14 user 6 critic

Plain Clothes (1987)

To prove his brother's innocence, undercover officer Nick enrolls in high school again, dealing with crushes, bullies, humiliations, popularity swings, and quirky teachers and staff to find the real murderer.



(screenplay) (as A. Scott Frank), (story) (as A. Scott Frank) | 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nick Dunbar
Robin Torrence
Chet Butler
Jane Melway
Ed Malmburg
Dave Hechtor
Coach Zeffer
Mr. Wiseman
Mr. Gardner
Dawn-Marie Zeffer
Kyle Kerns
Simon Feck
Matt Dunbar
Captain Graff


Trying to get his brother out of jail, Nick has to bump his way out again from high school, find the murderer, keep his job as a policeman and run away from crazy little girls. Written by JS

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


An Undercover Nightmare.


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

July 1989 (Peru)  »

Also Known As:

Assassinato em 2º Grau  »

Box Office


$289,323 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The poem read by Nick in class is a classic poem by the famous poet e.e. cummings entitled "She Being Brand New." See more »


Robin Torrence: You're a cop?
Nick: Surprise, surprise.
See more »


Written by Doug Fieger and Berton Averre
Performed by The Knack
Produced by Jim Lang
See more »

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User Reviews

Underrated 80s highschool movie
3 March 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Plain clothes" is an overlooked 80s flick. Nick Dunbar (Arles Howard (who reminds me of Allen Covert)) is a young 24 year old cop who's partner is Seymour Castle in a funny role himself. Nick constantly is given undercover assigments working around kids. "I hate kids!" Nick complains to his captain. "It is g****mn unAmerican to hate kids!" his captain yells back. "But kids and I never got along!" Dunbar replies. Captain yells back "I don't care! Deal with it!" That's exactly what Nick does. More than he'll ever know.

Then, Nick finds out how his brother Matt Dunbar is accused of stabbing and killing one of his teachers, Mr. Bradwood. Nick knows his brother is innocent but he doesn't have enough proof. His next assignment: to go undercover to highschool posing as a highschool student. This idea has definitely been done before, such as 80s highschool film "Hiding Out", and late 90s film " Never been kissed" with Drew Barrymore. Nick goes to school posing as a student to look for more clues to try and prove his brother's innocence. Seymour poses as his dad. When in school, he encounters the usual highschool cliques. Since he can't go with his last name Dunbar, or people will know he's Matt Dundar's brother. He goes under the name Nick Springstien. "Any relations dude?" kids ask him. "Distant" Nick replies coyly. The bully Kyle Kerns is just another typical 80s highschool movie bully, just like in "Karate kid", " Just one of the guys", "Teen wolf", " The heavenly kid", " Like father, like son", etc. The hot girl Dawn Marie is another typical 80s highschool movie hot girl such as, well every movie I just listed pretty much has one. Nick must talk to these kids to try and find out what he can about exactly what happened the day Mr. Bradwood was killed. But getting straight answers from these highschool kids isn't easy because they just wanna act like, well highschool kids. And Nick cannot ask anything too directly so no one finds out he's a cop. Nick encounters several teachers too. Diane Ladd as the impatient front desk secretary. Suzy Amis as the young attractive English teacher, who kinda likes Nick's mature persona (such as Nick's metaphor in class) little knowing it's real. Robert Stack as the principal, who we see in a humorous "visit to the principal's office" scene after Nick accidentally chucks him in the chin thinking he was one of Kyle's bully friends coming up behind him during a confrontation with Kyle. I didn't know principals were still using the paddle in the late 80s. Then there's Abe Vigoda who's an old teacher who's constantly walking down the hallway with notes (such as 'party naked') on his back, and is impressed with Nick being polite since none of the other kids are. Then there's George Wendt as the shop teacher/school counsler who needs Nick to help finish his sentences while talking to Nick. And at least one of these people has some darker secrets about them, but I won't say who just in case anyone reading this review has not seen the movie yet. Oh, and listen to some of the funny comments made during the principal's constant ramblings over the school intercom.

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