6.1/10
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Renaissance Man (1994)

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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Scenes of the fictional "Fort McClane, Michigan" were filmed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Landmarks, the post's motto "Victory Starts Here", and the distinctive unit insignia of Fort Jackson, all reveal the true identity of the base. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Bill Rago: Now what's a Double D?
Pvt. Jamaal Montgomery: The whole fort calls us Double Ds.
Pvt. Donnie Benitez: Yeah - dumb as dog shit.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jersey Girl (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
It just leaves me warm and shiny.
9 March 2008 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Renaissance Man is directed by Penny Marshall and stars Danny DeVito, Gregory Hines, James Remar, Mark Wahlberg, Stacey Dash and Kadeem Hardison. Hans Zimmer scores the film and it's written by Jim Burnstein. The story sees DeVito as Bill Rago, a divorced advertising executive who loses his job and finds himself unemployed. Not only that, but the relationship with his daughter has started to feel the financial strain. However, the unemployment agency find him a short time position at U.S. Army training base, Fort McClane. The position entails him to teach basic comprehension to a class of academic under achievers. Initially he's not enthused by the job, nor are the class particularly responsive to his civilian status. But just maybe this odd coupling may turn out to be good for both parties? That is if Drill Sergeant Cass (Hines) lets them that is?

A box office flop that was first marketed as a comedy, then as a drama {it's very much both}, Renaissance Man holds no surprises what so ever. The formula remains the same as every other piece featuring a teacher and an unruly/troubled/under educated class. So with that in mind, and considering the film has largely been kicked by the professional critics, I'm not here to sell this movie to anyone, because sometimes you have to acknowledge that a film can hit a spot of your own personal psyche, yet at the same time be a million miles away from someone else's.

The choices we make dictate the life we lead

For me personally, Renaissance Man is one such film. It was one dark rainy night back in the mid 90s and I had the blues, I popped over to the video store to see what was available, I couldn't find anything that remotely sounded like something to lift me out of the stupor I was in. I then spied a copy of Renaissance Man, a film I hadn't heard anything about, and although I took that as a bad sign, Danny DeVito's beaming smile on the cover of the box lured me in. I was thinking how much I had enjoyed him in Twins at the back end of 1988, so to me it didn't seem such a bad gamble to take. I was expecting a comedy and I got one, but the bonus was that what I also got was a very uplifting dramatic tale about the human condition, people learning from each other, a tale that shows the power of artistry and how it can unite and lift people. A tale that shows that maybe some folk aren't as clever as others, but if they can grasp a straw and be all that they can be, then their heads will be well and truly held up high.

Renaissance Man, I believe, is a sadly undervalued film on this, or any other film related site. But that's just me, because hey! We all got different psyche's right. Right? 8/10


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