Uncle Buck is a 1989 American comedy film directed by John Hughes, starring John Candy, Amy Madigan, Jean Louisa Kelly, Gaby Hoffmann, Macaulay Culkin, Jay Underwood & Laurie Metcalf.


Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

Bob & Cindy Russell and their three kids, 15-year-old Tia (Jean Louisa Kelly), 8-year-old Miles (Macaulay Culkin) and 6-year-old Maizy (Gaby Hoffmann) have recently moved from Indianapolis, Indiana to the Chicago, Illinois suburbs because of Bob's promotion. Tia resents her parents for the move.

Late one night, they receive a phone call from Indianapolis informing them that Cindy's father has suffered a heart attack. They make plans to leave immediately to be with him. After hearing the news, Tia accuses Cindy of abandoning her father.

Bob suggests having his brother, Buck (John Candy), to come watch the children, to which Cindy initially objects. While they are middle class suburbanites, Buck is an unemployed slacker, who lives in a small apartment in the city, enjoys drinking and smoking, and earns his living by betting on rigged horse races. He drives an old and crackling (every time he turns off the engine, it makes a loud backfire) 1977 Mercury Marquis.

His girlfriend, Chanice (Amy Madigan), owns a car repair business. They have been together for eight years and she wants him to get a job so they can get married and have a family. Buck accepts a job at Chanice's garage, but is unenthusiastic as he enjoys his freedom.

Since no one else is available to help Bob and Cindy, they have no choice but to turn to Buck, who agrees to help. He informs Chanice that he will need to start work later as he informs her of the family emergency. Given that Buck has earned a reputation as having a poor work ethic, Chanice thinks Buck is trying, as usual, to lie his way out of working.

Buck immediately befriends Miles and Maizy, but the rebellious Tia is aloof and they both engage in a battle of wills. When Buck meets Tia's obnoxious boyfriend, Bug (Jay Underwood), he warns her that he is only interested in her for sex. Buck repeatedly thwarts her plans to sneak away on dates with Bug.

Over the next several days, he deals with a number of situations in comedic fashion, including taking the kids to his favorite bowling alley, making enormous pancakes for Miles' birthday, ejecting a drunken birthday clown from the property, speaking with the school assistant principal about Maizy, and handling the laundry when the washing machine is not working.

When Buck threatens Bug with a hatchet in an attempt to "bury the hatchet" with him, Tia exacts revenge by making Chanice think he is cheating on her with their neighbor, Marcy (Laurie Metcalf). One weekend (concerned after Tia sneaks out to a party), Buck decides to go looking for her rather than attend a horse race which would have provided him with enough money for the entire following year. He calls and begs Chanice to watch Miles and Maizy as he searches for Tia.

At the party, thinking that Bug is taking advantage of her in a bedroom, he forces the door open by drilling out the lock, but walks in on Bug with another girl. He ties Bug up, gags him with duct tape and throws him into the trunk of his car.

After finding Tia wandering the streets, she apologizes to him and acknowledges he was right about Bug. Buck lets Bug out of the trunk to apologize to her. When Bug is finally released, he threatens to sue him. Buck then strikes him with a golf ball, making him retract his apology and flee.

At home, Tia helps Buck reconcile with Chanice by admitting her lie and tells her that he would be a good husband and father. Buck also agrees to start his job at the garage.

Bob and Cindy finally return from Indianapolis with Cindy's father having recovered. Upon entering the house, Tia surprises her mother with a hug. Cindy then promises her daughter that things are going to be different from now on. Buck and Chanice then leave for Chicago with Buck and Tia exchanging a loving wave goodbye.


  • John Candy as Buck Russell
  • Jean Louisa Kelly as Tia Russell
  • Macaulay Culkin as Miles Russell
  • Gaby Hoffmann as Maizy Russell
  • Amy Madigan as Chanice Kobolowski
  • Jay Underwood as Bug
  • Laurie Metcalf as Marcie Dahlgren-Frost
  • Suzanne Shepherd as Asst. Principal Anita Hoargarth
  • Mike Starr as Pooter the Clown
  • Garrett M. Brown as Bob Russell
  • Elaine Bromka as Cindy Russell
  • Dennis Cockrum as Pal


"Uncle Buck"was the first film directed, written & 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 film was originally intended to be shot in the St. Louis area rather than John Hughes's traditional Chicago.

Filming was about to begin when the decision was made to move the shoot to Chicago (the reason being that the film was set in winter and the winter of 1988 was unseasonably warm in St. Louis, leading to the change).

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 boys' restroom, 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.

One night during filming, John Candy went to a bar with Tarquin Gotch and spent most of the night there meeting people. The next day John Hughes heard a caller on a radio talk show describe his evening with Candy.

Hughes was upset with Candy and despite his assertion that Buck was supposed to appear disheveled, Hughes canceled Candy's scenes for the day and told him to get himself together & get some sleep.

During the scene where Miles interrogates Uncle Buck, John Candy wrote out the script's dialog and wore it atop his head so Macaulay Culkin could read the lines more quickly and keep the pace of the scene very fast.

Box OfficeEdit

"Uncle Buck" earned $8.8 million on its opening weekend to 1,804 theatres and was placed No. 1 at the box office. Its earnings in the United States were 18th in 1989 & the film has earned nearly $80 million worldwide since its release.

Critical ReceptionEdit

"Uncle Buck" has received mixed to positive reviews from critics.

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes has given it a "Fresh" score of 64% (based on 21 reviews) with an average rating of 5.8/10.

On Metacritic (which assigns a normalised rating), the film has a score of 51 out of 100 based on 12 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".

Roger Ebert gave the film a two-in-a-half star rating, calling it "a heart-warming story through a series of uncomfortable and unpleasant scenes."

In Rita Kempley (from the Washington Post)'s review of "Uncle Buck," calling it a "competent comedy, a bit simplistic, a bit stale, no gremlins, no gushiness, no surprises."


Uncle Buck Official Trailer 1 - John Candy, Macaulay Culkin Movie (1989) HD

Uncle Buck Official Trailer 1 - John Candy, Macaulay Culkin Movie (1989) HD

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