16 user 6 critic

Josh and S.A.M. (1993)

1:41 | Trailer
Josh and Sam are two brothers facing change, their mother is about to marry a French accountant and the kids are sent to go live with their father in Florida. Meanwhile Josh tells Sam that ... See full summary »


Billy Weber


Frank Deese





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jacob Tierney ... Josh
Noah Fleiss ... Sam
Martha Plimpton ... Alison
Stephen Tobolowsky ... Thom Whitney
Joan Allen ... Caroline
Chris Penn ... Derek Baxter
Maury Chaykin ... Pizza Man
Ronald Guttman ... Jean-Pierre
Udo Kier ... Salon Manager
Sean Baca Sean Baca ... Curtis Coleman
Jake Gyllenhaal ... Leon Coleman
Anne Lange Anne Lange ... Ellen Coleman
Ann Hearn ... Teacher
Christian Clemenson ... Policeman
Allan Arbus ... Businessman on Plane


Josh and Sam are two brothers facing change, their mother is about to marry a French accountant and the kids are sent to go live with their father in Florida. Meanwhile Josh tells Sam that he is a "S.A.M." that is going to be sent to Africa to fight in a war and that Canada is a safe haven for any S.A.M. unwilling to fight. The cross-country journey begins when the 2 boys think they killed a drunk and steal his car en route to Canada where they encounter The Liberty Maid. Will Josh & S.A.M. make it to Canada or will they wish they should have never left home. Written by Ryan Harder <hotshotharder@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Why run away from home when you can drive?

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for kids in jeopardy | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Directorial debut of Editor Billy Weber. As of 2015, it remains the only film he ever directed. See more »


A camera is visible through the glass in the banquet room at the hotel in Dallas. See more »


Josh Whitney: Sam you're a genius!
Sam Whitney: Yeah well it's not my fault. They made me that way.
See more »


References Thelma & Louise (1991) See more »


Toward The Settin' Sun
Written by Bob Badami and Bill Bernstein
See more »

User Reviews

A little fun movie
29 January 2013 | by Rodrigo_AmaroSee all my reviews

This sort of "Thelma & Louise" for kids might be fun if you're a kid, since most of them get easily impressed with anything. Doesn't make much of an effort on grown ups but it has its charm, its fun moments and its few acceptable original ideas. I saw it as a fun version of "Radio Flyer" but without achieving its magic and realism.

"Josh and S.A.M." tells the story of two runaway brothers Josh (Jacob Tierney) and Sam (Noah Fleiss) escaping from their problems at home, living with their dad (Stephen Tobolowsky), recently separated of his wife (Joan Allen) who is about to marry her French boyfriend (Roland Guttman). Josh and Sam don't have much of a fun living with dad since he has two other kids from his current marriage, and they're terrorizing bullies to their "new brothers". The story gets twisted, entering like a dramatic adventure when Josh says to his brother that he was genetically modified by his father as a Pentagon developed experiment to be used in wars (that's why S.A.M. in the title), so they're route to freedom ends up being than just mere running away from house problems but also because Sam can be found by the manufacturers and sent to a conflict in Africa. During their journey they make up stories, think they killed a man (Chris Penn) after an incident, and join forces with a girl (Martha Plimpton) of whom Sam thinks she's the 'Liberty Maid', a helpful source who gather people like Sam to hide underground (another story made up by Josh).

Often dry in its humor and lacking of energy in its agitated sequences, the movie is a little dreadful, very tiring and always turning to places and situations we don't feel too much enjoyed with. And if it works for the most part it's because of Tierney/Josh smartness and creative ways to save the day while Sam keeps being one of the most annoying kids ever presented on screen with a pretentious, imaginative and unexplained intelligence, trying to be the brightest kid on Earth. It's very believable that an older brother would fake stories to involve his younger brother into something but the opposite while wanting to be wiser than wisdom itself, just doesn't work. This isn't a statement about kids not being smart or intelligent, it's just that the movie presents them with unconvincing dialogs and quotes, strangely unsuitable for a child, and if we can't believe in the story, if we can't buy its idea then the movie has failed. With your belief suspended, this even manages to be fun here and there.

Yes, it's a problematic plot but the film rises above some of its obstacles (even if it has to drag the viewers through strange moments). Worths a view due to the cast reunion, most of them are enjoyable in their roles - special part of this, Jake Gyllenhaal plays quite an ironic role, if taken into consideration some of his future roles, so pay attention to him, specially at the dinner scene. A little special, a little cute and fun for a Sunday afternoon. 6/10

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Release Date:

24 November 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Josh and S.A.M. See more »

Filming Locations:

Arches National Park, Utah, USA See more »


Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$800,469, 28 November 1993

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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