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Soul Man (1986)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Romance | 24 October 1986 (USA)
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To achieve his dream of attending Harvard, a pampered teen poses as a young black man to receive a full scholarship.

Director:

Steve Miner

Writer:

Carol Black
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
C. Thomas Howell ... Mark Watson
Rae Dawn Chong ... Sarah Walker
Arye Gross ... Gordon Bloomfeld
James Earl Jones ... Professor Banks
Melora Hardin ... Whitney Dunbar
Leslie Nielsen ... Mr. Dunbar
Ann Walker Ann Walker ... Mrs. Dunbar
James Sikking ... Bill Watson (as James B. Sikking)
Max Wright ... Dr. Aronson
Jeff Altman ... Ray McGrady
Julia Louis-Dreyfus ... Lisa Stimson
Maree Cheatham ... Mrs. Dorothy Watson (as Marie Cheatham)
Wallace Langham ... Barky Brewer (as Wally Ward)
Eric Schiff Eric Schiff ... Booey Fraser
Ron Reagan Ron Reagan ... Frank
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Storyline

Mark doesn't expect any problems in going to college: he and his friend have reserved places in Harvard and his parents have the money to pay for his education there. But suddenly his father's neurotic psychiatrist advises him to go on vacation in Hawaii instead of spending more money on his son. Since Mark wants to keep his lifestyle, including a fancy car and a flat shared with his friend, he seeks financial support. The only foundation which still accepts applications is for blacks only -- no problem, with lots of bronzing pills and "soul in his voice" he sets out to Harvard. Soon he has to realize that being black will cause some people to handle him differently. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A comedy with heart and soul. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 October 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Imposter See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$27,820,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Tim Robbins was cast in the lead but dropped out when the filming of "Howard The Duck" went over schedule. See more »

Goofs

About fifteen minutes into the picture, Mark and Gordon are seen traveling up Mass. Ave. in Cambridge, adjacent to the Harvard campus, and suddenly, they're not on Mass. Ave. anymore, they're on Quincy St., a couple blocks away. Then, just as suddenly, they're right back on Mass Ave., again proceeding through Harvard Square, just as they were before. See more »

Quotes

Mark Watson: I got the money, Brad.
Brad Small: Oh? How?
Mark Watson: Where there's a will, there's a way...
Brad Small: Yeah? And what's your way?
Mark Watson: It's a SECRET way.
Gordon Bloomfeld: A secret way...
Brad Small: Well thats great Mark-o, but just in case your "secret way" falls through, feel free to look me up! Thanks for the cocktail Gordon...
Mark Watson: You didn't believe me, do ya? You don't believe me! Well the joke's on you sucker, because I'm going to Harvard and DON'T CALL ME A LIAR! That asshole thinks I'm lying!
Gordon Bloomfeld: Mark! You ARE lying...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in WatchMojo: Top 10 Ridiculous Movie Plots (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Soul Man
By Isaac Hayes & David Porter
Performed by Sam Moore & Lou Reed
Lou Reed Courtesy of RCA Records
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User Reviews

 
Very controversial when it came out
2 December 2010 | by preppy-3See all my reviews

White man Mark Watson (C. Thomas Howell) wants to attend Harvard University but his rich parents won't pay for it. Desperate to get in he turns his skin black (don't ask) and poses as a black man to get a full scholarship. While attending college as a black man he meets beautiful Sarah Walker (Rae Dawn Chong) and falls in love. He also butts heads with Professor Banks (James Earl Jones) who expects him to do better than anyone else cause he's black.

There was some controversy when this was originally released. Some people (who never even saw the movie) labeled it as racist and demanded that it be banned. It lead to other people (who ALSO never saw it) overpraising it as others blasted it to pieces. Seriously--if it had been about a black man posing as a white man would there have been such a problem? I don't think so. Such a fuss over what is basically a silly comedy. All the predictable jokes come up and are done in a dull way. The movie is flatly directed and Howell looks pretty ridiculous as a black man. Also Howell DOES try to pull this movie off but fails. The only bright points are Chong and Jones who are great in their roles. This is only of interest to see what people thought was controversial. BTW--I saw this in a theatre in 1986. The audience was white and black. Most of the black people applauded at the end! That should tell you how racist this is.


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