Why Italians Watch the Movie “Trading Places” Every Christmas Eve

In Italy, it wouldn’t be Christmas without the movie Trading Places. Year after year, by popular demand, millions of Italians sit down to watch the dubbed version of the movie. The classic American comedy tells the story of an upper-class commodities broker (Dan Aykroyd) and a poor street hustler (Eddie Murphy) whose lives cross when they are unwittingly made the subject of an elaborate bet to test how each man would perform if their life circumstances were swapped. As for why Italians are so enamored of the movie, Italian director Laura Casalotto explains: “I believe that Trading Places works because at Christmas we want to always hear the same story: children are told about Santa Claus and adults want their story too.” There is also a significant economic factor: it costs much less to broadcast a classic, instead of purchasing the rights to a new title. Whatever the reasons, public approval has remained consistently high down through the decades, with more than 3 million viewers watching in 2020. The good news is that the much-loved classic will be aired as usual on Christmas Eve at 11:30 p.m. on Italia 1 — a free-to-air television channel on the Mediaset network.