The Jerk (1979)

R   |    |  Comedy

The Jerk (1979) Poster

A simpleminded, sheltered country boy suddenly decides to leave his family home to experience life in the big city, where his naivete is both his best friend and his worst enemy.




  • Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters in The Jerk (1979)
  • Steve Martin and Carl Reiner in The Jerk (1979)
  • Steve Martin and Bill Macy in The Jerk (1979)
  • Steve Martin in The Jerk (1979)
  • Steve Martin in The Jerk (1979)
  • Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters in The Jerk (1979)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

7 April 2004 | jc1305us
Dont trust whitey, see a doctor and get rid of it!
The Jerk (1979) stars Steve Martin as Navin R Johnson, the adopted son of

black sharecroppers...problem is, he has no idea he's adopted! Some really

funny scenes, especially with Jackie Mason, M Emmit Walsh, and the girl at the circus...Bernadette Peters looks GREAT btw...Its a shame Steve Martin is "Mr. Serious" now, would love him to make a screwball comedy again...mindless fun, with some very funny lines "You should not call that dog lifesaver, you should call him sh*thead!" worth checking out... Recomended

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Did You Know?


The production notes on the DVD state that a Klieg-lighted world premiere of the film's trailer was held in the spring of 1979. The trailer came in under budget and on schedule,saving the studio $110 and about 200 feet of film. Newspaper ads declared that the show would run from 8.00 pm to 8.02 pm and that no one would be admitted to the screening after the first six seconds.


Navin R. Johnson: Huh? I am *not* a bum. I'm a jerk. I once had wealth, power, and the love of a beautiful woman. Now I only have two things: my friends, and... uh... my thermos. Huh? My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. I remember...


The telephone is visibly off the hook when Navin runs toward the garage to call in the stolen credit card.

Crazy Credits

Pig Eye Jackson - Cat Juggler (Steve Martin)

Alternate Versions

Other TV prints simply edit the theatrical release which omit Navin "spinning" at the amusement park, the Texas millionaire scene, and Navin's extra line to Mr. Hartounian at the gas station: "You'll pay me $1.10 if I work here an hour?" No conversation between Navin and the man with the "unpleasant photographs" exists in this version. Suggested sexual dialogue by Patty when he is visiting her trailer is often left intact. Navin's dog is simply named "Head" in this version. Billy's profane T-shirt is not obstructed by camera angles; the offensive word is whited-out.


Pick A Bale Of Cotton
Sung by
Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee (as Brownie McGee)
Words and Music by Leadbelly (as Huddie Ledbetter)
Collected and Adapted by John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,935,025 16 December 1979

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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