Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Music  |  24 August 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 6,702 users  
Reviews: 71 user | 54 critic

A group of rock-music-loving students, with the help of the Ramones, take over their school to combat its newly installed oppressive administration.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Roberts
Miss Evelyn Togar
Mr. McGree
Police Chief
Screamin' Steve Stevens
Coach Steroid
Daniel Davies ...
Lynn Farrell ...
Angel Dust
Herbie Braha ...
Grady Sutton ...
School Board President
Chris Somma ...


Vince Lombardi High School keeps losing principals to nervous breakdowns because of the students' love of rock 'n' roll and their disregard of education. The putative leader of the students is Riff Randell, who loves the music of the Ramones. A new principal, the rock-music-hating Miss Evelyn Togar, is brought in and promises to put an end to the music craze. When Miss Togar and a group of parents attempt to burn a pile of rock records, the students take over the high school, joined by the Ramones, who are made honorary students. When the police are summoned and demand that the students evacuate the building, they do so, which leads to an explosive finale. Written by Rick Gregory <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Hey ho, Let's go! See more »


Comedy | Music


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 August 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Disco High  »

Box Office


$300,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The origins of the film's plot were seeded in an old favorite story told to co-writer Joseph McBride by his father, the Milwaukee Journal's Raymond E. McBride, who held a walkout at the Central High School in Superior, Wisconsin during the 1920s. See more »


When Tom calls Riff from his van, he mentions that he is listening to the "new Ramones album." The song "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" can be heard in the background. The problem is "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" is from the Ramones' first album "Ramones" (1976). Had Tom actually been listening to their newest album, he would have been listening to "Road to Ruin" (1978)...which does not include the song "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend". See more »


Riff: I'm Riff Randell, rock-and-roller.
See more »


Referenced in Breakfast of Imbeciles (2005) See more »


High School
Written and performed by MC5
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User Reviews

A Blitzkrieg Of Music And Laffs
17 July 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Well, I have finally caught up with "Rock 'N' Roll High School," almost 30 years after it first became a midnight movie sensation in 1979. (Latecomer that I am, I will probably first see this summer's new documentary "Patti Smith: Dream of Life" sometime around 2040!) And no, the film doesn't feel dated one bit, and yes, it was worth the wait. This is a very high-energy comedy that features loads of great music and some surprising moments. It tells the story of Riff Randell, adorably played by P.J. Soles, and the battle that she and her fellow students at Vince Lombardi High wage against their new repressive principal, Miss Togar. (Danny Peary, in his book "Cult Movies," quite accurately describes Mary Woronov's performance as an "evil Eve Arden.") A typical teens vs. Establishment story line is beefed up here with some absurdist humor (those exploding mice, that giant mouse, the Hansel and Gretel hall monitors) and some truly rousing tunes. Riff is, of course, the #1 fan of that original punk band The Ramones, and that band dishes out a baker's dozen of its greatest songs during the course of the film, including five at a concert that is a total blast. Indeed, the sight of Riff furiously dancing to "Teenage Lobotomy" at this blowout may be the picture's funniest moment. And the initial appearance of Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Marky in their Ramonesmobile, and later slinking down a street singing "I Just Wanna Have Something To Do," is quite exhilarating. The film ends with an explosive confrontation that is, I would imagine, every high school kid's wet dream. Fun stuff indeed. On a side note, The Ramones were one of the loudest bands that I have ever seen in concert, so I was very amused to note that the DVD for this film comes with optional English subtitles for the hearing impaired. How many aging punks out there found these subtitles necessary, I wonder....

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