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 and Gilbert Lowe enroll in Adams College to study computer science. They are kicked out of the freshmen dorms by the Alpha Betas, a fraternity composed of many of the football team members, after carelessly burning down their frat house. Dean Ulich sets up the freshmen in temporary quarters in the school's gym, but allows them to rush the fraternities to alleviate the housing situation. Lewis, Gilbert, and other nerds fail to gain fraternity membership, but are able to rent and renovate a house on campus.

Their successful renovation irks Stan Gable, the lead Alpha Beta and Adams' star quarterback, and he sets his fellow fraternity members against the nerds, pulling several pranks. The nerds approach the campus police for help, but the cops are bound by the Greek council that adjudicates such pranks; the only way to appeal to them is to be part of a national fraternity. The nerds attempt to gain national membership, eventually selecting the black fraternity Lambda Lambda Lambda (Tri-Lambs). The head of the Tri-Lambs, U.N. Jefferson, is not thrilled by the notion of granting a charter to a primarily white chapter, but the nerds point out the fraternity's bylaws obligate them to give any chapter a 60-day probationary membership. The nerds invite Jefferson to a party with the Omega Mus, a sorority with similar geeky women, which is livened up when Booger supplies them with high quality marijuana. The Alpha Betas, along with Pi Delta Pi, the sorority which Stan's girlfriend and lead cheerleader Betty Childs belongs to, taunt the partygoers, allowing Jefferson to see the discrimination the nerds face. The nerds later get revenge on both the Alpha Betas and Pi Delta Pis, and Jefferson is impressed by their efforts, officially naming them a Tri-Lamb chapter.

Despite their fraternity membership, Lewis and Gilbert find their pleas to the Greek council stonewalled by Stan, who is president of the Greek Council. The nerds realize they can only stop the pranks by gaining the chairmanship position by winning the upcoming Greek Games during homecoming. Using their intelligence, the nerds, working with the Omega Mus, stay in second place to the Alpha Betas and Pi Delta Pis through the sporting events. During the costume/charity sale events, the nerds use nude photos of Betty (taken from earlier pranks) to outsell the Alpha Betas. During this, Lewis, who has fallen in love with Betty, steals Stan's costume and tricks her into having sex with him. Betty is surprised when Lewis reveals his identity, but admits Lewis is more caring than Stan in love-making.

With the Alpha Betas and nerds in close running, the final event is a musical competition. The nerds readily outdo the Alpha Betas with a computer-driven musical production and win the competition, and Lewis quickly nominates Gilbert to become the new president of the Greek Council. Enraged, Coach Harris demands the Alpha Betas get revenge, and Stan, having learned that Betty has fallen for Lewis, orders the Alpha Betas to trash the nerds' house. When the nerds return home and find the house destroyed, Gilbert barges into the pep rally for the football team and tries to demand that he be given the chance to speak. Stan, Coach Harris, and the other Alpha Betas try to stop him, but Dean Ulich, U.N. Jefferson, and other members of the national Tri-Lambs make sure that Gilbert is given his opportunity. Gilbert orates on the discrimination the nerds have endured, causing Lewis to join him and admit his nerd status. Judy and Betty then join their respective boyfriends on stage, and Gilbert asks anyone who has ever been put upon to join them. Most of the audience does so. Dean Ulich orders the Alpha Betas to repair the nerds' house while allowing the nerds to stay in the Alpha Beta's house until the repairs are done. When Stan and Ogre protest, Dean Ulich retorts, "You are jocks, go sleep in the gym". The film ends with the nerds celebrating their victory, accompanied by the 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 69% "Fresh" rating at the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 42 critics' reviews with the consensus: "Undeniably lowbrow but surprisingly sly, Revenge of the Nerds has enough big laughs to qualify as a minor classic in the slobs-vs.snobs subgenre."[6] It also holds 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. 

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