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The Freshman (1990)

American crime comedy film written and directed by Andrew Bergman, starring Marlon Brando and Matthew Broderick.

Buoyed by the charm of Matthew Broderick in the title role and Marlon Brando as a caricature of his Godfather persona, The Freshman benefits from solid casting, a clever premise, and sweet humor.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus

Story: An N.Y.C. film school student accepts a job with a local mobster who resembles a famous cinema godfather and who takes the young man under his wing, after demanding total loyalty. (IMDb)


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Belly Laughs and Brilliant Performances: The Freshman (1990)

– Retrospective & Movie Review –

Belly Laughs and Brilliant Performances: The Freshman (1990), Movie Review

The Freshman (1990) is like a hidden gem in the world of ’90s comedies. It’s a hilarious rollercoaster ride that sneaks up on you with its charm and wit. Starring the iconic Matthew Broderick and the incomparable Marlon Brando, this film takes the college comedy genre and turns it on its head, delivering laughs that stand the test of time.

At its core, The Freshman is a classic fish-out-of-water tale. Broderick plays Clark Kellogg, a wide-eyed and naive young man from Vermont who ventures to New York City to attend film school. As he navigates the bustling city, he stumbles into the shady world of exotic pet trade.

That’s where he encounters the legendary Marlon Brando, in one of his most memorable roles as Carmine Sabatini, a smooth-talking, enigmatic figure with a love for endangered species. Brando’s performance is nothing short of spectacular; he effortlessly shifts from menacing to charming, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.

The Freshman (1990), Marlon Brando, Matthew Broderick, Retrospective

What sets The Freshman apart from other comedies of its time is its ability to balance uproarious humor with genuine heart. Broderick brings an earnestness to his role that makes you root for him from the start.

His chemistry with Brando is electric, creating a comedic duo for the ages. Their interactions, especially when Clark finds himself unwittingly involved in Sabatini’s schemes, are pure comedic gold.

The film’s comedic timing is impeccable, with each joke landing effortlessly. The humor ranges from witty one-liners to clever visual gags, keeping the audience laughing throughout. The script, penned by Andrew Bergman, is a masterclass in comedy writing, filled with clever wordplay and unexpected twists that keep you engaged until the very end.

In addition to its humor, The Freshman also offers a satirical take on the American Dream and the lengths people will go to achieve success. Through Clark’s journey, the film explores themes of ambition, identity, and the importance of staying true to oneself. These deeper layers add substance to the laughter, making the film resonate on a profound level.

The Freshman (1990), Movie Review

The direction by Andrew Bergman is sharp, capturing the essence of both New York City’s hustle and bustle and the quirky underworld of exotic animal trafficking. The cinematography is vibrant, showcasing the city in all its glory and adding to the film’s overall energy.

The Freshman is a timeless comedy that continues to entertain audiences decades after its release. Its blend of humor, heart, and stellar performances make it a must-watch for any comedy enthusiast.

Whether you’re a fan of Broderick, Brando, or just good old-fashioned comedy, this film delivers on all fronts. So, grab some popcorn, settle in, and prepare to be thoroughly entertained by this underrated classic.


Stephen Galen Estevan

Hello there! I’m Stephen, a cinephile whose love for the silver screen transcends eras and genres. Armed with a deep passion for films, from classic masterpieces to contemporary gems, I’m here to share my insightful perspectives, reviews, and recommendations with fellow movie enthusiasts.


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Find out more about The Freshman:

IMDb | Wikipedia | Rotten Tomatoes | Metacritic | Letterboxd


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