The Ref (1994)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  9 March 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 17,791 users  
Reviews: 115 user | 41 critic

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



(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Bright ...
Gary Chasseur
Phillip Nicoll ...
John Chasseur
Ellie Raab ...
Mary Chasseur
Lt. Steve Milford
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


They might be his hostages but what they're doing to this guy is criminal. See more »


Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

9 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?


The movie on television, watched by the cops at the station, is It's a Wonderful Life (1946). See more »


At one point while in the car after taking Lloyd and Caroline hostage, tail lights disappear behind Gus in the rear view window. See more »


[Lt. Huff smells a mask]
Lt. Huff: It's urine.
Lt. Steve Milford: Oh thank God. Phil thought it might be semen.
Lt. Huff: Phil needs to talk to a therapist.
See more »


Referenced in EastEnders: Episode dated 2 October 1995 (1995) See more »


Broken Circles
Written and Produced by Ke Grivois, Bruce Roberts & Maurice Gallegos
Performed by Ke Grivois
See more »

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User Reviews

funny as hell!
3 December 2004 | by (Great Falls, MT) – See all my reviews

My favorite line of all time is from this movie- when Lloyd tells his mother next Christmas he's going to buy her a big wooden cross, so anytime she feels unappreciated or un-loved she can climb on up there and nail herself to it! This movie is definitely on my top ten list. The acting is awesome! The timing and delivery of lines is right on! It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but for those of us who love this kind of humor its a sure classic! The casting was superb! I cant see anyone else playing those parts. This is the movie that turned me onto Kevin Spacey- and he is still my favorite actor ever! This is also the funniest movie I've ever seen Denis Leary in. His brand of humor combined with Kevin Spacey's wit is the stuff dreams are made of.

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