7.2/10
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124 user 57 critic

The Jerk (1979)

An idiotic man struggles to make it through life on his own in St. Louis.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Navin / Cat Juggler (as Pig Eye Jackson also)
...
...
...
...
...
Taj
...
...
...
...
Helena Carroll ...
Renn Woods ...
Elvira (as Ren Wood)
...
Sonny Terry ...
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:

He was a poor black sharecropper's son who never dreamed he was adopted. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 December 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Easy Money  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Super 8-version in 2 parts)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Prior to the film's opening, Steve Martin was delayed in Terre Haute, Indiana. He later recalled this story on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962), calling Terre Haute "No Place." The residents of the city objected to this, and ultimately, Martin was invited back to Terre Haute and was given the key to the city and a tour of the local fertilizer plant. Martin repaid the city by opening The Jerk (1979) in Terre Haute. However, in one of the trailers for Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982), Martin asks the audience if they'd rather see "Cow Patties over Terre Haute." Also in that film, when Col Kluck throws one switch, it destroys one town in America: Terre Haute, IN. See more »

Goofs

When Navin first receives the glasses from Stan Fox, the part of the glasses that hook around the ears have almost no hook to them. After Navin installs the nose bridge handle (the opti-grab), the glasses have normal ear hooks. 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...
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Peep Show: Wedding (2004) 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 (Toronto, Canada) – See 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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