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Adventures in Babysitting

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chris Columbus
Produced by Debra Hill
Lynda Obst
Written by David Simkins
Starring Elisabeth Shue
Keith Coogan
Maia Brewton
Anthony Rapp
Music by Michael Kamen
Cinematography Ric Waite
Editing by Fredric Steinkamp
William Steinkamp
Distributed by Touchstone Pictures
Release date(s) July 1, 1987
Running time 102 min.
Country United States
Language English
Gross revenue $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, Bradley Whitford, Maia Brewton, Anthony Rapp, Penelope Ann Miller, Keith Coogan, 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) and 8-year-old Sara (Maia Brewton). Chris gets a phone call from her friend Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller) who has run away from home, but asks Chris to come pick her up after running out of money on the cab ride to the bus station. Chris takes Brad, Sara, and Brad's friend Daryl (Anthony Rapp), but they get a flat tire and become stranded on the expressway.

A friendly tow truck driver, "Handsome" John Pruitt (John Ford Noonan) offers to replace the tire for free. En route to the garage, he gets a call on his CB that his wife is cheating on him and he heads home. In a brief shootout, the kids climb into a Cadillac which is being stolen by Joe Gipp (Calvin Levels) and are taken to a chop shop where they are briefly detained. Daryl finds a Playboy magazine and steals it before they escape onto the building's roof, however the magazine contains incriminating notes and the car thieves follow them. The group stumbles into a Blues club, and are forced to sing of their ordeal by Albert Collins receiving applause from the audience. When they leave, the thieves are held up when they are prompted to do the same thing.

Their presences on the Chicago 'L' instigates a gang fight where Brad is injured, and taken to the hospital. They again encounter Pruitt, who is on the run for his earlier fight. He tells them that his boss Dawson has fixed their car, but he will force them to pay $50 for the tire. They then come across a college fraternity party which Chris meets a new love interest, Dan Lynch (George Newbern), who manages to gather $45 for them. Daryl almost gets into a fight with a jock after his lonely girlfriend attempts to have sex with him. Dan drives them to Dawson's garage.

In the garage, Dawson (Vincent D'Onofrio) appears, and Sara believes he is the superhero Thor. He refuses to release their car due to the $5 shortage, but Sara pleads with him and gives him her plastic helmet, causing him to relent and let them take the vehicle. On their way through the city, they pass the restaurant that her date was going to be at and Daryl points out Mike's car. She goes in to find Mike flirting with the sleazy Sesame Plexer. Brad and Daryl stand up to him when he insults Chris. Meanwhile Sara wanders off and is spotted by one of the car thieves, and chased to the Smurfit-Stone Building where her parents are holding a party. She goes to the renovated top floor, and uses a rope to slip out the window. Graydon discovers Sara and attempts to climb outside with her as she dangles precariously. Chris, Daryl and Brad enter the party and rescue her.

They successfully pick up Brenda, get home and send the kids upstairs while Chris tidies up the mess left earlier in the day. She settles in just as the Andersons get home. She goes up to say good night to the kids and they all then thank each other for the greatest night of their lives. As Chris leaves, Dan shows up to return Sara's skate which she had accidentally left behind, but notes that wasn't the only reason. They share a kiss after agreeing to start dating.



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 weiner!" 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. He was uncomfortable with the age difference, but director Chris Columbus put him at ease by allowing him to use his own Camaro in the movie. The car is later seen with Whitford's real-life license plate "SO COOL."

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

Anthony Rapp and director Chris Columbus would reunite 18 years later for the film adaptation of the musical Rent, which originally starred Rapp on Broadway.

Television pilot

Adventures in Babysitting was adapted into an American television pilot[3] of the same name for CBS in 1989. The pilot starred Jennifer Guthrie as Chris Parker, Joey Lawrence and Courtney Peldon as Brad and Sara Anderson, Ariana Mohit as Brenda, and Brian Austin Green as Daryl. It was not picked up for a series.


A sequel is reportedly planned for release in 2010.[4] Disney Channel star Raven-Symoné will star in the sequel, currently titled Further Adventures in Babysitting.[4] Miley Cyrus has denied involvement.[5]

According to Variety, Tiffany Paulsen is writing the script.[4]

Critical response

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


  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 (1989) (TV)
  4. ^ a b c "Miley Cyrus to star in 'Adventures in Babysitting' sequel". Sun Times. 2008-07-25.,adventures-babysitting-sequel-mileycyrus-120408.article. 
  5. ^ Carroll, Larry (April 1, 2009). "Miley Cyrus Wants 'Edgy' Roles ...". MTV. Retrieved April 1, 2009. "'Hannah Montana' star denies being cast in ... 'Adventures in Babysitting' remake" 

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