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The Toy (1982)

PG  |   |  Comedy  |  10 December 1982 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 8,472 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 10 critic

An underemployed reporter finds himself literally purchased as a toy for a rich spoiled brat.



(screenplay), (film)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Annazette Chase ...
Tony King ...
Don Hood ...
Karen Leslie-Lyttle ...
Virginia Capers ...
B.J. Hopper ...
Linda McCann ...
Ray Spruell ...
Stocker Fontelieu ...


On one of his bratty son Eric's annual visits, the plutocrat U.S. Bates takes him to his department store and offers him anything in it as a gift. Eric chooses a black janitor who has made him laugh with his antics. At first the man suffers many indignities as Eric's "toy", but gradually teaches the lonely boy what it is like to have and to be a friend. Written by Paul Emmons <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


When Jackie Gleason Told His Son He Could Have Any Present He Wanted, He Picked The Most Outrageous Gift Of All... Richard Pryor.




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

10 December 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Su juguete preferido  »

Box Office


$50,400,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Richard Pryor wears a "Spiderman" outfit during the film. The studio making the movie was Columbia Pictures who had just recently made the 1970s "Spiderman" movies and who would do more in the early 2000s and again in the early 2010s. See more »


When Jack crashes the Wonder Wheel, he's standing at an angle past the original start position in front of the end cap of dolls. However in the next shot, he's standing upright back at the original starting position. It's unlikely for Jack to have enough pinpoint accuracy to roll the Wonder Wheel back to its starting position before the Wonder Wheel starts to deflate. See more »


U.S. Bates: Eric bought a black man.
Fancy Bates: I wasn't aware that we sold them.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing credits are shown aside four toy darts. See more »


Featured in David Walliams' Awfully Good: Awfully Good Movies (2011) See more »


I Just Want To Be Your Friend
Performed by Jeffrey Osborne
Music and Lyrics by Trevor Lawrence and Frank Musker
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Southern Billionaire buys a Black Man for his son.
31 December 2002 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

"The Toy" is a remake of the French movie "Le Jouet," but writer Carol Sobieski and director Dick Donner have infused it with a racist theme that is specifically American.

US Bates (Gleason), a wealthy, powerful Louisiana industrialist purchases, Jack Brown, a janitor (Pryor) to perform as an object for his spoiled son's amusement.

After an initial period of friction due to young Eric's (Schwartz) obnoxious, selfish behavior, they agree to investigate Bates's personal and professional misbehavior in a home-made newspaper, called "The Toy."

Infuriated, Bates demonstrates to the two investigators that he owns the people who work for him by ordering his assistant named Morehouse (Beatty) to drop his pants on command (he later screams at another assistant "I told you to dance!")

The iconoclastic rebels who finally take down Bates at a Klan fundraiser are Eric's innocent generation who never knew Jim Crow and the truth-burdened, unemployed black man with nothing to lose because he's already at the bottom.

This movie is filled with enough Pryor minstrelsy to keep movie-going Whitey occupied and chuckling, but is at the same time digging deep into the reality and shame of this country's racist past, and, indeed, present. And we haven't even addressed the alcoholic indentured man-servant Barkley (Hyde-White) or the Fraulein-who-cries-Mandingo (Leslie-Lyttle.)

From the buying of Brown to the sycophantic staff to the Senator-for-hire Newcomb (consonance: Nuke 'Em,) US Bates proves that slavery isn't over...people just cost a little more these days.

In this day when skirting the issue of race and playing it safe at the risk of being offensive has crushed any discussion of racism in this country, it's nice to see that Hollywood once had the balls to make a movie that called a spade a...well, you get it.

Oh, and the kid grows up to be a porn star.

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ONLY in 80's America!!!! derfla420
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