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.

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


as Thornton Melon

as Dr. Diane Turner

as Jason Melon

as Philip Barbay

as Valerie

as Coach Turnbull

as Dean Martin

as Dr. Barazini

as Prof. Terguson

as Giorgio

as Sorority Girl

as Young Woman

as Tony Meloni

as Rodette

as Girl in Dorm Hallway

as Contractor

as Girl in the Crowd

as Young Thornton

as Bartender

as Mrs. Stuyvesant

as Executive

as Executive

as Trendy Man

as Security Guard

as Hot Tub Girl

as Hot Tub Girl

as Drunken Student

as Lisa's Friend

as Girl at Dorm Party

as Man in Stands

as Student in Diane's C...

as Student at Fraternit...

as Hot-Tub Girl

as Man in Stands

as 'Twist & Shout' Band

as Student in Diane's C...

as Student in Diane's C...

as Oingo Boingo Band Me...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Back to School

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


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

– Submitted by monsieur r (3 years ago)
– Submitted by monsieur r (3 years ago)
– Submitted by sean b (3 years ago)
– Submitted by sean b (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Back to School on our Movie forum!