101 Funniest Screenplays

The screenplay by the team of Timothy Harris and Herschel Weingrod “rediscovers and brings up to date a kind of social awareness that was so important to such comedies of the ’30s and ’40s as My Man Godfrey and Sullivan’s Travels,” wrote Vincent Canby in The New York Times. The industrialist Duke brothers decide to settle a nature v. nurture debate by callously ruining the life of an entitled young financier and, just as cynically, improving the lot of a black street hustler. Revisiting the film on its 20th anniversary for businessinsider.com, Harris called Trading Places “a satire on greed and social conventions” with a happy ending. “It was probably just on the cusp of it becoming incredibly trendy to be absolutely rich,” he said. “The dream is achieved because these two guys, a black guy and white guy, both got filthy rich.”