Uncle Buck

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This article is about the original film. For its spin-off TV series, see Uncle Buck (TV series).
Uncle Buck
Uncle buck.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Hughes
Produced by John Hughes
Tom Jacobson
Tristin Rogerson-Dolley
Written by John Hughes
Starring John Candy
Amy Madigan
Music by Ira Newborn
Cinematography Ralf D. Bode
Edited by Lou Lombardo
Tony Lombardo
Peck Prior
Hughes Entertainment
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • August 16, 1989 (1989-08-16)
Running time 99 Minutes
Country  United States
Language English
Budget $15 million
Box office $79,258,538

Uncle Buck is a 1989 John Hughes comedy film starring John Candy and Amy Madigan, with Jean Louisa Kelly, Gaby Hoffmann, Macaulay Culkin, Jay Underwood, and Laurie Metcalf in supporting roles.


Bob Russell, his wife Cindy, and their three kids, Tia, Miles, and Maizy, have recently moved from Indianapolis to the Chicago suburbs because of Bob's promotion. Tia resents her parents for the move. Late one night, Cindy and Bob receive a phone call from Indianapolis informing them that Cindy's father has suffered a heart attack. The couple makes plans to leave Chicago immediately to be with him. After hearing the news, Tia accuses Cindy of abandoning her own father.

Bob suggests asking his brother Buck (Candy) to come watch the children, to which Cindy objects. While Bob and Cindy are upper middle-class suburbanites, Buck is unemployed, lives in an apartment downtown, and earns his living by betting on rigged horse races. Buck's girlfriend Chanice (Madigan), owns a car repair business. Since no one else is available to help them, Bob and Cindy have no choice but turn to Buck, who agrees to help.

Buck hits it off with Miles and Maizy, but Tia is standoffish, and the two engage in a battle of wills. When Buck meets Tia's boyfriend, Bug (Underwood), he warns his niece that Bug is only interested in her for sex. Buck repeatedly thwarts her plans. Over the next several days, Buck deals with a number of situations, including taking the kids to his favorite bowling alley, making over-sized pancakes for Miles' birthday, dealing with a drunk clown, speaking with the school assistant principal about Maizy, and handling the laundry when the washing machine will not work.

When Buck threatens Bug with a hatchet in an attempt to "bury the hatchet" with him, Tia gets back at Buck by making his girlfriend think he is cheating on her with their neighbor (Metcalf). One weekend, concerned after Tia sneaks away to a party, Buck decides to go looking for her rather than go to a horse race (he went so far as to taking Miles and Maizy, but changes his mind at the last second). Buck calls Chanice to come over and look after the little kids as he goes to get Tia. At the party, thinking that Bug is taking advantage of Tia in a bedroom at the party, Buck forces the door open, but walks in on Bug with another girl. Buck ties up Bug and throws him into the trunk of his car. After finding Tia, she apologizes to Buck and reveals she left the party earlier because he tried to take advantage of her. Tia refused and she left to return home. Buck lets Bug out of the trunk to apologize to Tia. When he is finally released, Bug takes back the apology and flees. Buck then begins striking him with golf balls, making Bug recant and apologize again. At home, Tia helps Buck reconcile with Chanice.

Bob and Cindy return from Indianapolis; Cindy's father had survived the heart attack. Upon entering the house, Tia hugs her mother which surprises her, then returns the hug. She then says to Bob that things are going to be different from now on. Buck and Chanice leave that day to head back to Chicago, with Buck and Tia giving each other a friendly wave goodbye.



Uncle Buck was the first film directed, written, and produced by John Hughes under a multi-picture agreement deal with Universal. Filming began on January 4, 1989 in Chicago. The company decided to keep the production facilities and locations as close as possible. The vacant New Trier High School in Northfield, Illinois was chosen for the production facility. Three of its gyms were converted into sound stages on which several sets were constructed including the two-leveled interior of the Russell House, Buck's bedroom, a corridor in the elementary school, the boy's toilets, the principal's office, a classroom and several smaller sets. The school was also equipped to suit the needs of the cast and crew behind-the-scenes, classrooms for the young actors, offices, dressing rooms, wardrobe department, editing facilities, a special effects shop, equipment storage areas, and a projection booth. Production designer John Corso began designing the sets in October 1988 and within seven weeks his construction crew of twelve carpenters and five painters began work on the two levels of the Russell house. A colonial-style house in Evanston was chosen for the exterior of the Russell house. The exteriors and practical locations were shot in Chicago, Cicero, Skokie, Northbrook, Wilmette, Winnetka, Glencoe, and Riverwoods.


Uncle Buck received positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes has a given the film a "Fresh" score of 64%, based on 21 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10.[1] The film earned $8.8 million on its opening weekend to 1,804 theatres and was placed No. 1 at the box office.[2]

Television series[edit]

A television series named Uncle Buck was broadcast on CBS in 1990. It starred Kevin Meaney as Buck, a slob who drinks and smokes. When his brother and sister-in-law die in a car accident, Buck is named as the guardian of Tia, Miles, and Maizy. The show was not received well by TV critics. After it was moved to Friday, in an attempt by CBS to establish a comedy night there, the shows ratings quickly plummeted and it was canceled.


Main article: Uncle Bun

In 1991, Uncle Buck was remade in Malayalam language and released as Uncle Bun.[3]

Home media release[edit]

The movie was released on VHS in 1989, and on DVD in 1998 and 2003. On August 26, 2008, it appeared on the DVD box-set "John Candy Comedy Favorites Collection," along with The Great Outdoors (1988) and Going Berserk (1983). On February 8, 2011, it was released on Blu-ray Disc for the first time, and released again on June 28, 2011 on Blu-ray with a DVD and a digital copy.


  1. ^ "Uncle Buck (1989)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 22, 2011. 
  2. ^ "'Uncle Buck' Is No. 1 At the Movie Box Office". The New York Times. August 23, 1989. Retrieved October 22, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Uncle Bun". Wikipedia. 

External links[edit]