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Up the Down Staircase (1967)

Approved | | Drama | 19 July 1967 (USA)
The experiences of a young female English teacher in an inner-city New York high school.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Patrick Bedford ...
Paul Barringer
...
Henrietta Pastorfield
...
Beatrice Schacter
...
Sadie Finch
...
Dr. Bester
Roy Poole ...
Mr. McHabe
...
Ella Friedenberg
Vinnette Carroll ...
The Mother
Janice Mars ...
Miss Gordon
Loretta Leversee ...
Social Studies Teacher
John Callahan
Denis Fay
Otto Lomax
Martha Greenhouse ...
Alberta Kagan
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Storyline

Sylvia Barrett is a rookie teacher at New York's inner-city Calvin Coolidge High: her lit classes are overcrowded, a window is broken, there's no chalk, books arrive late. The administration is concerned mainly with forms and rules (there's an up and a down staircase); bells ring at the wrong time. Nevertheless, she tries. How she handles the chaos and her despair in her first semester makes up the film: a promising student drops out, another sleeps through class, a girl with a crush on a male teacher gets suicidal, and a bright but troublesome student misunderstands Sylvia's reaching out. A discussion of Dickens, parents' night, and a mock trial highlight the term. Can she make it? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Drama

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Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

19 July 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Apigorevmena skalopatia  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Like Dangerous Minds (1995) 28 years later, this movie was filmed in a real-life urban high school building, using real high school kids from the neighborhood as extras, many of whom were believed to be armed on the set. See more »

Goofs

During the opening montage establishing the first day of school in September in a New York high school, several shots were obviously filmed in dead of winter with extras in heavy coats, gray skies, etc. contrasting wildly with scenes of sunny skies and lightweight costumes of main characters. See more »

Quotes

Sylvia Barrett: If you deny what you know, or what you are, or where you are, you deny the simplest part of being alive, and then you die.
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Connections

References Batman (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

Better than the book!
30 October 2000 | by (cincinnati, ohio) – See all my reviews

It's a rare thing to watch a movie that's actually superior to the original novel, but Robert Mulligan's 1967 film of Bel Kaufman's contemporary classic UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE is one of those rare instances. Make no mistake, Kaufman's novel is still wonderful, but Mulligan's film, amazingly, manages to capture all of the qualities that made Kaufman's book such a compulsive read, and another strength is in the casting of the film itself. Everyone seems perfectly suited to his/her role. Sandy Dennis, one of the '60's most original and exciting performers, was the ideal choice to play the flighty heroine Miss Sylvia Barrett, the naive, but determined young New York City schoolteacher who finds herself constantly at odds with not only her pupils, but the faculty members as well. I have always had a great admiration for Sandy Dennis' work, but this is the movie that made me a genuine fan. She's absolutely breathtaking to watch. She has this stunning, captivating, and truly unique beauty, and most importantly, she is one of the most extraordinarily gifted actresses to grace the Hollywood screen. In fact, I would say that she was THE most talented actress of the late '60's, early '70's era without peer or rival. Her Oscar-winning supporting role in the previous year's WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? was indeed a magnificent triumph, but UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE was the film that proved she was even more capable at handling a leading role and I think, ultimately, this is the film that made her a star.


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