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The Jerk (1979) Poster

(1979)

Trivia

The movie is ranked at the No. #20 spot on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies" List.
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Jump to: Cameo (1)
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."
Stanley Kubrick was a big admirer of this film. Stanley 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.
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."
Around the time that this movie was made and released, lead actors Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters were in a personal relationship.
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.
The film is ranked at the No. #48 spot on movie magazine Total Film's 2000 year readers poll of the greatest comedy films of all time.
Readers of movie magazine Premiere voted Steve Martin's performance as Navin Johnson to the No. #99 spot for their "The 100 Greatest Performances of All Time" poll.
First lead starring role of actor-comedian Steve Martin.
The film was the 9th highest-grossing picture of the 1979 year in the USA. The picture was a massive success at the worldwide box-office grossing over US$100 million from an original production budget of only about US$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.
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.
The gigantic house shown in the film is the infamous Sheik Al-Fassi mansion in Beverly Hills, the first time the residence appeared in a major motion picture. The property was selected over about half a dozen contenders which included the former Harold Lloyd and Marion Davies estates. The tacky rooms shown in the film were actually shot in the mansion thanks to its cavernous size rooms. One reason this abode was chosen was because its very large and spacious rooms meant 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 thirty-eight room mansion no longer exists; it was torched by an arsonist in 1980, the DVD states that the building was demolished with the site becoming a vacant lot.
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.
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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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".
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The IGN entertainment website ranked the movie as the 10th Top Comedy Film of All Time.
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Steve Martin wrote the part of Marie with Bernadette Peters in mind.
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.
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According to Wikipedia, the movie's origins are that "the basic premise comes from a stand-up routine [of Steve Martin's] (included on his debut comedy album, 'Let's Get Small'), in which Martin claimed to have been 'born a poor black child', and how, after hearing his first Mantovani record, he 'decided to become white'."
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.
First of two films that actors Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters made together. The second and final film would be Pennies from Heaven (1981) around two years later.
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The production notes on the DVD state that a Klieglighted world premiere of the film's trailer was held in the Spring of 1979. The production of it 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.
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Harry Hartounian is played by Jackie Mason. Nine years later, in Caddyshack II (1988), Mason plays Jack Hartounian.
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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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The picture is ranked at the No. #89 spot on the AFI's "100 Years... 100 Laughs" list.
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The part where Navin licks Marie's face during their first date was completely improvised. Bernadette Peters' reaction was genuine.
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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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Fifteen studio sound stage sets were constructed for the movie which also featured eighty exterior filming locations.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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The production shoot was planned to run for fifty-five days but principal photography came in ten days ahead of schedule and as such the film got shot in just forty-five days.
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First of two "Jerk" movies. The second film, The Jerk, Too (1984), was made and released about five years later, and was made for television, considered perhaps to be a pilot for a TV series. Steve Martin did not reprise his role as Navin Johnson in the picture, it being instead being played by Mark Blankfield, though Martin was credited for characters and did act as an executive producer on it. The title of The Jerk, Too (1984), like Splash, Too (1988), played on sequel conventions naming by playing on the word "Two" (meaning Part II) with the word "Too".
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Halliwell's states that the movie had "aspirations to be a modern Candide".
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The gas station is now a Carl's Jr. burger joint.
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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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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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Debut produced feature film screenplay of Steve Martin who was one of the movie's screen-writers.
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Star Billing: Steve Martin (1st), Bernadette Peters (2nd), Catlin Adams (3rd) and Jackie Mason (4th).
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The souped-up car is a 1972 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. It's outfitted with hydraulic lifts to adjust the height.
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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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A sandwich shop in Oregon named their jerk chicken sandwich the "Navin R. Johnson."
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Steve Martin and the dog got off on the wrong foot when Steve accidentally dropped mittens on its face. From then on it cowered when he tried to pet it. "It was miserable. He hated me."
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Approximately 80 real locations were used for the movie, as well as 15 stage sets.
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The "St. Louis/Navin Johnson" bit is Steve Martin's favorite joke in the movie.
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For the title, Steve Martin wanted something short yet epic, like Dostoyevsky's The Idiot. Hence, The Jerk.
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Steve Martin and Carl Reiner staged a red carpet world premiere for the preview trailer of the movie. Ads stated that it would begin at 8PM and end promptly at 8:02PM.
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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 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 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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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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This was the eighth highest-grossing film of 1979.
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Cameo 

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

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

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