34 user 11 critic

Volunteers (1985)

R | | Comedy | 16 August 1985 (USA)
2:23 | Trailer

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Lawrence is a rich kid with a bad accent and a large debt. After his father refuses to help him out, Lawrence escapes his angry debtors by jumping on a Peace Corp flight to Southeast Asia, ... See full summary »



(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
At Toon
Lawrence Bourne Jr.
Ernest Harada ...
Chung Mee
Albert Bardenaro
Kent Sutcliffe
Cicero (as Ji-Tu Cumbaka)
Guillermo Río ...
Sumo Guard (as Guillermo del Rio)
Jacqueline Evans ...
Aunt Eunice
Pamela Gual ...
Tammy the Stewardess
Philip Guilmant ...
Yale President (as Phillip Giulmant)
Chick Hearn ...


Lawrence is a rich kid with a bad accent and a large debt. After his father refuses to help him out, Lawrence escapes his angry debtors by jumping on a Peace Corp flight to Southeast Asia, where is assigned to build a bridge for the local villagers with American-As-Apple-Pie WSU Grad Tom Tuttle and the beautiful and down-to earth Beth Wexler. What they don't realize is that the bridge is coveted by the U.S. Army, a local Communist force, and a powerful drug lord. Together with the help of At Toon, the only English speaking native, they must fight off the three opposing forces and find out what is right for the villagers, as well as themselves. Written by Michael Silva <silvamd@cleo.bc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Tom Hanks and John Candy are building a bridge between two cultures... even if no one wants it. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 August 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alles hört auf mein Kommando  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


For authenticity, director Nicholas Meyer wanted two elephants to appear in the picture "on the grounds that two elephants look like Thailand while one elephant looks like you can't afford two elephants" Meyer once said. See more »


In the scene in the bar when Beth asks for a Coke, Lawrence pulls a couple of then-current era - 1985 - Coca Cola bottles out of the cooler. The 1985 Coke bottle had a slimmer, straighter shape than the era-correct (1962), green wasp-waist Coke bottle, with a red block logo with "Coca Cola" in white script. See more »


[Tuttle is lecturing the villagers]
At Toon: Asshole!
Tom Tuttle: What! who called me an asshole?
Lawrence Bourne III: I don't know, but it should have been me.
At Toon: It was me. You are an asshole, man.
Tom Tuttle: [laughing] You speak English?
Lawrence Bourne III: Either that or he's an incredible mimic.
At Toon: You bet, Ace. I am At Toon, the sharpest thing this village has ever seen. I spend two years in American school in Bangkok. Big deal, I rather be here.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Tom Hanks' character has firstname "Lawrence". Hanks saves the village. As film fades to black for credits, a large group of "volunteers" gather around Hanks. Just as black for start of credits shows, chants of "Lawrence, Lawrence, Lawrence..." are heard. Absolutely a tribute to scene of O'Toole as Lawrence of Arabia marching across traintop to chants of "Lawrence, Lawrence, Lawrence..." See more »


Referenced in Confessions of a Hollywood Stuntman (2014) See more »


If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)
Written by Lee Hays and Pete Seeger (as Peter Seeger)
See more »

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User Reviews

classic pre-oscar tom hanks!
6 April 2004 | by (tulsa) – See all my reviews

before they started winning oscars, struggling actors such as tom hanks and robin williams used to be... SURPRISE!! funny! volunteers is a great example of a movie that refuses to take its leading actors seriously and is all the better for it. this is not a "star vehicle" but is rather an irreverant tongue-in-cheek romp. it takes its cues from saturday night live, sctv, monty python, and cheesy off-broadway one-act plays. in return, it is spoofed by one particular hollywood blockbuster to follow, austin powers goldmember. mike myers must have been as impressed with the "reading the subtitles" joke, as well as the "asian guy on the toilet/being chased by sumo wrestler" schtick. but rather than beat the jokes to death, volunteers assumes we are smart enough to catch them on the fly. i bought this in a $5.00 dvd bin, and was reminded why i liked the movie so much in the first place. it is never particularly mean to any of its subjects, including the primitive thai villagers, the communist revolutionaries, yalies, jews, liberals, conservatives, or any of the other fringe elements put into play. as a result, volunteers doesn't insult me as an intelligent movie viewer. by the way, i had forgotten how humorously effective was the "lawrence's bar" scene where the local musician plinks out an oddly romantic version of "as time goes by" on an asian sitar.

volunteers is the sort of movie actors must do just for fun. y'know... when they're not too busy trying to win oscars.

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