Bogus (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byNorman Jewison
Screenplay byAlvin Sargent
Story by
  • Jeff Rothberg
  • Francis X. McCarthy
Produced by
CinematographyDavid Watkin
Edited byStephen E. Rivkin
Music byMarc Shaiman
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • September 6, 1996 (1996-09-06)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States
  • English
  • French
Budget$25 million[1]
Box office$4.4 million

Bogus is a 1996 American urban fantasy drama film directed by Norman Jewison from a screenplay written by Alvin Sargent, and starring Whoopi Goldberg, Gérard Depardieu, and Haley Joel Osment.

It was filmed in Canada and New Jersey.[2]


Albert Franklin lives with his mom Lorraine Franklin in Nevada who works as a showgirl. One evening, on her way home after work, she is killed in a car crash.

Lorraine named her foster sister Harriet Franklin as Franklin's godmother. At first insisting she has zero instincts or interest in being responsible for a child, upon learning that without her he will end up in foster care, she grudgingly accepts.

Albert unhappily leaves his Nevada home by plane to Newark, New Jersey. On the plane Bogus is 'born' from a sketch he drew on the journey. Harriet is late picking up Albert, and soon discovers that he has a friend no one else can see.

The little boy resists all offers of help, repeating over and over to Bogus that he doesn't like it there. As he won't come down for dinner, she leaves a sandwich and milk in his room. He goes to school the next day and again she is late getting him.

Albert wanders off with Bogus and they wind up in the park. Meanwhile, Harriet and school personnel go looking for him, finding him as he's dueling with his invisible friend. On the way to her appointment with Bob, they discuss magic, he is a firm believer and she isn't at all.

Hoping to expand her business, the meeting with Bob is to convince him and the bank to invest in her. He plays make-believe with Albert, then invites him to Doug's, his also young son's, birthday party. Later, at the party, Harriet is asked by a magician to participate in the show and she refuses vehemently.

That night, at home, Albert acknowledges that the party magician was terrible, then shows her a better trick. When he tries to show her another, she shoos him away, saying she's too busy and angering him.

The next evening, Albert sneaks out while the babysitter is sleeping, as he sees magician Monsieur Antoine he knows from Vegas is playing that night in Atlantic City. He grabs a bus there. His magician friends have him sleep, and he dreams about his mom.

In the meantime, Harriet sees the ad for the magician in Atlantic City and collects him in her car. She puts him to bed and finally, in the kitchen, she is able to see Bogus as she opens her mind. They dance together and then she comes back into reality in the living room.

Going into Albert's room to tell him she sees Bogus, Harriet discovers he's climbing the fire escape to the roof. In his mind, he's following his mother to heaven. Harriet calls him from the roof, encouraging to make the last few steps. The fantasy vanishes for him, and he makes it up and into her arms. They promise to try to be a family for each other.

Flying to Nevada, Albert and Harriet visit Lorraine's grave. Later, they goof around, play-acting. Bogus says goodbye and they don't notice.


Filming location[edit]

Although portrayed as Newark, New Jersey, part of the film was filmed in the Van Vorst Park neighborhood of Downtown Jersey City. The apartment building that the character, Harriet, lives in at the corner of York Street and Barrow Street is called Madison on the Van Vorst Park.

Madison on the Van Vorst Park


Bogus opened at #11 in its opening weekend with $1,895,593 and grossed $4,357,406 in the US.[3]


Rotten Tomatoes reports that 41% of 17 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 5/10.[4] Leonard Klady of Variety wrote, "Sweetly sentimental and anachronistically whimsical, Bogus is a modern metaphor oddly out of step with contemporary taste."[5] Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote, "Jewison lays on the dry ice and special effects without adding emotion to a slow, hackneyed story."[6] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times rated it 3/4 stars and called it "a charming, inconsequential fantasy" that wisely avoids realism.[7] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "B+" on a scale of A+ to F.[8]


  1. ^ Frook, John Evan (1993-05-10). "Par makes 'Bogus' deal". Variety. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
  2. ^ Peggy, McGlone (November 1, 2011), "'The Dark Knight Rises': Batman joins Beyonce, Tom Cruise as Brick City royalty", The Star-Ledger, retrieved 2011-11-05
  3. ^ Weekend Box Office Results for September 6-8, 1996 - Box Office Mojo
  4. ^ "Bogus (1996)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2022-03-02.
  5. ^ Klady, Leonard (1996-08-26). "Review: 'Bogus'". Variety. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
  6. ^ Maslin, Janet (1996-09-06). "Bogus". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (1996-09-06). "Bogus". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2016-03-19 – via
  8. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on 2018-12-20. Retrieved 2020-07-21.

External links[edit]