Taglines: Ready or not, here they come.
Lawrence is a rich kid with a bad accent and a large debt. After his father refuses to help him out, Lawrence escapes his angry debtors by jumping on a Peace Corp flight to Southeast Asia, where is assigned to build a bridge for the local villagers with American-As-Apple-Pie WSU Grad Tom Tuttle and the beautiful and down-to earth Beth Wexler.
What they don’t realize is that the bridge is coveted by the U.S. Army, a local Communist force, and a powerful drug lord. Together with the help of At Toon, the only English speaking native, they must fight off the three opposing forces and find out what is right for the villagers, as well as themselves.
Volunteers is a 1985 American comedy film directed by Nicholas Meyer and starring Tom Hanks and John Candy in their second film together after Splash (1984).
About the Production
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”.
Directed by: Nicholas Meyer
Starring: Tom Hanks, John Candy, Rita Wilson, Tim Thomerson, George Plimpton, Xander Berkeley, Ernest Harada, Jacqueline Evans
Screenplay by: Ken Levine
Production Design by: James L. Schoppe
Cinematography by: Ric Waite
Film Editing by: Steve Polivka, Ronald Roose
Art Direction by: José Rodríguez Granada
Music by: James Horner
Distributed by: TriStar Pictures
Release Date: August 16, 1985