Christmas Specials Wiki
Christmas Specials Wiki

The Ref (a.k.a. Hostile Hostages in some countries) is an Christmas-themed black comedy film, directed by Ted Demme, executive produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer (under their Buena Vista deal of the time) starring Denis Leary, Judy Davis and Kevin Spacey, that was released in theaters through the Touchstone Pictures label on March 11, 1994.


In a charming Connecticut village, Lloyd and Caroline Chasseur are in marriage counseling on Christmas Eve; the session does not go well and their problems become evident. Caroline has had an affair, and Lloyd is miserable and blames the problems with their 14-year-old son, Jesse, on his wife. (She coddles and protects him and thinks he does no wrong, while he continues to treat him like the criminal he turns out to really be.) The marriage counselor Dr. Wong, tries to get them to open up, but, behaving professionally, he refuses to intercede on either side.

Meanwhile, a criminal named Gus is in the midst of stealing jewelry from a safe in a home he has broken into; however, he accidentally sets off the alarm, a trap door opens and he lands in the basement. Only after he is bitten on the leg by a guard dog is Gus able to escape the house, but his getaway car, driven by his bumbling, alcoholic partner Murray, is no longer there. Then he runs into Lloyd and Caroline. Holding a gun on them, Gus orders the couple to drive him to their house. Along the way Caroline and Lloyd continue to argue, with Gus beginning to act as a referee and repeatedly telling them to shut up.

At the house, Lloyd and Caroline continue to argue. Knowing full well that Murray will seek refuge at a seedy bar, Gus calls the bar and describes Murray to the bartender. He tells Murray to steal a boat for their getaway. Jesse comes home and discovers his parents tied up. Jesse is unhappy, forced to attend military school, and has been blackmailing a commanding officer there named Siskel with photographs of an affair, and is also in possession of a baby Jesus from their town's nativity scene for unknown reasons (which is discovered by Gus when snooping around the house after Caroline denies Jesse had anything to do with it to him). He prefers Gus to his parents, but Gus, despite claiming earlier to Lloyd that his life as a criminal is more meaningful than Lloyd's seemingly pampered life is, explains to Jesse that his life isn't all as great as he thinks it might be.

Meanwhile, police set up roadblocks and set a curfew to help look for Gus, while two inept officers go door to door. Lt. Huff, the chief at the local precinct is less than concerned over it because nothing like this ever happens there. However, Huff does obtain video footage of Gus in action, but while taking a call, his bumbling officers accidentally record over the footage trying to change the channel back to the movie they were watching; It's a Wonderful Life. Due to this and his lax attitude over the whole thing, he is later informed by Bob, a councilman, that his officers are to report to him and that he is fired the day after Christmas. However, his joy is crushed when Lt. Huff informs him that he slept with his wife once while out of town, and was a better lover than he was.

Another side story is a neighbor dressed as Santa named George. He comes by to deliver a fruitcake to the Chasseurs, then goes off to a Christmas party to hand out gifts, but eventually gets belligerent with the kids and winds up so drunk he is kicked out of the party.

Lloyd's family is en route for the holidays. It includes his brother Gary, sister-in-law Connie, their two children Mary and John, and Lloyd’s mother Rose, who is extremely wealthy and bullies everyone in the family. Gus pretends to be Lloyd's and Caroline's marriage counselor, Dr. Wong, since he cannot hold everyone hostage. Jesse is tied up and gagged upstairs in his parents' closet. Caroline and Lloyd are unable to stop fighting, and Caroline demands a divorce. Gus' pointed comments goad Lloyd to finally find the guts to stand up to his wife and his mother. Everyone finds out who Gus really is after Rose attempts to go upstairs; Gus puts a gun to her head and Connie, fed up with everybody, says, "Shoot her."

Siskel turns up to reveal how he is being blackmailed. Jesse has managed to untie himself and is discovered with his hidden money. Then George, still dressed as Santa, returns, very drunk, wondering why he never gets a gift in return. He spots the gun, realizes who Gus is, then runs at him, only to get knocked out. The state police arrive and Lloyd, having a change of heart decides he cannot "spend his life sending everyone he cares about to prison" and tells Jesse to take Gus to the docks using a path through the woods. Gus steals the Santa suit and makes it safely to the boat. He escapes, arguing with Murray much the same way he argued all night with Caroline and Lloyd.

Back at home, the couple's bickering even drives away the police. Having aired out their differences throughout the evening with their armed robber's assistance, they make up and decide to stay together and kiss. Their reconciliation is interrupted when John informs them that "grandma Rose is eating through her gag."


Title(s) Performed by
"The Holly and the Ivy"
  • Charles Thompson (arr.)
  • Richard Harvey (arr.)
"Please Come Home for Christmas" Lou Ann Barton
"A Holly Jolly Christmas" Burl Ives
"Get a Life" David A. Stewart
  • "Christmas Comes But Once A Year"
  • "It's Christmas, You're Drunk and You're in Jail"
Adam Roth
"You Put the X in Christmas" The Nuff Bros. Band
"Tomorrow We Live"
"Blue Christmas" Joyce Cobb
Nat 'King' Cole
"Welcome to the Suburbs" Shara Nelson
"Broken Circles" Ke Grivois


Actor(s)/actress(es) Character(s)
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 John
Ellie Raab Mary
Bill Raymond George
John Scurti Steve
Jim Turner Phil
Herbie Ade Bartender
Ron Gabriel Limo Driver
Scott Walker Prosecutor
Edward Saxon Reporter
Donna Holgate Newscaster
Kenneth Utt Jeremiah Willard
Marilyn Stonehouse Store Cashier
Victoria Mitchell Store Customer
Cort Day Salvation Army Volunteer
Robert Ridgely Bob Burley
Charles Kerr
Derek Keurvorst
Caroline Yeager
Town Citizens
J.K. Simmons Siskel
Max Piersig
Victor Erdos
John Benjamin Hickey
James Burke
Chris Phillips
Stephen Hunter
Old Baybrook Policemen
Arthur Nascarella
Vincent Pastore
Tony Craig
Robert Collins
Peter Krantz
Robert Kroonenberg
Philip Akin
State Troopers
Mairlyn Smith
Richard Blackburn
Mark Cregan
John E. Campbell
Cecilley Carroll
Santa Family #1
Denise Pidgeon
Chas Lawther
Lance Paton
Santa Family #2
Timm Zemanek
Jane Moffet
Jacelyn Holmes
Santa Family #3
Grace Church On the Hill Boys Choir Themselves
Rutanya Alda Linda
Matt Birman Driving Cop
BD Song Dr. Wong (Marriage Counselor)

External links

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The Walt Disney Company
Animated shorts
Empty SocksMickey's OrphansSanta's WorkshopMickey's Good DeedThe Night Before ChristmasBroken ToysToy TinkersPluto's Christmas TreeThe Small OneMickey's Christmas Carol • "Jingle Bells, Something Smells" • "The Nutcracker" • "Mickey's Mixed Nuts" • "Mickey's Christmas Chaos" • Operation: Secret Santa • "Oh, Christmas Tree!" • "The Lights Before Christmas" • "Tinsle Tussle"
Animated Christmas JollitiesThe Nightmare Before ChristmasBeauty and the Beast: The Enchanted ChristmasMickey's Once Upon a ChristmasWinnie the Pooh: Seasons of GivingMickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of MouseRecess Christmas: Miracle on Third StreetA Very Merry Pooh YearMickey's Twice Upon a Christmas . Disney Princess: A Christmas of EnchantmentMy Friends Tigger & Pooh: Super Sleuth Christmas MovieA Christmas CarolMarvel Super Hero Adventures: Frost Fight!
Live-action Babes in ToylandOne Magic ChristmasThe Christmas StarErnest Saves ChristmasA Mom For ChristmasIn the Nick of TimeThe Muppet Christmas CarolThe RefThe Santa ClauseThe Preacher's WifeThe Christmas TreeI'll Be Home For ChristmasSanta Who?The Ultimate Christmas Present 'Twas the NightThe Santa Clause 2Eloise at ChristmastimeThe Santa Clause 3: The Escape ClauseSanta BuddiesThe Search for Santa PawsGood Luck Charlie, It's Christmas!Santa Paws 2: The Santa PupsThe Nutcracker and the Four RealmsNoelleGodmotheredMarley
Television specials and episodes
Television specials "A Present for Donald" • "From All of Us to All of You" • A Disney Christmas GiftA Disney Channel ChristmasWinnie the Pooh and Christmas TooA Goof Troop ChristmasPhineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation!Prep & LandingMickey's Christmas SpecialPrep & Landing: Naughty vs. NiceToy Story That Time ForgotDuck the HallsOlaf's Frozen Adventure
Television episodes Disney Television Animation "Jolly Molly Christmas" • "It's a Wonderful Leaf" • "Miracle at the 34th Precinct" • "Doug's Secret Christmas" • "A Christmas Cruella" • "Yes, Mikey, Santa Does Shave" • "Don't Be Elfish" • "A Kosher Christmas" • "A Dog for All Seasons" • "The Worst Holiday Ever" • "Holiday Time" • "Seven Days of Kwanzaa" • "Cheery Theerlap, Lloyd" • "The Blight Before Christmas" • "Pete's Christmas Caper" • "Clarabelle's Christmas List" • "Happy Holidays, Mr. Gruff!" • "A Very Possible Christmas" • "Topper" • "On Whiskers, On Lola, On Cheryl and Meryl" • "Hairy Christmas" • "A Giftmas Story" • "Season's Beatings" • "Dick Daring's All-Star Holiday Stunt Spectacular 5" • "Stitch and Santa" • "A Phineas and Ferb Family Christmas" • "A Cousin Kyle Christmas" • "Merry Fishmas, Milo" • "The Gift" • "Gingersnaps and Grumpy Snaps" / "Jollybells" • "Future-Worm and the 54 Days of Snordfest" • "Stump Day" / "Holiday Spellcial" • "A Christmas Peril" • "Tree Lighting" • "A Merry Mocap Musical" • "Last Christmas!" • "The Present" • "Green Christmas" • "How Santa Stole Christmas!" • "Froggy Little Christmas" • "Saving Christmas"
Playhouse Disney / Disney Junior "The Wishing Tree" • "Little Dog Lost" • "A Circus Town Christmas" • "Twinkle's Wish" • "The Christmas Wish " • "A Very Handy Holiday" • "The Wind-Up Toy Prince" • "Mickey Saves Santa" • "The Night Before Zipsmas / A Gift For Zooter" • "Flicker Saves Christmas" • "The Ayalas' Christmas Extravaganza" • "The Living Holiday Lights" • "It's a Winter Never Land!" • "A Very McStuffins Christmas" • "Holiday in Enchancia" • "Captain Scrooge" • "Winter's Gift" • "Toby's Christmas Critter / A Very Tricky Christmas" • " Navidad" • "The Mystic Isles: A Very Mystic Wassailia" • "Timon and Pumbaa's Christmas" • "Happy Hot Diggity Dog Holiday!" • "Happy Holiday Helpers" • "A Very Pug Christmas" • "The Latke Kerfuffle" • "A Very Muppet Babies Christmas" • "Summer's Super Fabulous Holiday Surprise" • "A Santa for Bob" • The Doc McStuffins Christmas Special • "Nanpire and Grandpop the Greats" • "Snow Place Like Home" • "Nancy and the Nice List" • "A Gargoyle Carol" • "The Lights Before Christmas" • "Elves for a Day" • "Festival of Lights" • "Tinsle Tussle" • "Santa Baby" • "The Fright Before Christmas" • "Merry Chickmas" • "It's a Wonderful Elf-bot" / "A Merry Litter Christmas"
Touchstone / ABC Signature "How the Super Stole Christmas" • "A Very Special Clone High Snowflake Day Special"
Marvel Animation (post-2009) "Nightmare on Christmas" • "It's a Wonderful Smash" • "Jingle Bell Rock" • "The Moon Knight Before Christmas" • "A Very Spidey Christmas"
Television specials The Walt Disney Christmas ShowChristmas at Pooh CornerA Magic Kingdom Yuletide SpecialThe Disney Christmas SpecialMickey's NutcrackerDisney's Christmas Fantasy on IceA Muppets Christmas: Letters to SantaGood Luck Jessie: NYC ChristmasJessie's Aloha Holidays with Parker & JoeyDisney Channel Fa-La-La-Lidays Celebrates a Radio Disney Family HolidayDisney Holiday Magic QuestChallenge Accepted! Disney Channel’s Epic Holiday ShowdownDisney Channel Holiday House Party
Television episodes Walt Disney Television "Christmas at the Circus" • "Christmas in Wonderland" • "Refrigerator Day" • "A Roman Holiday" • "Fountain" • "Happy Holidays" • "Heck of a Hanukkah" • "Xtreme Xmas" • "Escape Claus" • "Christmas at the Tipton" • "Christmas Break" • "Killing Me Softly With His Height" • "Present Problem" • "Happy Ha-Ha Holidays" • "A So Random! Holiday Special" • "A London Carol" • "Bro Ho Ho" • "So Random! Episode 18" • "Pair of Santas" • "sANTa's Little Helpers" • "Christmas Story" • "Jingle It Up" • "A Little Elf Esteem" • "A Duncan Christmas" • "Bark! The Herald Angels Sing" • "Merry Merry It Up" • "Oh, Christmas Nuts!" • "Big Dreams & Big Apples" • "Nanny in Miami" • "Fa La La La-A-Rooney" • "Mix-Ups & Mistletoes" • "Twas the Mission Before Christmas" • "silANT night" • "Twas the Fight Before Christmas" • "Girl Meets Home for the Holidays" • "Stan Steals Christmas" • "Merry Miss Sis" • "Secret Santa" • "Twas the Fight Before Christmas" • "The Girls of Christmas Past" • "Santas & Surprises" • "Joy-to-a-Rooney" • "Single All the Way" • "Cali Christmas-A-Rooney" • "Girl Meets a Christmas Maya" • "How the Griff Stole Christmas" • "Holly Holly Not So Jolly" • "The Christmas Curse" • "Agh, Humbug" • "Stuck at Christmas" • "A Killer Robot Christmas" • "Would You Wrather Get a Moose Angry?" • "Holiday Video Sketchtacular " • "Bah Humbugged " • "Merry Christmas Mr. Gooch " • "It's Christmas, Gabby Duran " • "Would You Wrather Lose Your Presents? " • "Summer Winter Wonderland " • "How the Syd Stole Christmas"
Touchstone / ABC Signature "It's a Marginal Life" • "Yule Better Watch Out" • "I'm Scheming of a White Christmas" • "Santa's Little Helper" • "'Twas the Blight Before Christmas" • "Some Like It Hot Rod" • "'Twas the Night Before Chaos" • "'Twas the Flight Before Christmas" • "Easy Street" • "Bright Christmas" • "A Very Topanga Christmas" • "Home for the Holidays" • "An According to Jiminy Christmas" • "Spirit" • "One Office Party Too Many" • "The Christmas Party" • "Secret Santa" • "Silent Night, Opening Night" • "Stalking Santa" • "Aru-Bah Humbug" • "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" • "The Gift of Maggie" • "Christmas Time" • "Light the Lights" • "The Miracle Song" • "Fake Plastic Snow" • "The Nutcracker" • "Two for the Money" • "Holidaze" • "Boom Crunch" • "Cold Turkey"
A Family ChristmasDisney's Merry Christmas CarolsMickey's Christmas Around the WorldAriel's Christmas Under the SeaA Pooh ChristmasThe Twelve Days of ChristmasDisney's Christmas CollectionDisney's Christmas Collection IIDisney's Family Christmas CollectionDisney's Snowy Christmas . Disney Santa Sing-AlongDisney's Princess Christmas AlbumDisney's Merry Little ChristmasA Green and Red ChristmasDisney's Holiday Celebration 2007Disney Channel HolidayDisney Holiday Magic 2009Disney Winter Wonderland 2010Phineas and Ferb Holiday FavoritesMickey's Magical Holiday 2011Disney Channel Holiday PlaylistHolidays Unwrapped . A Very Merry Disney Christmas . Disney Junior Holiday Hits . ICON: Disney Holiday . Disney Junior Holiday Hits 2 . Disney Christmas Magic
Disney Parks Christmas Day ParadeThe Magic of Christmas at DisneylandThe Magic of Christmas at Walt Disney WorldDis the Season25 Days of Christmas