6.1/10
14,797
61 user 12 critic

Renaissance Man (1994)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 3 June 1994 (USA)
A failed businessman is hired by the army to teach a group of underachieving recruits in order to help them pass basic training.

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4,925 ( 2,482)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Captain Tom Murdoch
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Jack Markin
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Pvt. Donnie Benitez (as Lillo Brancato Jr.)
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Peter Simmons ...
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Pvt. Melvin (as Greg Sporleder)
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Colonel James
Ben Wright ...
Private Oswald
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Bill's Secretary
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 June 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

By the Book  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,557,590, 5 June 1994, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$24,332,324
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After failing to bring in audiences as a comedy under the original title "Renaissance Man", the movie was re-released to theaters a couple months later marketed as a drama with the alternate title "By The Book", and unsurprisingly pulled in far fewer receipts the second time through the theaters. See more »

Goofs

The Silver Star medal is actually a small silver star inside of a large gold star, so at first glance, it would appear Pvt. Davis received the wrong medal, but his medal was was the actual Silver Star. See more »

Quotes

[Bill writes "oxymoron" on the board]
Pvt. Jamaal Montgomery: You can't say that. That is a diss. I ain't no ox moron.
Bill Rago: No, no, no not ox moron, schmuck; oxymoron.
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Connections

References Gunsmoke (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

HAMLET RAP
Performed by The Double D's
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User Reviews

 
Hamlet As A Teaching Tool
25 April 2008 | by 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.


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