Renaissance Man (1994)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  3 June 1994 (USA)
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A down-on-his-luck businessman desperately takes the only job offered - a teacher in the U.S. Army. His mission: keep a ragtag bunch of underachieving misfits from flunking out of basic ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pvt. Donnie Benitez (as Lillo Brancato Jr.)
Peter Simmons ...
Pvt. Brian Davis, Jr.
Pvt. Melvin (as Greg Sporleder)
Ben Wright ...
Private Oswald
Bill's Secretary


A down-on-his-luck businessman desperately takes the only job offered - a teacher in the U.S. Army. His mission: keep a ragtag bunch of underachieving misfits from flunking out of basic training! Be on alert as this unlikely new teacher and his underdog class unexpectedly inspire each other to be all they can be! Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


One Man's Mission To Teach The Few, The Proud... The Impossible! See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 June 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

By the Book  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)


$24,332,324 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The writer, Jim Burnstein, and his family can be seen behind Danny DeVito when Bill Rago and his daughter are at the Tigers game. To the right of Mr. Burnstein are his son Gabe, daughter Devon and his wife. Usually Mr. Burnstein and Gabe are the only ones visible on screen. See more »


Although the movie is set in Detroit, when Bill Rago takes his daughter Emily to a Detroit Tigers game you can see a Toronto Blue Jays symbol on the field. See more »


[Talking about Shakespeare to the class]
Bill Rago: He wrote plays. Plays...? You know, like TV without the box.
See more »


References Gomer Pyle: USMC (1964) See more »


Music by Frank Peterson, Matthias Meissner and Thomas Schwarz
Lyrics by Alex Christensen, Prince Ital Joe and Mark Wahlberg
Performed by Prince Ital Joe Feat and Mark Wahlberg (as Marky Mark)
See more »

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User Reviews

See it for the Shakespeare, enjoy it for it's redemption plot and strong performances.
19 November 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a feel good movie, not very deep BUT well conceived, written and acted. DeVito is excellent as a failing marketing man being transformed into a thoughtful, caring army educator. As important is the film's excellent presentation and discussion of the works of Shakespeare.

No surprise, DeVito's self centered abrasiveness meets with antipathy. Army officers don't care. Convinced of their own worthlessness, DeVito's students are disinterested, at best. During the semester, DeVito, mellows, students learn enough to advance,and Army brass begins to appreciates the new teacher.

The best part of this film is not DeVito's or the student's redemption but the film's beguiling Shakespeare presentation. DeVito teaches the Bard with passion. The writers deliver illuminating, focused student dialog. As one who didn't "get" Shakespeare until seeing MacBeth a year after graduation. This movie was a better class than anything I took in high school or college.

Enjoy the film and the class.

24 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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