Revenge of the Nerds

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Revenge of the Nerds
Directed by Jeff Kanew
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Steve Zacharias
  • Jeff Buhai
Story by
  • Tim Metcalfe
  • Miguel Tejada-Flores
  • Steve Zacharias
  • Jeff Buhai
Music by Thomas Newman
Cinematography King Baggot
Edited by Alan Balsam
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • July 20, 1984 (1984-07-20)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6 million[1] or $7 million[2]
Box office $60.4 million (Including rentals)[3]

Revenge of the Nerds is a 1984 American comedy film directed by Jeff Kanew, and starring Robert Carradine and Anthony Edwards, with Curtis Armstrong, Ted McGinley, Julia Montgomery, Brian Tochi, Larry B. Scott, Michelle Meyrink, John Goodman, and Donald Gibb.[4] The film's plot chronicles a group of nerds at the fictional Adams College trying to stop the ongoing harassment by the jock fraternity, the Alpha Betas, in addition to the latter's sister sorority, Pi Delta Pi.


Best friends and nerds Lewis Skolnick and Gilbert Lowe enroll in Adams College to study computer science. The Alpha Betas, a fraternity that includes most of the Adams' football team, carelessly burn down their house, and urged by Coach Harris, take over the freshmen dorms. Dean Ulich designates temporarily living space in the gymnasium, and allows the freshmen to rush the fraternities. Lewis, Gilbert, and several other nerds fail to join fraternities, but are able to secure a dilapidated house on campus and repair to shape.

The Alpha Betas, led by star quarterback Stan Gable, are irked by the nerds' success, and Stan sets his fellow members to pull pranks against the nerds. The nerds try to get campus police to help, but they are bounded by the Greek Council that adjudicates all such pranks, of which Stan is currently president. The nerds decide to seek membership on the Greek Council by joining a national fraternity. The only one that considers them is the black fraternity Lambda Lambda Lambda (Tri-Lambs), led by U.N. Jefferson. Jefferson is wary of their application but agrees to a probationary period. The nerds set up a large party with the Omega Mu sorority, similarly made up of nerds including Gilbert's girlfriend Judy, and invite Jefferson to attend. The party is dull until Booger provides them with high quality marijuana. Suddenly, the Alpha Betas and the Pi Delta Pis, the sorority which Stan's girlfriend Betty Childs belongs to, disrupt the party with a sounder of swine. The nerds get back at both groups by pulling similar pranks. Jefferson is impressed with the nerds' tenacity against the hazing, and grants them full membership.

The nerds go to appeal to the Council, but Gable remains indifferent. The nerds realize the only way to get the Council to help is to put one of their own as president, which they can do by winning the Greek Games during homecoming. Working along with the Omega Mus, the Tri-Lambs are able to use their wits to hold close to the Alpha Betas/Pi Delta Pis during the athletic events. At the charity event, the nerds readily outsell the Alpha Betas by offering pies with naked pictures of Betty and other Pi Delta Pis on the bottom. 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 later admits to Stan that she is "in love with a nerd". Finally, the nerds readily win the musical competition with a techno-computer-driven musical production, winning the overall games. Lewis immediately nominates Gilbert as the new Council president.

Coach Harris lambasts the Alpha Betas for losing to the nerds, and Stan leads them in destroying the Tri-Lamb house. The nerds become despondent, and Gilbert decides to barge into the middle of the homecoming pep rally to address his complaints. The Alpha Betas try to stop him, but then Jefferson and the other national Tri-Lambs arrive to intimidate the players, giving Gilbert the opportunity to give a rousing speech about being discriminated as nerds and standing up to that. Lewis and the other Tri-Lambs, several alumni, and even Betty join in as they cheer Gilbert on, soundly shaming the Alpha Betas. Dean Ulich instructs Coach Harris that the Tri-Lambs will be living in the Alpha Beta house, while the Alpha Betas can live in the gym until they can repair the Tri-Lamb house.



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 by the Alpha Betas, was actually Cochise Hall.[5] Their subsequent residence was U of A's Bear Down Gymnasium.[citation needed] The original Alpha Beta fraternity house that is burned down was filmed at the Alpha Gamma Rho house and the Beta Theta Pi house (on University Boulevard). The Pi Delta Pi sorority house was actually 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
AllMusic4/5 stars[6]
1."Manhattan"Andrea & Hot Mink3:45
2."Don't Talk"Ya Ya4:02
3."One Foot in Front of the Other"Bone Symphony3:10
4."Breakdown"The Rubinoos3:34
5."Revenge of the Nerds"The Rubinoos3:19
6."They're So Incredible"Revenge3:54
7."Are You Ready?"Ya Ya4:02
8."Are You Ready for the Sex Girls"Gleaming Spires4:10
9."Right Time for Love"Pat Robinson and Jill Michaels4:00
10."All Night Party"Gleaming Spires2:31

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.[citation needed]

"We Are the Champions" by Queen is played during the finale of the film.


Critical response[edit]

The film holds a 70% approval rating and 5.9/10 average at the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on 43 critics' reviews. The consensus is: "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."[7] It also holds a 41 out of 100 ratio on Metacritic based on five critics' reviews and signifying "mixed or average reviews".[8] Revenge of the Nerds is #91 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies".[9]

About three decades after the film's release, commentators have looked back at the film and considered some of the scenes, particularly when Lewis pretends to be Stan and has a sexual encounter with Betty, to be rape by deception, and a misogynistic remnant of a male-dominated culture of that time.[10] William Bradley of The Mary Sue stated that after viewing the film again as an adult he "was immediately struck by the way the film plays sexual exploitation and assault for laughs".[11] Amy Benfor of Salon wrote that the Revenge of the Nerds scene, and a similar scene in John Hughes' Sixteen Candles, were evidence that at the time of these films' productions, "people were stupid about date rape".[12]


Revenge of the Nerds was released in theaters on July 20, 1984.[13] The film was released on DVD on March 6, 2007,[14] and on Blu-ray on May 6, 2014, by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.[15]



Due to the influence of the film, several chapters of Lambda Lambda Lambda have sprung up in different locations around the United States. The real life fraternity has six chapters in Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Washington.[16]


Three less successful sequels followed, last two were television films.

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.[17] 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.[18]

Filming took place in Atlanta, Georgia at Agnes Scott College, the Georgia State Capitol, and Inman Park.[19] Filming was originally scheduled to take place at Emory University, but university officials changed their minds after reading the script.[20][21] 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.[17] 20th Century Fox personnel have stated that it's highly unlikely that a remake will be picked up in the future.[21]


In the mid-2000s, Armstrong and Carradine had devised an idea for a reality television show based on nerds competiting against each other in challenges, inspired by Revenge of the Nerds. However, the idea was rejected at the time, due to the competing Beauty and the Geek show. Six years later, Armstrong and Carradine shopped the idea around and were able to get the show greenlit on TBS in 2012. King of the Nerds ran for three seasons from 2013 to 2015, with Armstrong and Carradine hosting the program.[22]


  1. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989 p260
  2. ^ WE'RE TALKING GROSS, TACKY AND DUMB Brown, Peter H. Los Angeles Times 20 Jan 1985: 6.
  3. ^ "Field Marshal". Newsweek. Retrieved December 22, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Revenge of the Nerds". Turner Classic Movies. United States: Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved April 21, 2018. 
  5. ^ "ResLife: Cochise Hall". Archived from the original on July 28, 2010. Retrieved November 24, 2010. 
  6. ^ AllMusic
  7. ^ "Revenge of the Nerds". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Revenge of the Nerds". Metacritic. Retrieved June 22, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies" on Lists of Bests". June 2, 2006. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved November 24, 2010. 
  10. ^ Hefland, Michael (July 1, 2015). "Abusing women was cool in the 80's". Chicago Now. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  11. ^ Bradley, William (April 3, 2015). "Reconsidering Revenge: How Revenge Of The Nerds' Misogyny Is Evident In Current Nerd Culture". The Mary Sue. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  12. ^ Benfor, Amy (October 9, 2009). "The "Sixteen Candles" date rape scene?". Salon. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  13. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (July 20, 1984). "CAMPUS 'NERDS'". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. p. C00008. Retrieved April 21, 2018. 
  14. ^ Revenge of the Nerds. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (DVD). Century City, Los Angeles: 20th Century Fox. March 6, 2007. ASIN B000M341QY. Retrieved April 21, 2018. 
  15. ^ Revenge of the Nerds. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (Blu-ray). Century City, Los Angeles: 20th Century Fox. May 6, 2014. ASIN B00IYIB9CI. Retrieved April 21, 2018. 
  16. ^ Melissa Bishop (January 25, 2007). "Friends Start Fraternity From Scratch". The Daily Campus. Archived from the original on January 20, 2013. 
  17. ^ a b LaPorte, Nicole; Alex Romanelli (November 21, 2006). "Atomic blast to 'Nerds'". Variety. Retrieved October 12, 2017. 
  18. ^ ""Nerds" Get Revenge on Agnes Scott Campus". November 3, 2006. Retrieved June 8, 2008. 
  19. ^ Longino, Bob (October 14, 2006). "'Nerds' will hang out in Atlanta". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2008. 
  20. ^ Grossberg, Josh (November 22, 2006). "No Revenge for New Nerds". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 8, 2008. 
  21. ^ a b "Naughty `Nerds' remake is shut down - Chicago Tribune". November 23, 2006. Retrieved November 24, 2010. 
  22. ^ Greene, Andy (February 14, 2013). "Curtis 'Booger' Armstrong on His New Reality Show, 'King of the Nerds'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 

External links[edit]