I saw this movie about 20 Years ago. I thought Gene Wilder was the main actor, but i could not find the movie in his list.

I only remember some parts of the story:

The main actor (a white actor, Gene Wilder-like) is adopted by a black family. When they tell him that he is adopted, he is totally surprised. He wants to find his one way, leaves his family and works as mechanic in a garage or a gas station.

Meanwhile a crazy person wants to kill somebody, he opens the phonebook and selects a random name, it is the name of the main actor. He tries to kill the main person several times, but always fails.

I am not 100% sure if it was in this movie, but I think the main character does also win a great jackpot in a lottery and gets rich.

I also think he meets a girl, falls in love and get here at the end.

Genre: Comedy

Year: between 1975-1990

Country: I guess it was an american movie

3 Answers 3


The Jerk with Steve Martin from 1979.

Navin is an idiot. He grew up in Mississippi as adopted son of a black family but on his 18th birthday he feels he wants to discover the rest of the world and sets out to St. Louis. There everyone exploits his naivety, but then a simple invention brings him a fortune.

And at some point:

Navin [...] is thrilled to find that he is listed in the local phone book, as his name is "in print" for the first time. Not long after, a gun-wielding lunatic randomly flips through the phone book and picks "Johnson, Navin R." as his next victim.

  • Thank you, that is the one. I dont know how i could mix up steve martin and gene wilder...
    – kl78
    Jan 4, 2016 at 13:34

The Jerk, Steve Martin....

"These cans are defective!"

  • 4
    This doesn't add anything to the answer that was posted 3 hours earlier.
    – Peter
    Jan 4, 2016 at 17:49
  • Apart from adding the scene where he's actually being shot at. Should I have added that as a comment to the original answer?
    – RonaldB
    Jan 5, 2016 at 19:43

I know that movie!


  • 1
    Thanks for the answer! We try to avoid link only answers, can you please provide some justification (outside of the video clip) for why this is the correct answer?
    – kuhl
    Jun 1, 2016 at 20:36
  • 2
    The original asker already confirmed that the movie in question is in fact The Jerk. Jun 2, 2016 at 7:28

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