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Top 10 real estate scenes in movies: VIDEOS
January 14, 2015

A walk through Tinseltown's industry-inspired moments

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South Florida real estate has had its moments of fame in Hollywood, often depicted in scenes featuring palm trees, waterfront mansions and extravagant pools (“Scarface,” “Caddyshack”). And the industry in general  has inspired many memorable moments in cinema.

Consider the 1929 comedy “Cocoanuts,” in which real estate scams play a starring role. Or in more recent times, think of the San Francisco mortgage that is a major plot point in “House of Sand and Fog.”


With that in mind, here is a list of some classic real estate-related scenes (and sometimes entire plots about the topic) as seen on film. The list includes some old favorites, and a few movies you likely have never seen.

1) Shady Sellers: “Cocoanuts” – 1929 The Marx Brothers star in this riotous roaring ‘20s comedy about brothers who are hotel owners desperately trying to auction off real estate to unsuspecting buyers during the Florida land boom. Grouch shills, Harpo mugs and Chico delivers the classic “Why a duck?” line. -

Click to watch video here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Dgj8_iYr90

2) This American classic has always been thought of as a holiday movie, but is very much a real estate-related one. Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore), perhaps one of cinema’s most infamous villains, is a slumlord intent on making as much money as possible, with no regard to the well-being of his town’s inhabitants. As a result of his trying to dissolve the Building and Loan because he opposes home loans to the poor, George Bailey, played by James Stewart, ends up taking over and never leaving Bedford, NY.

Click to watch video here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4ne13Zft9Q

3) Renovation Nightmares/Evil RE Agents: “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream Home” – 1948 Cary Grant plays Jim Blandings, an advertising exec living with his wife (played by Myrna Loy) and two daughters in a cramped New York City apartment. He contacts a duplicitous real estate agent that sells him a real dud in Connecticut. The house, soon-to-be-condemned, ends up needing more work than they originally thought.  NOTE: “The Money Pit”, released in 1986 and starring Shelly Long and Tom Hanks, is the remake.

4) Deadly Open Houses: “Open House” – 1987 The plot of this kitschy slasher starring Adrienne Barbeau may very well be the fantasy of many New Yorkers. There is a serial killer, coined “The Open House Killer” on the loose who is only offing real estate agents! Best line ever: As an agent enters a home, she assures her colleague there is no need to pair up and he can go take a call while she sets up. “I’ll hang here ‘til you get back,” she says, only to be found strung up by her neck moments later. 

Click to watch video here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgBkht1ZADM

5) Sellers from Hell: “Moving” – 1988 Comedian Richard Pryor plays Arlo Pear, a Jersey boy who gets his dream job in Idaho and sets about moving his family to the Midwest. Arlo and his wife Monica buy a home from an eccentric older couple in Idaho who “jokingly” alert them they are taking everything with them, including windows, doors and fixtures. J/K turns into sorrynotsorry when the Pears arrive at their new home, everything has been removed and the sellers have recorded their initial conversation so they are legally protected.
 

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