The Ref

Last Updated on: June 26th, 2024

The Ref (Touchstone Movie)

“The Ref” is a black comedy film released in 1994, directed by Ted Demme. The movie stars Denis Leary as Gus, a cat burglar who gets caught while robbing a house, and Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis as Lloyd and Caroline Chasseur, a bickering couple living in the house.

The story takes place on Christmas Eve when Gus takes Lloyd and Caroline hostage after his botched burglary attempt. Hoping to find refuge and a way out of town, Gus plans to use the couple as a cover. However, he quickly finds himself in the middle of their dysfunctional and chaotic family gathering.

As the night unfolds, Gus becomes the reluctant mediator in the Chasseur family’s heated arguments and resentments. Amid the comedic clashes and misunderstandings, Gus’s presence forces the family to confront their issues and come to terms with their dysfunctional dynamics.

“The Ref” is known for its sharp and witty dialogue, dark humor, and the brilliant comedic performances of Denis Leary, Kevin Spacey, and Judy Davis. The film satirizes the tensions and conflicts that can arise during the holiday season, and it offers a unique take on the Christmas movie genre.

While “The Ref” was not a major box office success upon its release, it has since gained a cult following and is celebrated for its clever script and hilarious performances. The film remains a touchstone for fans of dark comedies and those seeking a humorous and unconventional holiday movie that puts a satirical spin on family gatherings.

Additional Details


  • Denis Leary: Gus
  • Judy Davis: Caroline
  • Kevin Spacey: Lloyd
  • Robert J. Steinmiller Jr.: Jesse
  • Glynis Johns: Rose
  • Raymond J. Barry: Lt. Huff
  • Richard Bright: Murray
  • Christine Baranski: Connie
  • Adam LeFevre: Gary
  • Phillip Nicoll: John
  • Ellie Raab: Mary
  • Bill Raymond: George
  • John Scurti: Lt. Steve Milford
  • Jim Turner: Phil
  • Ron Gabriel: Limo Driver
  • Edward Saxon: Mike Michaels
  • Kenneth Utt: Jeremiah Willard
  • Robert Ridgely: Bob Burley
  • J.K. Simmons: Siskel
  • B.D. Wong: Marriage Counselor Dr. Wong


  • Director: Ted Demme
  • Producers: Ron Bozman, Richard LaGravenese and Jeffrey Weiss
  • Writers: Richard LaGravenese and Marie Weiss
  • Music: David Steward

Movie Trailer:

About the Author

Craig Smith
I am founder and editor of My passion for all things Disney goes pretty far back to my first trip to Walt Disney World in the mid-80's. I have since returned to the magical place more than 20 times. I started this site when I came to the realization that I spent a significant portion of my day reading articles about Disney and watching Disney content with my 8-year old, so it made sense that I would start sharing some of what I read and see and building a little community around it. Other interests include 80's nostalgia, vintage toys, video games, LEGO, Star Wars and tech gadgets. Other site isDMR.