Soul Man (1986)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  24 October 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.1/10 from 5,875 users  
Reviews: 29 user | 15 critic

To achieve his dream of attending Harvard, a pampered teen poses as a young black man to receive a full scholarship.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sarah Walker
Gordon Bloomfeld
Professor Banks
Whitney Dunbar
Mr. Dunbar
Ann Walker ...
Mrs. Dunbar
Bill Watson (as James B. Sikking)
Dr. Aronson
Jeff Altman ...
Ray McGrady
Mrs. Dorothy Watson (as Marie Cheatham)
Barky Brewer (as Wally Ward)
Eric Schiff ...
Booey Fraser
Ron Reagan ...


Mark doesn't expect any problems in going to college: he and his friend have reserved places in Harvard and his parents have the money to pay for his education there. But suddenly his father's neurotic psychiatrist advises him to go on vacation in Hawaii instead of spending more money on his son. Since Mark wants to keep his lifestyle, including a fancy car and a flat shared with his friend, he seeks financial support. The only foundation which still accepts applications is for blacks only -- no problem, with lots of bronzing pills and "soul in his voice" he sets out to Harvard. Soon he has to realize that being black will cause some people to handle him differently. Written by Tom Zoerner <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Mark needs a scholarship to get into Harvard. There's one more available for a black student. The problem is Mark's not black... Yet. See more »


Comedy | Romance


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 October 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Imposter  »

Box Office


$27,820,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the scene where Mark first approaches Gordon as a black man, Gordon was originally supposed to believe Mark was going to mug him. An entire scene was filmed in which Mark played along with it and made Gordon sing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot". It was taken out because it was thought, that although funny when filmed, it was inappropriate and racist. See more »


About fifteen minutes into the picture, Mark and Gordon are seen traveling up Mass. Ave. in Cambridge, adjacent to the Harvard campus, and suddenly, they're not on Mass. Ave. anymore, they're on Quincy St., a couple blocks away. Then, just as suddenly, they're right back on Mass Ave., again proceeding through Harvard Square, just as they were before. See more »


Gordon Bloomfeld: A black Negro? He never told me he was a black Negro. Thank you. Boy, just when you think you get to know somebody. I'm gonna go confront him with this information right now. Wow... Mark... a black Negro!
See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob Movie (2012) See more »


Love and Affection
By Joan Armatrading
Performed by Martha Davis & Sly Stone
Martha Davis Courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
Courtesy of A&M Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

a awesome but misunderstood film
30 April 2004 | by (australia) – See all my reviews

In this day of PC rubbish this film probably would cop a lot of flak if it was re released. People actually picketed this film in its day and it has been given the needle from Spike Lee and Eddie Murphy. Well, I am black and didnt find it offensive at all, in fact if people want to attack it and say it is they might want to look at more deserving features that are released nowadays . I personally find most of the stereotypes in the aforementioned directors films quite insulting but that doesnt mean I will hate their work. This movie, although a little awkward in its delievery is obviously made with good intention and should be commended for telling a story with very truthful elements to it. If you cannot see that then you are missing the point. The best and most significant scene is when Mark watson sits down with his rich white girlfriends family for dinner. the scenes they evision are absolutely hilarious and painfully real ...especially priceless is Leslie Nielsens thoughts. a very very funny but misunderstood film (by the wowsers anyhow). relax and enjoy a great teen flick with a real message underlying, if nothing else enjoy the scenery chewing by James Earl Jones, Rae Dawn Chong , Leslie Nielsen and a early Julia Louis-Dreyfus. excellent fun.

34 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Why do people think this is a racist film? petekrug17
is it just me or did this ruin CTHowells career bensmybaby
Those two guys who keep telling the jokes mattscdl
this is a very funny movie cliff-89
iS THIS MOVIE WORTH BUYING! [ignore the typo error underneath this post XxWe_Are_MarshallxX
Good film about race and brotherhood of humans usc02134
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