6.1/10
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61 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.

Director:

Penny Marshall

Writer:

Jim Burnstein

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Danny DeVito ... Bill Rago
Gregory Hines ... Sergeant Cass
James Remar ... Captain Tom Murdoch
Ed Begley Jr. ... Jack Markin
Lillo Brancato ... Pvt. Donnie Benitez (as Lillo Brancato Jr.)
Stacey Dash ... Pvt. Miranda Myers
Kadeem Hardison ... Pvt. Jamaal Montgomery
Richard T. Jones ... Pvt. Jackson Leroy
Khalil Kain ... Pvt. Roosevelt Nathaniel Hobbs
Peter Simmons Peter Simmons ... Pvt. Brian Davis, Jr.
Gregory Sporleder ... Pvt. Melvin (as Greg Sporleder)
Mark Wahlberg ... Pvt. Tommy Lee Haywood
Cliff Robertson ... Colonel James
Ben Wright Ben Wright ... Private Oswald
Ann Cusack ... 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:

One Man's Mission To Teach The Few, The Proud... The Impossible! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 June 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

By the Book See more »

Filming Locations:

Detroit, Michigan, USA See more »

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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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the barracks, Lillo Brancato's character reenacts a scene from Raging Bull (1980) starring Robert De Niro. Brancato's impression of De Niro for a talent scout one year earlier landed him his breakthrough role in De Niro's film A Bronx Tale (1993). See more »

Goofs

Near the end of the movie, Sergeant Cass is marching a new bunch of recruits, and the group of men are supposed to be singing the "Hamlet" cadence. However, although we can hear them, none of the men's lips are moving. See more »

Quotes

Soldiers: [chanting] Hamlet's mother, she's the queen / Buys it in the final scene / Drinks a glass of funky wine / Now she's Satan's Valentine.
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Connections

Spoofs Midnight Cowboy (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

WASHINGTON POST MARCH
Written by John Philip Sousa
Performed by The 282nd Army Band
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User Reviews

 
Hamlet As A Teaching Tool
25 April 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

One of the most moving experiences in cinema I had during the Nineties was watching Renaissance Man. It's more than a comedy about underachievers realizing their potential. It's about the man who makes them realize their worth as human beings getting quite an education about life himself.

Danny DeVito is that man in a role about as far removed as you can get from Louis DePalma in Taxi and Lawrence Garfield in Other People's Money. He's an advertising man who loses a couple of big clients while getting stuck in traffic and gets bounced from his job.

Needing an income while looking for a job, the Michigan Unemployment Department gives him an interesting job, a civilian remedial education teacher for the United States Army. He's assigned to a class of eight trainees who might wash out if they don't shape up. It's their mental attitudes that need adjusting.

A little trial and error and DeVito hits upon the idea to use Shakespeare, specifically Hamlet as a teaching tool. Interpreting and learning life's lesson from one of the greatest works of literature in the English language apparently works and in ways far beyond making these trainees get through basic training.

This is my favorite film with Danny DeVito and he's not an easy fit into army life. Cliff Robertson, James Remar, and Gregory Hines are some of the army people he deals with.

But the eight trainees are the heart of the film. Mark Wahlberg, Lillo Brancato, Kadeem Hardison, Richard Jones, Khalil Kain, Gregory Sporleto, Stacey Dash are seven of them. One of them doesn't make it through and ironically because of an act of kindness. But my favorite in the film is Peter Simmons who plays Private Brian Davis from Grand Forks, North Dakota. It's young men like him and his father before him in Vietnam who was killed in action who keep this country safe and secure. He gets the best recognition possible at the end of the film and you are guaranteed not to have a dry eye when you see it.

Renaissance Man is a beautifully crafted film from Penny Marshall and should not be missed when broadcast.


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