Renaissance Man (film)

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Renaissance Man is a 1994 comedy film directed by Penny Marshall and starring Danny DeVito, Gregory Hines, James Remar and Ed Begley, Jr. DeVito plays Bill Rago, a recently-dismissed advertising executive hired to teach basic literacy skills to a remedial group of U.S. Army recruits. In Australia, the film is known under the title of Army Intelligence. The film was also remarketed several months after its initial release as a comedy, this time as a drama under the title of By the Book.

One Man's Mission To Teach The Few, The Proud... The Impossible!taglines


Soldiers: [chanting] Hamlet's mother, she's the queen / Buys it in the final scene / Drinks a glass of funky wine / Now she's Satan's Valentine.

[talking about Shakespeare to the class]
Bill: He wrote plays. Plays...? You know, like TV without the box.

Miranda: I'd rather be a Double D than a swinger from the ugly tree, you fat pig.

Bill: GO NAVY.

Bill: Hi, I'm Bill Rago. I've never taught before... and you've never thought before. So, good luck to all of us.

[Bill writes "oxymoron" on the board]
Jamaal: You can't say that. That is a diss. I ain't no ox moron.
Bill: No, no, no. Not ox moron, schmuck; oxymoron. That's when you take two words that are totally opposite and you jam them together, like, uh 'Military Intelligence'... 'Dark Victory'... 'Thunderous Silence'... [getting no response] Girly Man! [class laughs] Now we'll end today with an oxymoron from Shakespeare himself,

Parting is such 'Sweet Sorrow'.

Bill: All I know is, the choices you make dictate the life you lead. "To thine own self be true."

[Melvin is reading a passage from Hamlet in a monotone voice]
Bill: Melvin, read the rest of it when you come out of the coma.

[reading Hamlet]
Jamaal: Bill, are you going translate this?
Bill: Why? It's in English.

Soldier 1: Has anyone seen my green socks?
Solider 2: We all got green socks.

[reading about why they joined the Army]
Tommy Lee: There's these woods behind our trailer park. This old guy lives in the woods there. Everybody in town swore he was crazy. He showed me how to hunt, and how to be real quiet, and how to listen. He said he had seen everything in the world he wanted to see, and he ain't never wanted to leave those woods. Well, me and my daddy got laid off at the paper mill, and whilst I spent about five months watching TV with my brothers, I kept thinking of what the old man said. Finally, I decided that I did want to see more of the world, and what was behind that trailer park. And that's why I joined up.
Miranda: I liked living with my aunt, Mavis, in Chicago the best. Bust last summer, my mother, Ruthie, came back and we drove to Atlanta. She said, "We don't have to stay long," but then she met a man, and they take off. I waited around for a while, waiting for her to come back, but everybody keep saying, "Just go on home." I don't know where that is. So I take the bus to Cleveland and spend two days staring at the poster behind the driver saying, "Be all you can be." So I think about that for a week, and think I got to be somewhere, so here I am.
Jamaal: In my crib, there ain't never been a time where we eat, sleep, or nothing. You know, everybody just run around crazy. Half the time, I don't even know who we are. I must be the only person in the world who joined the army so he'd know exactly what time he'd be eating lunch.
Roosevelt: I wanted to learn a new trade.

Bill: [about reading their essay] All right, who wants to start?
[no reply]
Bill: Nobody?
Bill: I thought this was the volunteer army...

Bill: Write... why you're here.
Tommy Lee: This is where they told us to be.
Bill: No, no. Write about the magical twist of fate that prompted you to gravitate towards this institute of imbeciles.
Jamaal: [confused] What?
Bill: [very nonchalantly] Write why you joined the Army.

[Drill Sgt. Cass has just ordered Benitez to recite Shakespeare.]
Pvt. Donnie Benitez: [from Henry V] He that shall live this day, and see old age, Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors, And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.' Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars. And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.' Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, But he'll remember with advantages What feats he did that day. Then shall our names, Familiar in his mouth as household words, Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd. And this story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember'd; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother. And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks who fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
Pvt. Donnie Benitez: That enough, Drill Sergeant?
Sgt. Cass: [quietly] Yes, Benitez. Good.


  • One Man's Mission To Teach The Few, The Proud... The Impossible!
  • There's only one man big enough to take them on...


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