The movie cover for Volunteers.
|Directed by||Nicholas Meyer|
|Produced by||Walter F. Parkes
|Written by||Keith F. Critchlow
|Music by||James Horner|
|Distributed by||TriStar Pictures|
|Release date(s)||August 16, 1985|
|Running time||107 min.|
Lawrence Bourne III (Tom Hanks) is a spoiled rich kid with a large gambling debt in the 1960s. After his father, Lawrence Bourne Jr. (George Plimpton), refuses to pay his son's debt, Lawrence escapes his angry debtors by trading places with his college roommate Kent (Xander Berkeley) and jumping on a Peace Corps flight to Southeast Asia.
There he is assigned to build a bridge for the local villagers with Washington State University graduate Tom Tuttle (John Candy) and the beautiful, down-to earth Beth Wexler (Rita Wilson). What they do not realize is that the bridge is coveted by the Central Intelligence Agency, a local communist force, and the powerful drug lord Chung Mee (Ernest Harada).
- Tom Hanks as Lawrence Bourne III
- John Candy as Tom Tuttle
- Rita Wilson as Beth Wexler
- Tim Thomerson as John Reynolds
- Gedde Watanabe as At Toon
- George Plimpton as Lawrence Bourne, Jr.
- Ernest Harada as Chung Mee
- Allan Arbus as Albert Bardenaro
- Xander Berkeley as Kent Sutcliffe
The film was in the works for six years before it was made. Volunteers was filmed in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico. The filmmakers built a Thai village based on the Karen people of Burma's Golden Triangle, building the world's "longest suspension bridge" which was more than 250 yards long. A cast of over 100 people from all over the world, including Thai families, spent two and a half months filming.
Meyer states that the director of the Peace Corps, Sargent Shriver, read the script and complained that it "was like spitting on the American flag," and demanded changes. The changes were never made, but by the time the film was released, Shriver was no longer director, and Peace Corps officials were willing to endorse the movie.
This film marked the reunion of Hanks and Candy, who starred in Splash. It is also the film where Hanks reconnected with his future wife, Rita Wilson, whom he had first met when they worked on an episode of Bosom Buddies.
The scene in which Wilson and Hanks enjoy Coca-Cola was criticized as product placement, as TriStar was a unit of Columbia Pictures, then owned by The Coca-Cola Company. Co-writer Levine denies this, stating that the scene appeared in the first draft of the film written in 1980, when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was to be the studio.
The film spoofs a number of David Lean epics, including Lawrence of Arabia and The Bridge on the River Kwai, with the Washington State University Fight Song used in place of the "Colonel Bogey March".
Reviews were generally mixed. The film has a 50% score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Gene Siskel stated that the film had "two lame performances by its leading actors, the vastly overrated Tom Hanks... and the consistently disappointing John Candy."
The movie debuted at No.2 at the box office.
- Knelman, Martin. "Laughing on the Outside: The Life of John Candy". pp. 125–126.
- Sandra Blakeslee (August 18, 1985). "Behind The Jokes, Volunteers Ponders Altruism". The New York Times.
- "Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson". People. February 12, 1996.
- Levine, Ken (September 25, 2011). "Product Placement Before It Was Cool". kenlevine.blogspot.com. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
- "Volunteers". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
- Siskel, Gene (August 20, 1985). "'Volunteers' Signs up for disappointing trip". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
- "Michael Fox Stays On Top With `Future,` `wolf`". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
- Volunteers at IMDb
- Volunteers at Rotten Tomatoes
- Volunteers at Box Office Mojo
- "Superior Smirk". Texas Monthly: 197. December 1985.