In the world of cinematic comedy, few characters have made as indelible a mark as Ernest P Worrell, brilliantly portrayed by the late American actor Jim Varney. We will take a look at all the Ernest P Worrell movies in order and delve into the humor, chaos, and heartwarming moments that define his cinematic legacy.
Beginning with his emergence in television commercials and later in the television series “Hey Vern, It’s Ernest!” before venturing into a series of feature films, Ernest’s enduring popularity speaks to his timeless charm.
So, prepare for a journey through the extraordinary universe of Ernest P. Worrell, where laughter is guaranteed.
1 ‘The Ernest Film Festival’ (1986)
IMDb: 6.8/10 255
Duration: 55m | Genres: Comedy | Director: John R. Cherry III
Cast: Jim Varney
“The Ernest Film Festival” (1986) serves as a delightful compilation of the early comedic exploits of the lovable character Ernest P. Worrell, portrayed by the talented Jim Varney.
Directed by John R. Cherry III, this collection offers a unique glimpse into the genesis of the iconic character before he embarked on his cinematic adventures. Before Ernest became synonymous with camping misadventures, legal entanglements, Christmas-saving escapades, supernatural encounters, African explorations, and military service, he was the charismatic host of a variety of commercials.
These commercials, featured in “The Ernest Film Festival,” showcase Ernest’s signature humor, wit, and knack for getting into hilariously sticky situations. In essence, this compilation provides a comprehensive view of Ernest P. Worrell’s comedic evolution from the advertising world to the silver screen, making it a must-watch for fans of this enduringly popular character.
2 ‘Ernest Goes to Camp’ (1987)
IMDb: 5.5/10 12K | Metascore:
Cast: Jim Varney, Victoria Racimo, John Vernon
“Ernest Goes to Camp” (1987) marks the inaugural installment in the beloved Ernest film series, directed by John Cherry and starring the incomparable Jim Varney as the titular character Ernest P. Worrell.
This cinematic gem takes us on a wild and uproarious journey into the world of Ernest, setting the stage for a series of comical adventures that would captivate audiences for years to come.
Set against the picturesque backdrop of Montgomery Bell State Park, the film introduces Ernest as a bumbling handyman at Kamp Kikakee, a run-down summer camp on the brink of closure.
With a modest budget of $3.5 million, “Ernest Goes to Camp” proved to be a box office success, raking in $23.5 million, a testament to the enduring popularity of Ernest and the comedic brilliance of Jim Varney.
3 ‘Ernest Saves Christmas’ (1988)
IMDb: 5.7/10 12K | Metascore:
Cast: Jim Varney, Douglas Seale, Oliver Clark
“Ernest Saves Christmas” (1988), directed by John Cherry and starring the iconic Jim Varney as Ernest P. Worrell, is a delightful American Christmas comedy. As the third film to showcase the lovable character of Ernest, it solidified his place in cinematic history.
This installment in the Ernest series stands out as the highest-grossing among them, a testament to its enduring charm and appeal. The film unfolds a heartwarming tale as Ernest takes on the mission of helping locate a suitable successor for an aging Santa Claus.
With a budget of $6.5 million, “Ernest Saves Christmas” went on to achieve box office success, earning $28.2 million, and has become a beloved holiday classic cherished by audiences for its humor and festive spirit.
To all the dedicated fans of Ernest and his comical escapades, “Ernest Saves Christmas” (1988) is a heartfelt gift that continues to bring laughter and holiday cheer year after year.
4 ‘Ernest Goes to Splash Mountain’ (1989)
IMDb: 6.0/10 398
Cast: Jim Varney, Danny Breen, Sheryl Bernstein
“Ernest Goes to Splash Mountain” (1989) takes audiences on a hilarious and waterlogged adventure as the ever-charming Jim Varney reprises his role as Ernest P. Worrell.
In this comedic gem, Ernest earns the distinguished title of the world’s first “Splashronaut” when he fearlessly volunteers to take the inaugural ride on Disneyland’s iconic Splash Mountain.
Joined by an ensemble cast including Danny Breen and Sheryl Bernstein, Ernest’s misadventures in the world of theme park thrills promise to be a rollercoaster of laughter and mishaps.
As Ernest plunges into the watery depths of Splash Mountain, fans can expect his signature wit, slapstick humor, and endearing charm to shine through, making this film a delightful addition to the Ernest series and a memorable ride for audiences of all ages. Varney’s iconic portrayal of Ernest shines as he becomes the world’s first “Splashronaut.” Get ready for laughter and thrills in this classic Ernest film.
5 ‘Ernest Goes to Jail’ (1990)
IMDb: 5.4/10 9.9K | Metascore:
Cast: Jim Varney, Gailard Sartain, Bill Byrge
“Ernest Goes to Jail” (1990), directed by John Cherry and starring the irrepressible Jim Varney as Ernest P. Worrell, marks the fourth delightful installment in the Ernest film series and the third to feature the beloved character, Ernest.
Against the backdrop of Nashville and the intriguing setting of Tennessee State Prison, this American comedy unfolds with Ernest inadvertently finding himself in a jailhouse predicament.
With a budget of $9 million, the film went on to achieve a commendable box office return of $25 million, underscoring the enduring appeal of Ernest’s comedic escapades.
Directed by John Cherry and screenplay by Charlie Cohen, this installment promises laughter aplenty and adds yet another unforgettable chapter to the ever-entertaining Ernest series.
6 ‘Ernest Scared Stupid’ (1991)
IMDb: 5.7/10 12K | Metascore:
Cast: Jim Varney, Eartha Kitt, Austin Nagler
As the fifth installment in the series and the fourth showcasing Ernest’s iconic character, this American comedy-horror film delivers a Halloween-themed adventure that’s both funny and frightening.
“Ernest Scared Stupid” (1991) was directed by John Cherry and added a spooky twist to the beloved Ernest film series. With a budget of $9.6 million, “Ernest Scared Stupid” conjured up $14.1 million at the box office. John Cherry‘s direction and Charlie Gale’s screenplay combine to create a memorable and entertaining addition to the Ernest series.
If you’re looking for a mix of humor and Halloween chills, this film promises a ghoulishly good time that fans and newcomers alike can enjoy.
7 “Ernest’s Greatest Hits Volume 2” (1992)
‘Ernest’s Greatest Hits Volume 2’ (1992) invites fans to relish in the comedic brilliance of Jim Varney‘s beloved character, Ernest P. Worrell, once more. This video reel is a delightful compilation of Ernest’s commercials, showcasing his versatility in selling everything from ice cream and soft drinks to dairy products and even beer.
Beyond the commercials, the video offers viewers a behind-the-scenes look at how Ernest’s iconic ads are brought to life, complete with bloopers that reveal the humor behind the process. It’s a rare glimpse into the making of these memorable commercials and the dedicated efforts of Jim Varney.
‘Ernest’s Greatest Hits Volume 2’ features public service announcements on critical issues like drunk driving, highlighting the character’s sense of responsibility alongside his comedic prowess.
For fans and newcomers alike, this video compilation serves as a treasure trove of Ernest’s humor and charm, providing a nostalgic journey through the legacy of one of comedy’s most beloved characters.”
8 ‘Ernest Rides Again’ (1993)
IMDb: 4.7/10 2.4K | Metascore:
Cast: Jim Varney, Ron James, Tom Butler
“Ernest Rides Again” (1993), penned and directed by John Cherry, brings the zany world of Ernest P. Worrell, portrayed by the ever-entertaining Jim Varney, back to the big screen.
The film’s plot takes audiences on a rollicking adventure as Ernest teams up with a history professor on a quest to uncover a long-lost Revolutionary War cannon rumored to hide precious jewels within its confines.
The film had a relatively high budget of $3 million but garnered a lower box office return of $1.4 million. Despite its lower box office earnings, “Ernest Rides Again” remains a cherished installment in the Ernest series, appreciated by loyal fans for its humor and the enduring appeal of Jim Varney‘s character.
9 ‘Ernest Goes to School’ (1994)
IMDb: 4.6/10 2.8K
Cast: Jim Varney, Linda Kash, Bill Byrge
In “Ernest Goes to School” (1994), viewers are treated to yet another comedic escapade with the beloved character Ernest P. Worrell, portrayed by the talented Jim Varney.
This time, the film is directed and co-written by Coke Sams, a departure from the usual direction of John R. Cherry III. Serving as the seventh installment in the Ernest film series and the sixth to feature Ernest, the movie offers a fresh perspective on Ernest’s endearing antics.
In this installment, Ernest finds himself embroiled in a humorous school-themed adventure, showcasing his trademark quirks and charm. As he navigates the challenges of academic life, the film provides ample laughter and showcases Ernest’s knack for finding humor in everyday situations.
For fans of Ernest’s unique brand of comedy, “Ernest Goes to School” is another delightful addition to the enduring legacy of this iconic character.
10 ‘Slam Dunk Ernest’ (1995)
IMDb: 4.5/10 2.4K
Cast: Jim Varney, Cylk Cozart, Aaron Joseph
‘Slam Dunk Ernest’ (1995) marks the eighth cinematic outing for the endearing character Ernest P. Worrell, portrayed with charm and humor by the talented Jim Varney. Directed by the creator of the “Ernest” franchise, John Cherry, this film is the seventh installment in the Ernest series.
In this part, Ernest finds himself joining his employer’s basketball team, embarking on a comical journey to become a basketball star.
To achieve this unlikely dream, he receives some celestial assistance from none other than the legendary basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who plays an angelic role in the film. Together, they take audiences on a heartwarming and humorous adventure through the world of basketball and the indomitable spirit of Ernest.
‘Slam Dunk Ernest’ combines sports, comedy, and the enduring appeal of Ernest for a slam-dunk of entertainment.”
11 ‘Ernest Goes to Africa’ (1997)
IMDb: 4.3/10 2.3K
Cast: Jim Varney, Linda Kash, Jamie Bartlett
‘Ernest Goes to Africa’ (1997) transports viewers on a wild and unexpected journey as the lovable character Ernest, portrayed by the ever-entertaining Jim Varney, finds himself in an international escapade.
Set in Deacon County, Ohio, the film takes an adventurous turn when Ernest unwittingly becomes the unwitting possessor of stolen jewels. This twist of fate leads to his kidnapping and a transcontinental journey to Africa, where he embarks on a daring mission to rescue the woman he loves.
Shot entirely in the vibrant backdrop of Johannesburg, South Africa, the film immerses audiences in the beauty and diversity of the African continent while delivering the signature humor and charm that have defined the Ernest series.
‘Ernest Goes to Africa’ is a delightful blend of comedy, adventure, and cultural exploration, showcasing Jim Varney‘s remarkable ability to bring laughter to every corner of the globe
12 ‘Ernest in the Army’ (1998)
IMDb: 4.4/10 2.6K
Cast: Jim Varney, Hayley Tyson, David Muller
“‘Ernest in the Army’ (1998) serves as the tenth and final installment of the beloved Ernest film series, showcasing the endearing character of Ernest P. Worrell, brilliantly portrayed by the late Jim Varney before his passing in February 2000.
In this film, Ernest’s comical misadventures take him on a new journey as he joins the Army with dreams of driving large vehicles, only to find himself unexpectedly thrust into combat. The film combines humor with themes of duty and courage as Ernest navigates the challenges of military life.
Capturing the picturesque landscapes, the movie was shot in Cape Town, South Africa’s Koeberg Nature Reserve, offering a visually stunning backdrop for the comedic antics of Ernest. Notably, John Cherry‘s son, Josh, portrayed Corporal Davis, adding a familial touch to the production.
‘Ernest in the Army’ stands as a fitting conclusion to the Ernest series, with Jim Varney‘s iconic portrayal leaving an indelible mark on the world of comedy and endearing fans to the character for generations to come.”
In conclusion, our journey through the complete collection of Ernest P. Worrell’s films provides a delightful look at this beloved character’s evolution. From his early commercials to his cinematic adventures, Jim Varney‘s portrayal of Ernest has left a lasting comedic legacy.
Whether saving Christmas or enlisting in the Army, each film adds a unique chapter to Ernest’s enduring saga. Whether revisiting these classics or discovering them anew, all Ernest P Worrell movies in order of their release date guarantees laughs, nostalgia, and a deep appreciation for this iconic character.
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