Dallas: J.R. Returns

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Dallas: J.R. Returns
Dallas JR Returns VHS cover.jpg.png
UK VHS cover
Based on Characters created by David Jacobs
Written by Arthur Bernard Lewis
Screenplay by Leonard Katzman
Directed by Leonard Katzman
Starring Rosalind Allen
Christopher Demetral
Patrick Duffy
Linda Gray
Larry Hagman
Omri Katz
Deborah Kellner
George Kennedy
Ken Kercheval
Audrey Landers
Tracy Scoggins
Theme music composer Jerrold Immel
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Lee Rich
Leonard Katzman
Rich Heller
Larry Hagman (co-executive producer)
Patrick Duffy (co-executive producer)
Cinematography Don Reddy
Editor(s) Fred W. Berger
Running time 120 minutes
Production company(s) Warner Bros. Television
Eagle Point Production
Olive Productions
Original network CBS
Original release November 15, 1996 (1996-11-15)
Preceded by Dallas
Followed by Dallas: War of the Ewings

Dallas: J.R. Returns is a 1996 made-for-television film and is the first of two Dallas reunion films, produced after the series went off the air in 1991.[1] It originally aired on CBS on November 15, 1996,[2] and was rerun as part of TV Land's salute to 50 years of Warner Bros. Television.

Plot summary[edit]

The cliffhanger ending of the 1991 Dallas series finale is resolved 26 minutes into the movie. The gunshot J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) fired was at the mirror, not himself (despite there being no sound of shattered glass when he pulled the trigger).

Several years later, J.R. is in Europe, while Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) lives at Southfork alone with his son Christopher (Christopher Demetral), happily out of the oil business, and Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval) now owns Ewing Oil, relishing the fact that he finally beat J.R.

However, things aren't as cheery as they may seem. Bobby, conscious of the fact that Southfork is now almost empty, considers selling it. Meanwhile, Cliff, weary of the oil business, decides that after all the trouble he and J.R. went through during their rivalry, he wants to try to regain whatever he lost in it. Cliff concludes that the best way to do so is to sell Ewing Oil to Weststar Oil, a giant Oil conglomerate headed by J.R.'s other nemesis, Carter McKay (George Kennedy). McKay promises that Weststar will incorporate Ewing Oil's assets into his company, and Ewing Oil will cease to exist. J.R. hears this and decides to try to regain his position. He appeals to Bobby to get back in business together and buy Ewing Oil back but is rebuffed. J.R. arranges for Afton (Audrey Landers) to be put in a sanitarium so Cliff can't find her.

After a surprise trip to Ewing Oil where he taunts a rattled Cliff, J.R. learns of a provision in Jock Ewing's will where Jock left J.R.'s son, John Ross (Omri Katz), stock in the computer company Cyberbyte, which now has a value of $200,000,000. The provision states that John Ross is only to receive this stock upon the death of his father. However, since John Ross is living in Europe and is unaware of his inheritance, J.R. decides to sell some of this stock and buy shares to take over Weststar. He sells the stock portfolio and buys a controlling stake in Weststar Oil. To cover his tracks, J.R. rebuys the stock and reinstates the provision, saying that if anyone finds out about the incident, he will claim that they were released to John Ross Ewing, Jr. (J.R.) instead of his son (full name John Ross Ewing III) in a clerical error.

To set this in motion, he fakes his death in a car accident and has his attorney "accidentally" put the shares in his name instead of his son's. Thinking that J.R. has died, Bobby holds a memorial service, with John Ross and Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) attending and Cliff in quiet celebration, believing he's won the ultimate victory over J.R....until J.R. returns to Southfork. He claims to have been kidnapped and escaped. Sly is disgusted and resigns as J.R's assistant.

In the final moments of the show, J.R. is the majority shareholder in Weststar, and he uses that clout to force McKay to back out of buying Ewing Oil. McKay says that Cliff sold Ewing Oil to someone else already. After being sent a letter notifying him of his daughter's whereabouts, Cliff decided that finding his family is more important than beating J.R., but Bobby figured out a way that Cliff can have both, and he bought Ewing Oil. Bobby later realizes that he was tricked back into the oil business by J.R. who knew getting Bobby off Southfork would force him not to sell. J.R. maneuvered the board to remove McKay as Chairman of Weststar and for himself to take his place.

An unhappy Bobby sells half of the company to his new partner, Sue Ellen Ewing. J.R. appears shocked and crushed. Bobby, Sue Ellen, and Cliff believe they pulled one more over on J.R. A drunken and bitter Sly (Deborah Rennard) had tipped off Sue Ellen that J.R. faked his own death. Sue Ellen suspected this all along and was neither surprised or even that angry but felt that J.R needed to be taught a lesson. Cliff, meanwhile, greets Afton and their daughter Pamela (Deborah Kellner) outside the sanitarium after Afton is released and they leave to be a family.

In the last scene, John Ross asks J.R. why he is smiling even though he lost Ewing Oil to Bobby and Sue Ellen. J.R. points out that Bobby is back in the oil business and is no longer going to sell Southfork. Ewing Oil is back in Ewing hands while J.R. is now Chairman of the Board at Weststar Oil. Sue Ellen is back at Southfork to stay, and John Ross will remain in Dallas to learn the oil business from J.R. John Ross realizes that his father planned everything to work out this way. JR's last words are, "You see, John Ross? You're learning already."


Dallas: J.R. Returns was a ratings success for the CBS Network, and ranked 14th place for the week it was shown, with a 13.4 rating.[3] Its success prompted Warner Bros. to produce a reunion miniseries for the Dallas spin-off series Knots Landing (entitled Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac) in 1997. A second Dallas TV movie, War of the Ewings, was produced in 1998.


As with War of the Ewings (1998), the events depicted in J.R. Returns are ignored for the revival series, which premiered on TNT in 2012.


Starring in alphabetical order
Guest Stars

DVD release[edit]

Warner Home Video released Dallas: J.R. Returns on DVD April 12, 2011 as part of the Dallas: The Movie Collection 2-disc set.[4]


  1. ^ Mink, Eric (14 November 1996). "J.R. Reprises That Ol' 'Dallas' Malice". Daily News (New York). Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 24 September 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: Dallas: J.r. Returns". November 11, 1996. Retrieved 2013-04-19. 
  3. ^ Curran, Barbara A. (2003). 25 Years of Dallas. United States: VBW Publishing. p. 369. ISBN 1-58939-583-2. 
  4. ^ Lambert, David (8 February 2011). "Dallas - Package Art - Front and Rear - Finally Arrives for 'The Movie Collection' DVDs". TVShowsOnDVD.Com. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 

External links[edit]