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Blackboard Jungle (1955)

 -  Drama  -  25 March 1955 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 5,593 users  
Reviews: 85 user | 27 critic

A new English teacher at a violent, unruly inner-city school is determined to do his job, despite resistance from both students and faculty.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Anne Dadier
...
Jim Murdock
Margaret Hayes ...
Lois Judby Hammond
...
Mr. Warneke
...
Joshua Y. Edwards
Emile Meyer ...
Mr. Halloran
Warner Anderson ...
Dr. Bradley
Basil Ruysdael ...
Prof. A.R. Kraal
...
Gregory W. Miller
...
Artie West
Dan Terranova ...
Belazi
Rafael Campos ...
Pete V. Morales
...
Emmanuel Stoker
Horace McMahon ...
Detective
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Storyline

War veteran Rick Dadier is one of three new teachers hired at North Manual High School, an inner city boys school. This is his first teaching assignment, which he needs to support himself and his insecure pregnant wife, Anne. Despite Principle Warnecke's assertions to the contrary, Dadier quickly learns that the rumors of student discipline problems at the school are indeed true. The established teachers at the school try to counsel the newcomers, all inexperienced in such situations, as how best to handle the rowdy students. Regardless, Dadier tries to exert discipline in his class, which provokes a violent response. Dadier believes the student leaders against him are Artie West, but more specifically Gregory Miller, who he thinks uses the fact of being black as a means of racial provocation. Dadier has to decide either to leave and teach at a "real" school, or stay and figure out how to get through to his students. If he decides to stay, he has to figure out who the real disruptive ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The sensational novel...now on the screen! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 March 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Blackboard Jungle  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film launched the rock 'n' roll era, especially in American movies, by using "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and the Comets as its theme. The song was chosen for the titles after it was heard among records owned by Peter Ford, son of the film's star, Glenn Ford (proving phony the original belief that the producer's daughter had discovered the song.) "Rock Around the Clock" had not been largely ignored until it was heard in the movie, after which it soon shot to No. 1 around the world, and eventually sold an estimated 25 million copies. In an embarrassing miscalculation, MGM could have owned the complete rights to the song, but it ignored writer/director Richard Brooks's advise to buy it outright; instead, being penny-wise and pound-foolish, for a few dollars less, the studio merely purchased the film-use rights to the mega-hit song. See more »

Goofs

In the garage scene, when Miller starts fixing the car, he says "nobody gives a hoot", but his lips indicates he really says "nobody gives a damn". The replacement of the profanity is made humorous by the director, who chose to play the sound effect of a car horn when the word "hoot" is uttered. See more »

Quotes

Joshua Y. Edwards: They don't even know their multiplication tables.
Jim Murdock: Of course not. All they can multiply is themselves.
Joshua Y. Edwards: Well, how will they ever graduate?
Jim Murdock: Graduate? They just get to be 18. Then they throw them out to make room for more of the same kind.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.21 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

The Jazz Me Blues
Written by Tom Delaney (uncredited)
Played by Bix Beiderbecke and His Gang
Courtesy of Columbia Records, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Rock around the clock
20 July 2006 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

"Blackboard Jungle" marked a turn around in films coming from Hollywood. This was a film that dealt with a reality that movies had not dared to touch before in the way they always wanted to sugar coat every picture about teens in high school. The guys one sees here are the real thing, as though taken from any high school in the inner city of that time.

The amazing thing this high school, at the center of the action, is not typical of any other schools in that one males attended and no females are to be seen around them. By making an old male high school, Richard Brooks updated Evan Hunter's novel to show the violent nature of most of those young men that are clearly from under privileged homes, perhaps, boys whose fathers had bolted and left their women to bring up the sons they didn't want to have anything with.

The film is important in that it marked the arrival of a strong actor that would dominate the movies like no other one, Sidney Poitier. With his handsome looks, and his great screen presence, Mr. Poitier was instrumental in breaking into the main stream movies in ways others tried, but didn't make a dent. Perhaps it was in the cards that Hollywood began dealing with a reality they tried to ignore integrating their stories with Blacks that had taken a back seat to other, not so talented performers.

The film works because of the strong performances by Glenn Ford, Vic Morrow and Sidney Poitier. Also, the theme song of the film, "Rock Around the Clock" went to become an anthem for viewers that filled the theaters for the thrill of hearing it play as the film started, putting them in the right frame of mind to accept what they were going to see.

Richard Brooks is the one responsible for the adaptation and the inspired direction for the movie that still resonates because of its raw energy.


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