Down and Out in Beverly Hills 

Last Updated on: June 26th, 2024

Down and Out in Beverly Hills

“Down and Out in Beverly Hills” is a comedy film released in 1986, directed by Paul Mazursky and based on the 1919 French play “Boudu sauvé des eaux” by René Fauchois. The film is a modern-day adaptation of the play, set in the luxurious neighborhood of Beverly Hills, California.

The story revolves around a wealthy and dysfunctional Beverly Hills family, the Whitemans. Dave Whiteman (played by Richard Dreyfuss) is a successful businessman, married to Barbara (played by Bette Midler), with two children, Jenny (played by Tracy Nelson) and Max (played by Evan Richards).

One night, a homeless man named Jerry Baskin (played by Nick Nolte) attempts to drown himself in the Whitemans’ swimming pool. Dave saves Jerry’s life and invites him to stay with the family as an act of goodwill. Jerry’s arrival disrupts the Whitemans’ seemingly perfect lives, and he becomes involved in their personal affairs, bringing a dose of chaos and truth to their superficial existence.

As Jerry interacts with the family and their eccentric friends, he provides a fresh perspective on life and exposes the flaws in their privileged and materialistic lifestyle. The film explores themes of wealth, family dynamics, self-discovery, and the complexities of human relationships.

“Down and Out in Beverly Hills” was well-received by both critics and audiences. It was praised for its satirical humor, witty writing, and strong performances, especially from the talented ensemble cast. Nick Nolte’s portrayal of the quirky and enigmatic Jerry Baskin earned him critical acclaim and a Golden Globe nomination.

The film’s success led to a short-lived television sitcom adaptation of the same name, which aired in 1987 and ran for one season.

“Down and Out in Beverly Hills” is considered a memorable comedy from the 1980s, blending humor with social commentary on the excesses of the wealthy. It remains a notable work in Paul Mazursky’s filmography and is remembered as a satirical exploration of the lives of the rich and famous in the extravagant world of Beverly Hills.

Additional Details


  • Nick Nolte: Jerry Baskin
  • Bette Midler: Barbara Whiteman
  • Richard Dreyfuss: Dave Whiteman
  • Elizabeth Peña: Carmen the Maid
  • Little Richard: Orvis Goodnight
  • Evan Richards: Max Whiteman
  • Tracy Nelson: Jenny Whiteman
  • Felton Perry: Al


  • Director: Paul Mazursky
  • Producer: Paul Mazursky, Pato Guzman and Geoffrey Taylor
  • Music: Andy Summers

Movie Trailer:

About the Author

Craig Smith
I am founder and editor of My passion for all things Disney goes pretty far back to my first trip to Walt Disney World in the mid-80's. I have since returned to the magical place more than 20 times. I started this site when I came to the realization that I spent a significant portion of my day reading articles about Disney and watching Disney content with my 8-year old, so it made sense that I would start sharing some of what I read and see and building a little community around it. Other interests include 80's nostalgia, vintage toys, video games, LEGO, Star Wars and tech gadgets. Other site isDMR.