Adventures in Babysitting

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Adventures in Babysitting
Adventures In Babysitting.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chris Columbus
Produced by Debra Hill
Lynda Obst
Written by David Simkins
Starring Elisabeth Shue
Maia Brewton
Keith Coogan
Anthony Rapp
Music by Michael Kamen
Cinematography Ric Waite
Edited by Fredric Steinkamp
William Steinkamp
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates July 1, 1987
Running time 102 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $7 million
Box office $34,368,475

Adventures in Babysitting (also known as A Night on the Town in certain countries) is a 1987 American comedy film written by David Simkins, directed by Chris Columbus, and starring Elisabeth Shue, Maia Brewton, Keith Coogan, Anthony Rapp, Penelope Ann Miller, Bradley Whitford, and a brief cameo by blues singer/guitarist Albert Collins. Although it is set in Oak Park and Chicago, Illinois, with much of the action taking place in the city itself, the movie was filmed primarily in Toronto.


After her boyfriend, Mike Todwell (Bradley Whitford), cancels their anniversary date, 17-year-old Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue) volunteers to babysit for the Andersons' children, 15-year-old Brad (Keith Coogan), who is infatuated with Chris, and 8-year-old Sara (Maia Brewton), who is infatuated with the superhero Thor. However, she gets a frantic phone call from her friend Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller), who has run away from home, asking her to come pick her up after running out of money from the cab ride to the bus station. Throughout the film, Brenda's situation is interspersed with the rest of the film, showing her dealing with a bum who thinks a phone booth is his house, a homeless woman who steals her glasses, a hot dog vendor who demands payment only in cash, and her holding a stray cat, refusing to hand it over to animal control officers until they inform her that what she is holding is actually a sewer rat, which she cannot recognize due to her lack of eyeglasses. Chris takes Brad, Sara, and Brad's friend Daryl Coopersmith (Anthony Rapp) and sets out, but they get a flat tire, find the spare compartment empty, and become stranded on the expressway.

A friendly tow truck driver with a hook on one of his hands, "Handsome" John Pruitt (John Ford Noonan), realizing they are on their own in the city for the first time, offers to tow them to Dawson's Garage free of charge. En route to the garage, he gets a call on his CB saying that his wife is cheating on him and he heads home. The kids look away when Pruitt claims that he keeps his severed hand in his glove compartment, which in truth it contains his firearm, then a brief shootout ensues in which during the crossfire the windshield of Chris' family car is shattered. During their scramble to get away, the kids unwittingly climb into a Cadillac just as it is being hotwired by a professional car thief, Joe Gipp (Calvin Levels). Gipp promises to help them get out of the city but first he needs to get the car to his boss at a chop shop. Gipp's boss briefly detains the kids, then decides to leave them in his office as he has more important issues with his underlings. Daryl finds a Playboy magazine and steals it before they escape onto the building's roof; however, it contains incriminating notes, causing the crooks to chase after them. They stumble into a Blues club and are forced to sing about their ordeal by Albert Collins, receiving applause from the audience. Billy Branch plays himself as the harmonica player in this scene. After they have left, the car thieves are held up when they are forced to do the same thing.

The car thieves manage to once again catch up to the kids, but the four narrowly escape by stowing away aboard a Chicago 'L' train. Inside the near-empty train, Chris and the children become suddenly caught in the middle of a gang fight in which Brad is injured and taken to the hospital (Mercy Medical Center), where an Indian doctor first says Brad is dead, but embarrassingly then says he mixed up his patients and that Brad only fainted from the shock and that the doctor has easily patched up the knife wound, which only nicked Brad's foot. The group again encounters Pruitt, who is on the run due to his earlier fight. He tells Chris he took responsibility for the broken windshield, replacing that at his expense, but that his boss Dawson charged them $50 for a new tire and that he will keep the car until the debt is squared. They then come across a college fraternity party at Daryl almost gets into a fight with a jock whose lonely girlfriend attempts to make out with him. Chris encounters a fraternity member Dan Lynch (George Newbern), who is a gentleman to her, but only can offer Chris $45 towards her debt with Dawson. Dan then drives them to Dawson's garage.

In the garage, Dawson (Vincent D'Onofrio) is seen with a sledgehammer, which makes Sara believe he is Thor. Chris gives him Dan's cash, but he says that is insufficient to release the car. Sara says that Thor would not be stingy like that, and she gives him her plastic winged helmet, causing Dawson to reconsider and allowing Chris to reclaim the car. On their way through the city, they pass by the restaurant to where Mike was going to bring Chris on their date, and Daryl spots his car parked out front. She goes in to find him flirting with the sleazy Sesame Plexer. Furious, Chris yells at Mike, but when he insults her, Brad and Daryl shove him into a table full of food. Meanwhile, Sara wanders off and is spotted by Joe Gipp and Graydon, the underboss of the car theft ring. She is chased to the Crain Communications Building, where her parents are attending a party. Sara tries to find her parents to get to safety, but she ends up the unoccupied top floor, which is undergoing renovation. She then uses a rope to escape, but finds herself dangling precariously. Graydon goes out on the ledge in order to rescue Sara, but the intent of his rescue is to capture her to find out what happened to the crucial plans. At the last moment, Sara is rescued by Chris and Joe, who has turned on his bosses and is now convinced to go straight, joking to Chris that her babysitting job is tougher than anything he has done.

The group successfully picks up Brenda, whom Chris returns to her house, telling Brenda she just has to face her own problems with her family. The group then speeds back to the Anderson residence. Chris sends the kids upstairs while she quickly tidies up the mess left earlier in the day. She settles in just as Mr. and Mrs. Anderson walk in through the door. She goes up to say good night to the kids and they all thank each other for the greatest night of their lives. Brad, who is finally over his crush on Chris, tells her that if she sees him at school the next day and ignores him, he wouldn't be upset. But Chris says to him sweetly that she doesn't ignore her friends. As she leaves, Dan shows up to return Sara's skate which she had accidentally left behind, but notes that wasn't the only reason, and they share a kiss. Chris, who is watching from his bedroom window smiles and closes his curtains.

A post-credits scene shows Graydon still leaning against the side of the building, desperately waiting for rescue.



This was the first PG-13-rated film released by a Disney film division and was released as A Night on the Town in the United Kingdom. In the bus station scene with Brenda, the actor who portrayed the hot dog salesman originally improvised his line as "then I don't have a fucking wiener!" director Chris Columbus loved the line, but executives at Disney wanted to keep the picture more family-friendly, so the line was removed (although the word "fuck" is used twice in the final cut[1]). This scene was added to stretch out the bus station segments. It was not in the original script.

Bradley Whitford, who played Mike Todwell in the film, was actually 27 years old at the time of shooting in 1987. He was uncomfortable with the age difference, but Columbus put him at ease by allowing him to use his own Camaro in the movie. The car is later seen with Whitford's actual license plate "SO COOL."

Valerie Bertinelli was one of the actresses who auditioned for the role of Chris Parker.[2]


Home media[edit]

Adventures in Babysitting has been released on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray formats. In the United States, it received a VHS release by Touchstone Home Video on July 14, 1992.[3] It was released on DVD for the first time on January 18, 2000 by Touchstone Home Video.[4] A 25th anniversary edition Blu-ray was released August 7, 2012.

Although it may still be referred to as A Night on the Town on television airings in the United Kingdom, it has now been released in its original title. The VHS was released on October 21, 2002 in the United Kingdom by Cinema Club, it received a 15 certificate by the BBFC[5] for strong language and sexual references, it was previously released in an edited PG certificate for family viewing. It was released on DVD in the United Kingdom on May 31, 2004, again uncut like the 15 certificate VHS, it has been reduced to a 12 certificate.[6]


Critical response[edit]

The film has received positive reviews, and it currently earns a "fresh" 76% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 24 reviews.[7]

Box office[edit]

The movie was a box office success, earning more than $34 million on its $7 million budget.[8]

Television pilot[edit]

Adventures in Babysitting was adapted into an American television pilot[9] of the same name for CBS in 1989. It starred Jennifer Guthrie (who would later co-star on Parker Lewis Can't Lose with Maia Brewton) as Chris, Joey Lawrence as Brad, Courtney Peldon as Sara, Brian Austin Green as Daryl, and Ariana Mohit as Brenda. It was not picked up to series.


A remake was reportedly planned for release in 2012.[10] Disney Channel star Raven-Symoné was going to star in the remake, currently titled Further Adventures in Babysitting,[10] but decided to withdraw due to other projects. Miley Cyrus, who was rumored to be attached to the project, has also denied involvement.[11]

According to Variety, Tiffany Paulsen was writing the script.[10] However, it is presumed that the remake has now been scrapped.

In 2011, Jonah Hill starred in the film, The Sitter – which was loosely based off the same plot and storyline, but with more modernized content.[12]


  1. ^ Gang Leader: Don't fuck with the Lords of Hell. Chris: Don't fuck with the babysitter.
  2. ^ Bertinelli, Valerie, Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time (2008). Free Press.
  3. ^ "Adventures in Babysitting [VHS] (1987)". Retrieved September 22, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Adventures in Babysitting (1987)". Retrieved September 22, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Adventures in Babysitting [VHS]". Retrieved September 22, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Adventures In Babysitting". Retrieved September 22, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Adventures in Babysitting at Rottentomatoes". Retrieved June 29, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Weekend Box Office". The Los Angeles Times. July 14, 1987. Retrieved December 28, 2010. 
  9. ^ Adventures in Babysitting (1989) (TV)
  10. ^ a b c "Miley Cyrus to star in 'Adventures in Babysitting' sequel". Sun Times. July 25, 2008. [dead link]
  11. ^ Carroll, Larry (April 1, 2009). "Miley Cyrus Wants 'Edgy' Roles ...". MTV. Archived from the original on April 5, 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2009. "'Hannah Montana' star denies being cast in ... 'Adventures in Babysitting' remake" 
  12. ^

External links[edit]