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Volunteers (1985)

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2:23 | Trailer

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Lawrence is a rich kid with a bad accent and a large debt. After his father refuses to help him out, Lawrence escapes his angry debtors by jumping on a Peace Corp flight to Southeast Asia, ... See full summary »

Director:

Nicholas Meyer

Writers:

Keith Critchlow (story), Ken Levine (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Hanks ... Lawrence Bourne III
John Candy ... Tom Tuttle from Tacoma
Rita Wilson ... Beth Wexler
Tim Thomerson ... John Reynolds
Gedde Watanabe ... At Toon
George Plimpton ... Lawrence Bourne Jr.
Ernest Harada Ernest Harada ... Chung Mee
Allan Arbus ... Albert Bardenaro
Xander Berkeley ... Kent Sutcliffe
Ji-Tu Cumbuka ... Cicero (as Ji-Tu Cumbaka)
Guillermo Río Guillermo Río ... Sumo Guard (as Guillermo del Rio)
Jacqueline Evans Jacqueline Evans ... Aunt Eunice
Pamela Gual Pamela Gual ... Tammy the Stewardess
Philip Guilmant Philip Guilmant ... Yale President (as Phillip Giulmant)
Chick Hearn Chick Hearn ... Announcer
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Storyline

Lawrence is a rich kid with a bad accent and a large debt. After his father refuses to help him out, Lawrence escapes his angry debtors by jumping on a Peace Corp flight to Southeast Asia, where is assigned to build a bridge for the local villagers with American-As-Apple-Pie WSU Grad Tom Tuttle and the beautiful and down-to earth Beth Wexler. What they don't realize is that the bridge is coveted by the U.S. Army, a local Communist force, and a powerful drug lord. Together with the help of At Toon, the only English speaking native, they must fight off the three opposing forces and find out what is right for the villagers, as well as themselves. Written by Michael Silva <silvamd@cleo.bc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Ready or not, here they come See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 August 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alles hört auf mein Kommando See more »

Filming Locations:

Mae Hong Son, Thailand See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,184,360, 18 August 1985, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$19,875,740
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Nicholas Meyer once said of this movie: "Anyone can see this is an affectionate spoof, and that the people who made this movie went out of their way to endorse the Peace Corps, and if you can twit the Army in movies, why not the Peace Corps? There are silly little things I kept throwing in . . . But the popular culture references are affectionate reflections on part of the great contributions to the literature of the cinema. Civilized, educated people will recognize these things." See more »

Goofs

The peace corps plane changes from a prop plane to a jet between shots. See more »

Quotes

Tom Tuttle: I don't understand it. I explained the bridge; everything was A-Okay. Then I mentioned the teakwood we'd be using, and they went all heathen on me.
At Toon: The problem is, you're an asshole.
Tom Tuttle: All right, let's not get personal.
[pause. Realizes he should be shocked to hear a villager speaking English]
Tom Tuttle: Who said that?
Lawrence Bourne III: It should have been me.
At Toon: You're an asshole, Peace Corps guy. You can't cut down those trees. They're sacred! The spirit that guards the village lives in those trees. Don't they teach you ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Tom Hanks' character has firstname "Lawrence". Hanks saves the village. As film fades to black for credits, a large group of "volunteers" gather around Hanks. Just as black for start of credits shows, chants of "Lawrence, Lawrence, Lawrence..." are heard. Absolutely a tribute to scene of O'Toole as Lawrence of Arabia marching across traintop to chants of "Lawrence, Lawrence, Lawrence..." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Confessions of a Hollywood Stuntman (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)
Written by Lee Hays and Pete Seeger (as Peter Seeger)
See more »

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User Reviews

classic pre-oscar tom hanks!
6 April 2004 | by boonewilliamsSee all my reviews

before they started winning oscars, struggling actors such as tom hanks and robin williams used to be... SURPRISE!! funny! volunteers is a great example of a movie that refuses to take its leading actors seriously and is all the better for it. this is not a "star vehicle" but is rather an irreverant tongue-in-cheek romp. it takes its cues from saturday night live, sctv, monty python, and cheesy off-broadway one-act plays. in return, it is spoofed by one particular hollywood blockbuster to follow, austin powers goldmember. mike myers must have been as impressed with the "reading the subtitles" joke, as well as the "asian guy on the toilet/being chased by sumo wrestler" schtick. but rather than beat the jokes to death, volunteers assumes we are smart enough to catch them on the fly. i bought this in a $5.00 dvd bin, and was reminded why i liked the movie so much in the first place. it is never particularly mean to any of its subjects, including the primitive thai villagers, the communist revolutionaries, yalies, jews, liberals, conservatives, or any of the other fringe elements put into play. as a result, volunteers doesn't insult me as an intelligent movie viewer. by the way, i had forgotten how humorously effective was the "lawrence's bar" scene where the local musician plinks out an oddly romantic version of "as time goes by" on an asian sitar.

volunteers is the sort of movie actors must do just for fun. y'know... when they're not too busy trying to win oscars.


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