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Back to School

1 h 36 min1986X-RayPG-13
Rodney Dangerfield plays self-made millionaire Thornton Mellon, owner of a chain of tall and fat clothing stores, who, after divorcing his philandering wife, enrolls in college to keep his son from dropping out. Rodney's invasion quickly turns the campus into a non-stop party zone, and he even helps the diving team win their big meet.
Alan Metter
Rodney DangerfieldKeith GordonRobert Downey Jr.
ComedySpecial Interest
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Sally KellermanBurt YoungAdrienne BarbeauPaxton Whitehead
Chuck RussellEstelle EndlerHarold RamisMichael Endler
MGM - Film
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagenuditysexual contentviolence
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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4.7 out of 5 stars

1594 global ratings

  1. 83% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 11% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

HollisReviewed in the United States on June 18, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Back To School DEMANDS a sixth star!
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i'm so happy that i managed to catch Back To School before it left Amazon, apparently in two weeks' time. what serendipity! however, Back To School should be a permanent offering in the Amazon Prime arsenal, never ever to leave! it's so refreshing, in this time of The Coddling of the American Mind (book by Haidt & Lukianoff, available at both Amazon and Audible), to luxuriate in non-PC humor -- and Truthiness, as well. if your sensayuma is of the Critically-Thinking, Philosophically Well-Adjusted sort, then you will LOVE Back To School ... and pretty much everything about Rodney Dangerfield. Adrienne Barbeau's appearance, although brief, is a gem; Sally Kellerman's Literature professor is a delight (her erotic poetry reading is quite memorable … YES!) -- in fact, i wanted to send the casting director, Caro Jones, a fan email (FeMail), for a fabulous group of actors, but she died 10 years ago. oh well. believe me, the cast is AWESOME! the music (by Danny Elfman) is AWESOME! Sally Kellerman, Sam Kinison, et al., are AWESOME!
16 people found this helpful
sophie zamayaReviewed in the United States on June 28, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Rodney's best
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I believe this movie is Rodney Dangerfield's best production. He retains his notable stand-up comedic self, but it's still highly convincing as the principal character, Thornton Melon, a school dropout, acrobatic diver, and wealthy plus-size clothier who uses his money and influence to enroll in a prestigious university with his disenchanted son, to encourage him to stay in school. I still find the rollicking storyline ''fresh'' and just as hilarious, after having seen it for the first time in over three decades.
21 people found this helpful
Peter R. TalbotReviewed in the United States on May 31, 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
The best thing to come out of Madison Wisconsin ever.
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Very few films deserve a second viewing: less than 1% of the total put on film or digitized. Comedies that survive reviewing are even rarer. This is one of them. A thoroughly enjoyable film that sneaks in more information than expected despite all the formulaic treatment. The cameo of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., the heartfelt reading of Dylan Thomas and the frankly brilliant touches by Harold Ramis lift this one way above its genre.
15 people found this helpful
MondoReviewed in the United States on October 14, 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
Still has its Funny Classic Elements
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I think I would actually rate this one at 3.5 stars, but there is no half-star rating option so I rounded up.

I really liked this movie growing up and recently revisited it. Some of the humor still holds up well and some is quite dated. Harold Ramis was a screenwriter on this and I think his style and sense of humor comes through in places but the script is watered down by other voices.

The film is definitely uneven. Some of the gags play well and others feel forced. Some of the performances are really strong. Sally Kellerman and Robert Downey, Jr. are solid and Rodney Dangerfield is both likable and convincing as Thorton Melon. Sam Kinison's brief role here is unforgettable and very funny.

If you want to revisit the ethos and vibe of the mid 1980s, this film does that pretty well. It likely won't change your life, but you will smile and have a nice ride.
8 people found this helpful
Goth Gone GreyReviewed in the United States on September 28, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Holds up fairly well over the years
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So, you want to see the best college movie ever? Animal House, no contest. (RIP John Belushi.)

For another pass at a "vintage" (egads, when did that happen) comedy, Back To School is a fun ride of Rodney's humor, Robert Downey Jr being the wacky friend, and Sam Kinison as, um, Sam Kinison. But a teacher.

As I watch things from years ago, often there are cringe-worthy moments where things just don't quite work these days. Surprisingly - delightfully - there were a minimal amount of those moments. There are some heartfelt scenes amid the stand-up one liners that fill the movie, as well as a quick tug on the collar by a young actor playing Rodney's character as a child. Nice touch.
2 people found this helpful
Richard The Buying HeartedReviewed in the United States on January 11, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
Dear Rodney Classic
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When Rodney burst upon the movies in Caddyshack he'd been doing stand-up off and on for thirty years and most Americans were familiar with him getting no respect (Yeah...I get no respect...I mean I know I'm ugly...when I went to my Proctologist for the first time he stuck his fingers in my mouth!!) but he got it good from the audiences who appreciated his rapid fire self-deprecating humor. This movie showcases all his comic ability and timing and got him the respect he deserved. A huge hit it tickles the funny bone and has a great plot that showed Rodney could hold his own with the young people as well. Imagine your Dad decided to go to your college while you're further imagine that your Dad was Rodney Dangerfield!!! That's it! I don't have to say anymore do I?? Sit back...relax...enjoy...and remember to put a bucket down to catch your head when you laugh it off!!!
25 people found this helpful
AliceReviewed in the United States on October 20, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
RD doing his thing - Funny, endearing, w/o gratuitously offensive content
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Yes, it is dated w styles, etc., and takes some convenient liberties, such as the fight in the bar, w no consequences, but it hangs together and I give it 5 stars bc of the balance of humor that COULD have been done in some really bad taste, but never crossed the line by taking the really cheap shots w vulgarity and obscenity. Of course, no obscene language or really gross, nasty jokes. Filmmakers today could take some lessons of their own from this movie.
Tammy "TCB"Reviewed in the United States on September 2, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
Rodney Dangerfield still rocks!
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Rodney got no respect! Yeah right! He was one of the best comedians of all times. When a youngster got a compliment from him, it was worth it's weight in gold.
This is one of his better movies. Again, Caddyshack did a wonderful job for showcasing his talents, but this one is right up there in the top.
This movie is definitely out there on some of the stunts pulled, but I would be willing to bet, if one thought about it, they knew people in college that were similar. If not, that person went to a way serious school, which meant they didn't have much fun. The acting is crazy. The characters are larger than real life, but I can't think of anyone in there I despised. The story line was real. Deal with school the best way you can if you are going to stay. Thornton just didn't want his kid to suffer up the ranks like he did. And yes, us parents are willing to do just about anything we can for our kids. If it is in our power, we will. Well... Maybe not hire NASA to do the astronomy papers.
The disc is not crisp, but when it was made, it looked just like it did when I saw it in the theaters. Some people don't like perfect technology, but for me it is a good reminder of the time of the movie. It's like Gone With The Wind. I don't think having it in color does it justice. It is an old movie, shoe me that. Back To School gets the same echo.
8 people found this helpful
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