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Trivia / Trading Places

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  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Randolph Duke doesn't actually say "Sell, Mortimer, sell!" towards the end of the movie. The Dukes had their own trading broker, Wilson, working at the floor of the commodities market, so Randolph actually says "We've got to get Wilson and tell him to sell!", and Mortimer later says "Wilson, for Christ's sake, sell!".
  • Career Resurrection:
    • The film completely resurrected the 75-year-old Don Ameche's film career, which had essentially ended in 1949. He had only appeared in five films in the interim with the last one being in 1970. He won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his next film Cocoon and worked steadily until a month before his death in 1993.
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    • Dan Aykroyd's acting career had been slumping because most studio executives were hesitant to cast him following long time partner John Belushi's death (John Landis claims they compared it to "Abbott without Costello"). His performance here proved he could play off other actors and he's had a long, steady career since.
  • Cast the Expert: With the exception of Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, and Richard Hunt, all the traders seen towards the end are real traders, who taught them how to trade convincingly.
  • Completely Different Title:
    • In Latin America, the film was known as "De Mendigo A Millonario" (From Beggar to Millionaire).
    • The German title is "Die Glücksritter" (Soldiers of Fortune).
    • The Italian title is "Una Poltrona per Due" (An Armchair for Two).
    • The Danish title is "Bossen og Bumsen" (The Boss and the Bum).
  • Deleted Scene:
    • A scene in the movie not included in the final cut but seen frequently when the movie is shown on television (presumably to fill a longer time slot with commercials) occurs after Clarence Beeks talks to the Dukes via telephone and Billy Ray eavesdrops on their scheme. In the original cut, Beeks goes from the phone booth to the Amtrak train platform, holding the briefcase with the crop report. In the added scene, we see Beeks procure the reports from a secured vault where he pays off a security guard and opens a safe-deposit box.
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    • In another cut scene, when Billy Ray Valentine arrives at Duke and Duke on his first day of work. Folsey greets him just as he did Winthorpe in the beginning and asks for his Coat, scarf, and gloves. All of the same people say good morning to Valentine that said good morning to Winthorpe.
  • Development Gag: Former Nixon aide and Watergate felon G. Gordon Liddy was approached to play the part of Clarence Beeks. In the movie, Beeks is shown reading Liddy's autobiography Will on the train.
  • Playing Against Type: Before this, Jamie Lee Curtis mostly played the Final Girl in slasher movies, and therefore the good wholesome character. She deliberately took the role to break away from this type of casting.
  • Production Posse: In addition to John Landis bringing back Frank Oz, another Muppeteer, the late Richard Hunt, played Wilson.
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  • Real-Life Relative: Jamie Lee Curtis' sister Kelly has a small part in this movie. She plays the debutante "Muffy", serenaded with several other girls by the rich boys in the scene where Winthorpe is begging for his friend's re-acceptance. Her future brother-in-law Nicholas Guest also appears as Winthorpe's friend Harry.
  • Technology Marches On:
    • With the advent of more sophisticated computerization, modern commodities markets have "breakers" that prevent prices from changing as rapidly as depicted in the film, 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.
    • Louis tries to sell his watch at a pawnshop, mentioning how it's waterproof up to 3 atmospheres as proof of how top-of-the-line it is. Today, many watches are waterproof to as many as 50 atmospheres.note 
    • Several well-off characters using payphones instead of cell phones. The car phones are also built into the car and wired (old car phones were actually radios that connected to an operator who would then redirect your call).
    • The Dukes even have a small computer screen built into the back of their car that displays certain stocks. It has a resolution that would have been pitiful for even an early Blackberry but at the time would have shown how exceedingly rich and devoted to the market the Dukes were.
  • Those Two Actors: Jamie Lee Curtis and Dan Aykroyd would later work together on Christmas with the Kranks and the two My Girl movies.
  • Throw It In!:
    • When Randolph tosses Mortimer's money clip back, Don Ameche bounces it back and forth a couple of times before catching it.
    • Ophelia's "Swedish" disguise came about because Jamie Lee Curtis couldn't do the correct Austrian accent.
  • Unintentional Period Piece:
    • 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 like the crop report in the film. The law that changed this, Section 136 of the Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act, note  enacted in 2010, is informally known as the "Eddie Murphy Rule." The chairman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission specifically referred to the film when first publicly proposing the rule change.
    • A lot of what goes down at the stock market in this movie is also not possible now thanks to computers — pit trading and open outcry are no longer widely used, for example.
  • Vindicated by Cable: The movie was a box office hit, but might have faded into obscurity, if not for constant replaying on cable around Christmas-time, even though the movie is not inherently a "Christmas movie" (it could be set at any other time of the year, and you'd get the same movie).
  • Wag the Director: Don Ameche abhorred swearing and only agreed to shoot one take each of the scenes where his character uses the n-word and drops an f-bomb, respectively, making both a real-life example of a Precision F-Strike.
  • What Could Have Been:
  • Working Title: Black and White.


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