try to get an advantage on the commodities market. They plan their own investment scheme based on the real crop report and their predictions of how the Dukes will act on the fake one. By the end of the day, Winthorpe and Valentine have made a fortune and the Dukes are out $394 million.]]
* TheBet: Also drives the plot, for the mere sum of [[spoiler:one dollar (as it was less about the money than pride -- also, the Duke brothers are just that stingy)]]. Winthorpe and Valentine give it a mocking IronicEcho at the end of the film.
* BeatThemAtTheirOwnGame: [[spoiler: Winthorpe and Valentine try this against the Dukes and succeed on a massive scale.]] Humorously, Winthorpe's first plan sounds like it's going to entail this, as he says "if that's the way they want it", but then he brings out his shotgun immediately afterwards and has to be calmed down.
* BecomingTheMask: Ophelia is introduced pretending to be Louis Winthorpe's lover. By the end, she actually falls in love with him.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Coleman is none too happy about having to lock Louis out, thinking that it's one of the Dukes' practical jokes. However, as soon he finds out the truth, he decides to join the plan for the brothers' downfall.
* BigBadDuumvirate: The Duke Brothers.
* BlackComedyRape: It's heavily implied that this is what happens to [[spoiler:Beeks]], by a ''gorilla''.
* BlackAndGreyMorality: The Dukes, Clarence Beeks, and Louis' close ones in general are outright vile people. Billy Ray was a homeless man who wasn't above stolen valor, Louis was a snobbish man, and Ophelia was a hooker. They, however, improve over the course of the movie.
* {{Blackface}}: Done very badly for Louis's disguise on the train.
* BreakTheHaughty: What happens to Winthorpe [[spoiler:and the Dukes]].
* TheCameo:
** Music legend Music/BoDiddley plays the pawnbroker.
** Creator/AlFranken and Tom Davis of ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' fame play the Amtrak baggage handlers. Stephen Stucker, the goofy guy from ''Film/{{Airplane}}'' ("Rapunzel, Rapunzel!") is their supervisor.
** Jamie Lee Curtis's sister Kelly is Penelope's friend Muffy.
** Creator/JamesBelushi is the guy in (and later out of) the gorilla costume on the train.
* ChekhovsGun:
** Winthorpe gives a little spiel to Penelope in the beginning about how he can't come to her party on Jan. 2 because that's the day the Secretary of Agriculture releases the crop report.
** The Dukes use orange juice as an example when they begin teaching Valentine about the commodities markets.
** The joint that Valentine pockets after Winthorp tries to plant a bunch of drugs in his desk. [[spoiler: Ultimately, that's the reason Valentine discovers the Dukes' master plan]].
* ChekhovsGunman: Clarence Beeks, whom both Winthorpe and Valentine find among the company files, and both are told by the Dukes that he is just an old employee. This sets up the CoincidentalBroadcast where Winthorpe and Valentine (after making peace) learn that Beeks will be carrying [[spoiler:the crop report the Dukes plan to use in their plan to corner the frozen concentrated orange juice market]].
* ComicallySerious: Beeks in some situations.
-->'''Beeks:''' And no more goddamn jerky beef.
* CurseCutShort: Self-censored variety from Valentine every few minutes after he's hired by the Dukes, in an effort to seem more classy.
* DeadpanSnarker: Denholm Elliott as Coleman the butler.
* DeathCryEcho: At the end of the climactic market scene.
* DelayedWire: The elaborate plot to ruin the Dukes by giving them a fake crop report that leads the Dukes to bet big on rising prices for frozen concentrated orange juice.
* DirtyCop: Played by Frank Oz, this is part of the scheme to ruin Winthorpe's life.
** Clarence Beeks in a way as well. He's supposed to be a private security officer, but this doesn't stop him from framing innocent people and selling confidential information.
* DoubleAesop: A triple one:
** Winthorpe: [[spoiler:Learns his preconceived notions about the lower class (Billy Ray and Ophelia) were wrong and misguided.]]
** Billy Ray: [[spoiler:That when you feel like you've worked hard for what you've got, it's a lot easier to care about what happens to it.]]
** Mortimer: [[spoiler:Learns that Randolph was right about people being able to overcome their lot in life. However, the lesson doesn't get any further than that and he's both still a miser and a racist.]]
* DoubleMeaningTitle: It's about two people who trade places. It's also about the commodities market.
* TheDragon: Clarence Beeks.
* DrivenToSuicide: Winthorpe makes two back-to-back suicide attempts when he thinks his life is ruined beyond repair. The first fails due to the gun jamming, and he's saved from the second attempt of trying to OD on pills.
* EasilyForgiven: While he was admittedly JustFollowingOrders, Winthorpe seems to hold nothing against his butler Coleman for his involvement in the Dukes' scheme that completely destroyed his life and caused him near suicide-inducing hell for the past month. It probably helps that Coleman was disgusted by it.
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: Although [[spoiler:Beeks]] would disagree.
-->"[[BerserkButton Monkey?]] ''[[BerserkButton Monkey?!?]]'' ''[[PrecisionFStrike He's a fucking gorilla, you clown!!!]]''"
* ExactEavesdropping: Valentine hears the Dukes' sinister deal and all the important details.
* FalseFriend: Louis' acquaintances at the country club treat him like the plague when his life falls apart.
* {{Fanservice}}: Ophelia's topless scenes. Ophelia's [[NorseByNorsewest Swedish lederhosen]] outfit. Ophelia's...
** Winthorpe's fiancee stripping to her skivvies so they can screw in the living room counts, too.
* FanserviceExtra: The topless girls at Billy Ray's party.
* FauxAffablyEvil: The Dukes. Randolph seems AffablyEvil, but he's just playing a part. In spite of his argument that Valentine could be just as productive a member of society as Winthorpe if given the chance, he ultimately reveals that he's just as racist as his brother [[spoiler: and fully intends to kick Valentine to the curb when their experiment is over]].
* {{Fauxreigner}}: Half of the gang's disguises on the train, complete with the [[NorseByNorsewest wrong accent and costume]] from Ophelia. Justified as there was a New Year's Eve costume party going on in another car on the train.
* FingertipDrugAnalysis: Performed by the cops looking over Winthorpe. However, since it ''was'' a scam and they ''knew'' it was fake, it's possible it was all for show.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: The Dukes' main trader mentions anxiety problems, [[spoiler: which later kick in during the final plan]], preventing him from stopping it.
** Valentine, in the scene where Winthorpe stands outside the club in the rain, mentions the Russian winter not affecting their crop harvests as badly as they thought kinda mirrors the eventual outcome of the crop reports in America.
** During the opening credits, when Coleman makes Winthorpe's breakfast, what's the first item he prepares? Orange juice.
* FromBadToWorse: Winthorpe's life has been ruined, his suicide attempt backfires, and he finds out it's all been for a bet. Then he finds out the bet was [[spoiler:only one dollar. His revenge for that is sweet.]]
* GetOut: Valentine to the freeloaders in his new house, complete with a PrecisionFStrike in the non-TV version.
* HiddenDepths: Valentine surprises the Dukes with how easily he took to understanding the business, despite his unconventional methods. [[spoiler:They still plan on getting rid of him after the bet, though.]]
** Ophelia happens to be well-versed in Shakespeare.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: [[spoiler: Nearly everything the Dukes come up with winds up being used to bring them down, from the two men whose lives they decide to mess with to their own 'foolproof' plan to corner the market. Even the prostitute they get to assist the plan winds up working against them. If you look at how they train Valentine to be a successful broker, and likely trained Winthrope when he was younger, you could say they literally trained the gentlemen who destroyed them]].
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Ophelia to a T. She didn't have to care for this stranger whose life she ruined. But she felt bad and took him in.
* HourglassPlot: Drives the whole movie.
* HumiliationConga: How the Dukes ruin Winthorpe's reputation and entire life. You can't help but feel sorry for the guy.
* {{Hypocrite}}: Randolph Duke ultimately shows himself to be this during his conversation with Mortimer [[spoiler: in the men's room]]. Despite him supposedly being a proponent of "nurture over nature", he turns out to be [[spoiler: just as racist as his brother, and plans on taking everything from Valentine after their experiment is over]].
* HypocriticalHumour: "The Heritage Club -- With Liberty And Justice For all -- (members only)"
* ImpossiblyTackyClothes: Louis has to dress with clothes left behind by the former tenant in Ophelia´s apartment: A checkered suit, a huge tie and a fur coat.
* InsistentTerminology: Several people think Louis has been dealing heroin. While denying dealing ''any'' drugs, he can't help clarifying:
-->'''Louis:''' It wasn't heroin, it was angel dust -- PCP.
* IrishPriest: Coleman's disguise on the train.
* IntercontinuityCrossover: In ''Film/ComingToAmerica'', which came out five years later, Eddie Murphy's character Prince Akeem gives money to two bums on the street. Those bums are [[spoiler:the Duke brothers]], who fail to notice [[YouLookFamiliar Akeem's resemblance to Valentine]], but are really happy about the loads of cash they just got.
* {{Jerkass}}:
** Mortimer. Randolph is a pretty nasty piece of work too, but can at least better hide it within a docile, affable front. It's implied both of the brothers aren't well-liked, since [[spoiler: the NYSE gleefully sells their seats]]. Coleman, after receiving orders to change the locks and bar Winthorpe from the house, ruefully refers to them as "scumbags."
** Winthorpe wasn't particularly nice to begin with either. [[CharacterDevelopment He gets better.]]
** Clarence Beeks wears his asshole-ness on his sleeve at all times.
* KarmicRape: The fate of Clarence Beeks.
* KarmicTransformation: Winthorpe [[spoiler:and the Dukes.]]
* KickTheDog: Nearly everything the Duke brothers do and every word that comes out of their mouths. Seriously. Then there's Beeks, who physically harasses random passers-by.
* LargeHam: Winthorpe, constantly.
* LaserGuidedKarma:
** [[spoiler: Let's face it, the Dukes ''really'' had it coming, and [[ContinuityCameo they'd at least have to wait until]] Film/ComingToAmerica for things to unintentionally look up for them]].
** Winthorpe got a man arrested for giving him his briefcase back (although to be fair, Winthorpe honestly thought he was being attacked). He's spoiled, proud, uppity, racist (see his first encounter with Billy Ray), and doesn't know anything but a lavish, carefree lifestyle. His life was ruined easily just because the Dukes saw him as an easy target.
* LastSecondWordSwap: Billy Ray does this after becoming a successful stockbroker.
** When describing his thoughts on why they should let prices drop a bit more.
-->'''Billy Ray:''' Which means that the people who own the pork belly contracts are saying, "Hey, we're losing all our damn 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! And my wife ain't gonna f... my wife ain't gonna make love to me if I got no money!"
** Then:
-->'''Billy Ray:''' [''on phone''] Security?\\
[''Winthorpe pulls a gun on him'']\\
'''Billy Ray:''' [''higher pitch''] Merry Christmas! [''hangs up'']
** Later, as Louis briefs him on trading:
-->'''Winthorpe:''' 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 gotta kill the motherf-... we gotta kill 'em!
* LyricalDissonance: Listen to the lovely ''a capella'' song that the {{Gentleman Snarker}}s perform for Penelope and the other girls in the scene where Louis tries to borrow money. The song's about how all the girls are complete sluts.
* TheMistress: It's a bit part, but the hot blonde who whispers into Valentine's ear at a fancy dinner is billed as "President's Mistress".
* MoodWhiplash: While mostly a slapstick comedy, Winthorpe's descent into bankruptcy and depression comes off as poignant, and strikes hard when he attempts suicide by overdose. Swings back to light-hearted when it cuts to reveal a BungledSuicide. A short face off with Beeks aside, the rest of the film is [[spoiler: a comedic revenge scenario]].
* MsFanservice:
** Creator/JamieLeeCurtis in lederhosen and topless!
** Winthorpe's fiancée ain't too shabby either when she strips down.
** Several women at Billy Ray's first party take their shirts off.
* MurderIsTheBestSolution: Or extreme violence, anyway; upon learning of the plan to ruin his life, Winthorpe initially decides that the most appropriate course of action is to kneecap both of the Duke brothers with a shotgun, before [[spoiler: Valentine and the others suggest a more creative way of getting back at them]].
* NatureVersusNurture: The entire plot begins when the Duke brothers place a bet on which is true. The film deconstructs the whole idea, as Winthorpe is not as good and Valentine not as bad as their backgrounds might suggest.
* NeverHeardThatOneBefore: Ophelia knows very well she shares the name of Hamelet's girlfriend and her tragic fate.
* NewYearHasCome: The story takes place during the run-up to Christmas, and ends on the day of trading [[spoiler: the crop report is officially released, January 2. Except for the TropicalEpilogue.]]
* NiceToTheWaiter: The Duke Brothers don't treat their hired help well, [[TheScrooge offering only $5 bonuses]] during the holidays. Louis himself doesn't treat hired help, [[PetTheDog except Coleman]], particularly well. While arriving at work, he doesn't even look his helpers in the eye. [[CharacterDevelopment Until after having lost his wealth]], that is. After arriving with Billy Ray [[spoiler:at the World Trade Center]], he specifically tells their taxi driver to keep his change upon paying him.
* NoodleIncident: The dialogue of the Dukes when they talk about ruining Winthorpe suggests it's not the first time they're doing this.
* NorseByNorseWest / YodelLand: Ophelia's [[CriticalResearchFailure costume]] when portraying "Inga from Sveden."
* ObfuscatingDisability: Billy Ray starts out as this, pretending to be a paraplegic and blind Vietnam veteran to enhance his begging revenue.
* OhCrap: As Louis and Billy Ray put their plan in motion:
-->'''Mortimer:''' That's not right. [[spoiler:How can the price be going down]]?\\
[''Mortimer sees Louis and Billy Ray [[spoiler:in the trading pit]]'']\\
'''Mortimer:''' What are ''they'' doing here?\\
'''Randolph:''' [[spoiler:They're selling,]] Mortimer!\\
'''Mortimer:''' Well, that's ridiculous! Unless [[spoiler:that crop report...]]\\
'''Randolph:''' God help us!
* OneWordVocabulary: The "Even Bigger Black Guy" (see ScaryBlackMan, below) only ever says "Yeah!" in response to what the "Big Black Guy" says.
* PaperThinDisguise: No one seems to notice that Beeks is wearing an obviously fake gorilla costume.
** Subverted with the good guys in the train car with Beeks. Their disguises are so pitiful and Beeks already knows what they all look like -- especially Winthorpe and Ophelia -- from prior encounters, so he figures them out almost immediately.
* PersonaNonGrata: Thanks to the Dukes, this is what happens to Louis. He's fired from his job, arrested on fake drug charges and his fiancee is made to believe he slept with Ophelia. It doesn't truly sink in for Louis until he shows up at the local club to ask for the help of his friends as character witnesses (and a loan for legal fees) and they coldly make it clear they want nothing to do with him.
* PhonyVeteran: Billy Ray's con scheme at the beginning of the movie. Blown to smithereens when the two cops who approach him turn out to be ''real'' Vietnam War veterans.
* PoliticallyIncorrectHero: Early in the film, Winthorpe had Valentine arrested for attempted robbery after accidentally bumping into one another, and even after Valentine apologized for it.
** While coming to after his suicide attempt, Whinthorpe blames everything thats happened to him on "that awful negro" (Valentine.)
* PoliticallyIncorrectVillain: The Duke brothers:
-->'''Mortimer:''' Do you really believe I would let [[spoiler: a ''nigger'' run our family business]], Randolph?\\
'''Randolph:''' Of course not. [[{{Hypocrite}} I wouldn't either]]. [[note]]This completely contradicts the portrayal of Randolph being "pro-nurture".[[/note]]
** Earlier:
-->'''Mortimer Duke:''' Of course there's something wrong with him. He's a ''negro''. Probably been stealing since he could crawl.
* PrecisionFStrike:
** Mortimer Duke. So precise that actor Don Ameche didn't even want to say it, as he [[RealLife/MeanCharacterNiceActor abhorred swearing]], and did only one take of the shot (and even then, Eddie Murphy needed to explicitly tell him it was OK, he was just playing a part).
** [[spoiler: Also a precision N-strike in the BathroomStallOfOverheardInsults. Tying into the above, Don Ameche also hated using racial slurs and apologized profusely to Murphy for the racial slurs his character used; the emphasis he puts on those words in the movie could've been down to actor's real-life distaste for those slurs.]]
* PreppyName: Louis Winthorpe III, Penelope Witherspoon, and their country club friends.
* PrettyInMink: Ophelia wears a fur jacket.
* PrinceAndPauper: Winthorpe and Valentine respectively, until they [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin switch roles.]]
* PunctuatedPounding: Well, punctuated strangling, but Louis pulls this on Valentine. "It! Was! The! Dukes! It! Was! The! Dukes!"
* PygmalionPlot: Half of the Dukes' bet, this is the transformation they put Billy Ray through to make him an upper class gentleman. [[spoiler:They have a PygmalionSnapback planned as soon as they're done with him, though.]]
* RagsToRiches:
** Billy Ray was hustling change on the streets and Ophelia was a hooker. Not by the film's end.
** To really bring the point home, it looks like [[spoiler:Coleman is still the butler taking orders from Winthorpe; until he turns to ''his'' own butler and places the order]].
* RecordNeedleScratch: When Billy Ray kills the music at the party to tell everyone to get out of the house.
* RichesToRags: Happens to Louis at the beginning, [[spoiler: and to Randolph and Mortimer at the end.]]
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: The Dukes' attempt at [[spoiler:cornering the frozen concentrated orange juice market]] was inspired by the "Silver Thursday" crash of March 27, 1980.[[note]] This is when the Hunt brothers of Texas tried to corner the silver market and failed to meet a $394 million margin call.[[/note]]
* SaltAndPepper: Winthorpe and Valentine.
** The working title was even "Black and White".
* SayMyName: "CLARENCE BEEKS?!", simultaneously by Winthorpe and Valentine [[spoiler: when they see him on a news report and piece it all together]].
* ScaryBlackMan: "Big Black Guy" and "Even Bigger Black Guy." They're less scary after getting drunk at his house party.
* TheScrooge: The billionaire Dukes hand out $5 Christmas bonuses, and ruin an employee's life for a [[spoiler:one dollar bet.]]
* ServileSnarker: Coleman.
* SexyScandinavian: Ophelia disguises herself as this. But doesn't realize [[CriticalResearchFailure lederhosen is Austrian.]]
* ShotgunsAreJustBetter: Winthorpe believes this for his RoaringRampageOfRevenge. [[spoiler: The clear-headed Valentine reminds him he'll go to jail for years for attempted murder alone, and that there's a better way of getting back at the Dukes.]]
* ShownTheirWork / TimeMarchesOn:
** At the time the film was made, using misappropriated or "insider" information to invest in commodities (as opposed to the stock and bond market) was '''not''' a crime, although a government courier could still get in trouble for unauthorized release of government information [[spoiler: like the crop report in the film]]. The law that changed this, Section 136 of the Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act, [[note]]also called the Dodd-Frank Act[[/note]] enacted in 2010, is informally known as the "Eddie Murphy Rule." The chairman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission [[ThereShouldBeALaw specifically referred to the film]] when [[http://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/SpeechesTestimony/opagensler-25 first publicly proposing the rule change]].
** In addition, with the advent of more sophisticated computerization, modern commodities markets have "breakers" that prevent prices from changing as rapidly as depicted in the film, [[spoiler: precisely to avoid the sort of mess the Dukes tried to cause and profit from, as well as the kind of mess they ended up getting themselves into]]. These limits were added a few years after the film was made (a result of the infamous 1987 stock market crash).
** Not to mention that the trading process is fully computerized now and the major trading floors don't have all those floor people anymore.
** The Planet Money podcast on NPR released an episode in July 2013 called "The Eddie Murphy Rule," which serves as an in-depth explanation just how the scheme is supposed to work, what made it legal, and how such a scheme could no longer work today, including the enactment of the Eddie Murphy rule.
** In fact, the only major error the movie makes in terms of commodities trading is when Billy Ray is discussing pork bellies. The price is shown changing as though it were a stock, with prices sliding down constantly and consistently, with Billy Ray suggesting that they wait until the price gets to a certain point before buying. Commodities don't trade like that: there's no "market price" ''per se'', but rather each trader sells their contracts at a specific price that they determine themselves, which is strongly affected by what everyone else is selling for, but not strictly determined the way stock issues are.
* SignatureStyle: John Landis always sticks "See You Next Wednesday" somewhere in his movies. In this film, it's on a movie poster in Ophelia's apartment.
* SlobsVersusSnobs: By the climax, it's essentially a battle between flat-broke protagonists and corrupt rich men.
* SmugSnake: The Duke Brothers, for the most part. It's quite obvious that for all their talk of how great they are, they would be nothing without their insider knowledge and connections - Billy Ray outsmarts them on stock market trends with nothing but basic street smarts, they toss aside valuable assets based on childish bets or racism, and they try to stay ahead of the stock market with insider crop reports in the climax. [[spoiler: When they go broke, they have a meltdown even worse than Louis']].
* SpannerInTheWorks: Ophelia's unexpected kindness to Louis helped him change his ways and helped in the [[spoiler: LaserGuidedKarma Louis would give back to the Dukes]].
** The guy in the gorilla suit and the real gorilla. The guy in the gorilla suit follows Beeks hoping to get some tail and the real gorilla, seeing Beeks attack what seems to be a gorilla, beats the crap out of him, saving them from Beeks
* SpoiledBrat: Louis, most of his school friends, and his fiancée. [[CharacterDevelopment Louis gets better, though.]]
* StealthPun: When trading time begins at the World Trade Center, the traders who were in the toilets immediately get going [[{{Squick}} without washing their hands]]. So, that's becoming dirty money.
* StereotypeFlip: While most of the wealthy main characters are good caricatures of rich, blase, arrogant rich people, Billy Ray and Ophelia prove to be more than just a street hustler and hooker, respectively. Quite against Mortimer's predictions, Billy Ray proves just as adept at being a commodities broker as Winthorpe. Ophelia makes no bones about being a hooker, but she's remarkably bright and business savvy for one, going so far as to have a retirement plan from her life on the street and completely avoiding drugs, booze or a pimp controlling her life.
* SuspiciouslyAproposMusic: Doubles as a GeniusBonus. The film opens with the overture to Mozart's ''Theatre/TheMarriageOfFigaro'', an opera about a servant who gives his master a comeuppance. And in one scene Louis whistles Figaro's aria ''Se Vuol Ballare.''
* TapOnTheHead: From an angry gorilla, nonetheless.
* ThatWasNotADream: Winthorpe nearly strangles Billy Ray after this trope kicks in.
* ThisBedOfRoses: Winthorpe ends up on one of these.
* ThoseTwoBadGuys: The credits refer to the two characters Valentine runs into while in a jail cell as '''[[ScaryBlackMan Big Black Guy]]''' and '''[[ScaryBlackMan Even Bigger Black Guy]]'''.
-->'''Even Bigger Black Guy:''' ''Where are your bitches, [[SarcasmMode "Mr. Big Time Pimp?"]]''\\
'''Big Black Guy:''' ''[[BigYes YEAH!]]''
* TranquilFury: Valentine didn't take too kindly on The Duke Brother's racial slur that he overheard within the bathroom stall.
* TrailersAlwaysSpoil: The cover makes it pretty clear that eventually Winthorpe gets back on his feet and works with Valentine.
* TropicalEpilogue: [[spoiler:Using the money invested by Coleman and Ophelia to fund their side of the plan, Billy Ray, Coleman, Ophelia, and Louis become so rich they are spending a lazy day on some tropical beach ordering lobster and cracked crab for everyone as a lunch]].
* UncleTomFoolery: The movie subtly deconstructs this character dynamic.
* UnflinchingWalk: Winthorpe and Valentine walk slowly and confidently [[spoiler: to the trading floor]] after the harried brokers race to it.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: Our heroes don't go into the details of their stock trading plan with their friends whom they had just given their life's savings, but the heroes are 100% confident their plan is going to work.
-->'''Coleman:''' (''to Louis'') My life savings, sir. Try not to lose them.
-->'''Billy Ray:''' Lose it? Coleman, in a couple of hours, you're going to be the richest butler that ever lived!
* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: The gorilla suit man, played by James Belushi, is an inversion. [[spoiler:Without his appearance on the scene, Beeks may well have shot the heroes dead, and certainly their plan would have not been successful.]]
* UrineTrouble: A dog lifts his leg on a drunken Winthorpe in his Santa suit.
%%* VideoCredits
* ViewersAreGeniuses: The movie does not give a [[InfoDump long-winded explanation]] [[spoiler: as to how the ending scheme at the Commodities Exchange works]], trusting that the audience could follow what happens, or at least figure out that things are going well for the heroes. The scheme works like this:
## The Dukes receive [[spoiler:an advance copy of a crop report predicting rising prices for frozen orange juice]]; they commit to [[spoiler:buying large quantities of frozen OJ before the report becomes public. Other traders notice their big push and follow their lead, which causes the price of frozen OJ to rise. The buyers are comfortable with the higher price as they believe per the Dukes' moves that the crop reports]] will raise the price further.
## Winthorpe and Valentine [[spoiler:-- who saw the real crop report and gave the Dukes a fake -- know the price of frozen OJ will go ''down'' when the crop report hits. When the price rises high enough, they]] begin [[http://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/shortselling.asp short-selling]] [[spoiler:at the inflated price, essentially betting that the price will go down, as they will later need to buy the frozen OJ that they short-sold]].
## When [[spoiler:the crop report becomes public, the price plummets]]. Winthorpe and Valentine complete their short-sell commitment[[spoiler:, buying when the price reaches rock-bottom]], locking in huge profits for both men[[note]]the simple explanation of short-selling is that Winthorpe and Valentine say that they will sell OJ to anyone that wants to buy at a high price, about $1.29 per unit. Many people take them up on the offer, even though they don't have any OJ to sell ''yet''. Later, when the price of OJ bottoms out, Winthorpe and Valentine buy OJ from other people who are now selling at incredibly low prices, about $0.30 per unit. They then turn around and use this OJ that they just bought to fulfill the contracts that they had sold at $1.29 per unit. This earns them $0.99 profit per unit, and they bought ''millions'' of units, netting them a massive profit. And as an added irony, because of the way short-selling works, they got most of that money ''from the Dukes''[[/note]].
## The Dukes[[spoiler:, having committed to buy a lot of frozen OJ at what turned out to be the highest prices of the day, desperately try to unload before their huge loss gets any worse, but their trader faints before getting very far. To make it worse, they bought the frozen OJ on margin, meaning they bought more frozen OJ than they could afford on the condition that they're forced to sell ("margin call") if their real money can't cover the current losses. The margin call occurs, the New York Mercantile Exchange officials demand payment from the Dukes, and since they don't have enough capital, they end up bankrupted]].
* VillainousBreakdown: Randolph has a heart-attack and Mortimer loses his mind (with a bonus PrecisionFStrike) [[spoiler:after Winthorpe and Valentine bankrupt them]].
* WhamLine: [[spoiler: "Do you really believe I would let a ''nigger'' run our family business, Randolph?" cements the idea that ''both'' of the Duke Brothers want nothing to do with Valentine after the experiment ([[ExactEavesdropping and makes Valentine aware of this fact]]). After this line, the plot changes from "let's watch this hilarious swapping of lifestyles" to "let's watch them take those miserable [=SOBs=] down!" The fact that both brothers also now consider Winthorpe damaged goods after his rampage sets up the final team-up between him and Valentine.]]
* WhiteCollarCrime: Technically ''wasn't'' at the time, but what the Duke brothers attempted comes across as one and in modern times is now considered one.
* WithFriendsLikeThese: Louis' associates show no interest in helping the guy when he begs them for a loan.