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Renaissance Man (1994)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  3 June 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 13,188 users   Metascore: 44/100
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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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Title: Renaissance Man (1994)

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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


There's only one man big enough to take them on... 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?


When Bill is at the Tiger game with his daughter the Tigers are playing the Toronto Blue jays. The Blue jays would go on to win the 1993 World Series the same year the movie was filmed. See more »


When Hobbs' first arm is handcuffed, the chain side of the handcuff is on the inside (palm side) of his wrist. But, after the second cuff is applied, both are on the outside (knuckle side) of his wrists. See more »


Florist: Hey, excuse me, sir. I'm lookin' for the base chapel
Bill Rago: Base chapel?
Florist: Yeah.
Bill Rago: Go back around the curve 'til you reach the P.X. Ya hang a right. Ya come to that line A.P.C.s, ya turn left. Go half a click, ya come to the R.F.P.C. building. It's right around the back. Got it?
Florist: [confused] Yeah.
See more »


References Scarface (1983) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Hamlet As A Teaching Tool
25 April 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

One of the most moving experiences in cinema I had during the Nineties was watching Renaissance Man. It's more than a comedy about underachievers realizing their potential. It's about the man who makes them realize their worth as human beings getting quite an education about life himself.

Danny DeVito is that man in a role about as far removed as you can get from Louis DePalma in Taxi and Lawrence Garfield in Other People's Money. He's an advertising man who loses a couple of big clients while getting stuck in traffic and gets bounced from his job.

Needing an income while looking for a job, the Michigan Unemployment Department gives him an interesting job, a civilian remedial education teacher for the United States Army. He's assigned to a class of eight trainees who might wash out if they don't shape up. It's their mental attitudes that need adjusting.

A little trial and error and DeVito hits upon the idea to use Shakespeare, specifically Hamlet as a teaching tool. Interpreting and learning life's lesson from one of the greatest works of literature in the English language apparently works and in ways far beyond making these trainees get through basic training.

This is my favorite film with Danny DeVito and he's not an easy fit into army life. Cliff Robertson, James Remar, and Gregory Hines are some of the army people he deals with.

But the eight trainees are the heart of the film. Mark Wahlberg, Lillo Brancato, Kadeem Hardison, Richard Jones, Khalil Kain, Gregory Sporleto, Stacey Dash are seven of them. One of them doesn't make it through and ironically because of an act of kindness. But my favorite in the film is Peter Simmons who plays Private Brian Davis from Grand Forks, North Dakota. It's young men like him and his father before him in Vietnam who was killed in action who keep this country safe and secure. He gets the best recognition possible at the end of the film and you are guaranteed not to have a dry eye when you see it.

Renaissance Man is a beautifully crafted film from Penny Marshall and should not be missed when broadcast.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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