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Trading Places

Movie review by
Alex Orner, Common Sense Media
Trading Places Movie Poster Image
Edgy, bawdy '80s comedy not meant for kids.
  • R
  • 1983
  • 116 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 12 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Showing no remorse for their actions, two characters drastically alter the lives of two complete strangers for their own personal amusement. Many characters are greedy and selfish and indulge in drugs and alcohol. The film also elevates prostitution as an acceptable means of earning a living.


Several scenes of topless women; one of the main characters is a prostitute.


Packed with profanity.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

References and visualizations of several drugs; binge drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this film is too bawdy for children under 17 as it has explicit female nudity, coarse language, and visualizations/discussions of hard-core drugs (including PCP, cocaine, Quaaludes). Besides profanity, there are racist remarks. The mature content depicts stereotypes of social classes and different races. Avarice drives many of the characters, yet the film does a good job showing the ill effects of greed.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJocelyn707 March 5, 2012

Great but "inapropro"

Real great movie and storyline NOT for young kids. People may say its "inapropro".the business men totally mess these guys lifes up for a ONE DOLLAR b... Continue reading
Parent of a 9 year old Written bymauriciob1 December 22, 2015

funny. but... naked breasts everywhere. some drugs.

it is a classic funny movie, very interesting subject, really interesting stuff to talk about with kids: after all is it nature or nurture? but really, breast... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old September 5, 2010

don't listen to csm or the R rating

this is a great movie but still i think the R is a bit harsh. frequent nudity often when someone is taking off their shirt. the f-word is said moderately s-word... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old September 15, 2009

Good movie, bad role models.

I love this movie! Funny, exhilirating, and downright exciting. But, it does have overdosing female nuditiy, drinking, drugs, and the common use of the word... Continue reading

What's the story?

TRADING PLACES tells the story of greedy, wealthy Wall Street brothers Mortimer (Don Ameche) and Randolph (Ralph Bellamy) Duke, who wager on whether environment or heredity defines a man. The pawns in their game are a smart-mouthed street hustler Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) and an affluent investment executive Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd). The bet entails taking Winthorpe's power and money and giving it to Billy Ray to see if whether nature or nurture will take over. When both Valentine and Winthorpe get wind of the brothers' scheme, they join forces to turn the tables on the Dukes.

Is it any good?

Set as more of a dark comedy, Trading Places insightfully raises some issues about socio-economics and class structure in America. Both Aykroyd and Murphy put on stellar performances, in addition to cameos offered by Al Franken and Jim Belushi.

Although the movie depicts many stereotypical views of money, it could offer good topics of debate for parents and kids. Adults might find the film entertaining, but it's definitely not appropriate for younger children.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the overall message of the film: nature versus nurture. What does this film say about the role of money on social behavior? Are people who are born with money more or less likely to commit crimes? How about poor people?

Movie details

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