Revenge of the Nerds (1984)


Revenge of the Nerds is a 1984 comedy film satirizing 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, John Goodman, and Donald Gibb. The film was directed by Jeff Kanew. The film's storyline chronicles of 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."


Best friends and nerds Lewis Skolnick (Robert Carradine) and Gilbert Lowe (Anthony 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 own house and seize the freshmen dorm for themselves. The college allows the displaced freshmen, living in the gymnasium, to join fraternities or move to other housing. Lewis, Gilbert, and other outcasts who cannot join a fraternity renovate a dilapidated home to serve as their own fraternity house. The Alpha Betas and their associated sorority, the Pi Delta Pis, harass the nerds. The nerds appeal to the Greek Council, but its president Stan Gable (Ted McGinley), the leader of the Alpha Betas, rejects their complaints as the nerds are not a part of any fraternity. The nerds attempt to join a national fraternity, but all but one reject them. They meet U.N. Jefferson (Bernie Casey), the head of the black fraternity Lambda Lambda Lambda (Tri-Lambs). Although Jefferson notes that the applicants are nerds, due to the Tri-Lambs' rules, they receive probationary membership. The nerds prepare a party and invite Jefferson, but the party is nearly ruined before it starts when the Pi Delta Pis, after promising to be their dates, do not appear. However, thanks to the Omega Mus — a sorority consisting largely of overweight or geeky women — and a supply of marijuana, the party is successful. The Alpha Betas and Pis unleash pigs in the nerds' house, then taunt and moon them; Jefferson sees firsthand the harassment the nerds face. The nerds seek revenge. First, they perform a panty raid on the Pi Delta Pi house, using the distraction to drill glaringly obvious holes in the ceiling, and mount a large television transmitter on the roof of the sorority house, in order to install view-adjustible video cameras, the transmission of which they can watch and maneuver via remote control on their television, to spy on the women while they undress. Then, the next day, the nerds sneak into the football team's locker room and put 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. The nerds play before the school in this climactic scene. However, it does nothing to deter the Alpha Betas, as they continue to harass the nerds, leaving a burning "NERDS" sign outside the house. The new Tri-Lambs realize they need to win control of the Greek Council by winning the annual Greek Games during homecoming. They use their intelligence to compete well with the Alpha Betas during the athletic portion of the event. They then use topless photos taken from their Pi Delta cameras to easily win the charity sales and costume events, during which Lewis has sex with Stan's girlfriend Betty Childs (Julia Montgomery) by posing as Stan while they have sex. The nerds' elaborate, computer-driven musical production wins the final event of the Greek Games, and the Lambdas nominate Gilbert to succeed Stan as president of the Greek Council. The angry Alpha Betas, with the order of the sadistic Coach Harris (John Goodman), vandalize the Tri-Lambs' house. Gilbert attempts to denounce the act at the homecoming pep rally, but Stan, Burke (Matt Salinger), and the Ogre (Donald Gibb) attack him, and also the school's dean when he intervenes. The assault is stopped when Jefferson and a group of Tri-Lambs from other chapters arrive on the scene. Gilbert makes an inspiring 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 them. Betty and many members of the assembled crowd, whether nerds or not, do so. The Tri-Lambs get the Alpha Beta house until theirs is repaired, while the Alpha Betas must live in the gymnasium. The film ends with the nerds celebrating their victory, accompanied by "We Are the Champions".