Revenge of the Nerds

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For the 1983 TV special "Revenge of the Nerd", refer to "CBS Schoolbreak Special"
Revenge of the Nerds
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jeff Kanew
Produced by Ted Field (producer)
Peter Samuelson (producer)
Peter Macgregor-Scott (co-producer)
Screenplay by Jeff Buhai
Miguel Tejada-Flores
Steve Zacharias
Story by Tim Metcalfe
Music by Thomas Newman
Cinematography King Baggot
Edited by Alan Balsam
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • July 20, 1984 (1984-07-20)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6 million[1]
Box office $60.4 million (Including rentals)[2]

Revenge of the Nerds is a 1984 American comedy film about social life on a college campus. The film stars Robert Carradine and Anthony Edwards, with Curtis Armstrong, Ted McGinley, Julia Montgomery, Brian Tochi, Larry B. Scott, Michelle Meyrink, John Goodman, and Donald Gibb. The film was directed by Jeff Kanew.

The film's storyline chronicles a group of nerds trying to stop harassment by the persecuting jock fraternity, the Alpha Betas. Revenge of the Nerds is #91 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies".[3]


Best friends and nerds Lewis Skolnick (Carradine) and Gilbert Lowe (Edwards) enroll in Adams College to study computer science. The Alpha Betas, a fraternity to which many members of the school's football team belong, carelessly burn down their fraternity house. At the urging of hotheaded Coach Harris (Goodman), the Alpha Betas seize the freshmen dorm for themselves and violently eject the residents. Dean Ulich (David Wohl) assigns the freshmen to live in one-half of an active University gymnasium. Although the freshmen are permitted to rush fraternities in light of the housing shortage, the nerds fail to get selected and need to get a place of their own. Lewis finds a rental house which he, Gilbert, and the other nerds renovate to serve as shared residence.

The college's star Quarterback and Alpha Beta leader Stan Gable (McGinley) and head Cheerleader Betty Childs (Montgomery) stop to view the nerds' house while cruising on Stan's motorcycle. Betty is impressed with the renovation, which angers Stan. Later, a rock painted with the phrase "NERDS GET OUT" is thrown through the nerds' window, and the sound of a motorcycle speeding away can be heard. The nerds bring the issue to the campus police, who are sympathetic to their problem but due to Adams rules all campus pranks are adjudicated by the Greek Council. The nerds appeal to the Greek Council, but find that Stan is the president of the council which is controlled by the Alpha Betas. Stan rejects their complaints with the explanation that the nerds are not a part of any fraternity. The nerds attempt to join a national fraternity, but get rejected by all save for one (the only one they did not include a group photograph). They meet U.N. Jefferson, the head of the black fraternity Lambda Lambda Lambda (Tri-Lambs), who is interested in starting a chapter at Adams College. Although Jefferson shows little interest in commissioning a predominantly white chapter (and because they are nerds), he grants them probationary membership when Poindexter states that the fraternity's rules mandate an automatic 60 day probation period to any applicant.

In order to gain full membership, the nerds prepare a party and invite Jefferson to impress him, but the party appears ruined when Betty Childs' Pi Delta Pi sisters (the Adams College cheerleaders who are actually linked to the Alpha's), after promising to be their dates, do not appear. However, thanks to Omega Mu — a sorority consisting largely of overweight or geeky women — and large amounts of high quality marijuana supplied by Booger (Armstrong), the party ultimately becomes a success. Towards the end of the evening, the Alpha Betas and Pis unleash a herd of pigs in the nerds' house and loudly taunt and moon them from the street allowing Jefferson to see firsthand the harassment the nerds face.

The nerds then seek revenge. First they stage a panty raid on the Pi Delta Pi house and use the distraction to install video cameras to spy on the women while they undress. The nerds then sneak into the football team's locker room and pour a powerful liniment called "Liquid Heat" on the players' jock straps, resulting in a painful and humiliating football practice. The nerds' ingenuity impresses Jefferson, who officially makes them the Adams College chapter of Lambda Lambda Lambda.

However, the Alpha Betas continue to harass the nerds and leave a burning "NERDS" sign outside the house. Stan stonewalls punishment against his own fraternity in the Greek Council and the Tri-Lambs realize that in order to see justice served they need to win control of the Greek Council by winning the annual Greek Games during homecoming. Booger soundly defeats Ogre (Gibb) in a belching contest, and Poindexter (Timothy Busfield) gives Takishi (Tochi) a chemical allowing him to stay sober during a binge drinking\tricycle race in which the contestants must complete 20 laps of a makeshift track while stopping in the pit each lap to chug a can of beer. Although the Tri-Lambs put their superior knowledge to use in the athletic event in which Lamar (Scott) defeats Stan in the Javelin throw thanks to a special javelin designed by the youngest nerd, 12-year-old aerodynamics expert Harold Wormser (Andrew Cassese), they still come a close second to the Alpha Betas after Ogre easily wins the Trojan Horse and only just defeats one of the Omega Mu's in arm wrestling. The nerds also allow the Alpha's to defeat them in the tug-of-war by letting go of the rope and seeing the Alpha's humiliated by falling on their backsides. They then use topless photos of Betty taken from their Pi Delta cameras to easily win the charity sales, where contestants wear costumes. Lewis changes his costume to Stan's and tricks Betty into having sex with him. Betty is surprised, but then admits that Lewis was a better lover than Stan who generally thought about his own pleasure while forgetting about hers. Finally, the nerds' elaborate, computer-driven musical production wins the final event of the Greek Games and the overall contest. The Lambdas then nominate Gilbert to succeed Stan as president of the Greek Council.

At the prompting of an angry Coach Harris, the Alpha Betas then vandalize the Tri-Lambs' house and Gilbert attempts to denounce the act at the homecoming pep rally, but the Alpha Betas attack him. When Dean Ulich orders the Alpha Betas to get their hands off Gilbert, Coach Harris then tries to intimidate the dean. U.N. Jefferson appears with several Tri-Lambs from other chapters, who standoff against the Alpha Betas. As the other nerds arrive, Gilbert makes an inspirational speech about how it feels to be mistreated just for being different and Lewis invites anyone who has "ever felt stepped on, left out, picked on, put down" to come and join the nerds. Betty, who breaks up with Stan to join Lewis, and most members of the assembled crowd also join, much to the chagrin of the Alpha Betas. The Dean then gives the Tri-Lambs the Alpha Beta house to stay in while the Alphas fix theirs. He also tells the Alpha Betas who question where they are going to live "You're jocks, go live in the gym".

The film ends with the nerds celebrating their victory, accompanied by song "We Are the Champions".


Jocks and their girls


Exterior scenes such as the arrival of the nerds at college and the fraternity houses were filmed at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. The original Nerds residence, from which they were ousted, was in fact Cochise Hall.[4] Their subsequent residence was Bear Down Gymnasium.[citation needed] The original Alpha Beta fraternity house that gets burned down was shot (at the time of filming) at the Alpha Gamma Rho house, the Beta Theta Pi house on University Boulevard and the Pi house was the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house.[citation needed]


Revenge of the Nerds
Soundtrack album by various artists
Released July 20, 1984
March 31, 1998 CD
Genre College rock, new wave, synthpop
Label Volcano
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[5]
No. Title Artist Length
1. "Manhattan"   Andrea & Hot Mink 3:45
2. "Don't Talk"   Ya Ya 4:02
3. "One Foot in Front of the Other"   Bone Symphony 3:10
4. "Breakdown"   The Rubinoos 3:34
5. "Revenge of the Nerds"   The Rubinoos 3:19
6. "They're So Incredible"   Revenge 3:54
7. "Are You Ready?"   Ya Ya 4:02
8. "Are You Ready for the Sex Girls"   Gleaming Spires 4:10
9. "Right Time for Love"   Pat Robinson and Jill Michaels 4:00
10. "All Night Party"   Gleaming Spires 2:31

Ollie E. Brown, of Ollie & Jerry fame, wrote and performed as Revenge the song "They're So Incredible" for the film. "They're So Incredible" is performed with different lyrics by the nerds in the film at the final event of the Greek Games.


The film holds a 71% "Fresh" rating at the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 31 critics' reviews[6] and a 41 out of 100 ration on Metacritic based on 5 critics' reviews and signifying "mixed or average reviews".[7]


Three less successful sequels followed; two of which were television films.


  • Due to the influence of how the nerds started their own fraternity in the movie, several real life chapters of Lambda Lambda Lambda have sprung up in different locations around the United States. The real life fraternity currently has six chapters in Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Washington.[8]
  • The song played over the first of the homecoming events (a Japanese rendition of "A Bicycle Made for Two") is parodied in the American Dad! episode "Home Adrone" from the sixth season.[citation needed] The series also features a regular character named "Snot" voiced by Curtis Armstrong.

Television series[edit]

The pilot episode of the 1991 attempted series of the same name was mostly a condensed version of the film's events. The only character created for the series was the nerds' resident advisor, P.T. Turner (Richard Gant). The pilot aired on FOX in 1991 to fairly negative reviews. This pilot is available on the "Panty Raid" DVD release.

In 2012, a game show based on the series was announced, called King of the Nerds. The show is hosted by Robert Carradine (Lewis) and Curtis Armstrong (Booger). The series premiered in January 2013 and ran for 8 episodes. In the show, 11 players are placed on two teams and compete in a team challenge called the Nerd War. The losing team must send two members (One selected by the losing team, the other by the winning team) into an elimination challenge called the Nerd Off where the loser is sent home. Players are consecutively eliminated in this matter until the number of total players reaches five, and the teams merge. The winner of the first individual Nerd War chooses one Nerd Off-ee, while the losers choose the other. The next episode is the four-person finale, with two Nerd wars where the losing player is eliminated, leading to the final Nerd Off to decide the winner. The series was renewed for a second season that premiered January 2014, and ended in March. The series runs on TBS.

Home media[edit]

The first home video release of the film was the original VHS release. It is interesting to note that the original VHS release contains a longer version of the scene where Lewis finds the house for sale that the Nerds buy and renovate, featuring him seeing the "for sale" sign and subsequently leading the nerds there. This was cut rather abruptly in all subsequent home video releases, as the sign featured an actual phone number on it.

The first DVD release of the film was a "flipper" disc that contained the first and second films, with trailers as the only extras.

On January 3, 2007 Revenge of the Nerds was released as a special edition DVD entitled "Panty Raid Edition" (The special edition name was changed from "The 'We've Got Bush' Edition", with preliminary artwork shown on websites such as The Digital Bits). Special features included: an audio commentary, Making of Documentary, deleted scenes, television pilot, and two theatrical trailers.

A Blu-ray disc was released on May 6, 2014. Special features included: a "making of" featurette (I'm a Nerd, and I'm Pretty Proud of It), deleted scenes, a television pilot, audio commentary by director Jeff Kanew and actors Robert Carradine, Timothy Busfield and Curtis Armstrong, and a theatrical trailer. The Blu-ray has all of the same special features as the previously released "Panty Raid Edition" DVD except for a trailer for the second film.

Planned remake[edit]

A remake of the original Revenge of the Nerds was slated for release in 2007, the first project for the newly created Fox Atomic, but was canceled in November 2006 after two weeks of filming.[10] The cast included Adam Brody, Dan Byrd, Katie Cassidy, Kristin Cavallari, Jenna Dewan, Chris Marquette, Ryan Pinkston, Efren Ramirez, and Nick Zano. The film was to be directed by Kyle Newman, executive produced by McG, and written by Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah, Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson, and Adam F. Goldberg.[11]

Filming took place in Atlanta, Georgia at Agnes Scott College, the Georgia State Capitol, and Inman Park.[12] Filming was originally scheduled to take place at Emory College, but university officials changed their minds after reading the script.[13][14] The film was shelved after producers found the movie difficult to shoot on the smaller Agnes Scott campus and studio head Peter Rice was disappointed with the dailies.[10] 20th Century Fox personnel have stated that it's highly unlikely that a remake will be picked up in the future.[14]


  1. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p260
  2. ^ "Field Marshal". Newsweek. Retrieved 2010-12-22. 
  3. ^ "Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies" on Lists of Bests". 2006-06-02. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  4. ^ "ResLife: Cochise Hall". Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  5. ^ AllMusic
  6. ^ "Revenge of the Nerds". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Revenge of the Nerds". Metacritic. Retrieved June 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ Melissa Bishop (January 25, 2007). "Friends Start Fraternity From Scratch". The Daily Campus. 
  9. ^ Haque, Ahsan (2009-05-18). "Family Guy: "Peter's Progress" Review". IGN. Retrieved 2009-12-29. 
  10. ^ a b LaPorte, Nicole; Alex Romanelli (2006-11-21). "Atomic blast to 'Nerds'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  11. ^ ""Nerds" Get Revenge on Agnes Scott Campus". 2006-11-03. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  12. ^ Longino, Bob (2006-10-14). "'Nerds' will hang out in Atlanta". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  13. ^ Grossberg, Josh (2006-11-22). "No Revenge for New Nerds". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  14. ^ a b "Naughty `Nerds' remake is shut down - Chicago Tribune". 2006-11-23. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 

External links[edit]