Child's Play (1972)

PG  |   |  Drama, Horror, Mystery  |  1 June 1973 (Ireland)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 570 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 24 critic

At an exclusive boys' school, a new gym teacher is drawn into a feud between two older instructors, and he discovers that everything at the school is not quite as staid, tranquil and harmless as it seems.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jerome Malley
Joseph Dobbs
Paul Reis
Ron Weyand ...
Father Mozian
Father Griffin
David Rounds ...
Father Penny
Kate Harrington ...
Mrs. Carter
Jamie Alexander ...
Brian Chapin ...
Bryant Fraser ...
Mark Hall Haefeli ...
Tom Leopold ...
Julius Lo Iacono ...
Christopher Man ...
Paul O'Keefe ...


Paul Reis returns to the exclusive Catholic prep school he graduated from nine years earlier as a gym teacher. He is reunited with his former mentor and English teacher, the affable and gregarious Joseph Dobbs, the most popular member of the faculty and advisor to the junior class, and Jerome Malley, a strict disciplinarian and teacher of classical languages, whose old-fashioned methods make him heartily disliked by his pupils. Reis finds himself caught in between the two men in a struggle for the hearts, minds, and souls of the boys. Malley, nicknamed "Lash" by his students has ruled out retirement, and Dobbs, who feels that Malley has lost touch with the students, hopes to inherit the senior class. Even though Malley's mother is dying an agonizing death from cancer, the Latin and Greek teacher refuses to surrender his position as head of the senior class to a man whose motives he questions. The tensions on the faculty are mirrored in the student body, which has endured a rash of ... Written by

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You only lose once.


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 June 1973 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Den dödliga leken  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Marlon Brando had, in fact, already made The Godfather (1972) by the time he came to start work on this film. It has been alleged - notably by Pauline Kael - that tyro producer David Merrick fired Brando as an elaborate publicity stunt, both for the film and for himself. See more »


Joseph Dobbs: [to his juniors] If you don't trust kids, don't become teachers. If you're afraid of kids, get out of the business of running schools!
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User Reviews

Good 70's mystery
1 June 2000 | by (Leicester,England) – See all my reviews

Sidney Lumet manages to engender great tension in this curious tale about a group of satan like kids and one of their masters. Reasonable acting with an intelligent script produces satisfactory results.

The only thing missing here is a lack of focus on the mechanics of how the boys behaviour is merely down to a local cult or if something more sinister is at work; however it may have been the writers intention to leave us in two minds regarding this aspect.

Definitely worth watching

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