The Jerk (1979)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Carl Reiner directs Steve Martin (who co-wrote the script with Carl Gottlieb) in this gag-laden comedy about an idiotic white man, raised by a poor family of black sharecroppers, who doesn't realize he's not black. Navin R. Johnson (Steve Martin) is told the horrible truth when he finds himself instinctively tapping his feet to an easy listening tune on the radio, instead of a low-down blues. His mother (Mabel King) tells him he's white and Navin takes to the road (in a World War II bomber … More

Rating: R (adult situations/language)
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Steve Martin, Michael Elias, Carl Gottlieb
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 26, 2005
Universal Pictures


as Navin Johnson

as Marie Kimball

as Patty Bernstein

as Mother

as Stan Fox

as Harry Hartounian

as Hobart

as Himself

as Elvira

as Punk No. 1

as Blues Singer

as Blues Singer

as Bank Manager

as Father De Cordoba

as Iron Balls McGinty

as Announcer

as Carnival Rube

as Tillie

as Voodoo Dancer

as French Waiter

as Con Man

as Disco Party

as Disco Party

as Grandma Johnson

as Grandma Johnson
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Jerk

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Critic Reviews for The Jerk

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (5)

Its humor is successful and unsuccessful by turns, and although Comedian Carl Reiner is the director, the instinct here is to give most of both credit and blame to Martin.

Full Review… | February 2, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

An artless, non-stop barrage of off-the-wall situations, funny and unfunny jokes, generally effective and sometimes hilarious sight gags and bawdy non sequiturs.

Full Review… | February 2, 2009
Top Critic

The comedy runs out of steam when the jerk makes good, but laugh for laugh it's probably a better investment than 10.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

We get the sense at times that the cast and crew arrived at a location, found the script bankrupt of real laughs, and started looking around for funny props.

Full Review… | July 5, 2005
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

The laughs aren't steady, but they're persistent, and the film moves fast enough to compensate for its unevenness.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

An oddball odyssey so strange, filled with non-sequiturs so funny, and decorated by a romance so sweet, it was an inevitable star-maker.

Full Review… | December 12, 2012

Audience Reviews for The Jerk


i feel like this film gets funnier to me every time i watch it. martin and peters are both in top form. one of my favorite comedies of all time.

danny d

Super Reviewer

Few movies can stand the test of time like this one!! Love me some Steve Martin!

Thomas Johnston

Super Reviewer


A genius exercise in the absurd that's also a watchable comedy. Truly a classic. Acting's a little weak and it has to get a little cheesy in order for there to be a resolution, but this is a can't-miss movie that had me howling.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

The Jerk Quotes

– Submitted by Rob M (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Miles G (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)

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