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Back to School (1986)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Romance, Sport | 13 June 1986 (USA)
To help his discouraged son get through college, a funloving and obnoxious rich businessman decides to enter the school as a student himself.



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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Severn Darden ...
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. ...


Millionaire businessman Thornton Melon is upset when his son Jason announces that he is not sure about going to college. Thornton insists that college is the best thing he never had for himself, and to prove his point, he agrees to enroll in school along with his son. Thornton is a big hit on campus: always throwing the biggest parties, knowing all the right people, but is this the way to pass college? Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

college | son | campus | student | party | See All (155) »


Registration starts Friday, June 13, at theaters everywhere.


Comedy | Romance | Sport


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

13 June 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

De vuelta al colegio  »

Box Office


$11,000,000 (estimated)


$91,258,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Alice Cooper's song "The Great American Success Story" (on the album 'Constrictor') was apparently intended to be the theme song. Its lyrics summarize the plot and include "he don't get no respect", and the chorus leads off with the phrase "back to school." The song was not used in the film, and there is no mention of the connection in the liner notes of the album. See more »


When the party ends and Thornton is swimming a boom mic operator is visible. After he dives in the camera cuts out and you clearly see a boom mic operator in the window behind the pool. He's wearing a red shirt and clearly holding something. See more »


Diane: Ever since the women's movement, most of the men I meet go out of their WAY to show you how SENSITIVE they are. Before, they were too macho, and now they're too... soft. You all want us to know you can CRY.
Thornton Melon: No, with women, I never cry. Never. I beg.
Diane: If we finish this bottle of wine, you won't have to beg.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits begin with the message: "For Estelle. Thanks so much." This is a dedication to Estelle Endler, Rodney Dangerfield's manager and one of the executive producers of the film, who died during production. See more »


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I'll Never Forget Your Face
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User Reviews

Revenge of the 80's:The reinvention of Rodney Dangerfield continues..
25 January 2005 | by (Sacramento, CA) – See all my reviews

Back to School (1986) was a surprise hit for stand up comedian actor Rodeny Dangerfield. After making a big impression with audiences with his spot in the golf comedy Caddyshack and a lead role in Easy Money, his star was slowly rising. But it was this film that cemented his spot in American pop culture as a true icon of the 80's and a transition star.

Rodney stars as Thorton Melon (nee Meloni) a successful entrepreneur who had to drop out of school when he was younger to take care of the family business. Years later his son is in college but feel dissatisfied with life in general. After a series of comical events, Mr. Melon decides to visit his son's exclusive university to see how he's really doing. Along the way he decides to give book learning a try.

A very enjoyable film. Rodney Dangerfield made the transaction from a stand-up act to an actor. The director wisely let him improvise his dialog and work in some of his material into the movie. The cast features Sally Kellerman, Robert Downey Jr., Keith Gordon, Burt Young, Terry Farrell and guest star slots for Adrienne Barbeau and Ned Beatty.

Not a masterpiece by any means but an enjoyable film none the less. Recommended, especially on a slow Sunday afternoon.

35 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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