Down 969 this week

Jack the Bear (1993)

 -  Drama  -  2 April 1993 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.4/10 from 2,937 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 11 critic

Danny De Vito is a professional clown, whose wife's death in a car accident has left him to care for his two young boys. Loving, but useless at the daily job of fathering, the onus falls on... See full summary »


(novel), (screenplay)
Watch Trailer
0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 38 titles
created 12 Jul 2011
a list of 25 titles
created 30 Aug 2011
a list of 21 titles
created 19 Sep 2011
a list of 31 titles
created 02 Feb 2012
a list of 36 titles
created 06 Jan 2013

Related Items

Search for "Jack the Bear" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Jack the Bear (1993)

Jack the Bear (1993) on IMDb 6.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Jack the Bear.
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

S.F.W. (1994)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

An alienated and misanthropic teenager gains sudden and unwanted celebrity status after he's taken hostage by terrorists where his indifference to their threats to kill him makes news headlines.

Director: Jefery Levy
Stars: Stephen Dorff, Reese Witherspoon, Jake Busey
Romance | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A man suspects his girlfriend of being unfaithful. So he sends her a letter, but than finds out that he was wrong. He has 24 hours to stop the package, prevent a disaster, and fall in love.... See full summary »

Director: Jason Bloom
Stars: Paul Rudd, Christine Taylor, Reese Witherspoon
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Rural Louisiana, summer of 1957, Elvis is King. At 14, Dani is coming of age. Her older sister is beautiful, smart, and off to Duke in the fall; her mom's pregnant with number four (Dad ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Mulligan
Stars: Sam Waterston, Tess Harper, Gail Strickland
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A seemingly simple plan to steal money goes increasingly awry.

Director: Mike Barker
Stars: Alessandro Nivola, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin
Twilight (1998)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A retired ex-cop and private detective (Newman) who lives with a rich actor (Hackman) who is dying from cancer and his actress wife (Sarandon) gets mixed up in murder when he is asked to ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Benton
Stars: Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, Gene Hackman
Freeway (1996)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A twisted take on 'Little Red Riding Hood' with a teenage juvenile delinquent on the run from a social worker traveling to her grandmother's house and being hounded by a charming, but sadistic, serial killer/pedophile.

Director: Matthew Bright
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Kiefer Sutherland, Bokeem Woodbine
Animation | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

It's a high-flying adventure when Louie, a mute trumpeter swan, is given the gift of a trumpet, andfinds his voice!

Directors: Terry L. Noss, Richard Rich
Stars: Jason Alexander, Mary Steenburgen, Reese Witherspoon
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A prepubescent chess prodigy refuses to harden himself in order to become a champion like the famous but unlikable Bobby Fischer.

Director: Steven Zaillian
Stars: Joe Mantegna, Ben Kingsley, Max Pomeranc
Fear (1996)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When Nicole met David; handsome, charming, affectionate, he was everything. It seemed perfect, but soon she sees that David has a darker side. And his adoration turns to obsession, their dream into a nightmare, and her love into fear.

Director: James Foley
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Reese Witherspoon, William Petersen
Coyote II (2013)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The story of a thirty-year-old social misfit who befriends an illegal Mexican laborer. Together they hatch an ill-advised plan to rescue the immigrant's mother and sister who are being held captive across the border.

Director: Joe Eddy
Stars: Robert J. Steinmiller Jr., Carlos Pratts, Carlos Gómez
Money (1991)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A young man whose father's fortune was stolen by his closest friends sets out to get revenge in this odyssey through the world's major financial centers.

Director: Steven Hilliard Stern
Stars: Eric Stoltz, Maryam d'Abo, Bruno Cremer
London Suite (TV Movie 1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

On one day at an English Hotel, four different stories are shown. Diana is in London to promote her Television Series and her ex-husband Sidney shows up to ask her for money for his gay ... See full summary »

Director: Jay Sandrich
Stars: Kelsey Grammer, Michael Richards, Julia Louis-Dreyfus


Cast overview, first billed only:
John Leary
Norman Strick
Mr. Festinger
Erica Yohn ...
Elizabeth Leary
Carl Gabriel Yorke ...
Gordon Layton
Mrs. Festinger
Lorinne Vozoff ...
Mrs. Mitchell
Justin Mosley Spink ...
Dexter Mitchell


Danny De Vito is a professional clown, whose wife's death in a car accident has left him to care for his two young boys. Loving, but useless at the daily job of fathering, the onus falls on plucky Jack the Bear (Robert J. Steinmiller Jr.). De Vito's conscience, and a quantity of alcohol leads him to denounce a neo-fascist candidate on his children's TV programme - and also to the kidnapping of youngest son Dylan (Miko Hughes) by a disturbed neo-nazi supporter. Written by David Holmes <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for elements of theme, and for some terror | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 April 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El pequeño papá  »

Box Office


$5,145,462 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In 1992, Danny DeVito had played The Penguin in Batman Returns (1992), and Gary Sinise had played George in Of Mice and Men (1992). Both roles were previously played by Burgess Meredith. See more »


At the end when Jack is playing the piano, Dylan comes downstairs and starts walking towards him. In the next shot, Dylan is back at the stairs again. See more »


Norman Strick: Home Run Jack.
See more »


Features The Curse of the Werewolf (1961) See more »


Teenage Nervous Breakdown
Written by Lowell George
Performed by Little Feat
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
by arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Growing up is never easy
11 January 2006 | by (Klagenfurt, Austria) – See all my reviews

Jack the Bear is a wonderful movie. It is the story of John Leary (Danny DeVito) and his two boys, Jack (Robert J. Steinmiller, Jr.) and Dylan (young Miko Hughes, known e.g. from his later accomplishment in 'Mercury Rising'). It is a story that takes a bittersweet look at the joys and pains of growing up. By doing so it elaborates on weighty issues, while at the same, it has a certain amount of humor to it. Yet despite the subtle comedian edge, this movie is by no means a comedy. It is a very emotional and instructive tale of one family's struggles, of challenges and tragedies. It features sincere messages of life and can be seen as a symbolic story that stands for the premise that growing up is never easy. Sometimes it is painful. Sometimes it is scaring. Then again, when the chips are low and the world seems to fall apart, there is hope. Hope you find within your family, hope – and the knowledge that there will be brighter days ahead.

Danny DeVito plays Jack Leary, a widower who works as a monster-host of a late night horror show and who entertains the neighborhood kids with silly ghoulish antics. His twelve-year-old son Jack is the movie's main protagonist. He talks to the audience as if he would tell the story of his life – which he does to some extent. The entire developments are told through his eyes mainly. Thus the story is endowed with the childish naivety that makes it so special and so sincere. Dylan, Jack's little brother, is about four years old. The setting is Oakland, California, in 1972.

The main theme that runs through the entire story is the theme of monsters. Jack Leary, the perfect monster in his TV show, is not the only one. Right at the beginning Jack says that he would find out that summer that real monsters existed. Then there is Jack's "monster" crush on the lovely girl at school (young Reece Witherspoon), which is a sub-theme of the plot. We share Jack's joy and his confusion after their first date, which is so funny as many will be able to identify with his tenseness prior to and his enthusiasm after their first kiss. The real monster is introduced as weird and apparently dangerous Norman Strick (Gary Sinise, who completes the quality of the cast), who turns out to be a deceitful and dangerous antagonist.

The strongest emotional theme is that of family life. John's wife, Jack's and Dylan's mom died the previous winter in a road accident after some heavy arguments with her husband. This left a huge gap in the boys' lives and painful scars on Jack in particular. He occasionally seems to see her, and we get some flashbacks to their time together throughout the movie. This is very tough and intensifies the feeling of loss and loneliness. This theme is then even more so addressed when Dylan is kidnapped, which is presented in all its horror and pain for Jack and his dad. Very close to this is John's struggle to be a good father, to overcome his irresponsibility and live up the needs of his boys. All of these aspects mixed together make up the story's strength and provide substantially more than mere entertainment, but real issues of daily struggles and common problems.

Seen from socio-cultural aspects, this movie is typically American in its entire setting and its developments. Following the emotionally stirring showdown with Norman Strick, Jack has an emotional breakdown and cries for his mother. When John tries to comfort him, Jack shouts: "No, nothing is all right!" Then John looks straight into his son's eyes and replies: "Then we gonna make it all right." This is the embodiment of the American Dream, the American attitude never to give up and keep fighting, even if the chips are low and the times are hard and full of privation.

The cast is outstanding, the acting is very convincing and the themes are brilliantly worked out. It is the struggle of a father to keep his kids; it is one boy's quest to find happiness; it is a typically American tale of courage and steadfastness, of values, trust and love. The movie captures pure messages of life, is exciting and displays tremendous wisdom, all woven together in the cultural stratum of 1972. And finally, it has genuine humor and provides first class entertainment for the entire family. You will enjoy Jack the Bear, and you have all reason to do so.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Comedy? gummoandme
Had to say it matt-1171
Jack And Karen kalediscis
Jack the Bear song????? onlybegottenson88
how old are they supposed to be? BrokeBmountain
Great Dramatic Performance from Danny De Vito mguevarra61-1
Discuss Jack the Bear (1993) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: