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Money Movie: Trading Places

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Money Movie: Trading Places

Feb 28, 2017Tyrone Wiseman

Trading Places is a comedy classic, and is considered one of the best finance movies around. It was the 4th highest grossing film of 1983 behind Flashdance, Terms of Endearment and Return of the Jedi.

The story revolves around Louis Winthorpe Third (Dan Aykroyd), a wealthy commodities broker, who switches lives with Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy), a homeless street hustler. It’s all part of a cruel bet by the Duke brothers, who own the investment firm Winthorpe manages.

“You know, it occurs to me that the best way you hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people.”
– Billy Ray Valentine

Valentine suits up, moves into Winthorpe’s fancy home and takes over his job. Meanwhile Winthorpe loses everything, including his dignity, and finds himself in jail.

However, as they navigate their new lives, they uncover a commodities scam the Duke brothers are trying to pull off.

Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places


As you would expect, it’s a good laugh. And the ending involves a train, frozen concentrated orange juice futures, and a gorilla. This isn’t your usual “money movie”, for sure.

What’s really interesting, is that the plot influenced new financial market regulations in the US, almost 30 years later. And legislation dealing with insider trading, came to be known as the “Eddie Murphy Rule”.     

“Mr. Aykroyd makes a wonderfully convincing stiff, and … Mr. Murphy is once again playing a ghetto wise-guy turned well-heeled dandy, and doing it very appealingly.”  

- NY Times 

And if you’ve seen the movie once or twice before, you might enjoy Dan Aykroyd reflecting on the film 30 years after it was released.

Spoiler alert – don’t watch the last 45 seconds if you don’t want to know the ending.






• Eddie Murphy

• Dan Aykroyd

• Ralph Bellamy

• Don Ameche

• Denholm Elliot

• Jamie Lee Curtis

Learn about

• Futures trading – contracts to buy or sell an asset at a specific price on a specific date in the future

• Commodities trading – soft commodities are agricultural products like wheat, coffee and pork bellies; while hard commodities are mined, like gold and oil.


This gets a high score from both the critics and the Wiseman team. It’s well worth a watch, but don’t let the kiddies get within earshot of Eddie Murphy or gawking distance of (pretty much all of) Jamie Lee Curtis.