Back to School

Back to School

4.3 3
Director: Alan Metter

Cast: Alan Metter, Rodney Dangerfield, Sally Kellerman, Burt Young


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Self-made wealthy guy Rodney Dangerfield decides he needs a better education--and also to spend some time away from his cheating new wife. Dangerfield joins his son Keith Gordon at college. Dad hopes to gain his son's respect (isn't that always Dangerfield's motivation?), while son tries to fit in with…  See more details below


Self-made wealthy guy Rodney Dangerfield decides he needs a better education--and also to spend some time away from his cheating new wife. Dangerfield joins his son Keith Gordon at college. Dad hopes to gain his son's respect (isn't that always Dangerfield's motivation?), while son tries to fit in with his snobbish and brutish fellow students. English professor Sally Kellerman forms a strong bond with Dangerfield, encouraging both father and son to stick out their first year despite all odds. The finale involves some slapstick at the swimming pool diving board, and the obligatory commencement address delivered by Dangerfield, who proves that he can crack jokes without tugging at his tie. Even non-Dangerfield fans can enjoy Back to School because his character is appealing and the story has some semblance to credibility. The film was lensed on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, which never looked better.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Rodney Dangerfield has made a nominal career of playing the disrespected everyman, but the one he creates for Back to School is probably both the wealthiest and most loveable. One of his fonder star vehicles, Back to School twists the standard college comedy format by inserting a wild-eyed adult into the equation, then making him adept both at fitting in with his wisecracking classmates and cutting corners like a seasoned pro. (When he's required to write a paper on Kurt Vonnegut, he hires the author himself to do it; on receiving a poor grade, in a moment that's pure Dangerfield, he tells Vonnegut he doesn't know squat about himself.) Sharing the writing credit with seven others, including Animal House veteran Harold Ramis, Dangerfield finally writes himself a balance between his typical zippy putdowns and the warmth audiences expect from their comic heroes. Hardcore fans might think he's selling out in favor of sentiment, but most others will find it charmingly unselfconscious. He even convinces that a refined professor like the one played by Sally Kellerman just might go for him. Keith Gordon is the perfect straight man for Dangerfield, rolling his eyes like a put-upon son, but also generating his half of a believable father-son chemistry. And for suspension of disbelief at its zaniest, just check out Dangerfield's inimitable dive during the climactic swim meet.

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Rodney Dangerfield Thornton Melon
Sally Kellerman Diane
Burt Young Lou
Keith Gordon Jason Melon
Robert Downey Derek
M. Emmet Walsh Coach Turnbull
Adrienne Barbeau Vanessa
Paxton Whitehead Philip Barbay
Terry Farrell Valerie
William Zabka Chas
Ned Beatty Dean Martin
Severn Darden Dr. Barazini
Sam Kinison Prof. Terguson
Robert Picardo Giorgio
Kurt Vonnegut Himself
Edie McClurg Marge
Kimberlin Ann Brown Girl in Dorm Hallway
Bob Drew Bob/Contractor
Lisa LeCover Rodette
Jill D. Merin Girl at Dorm Party
Dallas Winker Rodette
Sarah Abrell Sorority Girl
Dana Allison Young Woman
Boris Aplon Tony Meloni
Nora Boland Agnes
Lisa Denton Lisa
Holly Hayes Girl in the Crowd
Jason Hervey Young Thornton
Leslie Huntly Coed
James Ingersoll Judge
Michael McGrady Player
Santos Morales Bartender
Beth Peters Mrs. Stuyvesant
Phil Rubenstein 1st Executive
Tim Stack Trendy Man
Steve Sweeney Security Guard
Stacey Toten Hot Tub Girl
John Young 2nd Executive
Brad Zutaut Petey
Josh Saylor Student in Diane's Class
William Grauer Drunken Student
Kristen Aldrich Student in Diane's Class
Becky Le Beau Hot-Tub Girl
Tricia Hill Lisa's Friend
John William James Man in Stands
Eric Alver Student at Fraternity Party
Theresa Lyons Cashier
Curtis Stone 'Twist & Shout' Band
Danny Elfman Oingo Boingo Band Member
Kimberlee Carlson Rodette

Technical Credits
Alan Metter Director
Thomas E. Ackerman Cinematographer
Will Aldis Screenwriter
Pete Antico Stunts
Hallie D'Amore Makeup
Rodney Dangerfield Original Story,Screenwriter
Danny Elfman Score Composer
Michael Elias Screenwriter
Estelle Endler Executive Producer
Michael Endler Executive Producer
Rich Eustis Screenwriter
Greg Fields Original Story
Steven Kampmann Screenwriter
Michael Lantieri Special Effects
Marjorie Stone McShirley Production Designer
Chuck Picerni Stunts
Vern Porter Screenwriter
Will Porter Screenwriter
Harold Ramis Executive Producer,Screenwriter
David Rawlins Editor
Chuck Russell Producer
Edmund Silkaitis Set Decoration/Design
Dennis Snee Original Story
David Snyder Production Designer
Peter Torokvei Screenwriter
Richard Wolf Songwriter
Dorinda Rice Wood Costumes/Costume Designer
Dick Ziker Stunts

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Back to School 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
SpunkyGirlAC More than 1 year ago
Rodney Dangerfield at his comic best, he finally got some well-deserved respect with his perfect balance of comedy and dramatic acting. Think of the scene in which he tells his son that he has been told that he will have to take an oral exam (and pass it) if he wishes to remain in school.  Excellent acting.  I don't think that Rodney Dangerfield truly got the recognition he deserved, but at least this movie proves that the world of comedy was a better (and funnier) place because Rodney was a part of it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The jokes are familiar and still funny after seeing them countless times. This is more than Rodney getting respect, this is a homage to his comedic genius. When Kurt Vonnegut gets a failing grade for (ghost) writing an essay on his own book, BACK TO SCHOOL passes with flying colors. High honors.
mleiv More than 1 year ago
But mostly I always watch it for the Oingo Boingo cameo. :)