Volunteers (1985) - Rotten Tomatoes

Volunteers (1985)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Tom Hanks and John Candy were reunited for the first time since Splash in this period comedy about Peace Corps worker during the optimistic period of the Kennedy presidency. Lawrence Bourne III (Tom Hanks) is an upper-class heel who has to flee the country to escape his gambling debts and so sneaks aboard an airplane filled with Peace Corps volunteers en route to Thailand. On the plane he is befriended by well-meaning Peace Corps worker Tom Tuttle (John Candy). Once in Thailand, the workers become involved with building a bridge, and Lawrence becomes involved with the local Communists, an opium lord, and the CIA.
R (adult situations/language)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
HBO Video


Tom Hanks
as Lawrence Bourne III
John Candy
as Tom Tuttle from Tacoma
Rita Wilson
as Beth Wexler
Tim Thomerson
as John Reynolds
Gedde Watanabe
as At Toon
George Plimpton
as Lawrence Bourne Jr.
Ernest Harada
as Chung Mee
as Lucille
Clyde Kusatsu
as Souvanna
Duan Ji-Shun
as Cicero
Ji-Tu Cumbuka
as Cicero
Allan Arbus
as Albert Bordonaro
Xander Berkeley
as Kent Sutcliffe
Harry Yorku
as Ai Po
Virginia Kiser
as Evelyn Bourne
Duncan Ross
as Noble
Guillermo del Rio
as Sumo Guard
Jacqueline Evans
as Aunt Eunice
Pamela Gual
as Tammy
Phillip Guilmant
as Yale President
Chick Hearn
as Announcer
Carlos Romano
as Beatty
Prof. Toru Tanaka
as Sumo Guard
Lonnie Wun
as Sumo Guard
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Critic Reviews for Volunteers

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (3)

Promising premise and opening shortly descend into unduly protracted tedium.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

A blasé Hanks redeems this string of sexist, racist, comic clichés with winning charm. It's funny.

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

A little melancholy may blend with the laughter ''Volunteers'' draws at the expense of those earnest days when a President was urging people to ask what they could do for their country.

Full Review… | May 21, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Hanks is excellent and has a way with funny lines that marks him as one of the better droll comic actors, if given the right material. Here, writers Ken Levine and David Isaacs have provided the actors with solid jokes.

Full Review… | December 23, 2013
TV Guide

Often funny premise, but comedy cast makes it work.

June 1, 2007

...a silly, thoroughly unmemorable comedy...

Full Review… | February 18, 2006
Reel Film Reviews

Audience Reviews for Volunteers


A fun movie, pretty well written, with a good cast, and everything else is pretty average for an 80s comedy. I wanted to rate this higher, but there were a bunch of stupid jokes thrown in that I thought the movie could have done without. Otherwise, it's an exciting, fun, charming little comedy. Overall I enjoyed it anyway, even though it's not the best it could be.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


Not very strong but some scattered laughs and exotic Thailand locations. John Candy lends Tom Hanks a helpful comedy hand once again just like in Splash.

Doctor Strangeblog
Doctor Strangeblog

Super Reviewer

Tom Hanks plays a rich Harvard snob Lawrence Bourne III, a Yalie with an upper-crust accent who joins the Peace Core to escape his gambling debts. Once on the plane, however, he has second thoughts and as soon as he gets off the plane, Lawrence literally goes down on his knees and begs the leader to send him back. But his pleas go in vain. Things begin to look up when an attractive fellow Corps woman, Beth (Rita Wilson) is assigned to the same village, along with an over-zealous but good-hearted engineer, Tom Tuttle from Tacoma, Washington (played by John Candy). However, Beth won't give him the time of day and Tom is a royal pain in the ass nevertheless the trio gets immersed in an elaborate scheme to build a bridge. Hanks and Candy are very humorous while Gedde Watanabe plays a local named Toon, a fast-talking kid who went to an American School in Bangkok who helps Hanks and Candy communicate with his people. Lawrence ends up building the bridge, but then realizes that it was a dreadful mistake, as he comes face to face with brainwashed Communists, deviant drug pushers and John Reynolds, as the crazed CIA operative, who names his Bowie knife "Mike." A piece of trivia for you to digest: It was on this movie set that Tom Hanks won the heart of his second wife Rita Wilson and the duo are still married to date.

Deb S
Deb S

Super Reviewer

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