Soul Man (1986)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  24 October 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.1/10 from 5,871 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?


Co-stars C. Thomas Howell and Rae Dawn Chong met on the set of this film, later married, and later divorced. 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 »


Mark Watson: I got the money, Brad.
Brad Small: Oh? How?
Mark Watson: Where there's a will, there's a way...
Brad Small: Yeah? And what's your way?
Mark Watson: It's a SECRET way.
Gordon Bloomfeld: A secret way...
Brad Small: Well thats great Mark-o, but just in case your "secret way" falls through, feel free to look me up! Thanks for the cocktail Gordon...
Mark Watson: You didn't believe me, do ya? You don't believe me! Well the joke's on you sucker, because I'm going to Harvard and DON'T CALL ME A LIAR! That asshole thinks I'm lying!
Gordon Bloomfeld: Mark! You ARE lying...
See more »


Referenced in Totally Awesome (2006) 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

Silly, but very funny
22 November 1999 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

I remember watching this in my early teens, and thinking it was one of the funniest films that I had seen. Watching it again over 10 years later, its still pretty funny. In the age of political correctness it probably has quite poor taste, but thats not its intention. Its a lightweight comedy, and thats the way it should be taken. There are a few moments where a message and moral does come through, especially in the later half of the film. This adds to the films charm, as well as giving people a fairly superficial albeit correct notion of the social struggle faced by some races. C Thomas Howell was very good in this film, and I feel that its a shame that he does not make that many feature films these days- he seems to appear a lot in direct to video films. It was also interesting to watch Julia Louis-Dreyfuss in her very pre-Seinfeld days, before she became Elaine. This really is a funny film, very unbelievable but heaps better than the lame comedies that the big studios are serving up these days.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

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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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