6.1/10
14,863
60 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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Writer:

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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:

There's only one man big enough to take them on... 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 underlining under "OXYMORON" changes between when Bill first writes it and when he explains it to Montgomery. See more »

Quotes

Bill Rago: Hi. I'm Bill Rago. I've never taught before and you've never thought before. So good luck to all of us.
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Connections

References Cape Fear (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

LIFE IN THE STREETS
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 Mark Wahlberg (as Marky Mark)
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User Reviews

 
It just leaves me warm and shiny.
9 March 2008 | by See all my reviews

Renaissance Man is directed by Penny Marshall and stars Danny DeVito, Gregory Hines, James Remar, Mark Wahlberg, Stacey Dash and Kadeem Hardison. Hans Zimmer scores the film and it's written by Jim Burnstein. The story sees DeVito as Bill Rago, a divorced advertising executive who loses his job and finds himself unemployed. Not only that, but the relationship with his daughter has started to feel the financial strain. However, the unemployment agency find him a short time position at U.S. Army training base, Fort McClane. The position entails him to teach basic comprehension to a class of academic under achievers. Initially he's not enthused by the job, nor are the class particularly responsive to his civilian status. But just maybe this odd coupling may turn out to be good for both parties? That is if Drill Sergeant Cass (Hines) lets them that is?

A box office flop that was first marketed as a comedy, then as a drama {it's very much both}, Renaissance Man holds no surprises what so ever. The formula remains the same as every other piece featuring a teacher and an unruly/troubled/under educated class. So with that in mind, and considering the film has largely been kicked by the professional critics, I'm not here to sell this movie to anyone, because sometimes you have to acknowledge that a film can hit a spot of your own personal psyche, yet at the same time be a million miles away from someone else's.

The choices we make dictate the life we lead

For me personally, Renaissance Man is one such film. It was one dark rainy night back in the mid 90s and I had the blues, I popped over to the video store to see what was available, I couldn't find anything that remotely sounded like something to lift me out of the stupor I was in. I then spied a copy of Renaissance Man, a film I hadn't heard anything about, and although I took that as a bad sign, Danny DeVito's beaming smile on the cover of the box lured me in. I was thinking how much I had enjoyed him in Twins at the back end of 1988, so to me it didn't seem such a bad gamble to take. I was expecting a comedy and I got one, but the bonus was that what I also got was a very uplifting dramatic tale about the human condition, people learning from each other, a tale that shows the power of artistry and how it can unite and lift people. A tale that shows that maybe some folk aren't as clever as others, but if they can grasp a straw and be all that they can be, then their heads will be well and truly held up high.

Renaissance Man, I believe, is a sadly undervalued film on this, or any other film related site. But that's just me, because hey! We all got different psyche's right. Right? 8/10


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