Trading Places (1983)

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Released 4-Feb-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 111:35
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (63:28) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Landis

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Eddie Murphy
Dan Aykroyd
Jamie Lee Curtis
Don Ameche
Ralph Bellamy
Denholm Elliott
Paul Gleason
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Elmer Bernstein

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Trading Places is a good title for this movie. It is set against the backdrop of commodities trading and concerns two characters at the extreme ends of society switching places. Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) is a very successful and wealthy commodities broker, and the manager of Duke & Duke, a trading house which is owned by the Duke brothers Randolph (Ralph Bellamy) and Mortimer (Don Ameche). Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) is a down and out hustler who makes a living as a beggar by pretending to be a blind and legless war veteran. The Duke brothers have a bet over the significance of heredity verses environment in the development of a person's character. To determine the outcome they arrange for the well-bred Winthorpe to be accused of theft and drug dealing, to have his house, money, job and fiancée taken away to see if in these circumstance he will adopt a life of crime. They also arrange for Valentine to be taken off the streets, to be given a house, money and Winthorpe's job at Duke & Duke, to see if he can cast off his deprived background and become as successful as Winthorpe.

    On learning of the wager Valentine, Winthorpe and Ophelia (Jamie Lee Curtis), the street smart prostitute who has taken Winthorpe in, team up and decide to get even with the Dukes by foiling their plan to corner the frozen orange juice market.

    This movie is heaps of fun and one of my favourite comedies. It features good performances from both Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd. Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy are both perfectly cast as the stuck-up and bigoted Duke brothers. As a piece of trivia you might be interested to know that Bellamy and Ameche reprise these roles in a later Eddie Murphy movie, Coming to America, as two down-and-out bums.

    For his efforts in this movie Eddie Murphy was nominated for the 1984 Golden Globe Awards in the categories of Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical.

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Transfer Quality


    The aspect ratio for this transfer is 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. The original aspect ratio for the movie is 1.85:1.

    The transfer is quite sharp and this sharpness is consistent throughout the movie. Shadow detail is impacted by the fact that this transfer is on the dark side which means that shadow detail is lost on particularly dark objects. You might need to slightly increase your brightness setting to compensate for this. Minor edge enhancement is visible from time to time. No low level noise was evident.

    A full colour palette is on view, but the colours have a slightly muted and dated look to them.

    Film artefacts consisted of a smattering of very small and fairly unobtrusive marks and some very fine film grain. There's a minimal amount of minor aliasing in this transfer with the worst example on the car grill at 48:03. The transfer is free of any compression induced artefacts.

    There are a total of 24 subtitle options on this disc which I think is as many as I've ever seen. I sampled about 10 minutes each of the English and the English For The Hearing Impaired subtitles and found these both to contain plenty of  minor changes but none that compromise the story. The subtitles are displayed in easily readable text and are well timed with respect to the dialogue.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed between chapters 13 and 14, at 63:28. It is quite noticeable and as such somewhat disruptive to the movie.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    I listened to the Dolby Digital 5.1 English audio but the disc also provides a number of Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks in Italian, German, French and Spanish.

    I didn't have any problems understanding any of the dialogue but you should note that there are a couple of occasions in which characters whisper and at these times the dialogue is intentionally indistinct. There were no problems evident with audio sync.

    There is a broad range of music in this movie which covers ground ranging from classical to contemporary. You're likely to recognise familiar tunes like Jingle Bell Rock, Loco-motion and Get A Job. Those with more classical interests will similarly recognise Mozart's Marriage of Figaro. Despite the range of musical styles it all seems to fit nicely into place and provide a suitable audio backdrop for the story. I guess is should come as no surprise that Elmer Bernstein was nominated for the 1984 Academy Award in the category of Best Music, Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score.

    The surrounds are used primarily for the musical score and to provide some ambience, which is all that is needed for this story. The front sound stage is much more active with the dialogue located exclusively in the centre channel and all three front channels used for the music.

    The subwoofer is used subtly in support of the musical score. As this is not an action picture this is really all that is necessary.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are positively, absolutely no extras on this disc. Even the menu is static and devoid of audio.


    The static menu is displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. There is no audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Except for the inclusion of additional subtitle and audio tracks on the region 4 disc what we have here is identical to the region 1 disc.


    Trading Places is my favourite Eddie Murphy movie, mainly because his performance is somewhat restrained and therefore not a touch over the top as per his usual style. It's also one of my favourite comedies with an entertaining plot and good acting performances by all members of the cast.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is also very good.

    Extras? What extras?

Ratings (out of 5)


© Peter Cole (Surely you've got something better to do than read my bio)
Monday, December 23, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-995
SpeakersFront L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300

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