Film: Renaissance Man

American film released in 1994 starring Danny Devito and Gregory Hines.

A down-on-his luck businessman named Bill Rago (Danny Devito) ends up applying for and being given a job as a teacher for the U.S. Army. He soon learns that he has to get his group of students to avoid flunking the class.


Tropes evident in Renaissance Man include:

  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Rago is confronted by the company commander over his teaching methods and motivations, he dismisses any prior experience with the military and proudly points out that he carried a sign with a dead soldier's name on it to protest the Vietnam War.
    Colonel James: What was his name?
    Rago: Who?
    James: The soldier on the sign. What was his name? (Cue blank look and dead silence.)
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Arguably happens to several members of the class, in particular Tommy Lee Haywood (played by Mark Wahlberg).
  • Cool Teacher: Bill Rago eventually transitions to this role after completing the obstacle course to prove himself to his class.
  • Death Course: Not a literal example, however, given how Bill Rago looks and the shape he is in, the normal obstacle course may be enough of one.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Sergeant Cass, but he's not particularly mean. It's still not a good idea to undermine his authority in front of the recruits.
  • Military School: The film treats the classroom as this kind of a set up.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Bill tries to get Captain Murdoch to look into Hobbs for officer training, but Murdoch ends up finding that Hobbs has a warrant out for his arrest, making Rago feel terrible when he's arrested.
  • Non-Giving-Up School Guy: Pretty much a staple of the movie as it came out in 1994, when many movies about teachers were reveling in this trope.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Both Captain Murdoch and Colonel James are nice guys who support Rago.
  • Rousing Speech: Done by both Bill Rago and the students. In-universe, the "St. Crispin's Day" speech from Henry V is quoted twice.
  • Save Our Students: Done more so as a 'save our Army students' variation.