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Soul Man (1986)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  24 October 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.1/10 from 5,820 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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Title: Soul Man (1986)

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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


He didn't give up. He got down. 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 »


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 American Dad!: With Friends Like Steve's (2006) See more »


Suddenly It's Magic
By Amy Sue Reichardt (as Amy La Television) & Willie Wilcox
Performed by Vesta Williams
Courtesy of A&M Records, Inc.
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User Reviews

Never explores the reality of the issue, at least not as much as it should
12 September 2010 | by (Ladson, SC) – See all my reviews

This is a potentially great idea for movie, and it does live up to its potential. And it's funny enough. But it doesn't deal with the reality of what a kid posing as a black person really could, should or would suffer through. The ending is especially formulaic and predictable, or to also describe it, unrealistic. I'm not saying it's a dislikeable movie on any level, but it is a questionable one. To a degree, anyway. One scene that comes into mind is when Matt is trying to hide his "face" from his parents who are visiting. Predictable, but funny stuff. But not really necessary. I know this is a comedy, but just because it is, doesn't mean it shouldn't deal with serious issues.

*** out of ****

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
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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