Back to School (1986) - Rotten Tomatoes

Back to School (1986)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Self made millionaire (Dangerfield) but down to Earth dad decides to get his college degree to keep his son in college. Dangerfield's wild ways make college life ever more difficult for his son but they both teach each other a few things.more
Rating: PG-13 (adult situations/language, nudity)
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: William Porter, Will Aldis, Michael Elias, Peter Torokvei, Vern Porter
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 26, 2003
HBO Video


Rodney Dangerfield
as Thornton Melon
Sally Kellerman
as Dr. Diane Turner
Keith Gordon
as Jason Melon
Paxton Whitehead
as Philip Barbay
M. Emmet Walsh
as Coach Turnbull
Ned Beatty
as Dean Martin
Severn Darden
as Dr. Barazini
Sam Kinison
as Prof. Terguson
Sarah Abrell
as Sorority Girl
Dana Allison
as Young Woman
Boris Aplon
as Tony Meloni
Lisa LeCover
as Rodette
Kimberlin Ann Brown
as Girl in Dorm Hallway
Bob Drew
as Contractor
Holly Hayes
as Girl in the Crowd
Jason Hervey
as Young Thornton
Santos Morales
as Bartender
Beth Peters
as Mrs. Stuyvesant
Phil Rubenstein
as Executive
John Young
as Executive
Tim Stack
as Trendy Man
Steve Sweeney
as Security Guard
Stacey Toten
as Hot Tub Girl
Becky LeBeau
as Hot Tub Girl
William Grauer
as Drunken Student
Tricia Hill
as Lisa's Friend
Jill D. Merin
as Girl at Dorm Party
John James
as Man in Stands
Kristen Aldrich
as Student in Diane's C...
Eric Alver
as Student at Fraternit...
John William James
as Man in Stands
Curtis Stone
as 'Twist & Shout' Band
Josh Saylor
as Student in Diane's C...
Kirsten Aldrich
as Student in Diane's C...
Lisa LeCover
as Rodette
Becky Le Beau
as Hot-Tub Girl
Danny Elfman
as Oingo Boingo Band Me...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Back to School

Critic Reviews for Back to School

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (8)

The vibes, here, are all wrong, and Dangerfield's unique timing is disrupted in most scenes.

Full Review… | August 1, 2013
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

I mean no disrespect to Rodney Dangerfield in suggesting that Back to School is a comedy that belongs back on the drawing board.

Full Review… | August 1, 2013
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Dangerfield seems to be setting the film's brisk pace and flawless timing himself.

Full Review… | August 1, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

In this very funny Rodney Dangerfield comedy, there has been an important shift in Rodney's entertainment persona, a shift that has made this small film a monster hit.

Full Review… | January 16, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

It's a good character for Dangerfield, one that veers him away from the 'I don't get no respect' pathos that comes too easily to him, and enough attention is paid to the minimal plot to integrate Dangerfield's classically constructed one-liners.

Full Review… | February 27, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

[An] acceptable time-passer.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Back to School


Rodney Dangerfield is one of the greatest stand up comedians ever. His timing and delivery are simply perfect. This films shows that he also had some great acting talent. Nothing that pushes him too far, but certainly enough to propel the story along. Dangerfield decides to attend his son's college to help his son through the hard times. Obviously they each learn a little about each other along the way. There are many sequences and characters you will be familiar with, but Dangerfield is particularly lovable. He's supported by a strong supporting cast. The best moments are when Dangerfield proves himself as more than just a one-liner comedian.

Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer


A very funny, but somewhat stupid, comedy starring Dangerfield. There are a couple of really funny jokes, but there are also some not very funny jokes. My favourite part is when Oingo Boingo plays at the party.

Aj V

Super Reviewer


Rodney Dangerfield at the top of his game, giving out laughs and a heartfelt father/son story. The premise is hilarious in itself, but the execution of it is what really makes it great. Kieth Gordon is a great straight man to the very lively and over the top nature of his onscreen father. Robert Downey Jr. also plays a pretty hilarious rendition of Robert Smith going to college part time. I like how this criticizes the the college experiences as well as romanticizing it.

Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

Back to School Quotes

Thornton Melon: With the shape my body is in, I could donate it to science fiction.
– Submitted by monsieur r (4 years ago)
Thornton Melon: Bring a pitcher of beer every seven minutes until someone passes out, then bring one every ten minutes.
– Submitted by monsieur r (4 years ago)
Diane: Whoever wrote that doesn't know the first thing about Kurt Vogenegut!
Thornton Melon: And another thing Vogenegut, I'm stopping payment on the check!!
– Submitted by sean b (4 years ago)
Thornton Melon: Class huh? Let's talk about class ok Vanessa. There's you and Gorgio in the guest room. Very classy. There's you and Gorgio in the rumpus room, another classy one. Whoo this one i can't figure out! There's you, there's Gorgio, what's with the midget? Hey wait I've got more!
– Submitted by sean b (4 years ago)

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