6.9/10
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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 »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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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
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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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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
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Scurti plays Lt. Steve Milford went on to play Lt. Kenneth "Lou" Shea in Rescue Me along side Dennis Leary (Gus). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Caroline: How can we both be in the marriage and I'm miserable and you're content?
Lloyd: Luck?
See more »

Connections

References Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

It's Christmas, You're Drunk And You're In Jail
Written and Performed by Adam Roth
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hands Down our Favourite Dark Christmas Classic
15 September 2015 | by moondancerSee all my reviews

No Christmas would be complete without a viewing of The Ref, alongside our other fave, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. It features the wonderfully matched sniping of Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis as the couple on the rocks who ultimately learn to come together with the aid of the put-upon criminal ( a wonderful Denis Leary ) who is by far the sanest of the lot. Set this in the weirdly Disneyesque beauty of Niagara-on-the-Lake at Christmas ( yes it really looks like that ), throw in one of the best rants ever delivered in a movie, and you have a near perfect sugar-free Christmas classic. Careful though, it is addictive.


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