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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?


Kurt Vonnegut Jr. played himself in a cameo for the film in which he is hired by Thornton Melon to write a paper on the topic of the novels of Kurt Vonnegut. As a joke, recognizing the work as not Melon's own, Professor Turner tells him, "Whoever did write this doesn't know the first thing about Kurt Vonnegut." See more »


When Thornton makes his first dive of the movie, he exits the pool on the ladder and there is clearly a cut in the film. He exits the pool dry, no water dripping anywhere. See more »


Thornton Melon: I don't know. I can't figure women out. Today, they're... independent. They only think about themselves. Why, during sex, Vanessa - she used to scream out her own name!
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 »


Referenced in The Sarah Silverman Program.: The Mongolian Beef (2008) See more »


Written by Otis Redding
Performed by Aretha Franklin
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
by arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

Prime Rodney Dangerfield With Strong Supporting Cast
14 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This in many ways is the best Dangerfield film. Harold Ramis is genius in working in a lot of Dangerfield quips into the script. The movie flows well, and the supporting cast is appropriate & stronger than any of Rodney's other films.

Sally Kellerman is in her best form since M*A*S*H as the English Professor who is Rodney's love interest. Robert Downey Jr. is cast perfectly as a character who resembles him in real life - a drugged out pacifist who protests campus life & all about it without knowing what message he is really sending. The actors who play straight men for Rodney from Dean Martin to the Business Professor are perfectly cast.

The late Sam Kinneson is perfect in his small role in this as the History Professor. Wish he could have done more work like this. If there any extra scenes of him cut in this film, it would be great if they could be restored.

Harold Ramis, who also did work ranging from GHOSTBUSTERS (trendy) to GROUND HOG DAY (classic), touches show in the script. He works Rodney's character in perfect & the plot shows some of the imagination that makes Bill Murrays classic comedy so great. He allows Rodney to be himself, but frames his character so well that he is a perfect a fit as the clothing store Mellon runs.

Special kudos to Mellon's son, as he plays straight very well to his dad. Weakest of the cast is the girlfriend, but she is not given quite enough script to work with here so she makes do with what she has. At least she does OK with it.

All the characters show a lot of class & this film is a fine comedy from start to finish.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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