Soul Man (1986)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Soul Man Videos & Photos

Movie Info

An ambitious but spoiled rich white kid wins a scholarship to Harvard Law School by pretending to be African-American in this broadly played comedy. After his father cuts him off financially, Mark Watson (C. Thomas Howell) wins a full tuition scholarship to Harvard by claiming to be African-American on the application form. With the help of his best friend, Gordon (Arye Gross), Mark acquires some bronzing pills, a new hairdo, and a lowered voice. Disguised as a black student, Mark thinks that … More

Rating: PG-13 (adult situations/language)
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Carol Black, Neal Marlens
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 19, 2002
New World Video


as Mark Watson

as Sarah Walker

as Gordon Bloomfield

as Prof. Banks

as Whitney Dunbar

as Mr. Dunbar

as Bill Watson

as Dr. Aronson

as Ray McGrady

as Mrs. Walker

as Man in Cell

as Mr. Wicher

as Mrs. Sherwood

as Officer Schkolnick

as Girl in Bed

as Mrs. Dunbar

as Barky Brewer

as Officer Schkolnick
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Critic Reviews for Soul Man

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (6)

In the end, however, it's let down by one easy laugh too many.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's a blithe, silly, good-natured movie and, of its kind, quite an enjoyable one.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Of course, simply everyone is completely bamboozled by our hero's disguise, even though he now looks like a Ken doll with liver disease.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

This is a genuinely interesting idea, filled with dramatic possibilities, but the movie approaches it on the level of a dim-witted sit-com.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

The pity is, it isn't even outrageous.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

This social farce is excellently written, fast paced and intelligently directed.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Soul Man

Yeah, it's bad, and kind of racist, but I think it's probably well intentioned, just done badly. It has that bad 80's kind of appeal.
Wanted to hate it, but just couldn't.

Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer


"Soul Man" is an embarrassing movie that somehow manages to be simultaneously intentionally and unintentionally racist. C. Thomas Howell plays a pampered rich kid whose parents cut him off just as he's been accepted to Harvard law school. He takes an overdose of "tanning" pills and voila! he's african american! Add to that a cheap afro wig, and he's gets a fully paid scholarship reserved for african american students. C. Thomas really doesn't look ethnic at all though, he just looks like a guy in blackface. Not alot of laughs in this movie, either intentional or post-ironic, it's just sort of average (although the sight of 90 lb C. Thomas punching out two guys who go FLYING across the room is pretty entertaining- what was it about punching a guy in the 80s that caused him to go flying 20 feet across a building?). A completely pedestrian waste of time.

Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer



Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

Soul Man Quotes

– Submitted by Emily C (4 years ago)

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