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 17,923 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
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
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

An American journalist in Puerto Rico in 1978 investigates the death of nationalists who may have been murdered by the police.

Director: Bruno Barreto
Stars: Amy Irving, Robert Duvall, Andy Garcia
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
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
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
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
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
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Richard and Priscilla Parker's lives take a turn for the better when Eddy and Kay move into the house next door. Eddy's a risk taker and shows his new neighbours how to enjoy life at the ... See full summary »

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Kevin Kline, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Kevin Spacey
Hurlyburly (1998)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Hollywood movers and shakers dissect their own personal lives when everything seems to clash together.

Director: Anthony Drazan
Stars: Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, Chazz Palminteri
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


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
See  »

Did You Know?


Denis Leary's line "Lady, your husband ain't dead. He's hiding!" is a direct quote of a line from the classic Abbott and Costello routine "Susquehanna Hat Company". See more »


The candle headpieces burn down faster at some times than at others. See more »


Lloyd: You know, you and my wife have a lot in common. You both think you have some right to life working out the way you want it to, and when it doesn't, you get to act the way you want. The only trouble with that is someone has to be responsible. I'd love to run around and take classes and play with my inner-self! I'd love the freedom to be some pissed-off criminal with no responsibilities, except I don't have the time! But you don't see me with a gun. And you don't see me sleeping with someone else...
See more »


References Happy Days (1974) See more »


The Holly & The Ivy
Arranged by Richard Harvey
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Change of pace seasonal favorite, but good at any time of year
6 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

My absolute favorite dark comedy. All the adults in our family will put this one on after the tykes are put to bed on Christmas Eve. Side-splittingly funny, bitingly tart fun. Anyone that was raised in suburban America will be able to relate the characters to family, friends, and neighbors. Great early roles for Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis, and Christine Baranski, and the deliveries are spot on and maintain the dark comic tone throughout. First-time viewers might cringe a little at the tone early on, but will quickly warm up to it; initial "oh my's" will soon enough surrender to hearty laughter. If the holidays get ya a little overwhelmed or uptight, this will bring great relief!! Consider it a nice stiff egg nog compared to the rest of the seasonal hot cocoa. Favorite line from Christine Baranski: "Sex and drugs, and women getting set on fire ?!?! What kind of Christmas is this?"

12 of 14 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: