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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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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?


With one minor omission, Pvt Benitez recites the St. Crispian's speech from Henry V perfectly. The actual speech goes "For he today that sheds his blood with me, shall be my brother, be he ne'er so vile. This day shall gentle his condition. And gentlemen in England..." whereas Pvt Benitez recites it as "shall be my brother. And gentlemen in England..." See more »


When Hobbs is being handcuffed we see one arm being cuffed. A close-up shows the same arm being cuffed again, then wide shot shows both cuffed. See more »


[Melvin is reading a passage from HAMLET in a monotone voice]
Bill Rago: Melvin, read the rest of it when you come out of the coma.
See more »


References Scarface (1983) See more »


Written and performed by John Mellencamp
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User Reviews

Danny de Vito is great!
13 January 2001 | by (Tilburg, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

This film is a very nice one. There are a few reasons for that. Danny de Vito (playing Bill Rago) is great and plays his role very enthusiast. De Vito's best scene is the one where he is in the office where he's going for a job. He totally does NOT want to be there because he's ashamed of being there. When he gets a teaching job offered, the look on his face,when he finds out he is supposed to teach soldiers in the army, is marvelous. All the other actors are playing (very) good, especially Gregory Hines as drill-instructor who wants Bill Rago gone. The few scenes Hines and De Vito share together are no less than hilarious, that's for sure.

The story is not as strong as the (sometimes) brilliant acting from the whole cast. To be honest, the story of Jim Burnstein is predictable and boring. Not only is the ending something you know 30 minutes before it's there, also the most important lines of the story are predictable and because of that boring. I can't spoil the movie, but let me tell you: For this film, Jim Burnstein wanted all happy things and endings, even when it's not appropriate.

If you have read Willliam Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' (a brilliant book, if I may say so) you'll enjoy this film a lot more.

If you like this motion picture you should also see 'Dead Poets Society' with Robin Williams.

9 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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