6.9/10
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124 user 53 critic

The Ref (1994)

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

Director:

Ted Demme

Writers:

Marie Weiss (story), Richard LaGravenese (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denis Leary ... Gus
Judy Davis ... Caroline
Kevin Spacey ... Lloyd
Robert J. Steinmiller Jr. ... Jesse
Glynis Johns ... Rose
Raymond J. Barry ... Huff
Richard Bright ... Murray
Christine Baranski ... Connie
Adam LeFevre ... Gary
Phillip Nicoll Phillip Nicoll ... John
Ellie Raab Ellie Raab ... Mary
Bill Raymond ... George
John Scurti ... Steve
Jim Turner ... Phil
Herbie Ade Herbie Ade ... Bartender
Learn more

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Storyline

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. <ndoherty@imt.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of two films in which Kevin Spacey plays the husband in a failing marriage. The other was American Beauty five years later. See more »

Goofs

After 1960, the only county-level government that existed in Connecticut at the time the film was produced were the eight County Sheriffs, who handled courthouse security and prisoner transfers and were not the full-scale police agencies that county sheriffs are in other states. (The legislature disbanded the County Sheriffs' Departments in 2000 and absorbed their functions into state agencies, so there is no no vestige remaining of county government in Connecticut.)

The film makes reference to county prosecutors, but all state-level crimes in Connecticut are prosecuted by the State's Attorney, under the state Attorney General. There are county courthouses, but they are only designated that way for geographic convenience. Connecticut counties only exist on the map, and the only law enforcement agencies are the Connecticut State Police and municipal police departments. See more »

Quotes

Gus: [noticing John has wrapped half a roll of tape around Connie's mouth] Hey kid, that's enough.
John Chasseur: Are you sure this will hold?
See more »

Connections

References The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Christmas Comes But Once A Year
Written and Performed by Adam Roth
See more »

User Reviews

 
Lloyd and Lester
12 January 2005 | by abelardo64See all my reviews

Have you noticed? Lloyd, Kevin Spacey's character in "The Ref" is closely related to Lester, Kevin Spacey's character in "American Beauty" if you see both movies, back to back, you'll notice the astonishing similarities between the two. Twins? Maybe. If they are, or were, poor Lester, a lot of things will become immediately clear. To start with, he had Glynis Johns for a mother. Miss Jones creates such a frighteningly funny portrait of a castrating mother that Lester's emasculation is perfectly explained. Not to mention their choice of spouses, time bombs Judi Davis and Annette Bening This little piece of trivia will add, to the considerable pleasures of this delightful and underrated Ted Demme's dark fairy tale. The opening at the marriage counselor's office is just superb, I can see it endlessly, it never fails to make me laugh. Kevin Spacey and Judi Davis are a couple part Edward Albee part Terence Rattigan. They are priceless. Dennis Leary's energy is contagious and relentless. His best part to date. The clunky sub plot involving their son and, what it appears, like a hurried ending, doesn't spoil the fun. The writing by the brilliant Richard LaGravenesse and Marie Weiss is pure joy. Ideal to see with a bunch of friends.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 March 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Ref See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,044,097, 13 March 1994

Gross USA:

$11,439,193

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,439,193
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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