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Soul Man (1986)

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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.


Steve Miner


Carol Black





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


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


A comedy with heart and soul. See more »


Comedy | Romance


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

24 October 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Imposter See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


C. Thomas Howell and Arye Gross appeared in The Prince and the Surfer (1999). See more »


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 »


Gordon Bloomfeld: Objection!
Professor Banks: To what?
Gordon Bloomfeld: Quite frankly, to your tone of voice.
See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob Movie (2012) See more »


Bang Bang Bang (Who's on the Phone)
By Angelo La Bionda (as A. La Bionda), Rocco Tanica (as S. Conforti), Enrico Pannuto (as E. Pannuto),
Richard Palmer-James (as R.P. James)
Performed by Ricky
Courtesy of A&M Records, Inc. & Creamus SRL
See more »

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User Reviews

great & brilliant but highly under-rated
11 June 2011 | by akhilesh-5See all my reviews

its a shame that such an exceptional movie has got an abysmally low rating of less than 5..even after more than 3500 reviews! everything is almost perfect about this picture: casting, story, direction, acting, dialogues, music, overt & subtle social references, humour,thought & intelligence as well as intellectual depth, sense of history...everything. the characters were very endearing even though some were a bit stereotypical but not off the mark and cinematic liberty is important,isn't it! the climax was a bit simplistic and short but still full marks for pulling it off without hiccups.its sad too that such movies are not being made these days. full 10 out of 10 for such a great thinking movie as well as an entertainer!!

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