Parents' Guide to

Back to School

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Classic '80s comedy has lots of profanity, innuendo.

Movie PG-13 1986 96 minutes
Back to School Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 18+

Humor revolves around sexualizing women/nudity

Adult humor, if making fun of women and sexualizing their bodies is your thing. Not funny. Every line is a sexual innuendo. Gratuitous female nudity.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 13+

doesn't deliver

Although this movie isn't as innocent as one may remember (hence its PG-13 rating), the only problem areas are the occasional innuendos, brief nudity and mild, occasional profanity. The sexism, racism and homophobia are a reflection of when this movie was made. These are not the reasons why this movie is disappointing. It is because Rodney Dangerfield comes across as funny but not very smart and, hence, doesn't belong in college. That defeats the premise of this movie.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (2):

In many respects, this thoroughly enjoyable comedy is a classic of its genre, the 1980s collegiate party movie. It's replete with blowout parties, bikini-clad women, and the eternal struggle between jock bullies and misfits. But what clearly separates Back to School from so many movies of this type from that time is Rodney Dangerfield, who uses this vehicle to do what he does best: make a constant barrage of jokes, quips, and one-liners. He's basically playing his stand-up comedy persona, and so many of his jokes are truly unforgettable, which makes this such a fun movie to watch, time and time again.

Although the overall story is as dated as Robert Downey Jr.'s "New Wave" haircut -- to say nothing of the sexism, racism, and homophobia that surface on occasion -- when it's funny, Back to School is truly hilarious. Dangerfield's execution of the "Triple Lindy" dive for the college's diving team stands as one of the all-time great comedic moments in cinematic history. Overall, Back to School is still a funny movie that has held up remarkably well.

Movie Details

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