7.2/10
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The Jerk (1979)

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A simple minded, sheltered country boy suddenly decides to leave his family home to experience life in the big city, where his naivety is both his best friend, and worst enemy.

Director:

Carl Reiner

Writers:

Steve Martin (screenplay), Carl Gottlieb (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
2,619 ( 1,203)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Martin ... Navin / Cat Juggler (as Pig Eye Jackson also)
Bernadette Peters ... Marie
Catlin Adams ... Patty Bernstein
Mabel King ... Mother
Richard Ward ... Father
Dick Anthony Williams ... Taj
Bill Macy ... Stan Fox
M. Emmet Walsh ... Madman
Dick O'Neill ... Frosty
Maurice Evans ... Hobart
Helena Carroll Helena Carroll ... Hester
Renn Woods ... Elvira (as Ren Wood)
Pepe Serna ... Punk #1
Sonny Terry Sonny Terry ... Blues Singer
Brownie McGhee Brownie McGhee ... Blues Singer (as Brownie McGee)
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Storyline

Navin is an idiot. He grew up in Mississippi as adopted son of a black family but on his 18th birthday he feels he wants to discover the rest of the world and sets out to St. Louis. There everyone exploits his naivety, but then a simple invention brings him a fortune. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A rags to riches to rags story See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 December 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Easy Money See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,935,025, 16 December 1979, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$73,691,419
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Super 8-version in 2 parts)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The part where Navin licks Marie's face during their first date was completely improvised. Bernadette Peters' reaction was genuine. See more »

Goofs

Navin opens his door and throws popcorn in the face of the Private Investigator, right after the popcorn bounces off the face the PI spits a mouthful out. The PI never opened his mouth prior to the throw. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Navin R. Johnson: Huh? I am *not* a bum. I'm a jerk. I once had wealth, power, and the love of a beautiful woman. Now I only have two things: my friends, and... uh... my thermos. Huh? My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin' on the porch with my family, singin' and dancin' down in Mississippi...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Pig Eye Jackson - Cat Juggler (Steve Martin) See more »

Alternate Versions

Other TV prints simply edit the theatrical release which omits Navin "spinning" at the amusement park, don't show the Texas Millionaire scene,and no added extra line by Navin said to Mr. Hartounian at the gas station. "You'll pay me, $1.10, if I work here an hour?" No conversation between Navin and the man with the "unpleasant photographs" exists in this version. Suggested sexual dialogue by Patti when he is visiting her trailer is often left intact. Navin's dog is simply named "Head" in this version. Billy's profanity T-shirt is not obstructed by camera angles, but the offensive word is "Whited Out." See more »


Soundtracks

Pick A Bale Of Cotton
Sung by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee (as Brownie McGee)
Words and Music by Leadbelly (as Huddie Ledbetter)
Collected and Adapted by John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax
See more »

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User Reviews

Laugh so hard, you'll miss half the movie
27 May 2000 | by MIK7x3See all my reviews

I'm glad that I didn't see this in the theatre, because when I watched it the first time on video, I needed to pause the movie several times just to catch my breath from laughing so hard! Wait a minute...was that the first time, or the tenth time? Playing Navin R. Johnson, the white son of a black family, Steve Martin leaves home to find "his special purpose." By the end of the movie, we all know what that was...to entertain his fans the way he has! As for Navin's special purpose, if you haven't already seen the movie, you aren't going to get any more information than what's here. It takes intelligence to play a complete idiot, and Steve Martin does the job extremely well. Also take note of Martin's costar Bernadette Peters, and the cameo appearances by Jackie Mason and Carl Reiner. Whoever wrote that people who watch "The Jerk" will be quoting its jokes for years after was absolutely right. This was the funniest of Steve Martin's movies!


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