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The Jerk (1979) Poster

(1979)

Trivia

First of four films that actor Steve Martin made with director Carl Reiner. The other movies are All of Me (1984), The Man with Two Brains (1983), and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982).
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Stanley Kubrick was a big admirer of this film. He would often recite lines from the film to cast and crew on his films and he once invited Steve Martin over so they could play chess.
Bill Murray filmed a cameo that was deleted. On the Saturday, December 15th, 1979 broadcast of Saturday Night Live (1975), Murray jokingly reviewed The Jerk (1979), saying: "I was in the movie but cut out of it. That doesn't influence my opinion. The movie is a dog. There's something missing. I don't know who it is, I can't say."
Steve Martin and co-star Bernadette Peters were in a personal relationship during production.
According to his book "Born Standing Up", Steve Martin's favorite line in the movie is ad libbed. When his character is hitchhiking, a man in a truck stops and asks, "St. Louis?" - to which Martin replies, "No, Navin Johnson."
Steve Martin's favorite scene involves M. Emmet Walsh, shooting the cans at the gas station.
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.
"Premiere" magazine readers voted Steve Martin's performance as Navin Johnson #99 for their "The 100 Greatest Performances of All Time" poll.
Ranked #48 on movie magazine Total Film's 2000 year readers poll of the greatest comedy films of all time.
First starring role for Steve Martin.
The ninth-highest-grossing picture in the US for 1979. It was also a worldwide success, grossing over $100 million on a budget of about $4 million.
The song that Navin and Marie sing as they walk along the beach, "Tonight You Belong to Me", was a hit in the '50s for sister duet 'Patience and Prudence'.
Hartunian's gas station is actually located on the corner of Halstead St and Rosemead Blvd in Pasadena, CA. The gas station has since been torn down and replaced with a Carl's Jr. restaurant. In addition, the hill that the shooter climbs to fire upon the gas station is "Green Hill," which has been developed into a professional office center.
Many movie posters featured the following blurb: "He was a poor black sharecropper's son who never dreamed he was adopted. Steve Martin in The Jerk (1979). A rags to riches to rags story".
The gigantic house shown in the film is the infamous Sheik Al-Fassi mansion on Sunset Blvd. in Beverly Hills, the first time the residence appeared in a major motion picture. The property was selected over about a half-dozen contenders, which included the former Harold Lloyd and Marion Davies estates. One reason this abode was chosen was because its very large and spacious rooms meant that any filming done in one part of the dwelling allowed great vista shots of adjoining areas at the same time. The mansion also had its own basement disco, where the dance scene was filmed. The 38-room mansion no longer exists; it was torched by an arsonist in 1980, and the building was demolished with the site becoming a vacant lot.
When Marie is applying the face mask treatment to the older gentleman, she mentions that it will make the customer look years younger. At that moment his wife exclaims, "ahlevai," which means "I wish" in Hebrew.
Steve Martin wrote the part of Marie with Bernadette Peters in mind.
The part where Navin licks Marie's face during their first date was completely improvised. Bernadette Peters' reaction was genuine.
The IGN Entertainment website ranked the movie as the 10th Top Comedy Film of All Time.
The name of the dog was "Shithead". In the TV version, the canine is renamed "Stupid".
Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time" in 2006.
The idea for the film came from a stand-up routine of Steve Martin (included on his debut comedy album, 'Let's Get Small'), in which he claimed to have been "born a poor black child" and how, after hearing his first Mantovani record, he "decided to become white".
First of two films that Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters made together. The second was Pennies from Heaven (1981).
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Because of a gas shortage, Steve Martin and Carl Reiner carpooled to the set everyday. Reiner recalled, "Every day . . . we came up with at least one or two new jokes on the way to work."
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Harry Hartounian is played by Jackie Mason. Nine years later, in Caddyshack II (1988), he played Jack Hartounian.
The production notes on the DVD state that a Klieg-lighted world premiere of the film's trailer was held in the spring of 1979. The trailer came in under budget and on schedule,saving the studio $110 and about 200 feet of film. Newspaper ads declared that the show would run from 8.00 pm to 8.02 pm and that no one would be admitted to the screening after the first six seconds.
Steve Martin's favorite moment of the film, as he detailed in his 2007 memoir "Born Standing Up", was the scene in which he and Bernadette Peters sing "Tonight You Belong to Me". Martin felt the moment was touching, and waited in anticipation at the film's premiere screening in St. Louis. Unfortunately, much of the audience left during the scene to buy more popcorn.
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Steve Martin plays dual roles in this movie. Martin plays both Navin R. Johnson and a cat juggler where Martin is billed for the latter as Pig Eye Jackson.
Steve Martin and the dog got off on the wrong foot when he accidentally dropped mittens on the animal's face. From then on it cowered when he tried to pet it. Martin recalled, "It was miserable. He hated me."
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The idea for the film started with the "born a poor black child" line from Steve Martin's stand-up act.
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Steve Martin adapted several bits of his standup act to fit within the film, such as a monologue in which he emotionally exits a scene, remarking "I don't need anything," but nevertheless picking up each object he passes on his way out.
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In shooting the film, Carl Reiner "ran a joyful set," according to Steve Martin, with the cast and crew eating lunch together each day.
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Ranked at #89 on the AFI's "100 Years... 100 Laughs" list.
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A sandwich shop in Oregon named their jerk chicken sandwich the "Navin R. Johnson."
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The movie was originally titled "Easy Money". A Rodney Dangerfield comedy called Easy Money (1983) would get made and released about four years later in 1983.
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Production was scheduled for 55 days but principal photography came in ten days ahead of schedule, and the film wrapped in just 45 days.
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For the title, Steve Martin wanted something short yet epic, like Fyodor Dostoevsky's "The Idiot".
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In co-writing the script with Carl Gottlieb and Michael Elias, Steve Martin said that their goal was to provide a laugh on each page of the screenplay.
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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.
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The souped-up car driven by the gang members who pull into Navin's gas station is a 1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. It's outfitted with hydraulic lifts to adjust the height.
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The film's title in Germany was "Reichtum is keine Schande", which translates as "Wealth is no shame".
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Ranked #20 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies" List.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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First of two "Jerk" movies. The second, The Jerk, Too (1984), was a made-for-television film was rumored to be the pilot for a proposed TV series. Navin Johnson was played by Mark Blankfield, though Martin was credited for characters and did act as an executive producer on it.
Producing debut of Steve Martin.
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Halliwell's states that the movie had "aspirations to be a modern Candide".
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Approximately 80 real locations were used for the movie, as well as 15 stage sets.
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This was the eighth highest-grossing film of 1979.
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Star Billing: Steve Martin (1st), Bernadette Peters (2nd), Catlin Adams (3rd) and Jackie Mason (4th).
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Navin's uniform is like the famous white suit Steve Martin wore in his stand-up act.
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The director, Carl Reiner, talks about making The Jerk on Episode #156 of Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast (5/22/17) from 1:04 to 1:14.
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Cameo 

Rob Reiner: The truck-driver who takes Navin to the end of the fence.

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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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