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A Family for Joe (1990)

To keep from being separated, four orphans get a homeless maverick to pose as their guardian.


Jeff Melman (as Jeffrey Melman)


Arnold Margolin


Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Mitchum ... Joe Whitaker
Chris Furrh ... Nick Bankston
Maia Brewton ... Holly Bankston
Jarrad Paul ... Chris Bankston
Jessica Player ... Mary Bankston
Barbara Babcock ... Miss Collins
David Nelson ... George Merkel
Anna Mathias ... Annie Brewster
Jim Hackett ... Pete Brewster (as James Hackett)
Janet MacLachlan ... Judge Delaney
Patrick Cronin ... Mr. Reed (as Patrick J. Cronin)
Robert Casper ... Mr. Edwards
Richard X. Slattery ... Officer Finney
Maggie Egan ... Mrs. Lewis
John Mitchum ... Preacher
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To keep from being separated, four orphans get a homeless maverick to pose as their guardian.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


Did You Know?


A TV film made for the NBC network. See more »


Followed by A Family for Joe (1990) See more »

User Reviews

A little hokey, but great none the less
12 December 2014 | by TheBlueHairedLawyerSee all my reviews

Nick, Holly, Chris and Mary are four children who have lost their parents in a traumatic plane crash, and despite being lucky enough to find the caring Brewster family to take care of them, Mary, the youngest, is still mute from the stress and grief and Nick has fallen into a bad crowd of punk kids who smoke weed and steal. The Brewsters regretfully inform the children that they may have to be separated, and Nick comes up with a plan...

The kids have an estranged grandfather, Joe, and they hatch a plan to bring a hobo to fill in for the job (he pretends to be their grandfather). At first the kids don't really trust him much, but as time goes on, he turns out to be the best surrogate grandfather anyone could ever have. He even gets himself a job at a local shipyard and starts cooking food. The problem is, how long will it last before the nosy social worker, Ms. Collins, gets into their plan? And how can Joe keep the kids out of trouble and lay down the rules at the same time?

A Family For Joe got off to a rocky start with me; when the kids read their lines at first it reminded me of a bad 80's sitcom. But as with many good movies, you've gotta watch the whole thing to really appreciate it. The acting was, for the most part, not bad for a TV movie, and Robert Mitchum did an outstanding job in his role as Joe. The soundtrack wasn't exactly memorable, but it fit the plot and didn't get on my nerves the way the soundtrack to the movies Prancer or Not Without My Daughter did. I'd definitely recommend A Family For Joe, preferably if you have kids, it's a good family movie. There is a mention of drugs but not promoting them, in fact it is explaining why drugs are bad, and the only thing close to swearing is the word damn, said once. You might want to watch it yourself first just to be sure, but it's not inappropriate or anything.

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Release Date:

25 February 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Regular Joe See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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