Arluene Cottingham

Written by Arluene Cottingham

Modified & Updated: 01 Jun 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Being There is a critically acclaimed movie that has captivated audiences since its release in 1979. Directed by Hal Ashby and starring the legendary Peter Sellers, this film tells the story of Chance, a simple-minded gardener who becomes an accidental political figure.

With its thought-provoking storyline, powerful performances, and subtle wit, Being There has cemented its place as a classic in the world of cinema. This article will delve into 46 fascinating facts about the movie, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at its production, the impact it had on society, and the legacy it has left behind.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Being There” is a timeless movie that challenges societal norms, explores the power of simplicity, and leaves room for interpretation, making it a thought-provoking masterpiece for all generations to enjoy.
  • With exceptional performances, subtle humor, and relevant social commentary, “Being There” stands as a cinematic gem that continues to inspire and captivate audiences, cementing its status as a must-watch for movie enthusiasts.
Table of Contents

Being There was released in 1979.

Directed by Hal Ashby, this comedy-drama film captivated audiences with its thought-provoking storyline and exceptional performances.

The movie is based on a novel by Jerzy Kosinski.

Jerzy Kosinski’s bestselling novel served as the inspiration for the screenplay, which was adapted by the author himself.

Peter Sellers gives a remarkable performance as the lead character.

Renowned actor Peter Sellers delivers an unforgettable portrayal of Chance the gardener, a simple-minded man who becomes embroiled in the world of politics.

The film explores themes of innocence and perception.

Being There delves into the idea of how one’s perception of reality can shape their understanding of the world, highlighting the power of innocence and ignorance in an increasingly complex society.

Being There received critical acclaim upon release.

The movie was praised by critics for its unique concept, witty screenplay, and superb performances, garnering several award nominations.

Shirley MacLaine plays a significant role in the film.

Academy Award-winning actress Shirley MacLaine brings depth to the story as Eve Rand, a wealthy woman who becomes fascinated by Chance and his simplistic view of life.

The film was shot in various locations in the United States.

Being There was filmed in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Virginia, capturing the essence of different environments and adding to the authenticity of the narrative.

Melvyn Douglas won an Academy Award for his performance.

Veteran actor Melvyn Douglas received the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Benjamin Rand, the dying businessman who takes an interest in Chance’s insights.

The movie’s screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award.

Jerzy Kosinski’s screenplay adaptation earned a well-deserved nomination at the Oscars, showcasing his talent for translating the novel’s themes onto the screen.

The film’s score was composed by Johnny Mandel.

Renowned composer Johnny Mandel crafted a beautiful and evocative score that perfectly complemented the movie’s tone and emotional depth.

Being There was a commercial success.

The film resonated with audiences, grossing over million at the box office, cementing its status as a beloved classic.

The screenplay explores the power of perception and appearance.

Being There delves into the idea of how one’s perception of reality can shape their understanding of the world, highlighting the importance of appearances in society.

Being There is a satirical masterpiece.

The film cleverly satirizes various aspects of society, including politics, media, and the power of influence, using Chance’s innocent character as a catalyst for social commentary.

The movie stays true to the essence of the novel.

While some changes were made during the adaptation process, Being There maintains the core themes and spirit of Jerzy Kosinski’s original work.

The film’s cinematography is visually stunning.

The cinematographer, Caleb Deschanel, captures the beauty of the settings and enhances the emotional impact of the story through his masterful camera work.

Being There earned Peter Sellers a BAFTA nomination.

Peter Sellers‘ remarkable performance as Chance earned him a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) nomination for Best Actor.

The movie’s ending is open to interpretation.

Being There concludes with an ambiguous ending, leaving viewers to ponder the deeper meaning behind Chance’s journey and his impact on the world around him.

The film’s dialogue is filled with memorable quotes.

Being There is renowned for its quotable lines, including the famous phrase, “I like to watch,” which has become an iconic representation of Chance’s detached view of life.

Being There showcases Hal Ashby’s directorial brilliance.

Director Hal Ashby skillfully brings Jerzy Kosinski’s story to life on the screen, creating a visually captivating and intellectually stimulating film.

Being There has stood the test of time.

Even over four decades later, the movie continues to be revered as a cinematic gem, appreciated for its unique storytelling and insightful social commentary.

The film challenges societal norms.

Being There pushes the boundaries of conventional thinking, prompting audiences to question the values and beliefs that govern society.

Being There has a significant cult following.

The film has amassed a dedicated fan base over the years, with many appreciating its intelligent humor and profound messages.

The movie’s screenplay is filled with subtle humor.

Being There employs clever wit and understated humor, allowing the comedic elements to seamlessly blend with the thought-provoking narrative.

Being There has been praised for its pacing and storytelling.

The film maintains a deliberate pace that perfectly matches the contemplative nature of the story, immersing viewers in Chance’s intriguing journey.

The movie’s soundtrack enhances the viewing experience.

The carefully selected music in Being There adds depth and emotional resonance to the scenes, enhancing the overall impact of the film.

Being There serves as a cautionary tale.

The movie warns against the dangers of superficiality and the inherent fragility of societal structures, urging audiences to look beyond the surface.

Being There is a cinematic masterpiece.

The exceptional combination of stellar performances, sharp writing, and thoughtful direction elevates Being There to the status of a true masterpiece of cinema.

The movie has been analyzed by film scholars and critics.

Being There has sparked numerous discussions and interpretations, with experts exploring its symbolism and social commentary in depth.

Being There has been deemed culturally significant.

The film’s impact on popular culture and its enduring relevance have earned Being There a place in the annals of cinema history.

Being There has been referenced in popular media.

The influence of Being There can be seen in subsequent films, television shows, and other forms of entertainment, solidifying its cultural impact.

The film’s success cemented Hal Ashby’s reputation as a visionary director.

Being There solidified Hal Ashby’s status as a filmmaker who was unafraid to tackle complex themes and challenge societal norms through his work.

Being There continues to inspire filmmakers.

The impact of Being There can be seen in the work of contemporary directors who strive to delve into profound themes and create thought-provoking narratives.

Being There has a timeless appeal.

The film’s exploration of human nature and its examination of societal constructs make it a movie that resonates with audiences across generations.

The movie’s poster has become iconic.

The minimalist design of the Being There movie poster, featuring Peter Sellers as Chance, has become a symbol of the film’s enigmatic storytelling.

Being There was well-received by audiences and critics alike.

The film’s universal acclaim is a testament to its ability to connect with viewers on an emotional and intellectual level.

The movie tackles themes of the human condition.

Being There explores the complexities of human nature, challenging audiences to reflect on their own perceptions and biases.

The success of Being There reaffirmed the power of unconventional storytelling.

The film’s ability to captivate audiences with its unique premise and narrative structure showcased the enduring appeal of thinking outside the box.

Being There was nominated for multiple Golden Globe Awards.

The film garnered nominations for Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globe Awards.

Being There remains a thought-provoking masterpiece.

The film’s ability to challenge societal norms and provoke introspection makes it a timeless work of art that continues to engage and inspire.

The movie’s character development is exceptional.

Being There presents a nuanced exploration of its characters, allowing viewers to witness their growth and transformation throughout the story.

Being There showcases the power of simplicity.

Through Chance’s simplicity, the film demonstrates that profound wisdom can be found in the most unconventional of places.

Being There is a masterclass in subtlety.

The film’s ability to convey complex ideas with minimal dialogue and understated performances is a testament to its brilliance.

Being There has become a symbol of cinematic excellence.

The film’s enduring popularity and critical acclaim have solidified its status as a benchmark for storytelling and filmmaking.

The movie’s social commentary is still relevant today.

Being There’s exploration of media manipulation, political influence, and the nature of truth continues to resonate in an increasingly interconnected and complex world.

The film’s ending leaves room for interpretation.

The ambiguous ending of Being There allows viewers to ponder the deeper meaning behind Chance’s journey and its implications for society.

Being There is a must-watch for cinephiles.

The film’s profound themes, stellar performances, and exceptional storytelling make it an essential addition to any movie lover’s watchlist.


Being There is a remarkable movie that blends humor, satire, and political commentary into an unforgettable cinematic experience. With its stellar performances, thought-provoking storyline, and meticulous direction by Hal Ashby, the film has earned its place as a classic in the realm of American cinema.Peter Sellers delivers a career-defining performance as Chance, a simple-minded gardener propelled into the political spotlight. Through his oblivious yet profound observations, the film challenges our perceptions of power, identity, and the nature of reality. The supporting cast, including Shirley MacLaine and Melvyn Douglas, further captivate audiences with their impeccable acting skills.Being There’s enduring popularity is a testament to its timeless themes and enduring relevance. It serves as a reminder to never judge a book by its cover and to reconsider our preconceived notions in a world often governed by superficiality and appearances.In conclusion, Being There is a cinematic gem that continues to captivate audiences with its blend of wit, charm, and social commentary. It stands as a testament to the power of storytelling and the brilliance of those involved in its creation.


1. Who directed the movie Being There?

The movie Being There was directed by Hal Ashby.

2. What is the main storyline of Being There?

The main storyline of Being There follows the journey of Chance, a simple-minded gardener, who becomes an accidental political sensation due to his unwittingly profound observations.

3. Who stars in the movie Being There?

Peter Sellers stars as Chance in Being There, alongside Shirley MacLaine and Melvyn Douglas in supporting roles.

4. When was Being There released?

Being There was released in 1979.

5. Is Being There a comedy or a drama?

Being There is a unique blend of both comedy and drama, skillfully navigating the lines between humor and thought-provoking social commentary.

6. What are the key themes explored in Being There?

Being There explores themes of identity, perception, power, and the influence of media in shaping public opinion.

7. Has Being There won any awards?

Yes, Being There received numerous accolades, including Academy Award nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, with Melvyn Douglas winning the latter category.

8. Is Being There based on a book?

Yes, Being There is based on the novel of the same name by Jerzy Kosi?ski.

9. What is the significance of the film’s title?

The title “Being There” reflects the film’s exploration of the nature of existence, perception, and the complexities of human interaction.

10. Why is Being There considered a classic?

Being There is considered a classic due to its thought-provoking storytelling, brilliant performances, and its ability to resonate with audiences across generations.

If you enjoyed learning about the captivating world of "Being There," why not explore more intriguing facts? Delve into the life of Fraser Clarke Heston, son of legendary actor Charlton Heston, and uncover 17 astounding facts that shed light on his remarkable journey.

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