7.2/10
50,912
139 user 73 critic

The Jerk (1979)

Trailer
2:32 | Trailer
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 »
Reviews
Popularity
3,788 ( 468)
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)
Learn more

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Photos

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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:

From rags to riches... to rags. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the beginning of the movie, Navin is at the dinner table with his family and he bursts into tears. The director intentionally did not tell the actors who played his younger siblings about the scene. The astonished expression on their faces is genuine, since they did not know what was happening. See more »

Goofs

When Navin is talking to the credit card thieves, you see some small bills ($1 bills) on the bottom of the pile closest to the driver and larger bills closest to Navin, but when the angle switches to over Navin's you see the bills closest to Navin are now large bills ($20s, $10s). 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

A version of "The Jerk" shown on cable's Turner Network Television contained alternate footage. Besides changing the name of Navin's dog to "Stupid" rather than the traditional "Shithead," genuine alternate footage was contained. In one previously-unseen scene, Navin is so broken-up over the loss of Marie that he "just had to spin." The carnies remove him from the ride by force, and he tries to explain to them what emotions are. The "charity" montage is also rather different. Before the cat juggling sequence Navin meets a professor-type who insults him and shows him some apparently unpleasant pictures, and a Texan millionare who cries over small cracks on the seat of his airplane. Navin pays both, of course. In this version there is no "Iron Balls McGinty" sequence. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gilmore Girls: Richard in Stars Hollow (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

You Belong To Me
Sung by Bernadette Peters and Steve Martin
Music by Lee David
Lyric by Billy Rose
See more »

User Reviews

 
Martin In His Wild & Crazy Days
11 July 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

A very popular movie in its day, watching it a couple of years ago wasn't the same. Oh, it was still funny but just not the "hilarious" movie I always remembered it as. Maybe its reputation and memory exceeded its value, or maybe it's funnier when you are younger.

Whatever, there is still a lot of good laughs in year, subtle and slapstick variety. Now I laugh more at the subtle things. Almost all the characters in here, beginning with Steve Martin's "Navin R. Johnson," are wacky. Bernadette Peters, by the way, never looked prettier. This was in the earlier days of the ratings system and that PG rating would be at least PG-13 today. It still fun to see it after a long absence. Martin was on a roll back in those days, "a wild and crazy guy," and it's good that he's still entertaining us -- years later, although in a more subtle way. Hey, he's getting older, too.


32 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
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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

Gross USA:

$73,691,419

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$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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