The Ref (1994)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  11 March 1994 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.9/10 from 17,945 users  
Reviews: 116 user | 41 critic

A cat burglar is forced to take a bickering, dysfunctional family hostage on Christmas Eve.



(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young, naive Hollywood studio assistant finally turns the tables on his incredibly abusive producer boss.

Director: George Huang
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Frank Whaley, Michelle Forbes
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In a desperate attempt to prove his innocence, a skilled police negotiator accused of corruption and murder takes hostages in a government office to gain the time he needs to find the truth.

Director: F. Gary Gray
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, David Morse
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Two veteran salesman dissect a sales pitch to a particular client, through their young protege.

Director: John Swanbeck
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito, Peter Facinelli
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A visiting city reporter's assignment suddenly revolves around the murder trial of a local millionaire, whom he befriends.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: John Cusack, Kevin Spacey, Jack Thompson
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Brilliant, flamboyant master criminal Michael Lynch is more interested in his image and his posterity than the actual profit from his ill-gotten gains.

Director: Thaddeus O'Sullivan
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Linda Fiorentino, Peter Mullan
Scrooged (1988)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A selfish, cynical T.V. executive is haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve.

Director: Richard Donner
Stars: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A swooning study of "Mack the Knife" singer Bobby Darin (Spacey) specifically, and his relationship with his wife Sandra Dee (Bosworth).

Director: Kevin Spacey
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, John Goodman
Shrink (2009)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Unable to cope with a recent personal tragedy, LA's top celebrity shrink turns into a pothead with no concern for his appearance and a creeping sense of his inability to help his patients.

Director: Jonas Pate
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Mark Webber, Keke Palmer
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Dave is deaf, and Wally is blind. They witness a murder, but it was Dave who was looking at her, and Wally who was listening.

Director: Arthur Hiller
Stars: Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder, Joan Severance
Iron Will (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

When Will Stoneman's father dies, he is left alone to take care of his mother and their land. Needing money to maintain it, he decides to join a cross country dogsled race. This race will ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Haid
Stars: Mackenzie Astin, Kevin Spacey, David Ogden Stiers
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An examination of the machinations behind the scenes at a real estate office.

Director: James Foley
Stars: Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin
Outbreak (1995)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Extreme measures are necessary to contain an epidemic of a deadly airborne virus. But how extreme, exactly?

Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman


Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Bright ...
Phillip Nicoll ...
Ellie Raab ...
Herbie Ade ...


Denis Leary plays an unfortunate cat burglar, who is abandonded by his partner in the middle of a heist, and is forced to take an irritating Connecticut couple (Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis) hostage. He soon finds that he took more than he bargained for when the couple's blackmailing son and despicable in-laws step into the picture. Before long they're driving him nuts with their petty bickering and family problems. The only way for him to survive is to be their referee and resolve their differences, before he can be nabbed by the police. Written by Nick D. <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He's taken them hostage. They're driving him nuts. See more »


Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 March 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Egy híján túsz  »

Box Office


$11,000,000 (estimated)


$11,439,193 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Appeared on Entertainment Weekly's list of The 50 Best Movies You've Never Seen in the Jul 16, 2012 issue. See more »


This film takes place in Connecticut. Several characters mention a county prosecutor throughout the film. Connecticut dissolved all county-level governments in 1960 and thus, there would be no such thing as a county prosecutor. In Connecticut, counties are solely geographic entities. See more »


Rose: What difference does any of this make now? You're getting a divorce.
Lloyd: Mother.
Rose: What?
Lloyd: Is it possible for you to shut the fuck up for ten seconds?
Rose: Lloyd, don't talk to me like that in my own house.
Lloyd: You know what, Mom? You know what I'm going to get you next Christmas? A big, wooden cross. So anytime you feel unappreciated for all your sacrifices, you can climb on up and nail yourself to it.
See more »


Referenced in Comedy Central Roast of Denis Leary (2003) See more »


Blue Christmas
Written by Billy Hayes & Jay Johnson
Arranged by Joe Mulherin
Performed by Joyce Cobb
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Extremely funny
24 August 1999 | by See all my reviews

I laughed like hell during this movie. Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey fit their roles perfectly and their first scene, with B.D. Wong, gets the movie off on the right foot. It only gets funnier after that. This is the only movie I can tolerate Denis Leary in; I find him very annoying and smug normally. This movie should be on television every Christmas!

22 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Funniest Scene? morning_star
I wonder how many of you realize....... hnsmdvl1973
Why's this called the ref dannoochie90
Funniest (or Underrated) Movies arround Christmas Holidays pparasxoudis82
Original teaser? Corinthian-2
Has there been a DVD yet? corizzle
Discuss The Ref (1994) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: