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Stand and Deliver (1988)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  11 March 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 11,787 users  
Reviews: 87 user | 16 critic

The story of Jaime Escalante, a high school teacher who successfully inspired his dropout prone students to learn calculus.


(as Ramon Menendez)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Virginia Paris ...
Eliot ...
Tito (as Mark Eliot)
Adelaida Alvarez ...
Sexy Girl
Will Gotay ...
Patrick Baca ...
Richard Martinez ...
Heavy Metal Boy
Mark Everett ...
Heavy Metal Boy
Tyde Kierney ...
Fabiola Escalante (as Rosana De Soto)
Fernando Escalante


Jaime Escalante is a mathematics teacher in a school in a Hispanic neighbourhood. Convinced that his students have potential, he adopts unconventional teaching methods help gang members and no-hopers pass the rigorous Advanced Placement exam in calculus. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In 1982, a new troublemaker hit Garfield High. He was tough. He was wild. He was willing to fight. He was the new math teacher. See more »




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

11 March 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Walking on Water  »

Box Office


$13,994,920 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Edward James Olmos remained close friends with Jaime Escalante until Escalante's death on March 30, 2010. Olmos even led a campaign to help pay for Escalante's medical bills, a campaign which included cast members from the film and former students of Escalante. See more »


One of the students, while talking with Mr. Escalante outside, is holding a can of Diet Pepsi bearing the logo introduced in 1985, three years later then the movie takes place. See more »


Jaime Escalante: Tough guys don't do math. Tough guys fry chicken for a living.
See more »


Referenced in Glee: Girls (and Boys) on Film (2013) See more »


Secret Society
Lyrics by Willie Herrón
Music by W. Herrón & M. Valdez
Performed by Los Illegals
Courtesy of A&M Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Wonderful yet depressing movie
7 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Why is this movie depressing? It's a true story about a high school teacher who managed to motivate a group of struggling students to attempt one of the greatest academic challenges a high school student can undertake. It's the true story of the underdogs sticking it to the system. It's the true story of a teacher fighting the system and winning...

Or did he? Despite the success portrayed in the movie, 1987 was the high water mark for the Garfield High School AP Calculus program. In 1987, the principal who had supported Escalante with his AP program went on sabbatical and was replaced by an administrator with a different academic focus. The teachers' union complained about Escalante's class sizes and teaching assignments, and petty rivalries and jealousies abounded, eventually forcing Escalante and his partner teacher out of the school. Unable to find support for his unorthodox methods, in 2001, Escalante moved back to his native Bolivia, where he teaches calculus at a local university.

As much as I love this movie, every time I watch it, I become depressed all over again. It's been over 25 years since Escalante began the AP Calculus program at Garfield High, and one would think that the educational system would learn from him--not only from his example as a teacher, but also the factors that forced him to leave the school, but ultimately the country.

It's not just Garfield High School, and it's not just advanced mathematics. I hear the same words that the naysayer teachers and administrators spoke in the movie spoken on a daily and weekly basis on the public high school campus where I teach. I see the same objections and doubts and obstacles thrown up by the administration and teachers' union in the movie thrown up by administrations and unions today. I work every day with the same underprivileged yet eager to be educated students as Escalante had, students who just need someone to challenge them and believe in them. And I see my students battle against the same low expectations and prejudices as the students in the movie faced.

Which leaves me with the question--what has really changed in 25 years? If this is such an outstanding, motivational movie, why has it not produced a systemic change? Why are underprivileged yet bright students routinely passed over and allowed to fail? Why are creative, energetic, passionate teachers forced out of their schools and even their professions by school systems unwilling to embrace unorthodox methods, even if those methods are proved to promote student success? Escalante poured everything he had into his job. Teaching was his life, his passion--not only a vocation, but an avocation. He was willing to sacrifice his personal relationships and his own health for the sake of the students in which he believed... For what? Nothing has changed. 25+ years later, nothing has changed.

Yes, he made a difference in the lives of those students, and of students for more years than just those portrayed in the movie, but once he left, the program essentially left with him. Despite all of his passion and sacrifice, he effected no systemic change.

And it's that knowledge that, to me, makes this such a depressing film.

47 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
Why this movie bothers me eddysl12
So did they originally steal the test? mrkovacs1
For Those of You Who Have Actually Taken the Calculus AP Test... TimberlyT
Favorite Scene joanbrazas
South Park alisha-lanham
Great movie, but what has changed? kari_marie
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