The Ref (1994)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Drama  |  11 March 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 17,926 users  
Reviews: 116 user | 41 critic

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



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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


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
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Did You Know?


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


When Gus is in the car with Lloyd and Caroline and Lloyd runs a stop sign, Caroline is clearly not wearing a seat belt as she looks behind the car. Once the three are facing forward again, the seat belt is magically across her chest. See more »


Caroline: Did you know you're bleeding?
Gus: Oh, yeah.
Lloyd: Were you shot?
Gus: Dog bit me
Caroline: What dog?
Gus: Willard's dog.
Caroline: Cannibal bit you?
Gus: His name is Cannibal?
See more »


References In Society (1944) See more »


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

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User Reviews

an incredibly funny dysfunctional Christmas
1 December 2004 | by (Philadelphia) – See all my reviews

i think that this is one of the most hilarious Christmas movies i have ever seen.

first, it is a perfect role for Denis Leary, who really runs with it. Second,the dysfunctional couple, Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis are fantastic, battling back and forth, the whole movie, as their lies and secrets are slowly unveiled, with help by Leary. Finally, Glynis johns, as the mother would make you long to be an orphan. Although she does not have much screen time, some of the funniest lines in the movie happen at her instigation.

And i like the movie ending better than the one Dehme originally planned(with Leary being caught by the police.)

19 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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