Revenge of the Nerds (1984)

revenge of the nerd poster 1984 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Fun, goofy, raunchy comedy with heart

Dated, questionable moments

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Revenge of the Nerds

Studio:  Interscope Communications

Genre(s):  Comedy

Release Date(s):  July 20, 1984

MPAA Rating:  R

revenge of the nerds lambda lambda lambda cast

The Lambda Lambda Lambdas…will destroy you!

Gilbert Lowe (Anthony Edwards) and Lewis Skolnick (Robert Carradine) are about to start a new adventure.  They are freshmen at Adams College and hope to live a life of girls, partying, and fraternities…so long as their GPA does not suffer.  When they arrive at college, Gilbert and Lewis are quickly labeled once again as nerds and tossed out of their housing by jocks.  Now, the nerds are assembling and fighting back against the Greek Council by forming their own fraternity.  The Lambda Lambda Lambdas are nerds and out for revenge!

Directed by Jeff Kanew, Revenge of the Nerds is a college comedy.  The movie became a surprise success and big box office winner.  The movie over the years has garnered a cult following.

revenge of the nerds belching contest booger curtis armstrong

The sound of Booger’s belch includes camels getting it on

Revenge of the Nerds was a dirty movie that I had access to early on.  With a copy taped off of HBO, my friends and I watched Revenge of the Nerds into the ground.  Loaded with nudity and swearing, I don’t know why my parents let me watch it, but I know that I had to fast forward through the post-panty raid nudity.  Despite being a favorite as a kid, the movie actually does hold up.

The story for Revenge of the Nerds is basically an underdog story.  It is a film about prejudices and proving that even if some stereotypes are true, they shouldn’t be used to judge a person or a group of people.  It is a positive message and actually has some nice moments (like the end speech by Anthony Edwards and Robert Carradine).

The movie however is loaded with tons of ’80s moments that wouldn’t be possible today.  There is full frontal nudity, drug use (including allowing a twelve year old to be involved), and lots of politically incorrect jokes.  Movies like American Pie followed in Revenge of the Nerds’ tradition but were more gross-out than raunchy.  The movie even has one of the main characters essentially raping Betty by not letting her know he wasn’t her boyfriend Stan Gable (Ted McGinley), but it is all for laughs and she is a bad person so its ok is the message…what?!?!  In general, the idea of sexual assault (and secretly spying and recording women in their rooms) is ignored in this movie but that is not shocking for when it was made.

revenge of the nerds concert rap costumes

The Nerds rock! (in a very 1980s way)

The cast is great and works together.  Though he became the pinnacle nerd,  Robert Carradine wasn’t a nerd when he made the film and teams well with Anthony Edwards who had been a bit player in Fast Times in Ridgemont High.  James Cromwell also has a great moment (though small) with Carradine who plays his nearly identical son, and Edwards works well with his romantic lead Julie played by Michelle Meyrink (Jami Gertz, Joan Cusack, and Sarah Jessica Parker also auditioned for this role). Timothy Busfield is the coke-bottle glasses Poindexter and Andrew Cassese plays the youthful Wormser who generally ends up teamed with Lamar played by Larry B. Scott.  Two scene stealers are Curtis Armstrong as the vile “nerd” Booger and Donald Gibb as the vile “jock” Ogre.  Julia Montgomery is pretty much a pretty face as Betty Childs, but Ted McGinley and John Goodman do play good “bad guys”.

revenge of the nerds gilbert speech anthony edwards

“I’m a nerd”

The movie has a totally ’80s look from the campus life, to technology, to styles, and music.  The film shot on the campus of the University of Arizona and did face some flack from university officials once the shooting started, and the school realized how student life was being portrayed.

Revenge of the Nerds is a great throwback movie.  It is still funny, still poignant at points, and does have a different style of raunchy that often can’t be found in modern movies…plus, it has the awesome Lamda Lamda Lamda rap.  The movie started a franchise which did sully the original (and the DVD generally contains an extremely awful pilot for a TV series).  Revenge of the Nerds was followed by Revenge of the Nerds II:  Nerds in Paradise in 1987.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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