7.4/10
14,347
79 user 12 critic

Lean on Me (1989)

PG-13 | | Drama | 3 March 1989 (USA)
The dedicated but tyrannical Joe Clark is appointed the principal of a decaying inner-city school that he is determined to improve.

Director:

Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

ON DISC
3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

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

Director: Ramón Menéndez
Stars: Edward James Olmos, Estelle Harris, Mark Phelan
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The Power of One is an intriguing story of a young English boy named Peekay and his passion for changing the world. Growing up he suffered as the only English boy in an Afrikaans school. ... See full summary »

Director: John G. Avildsen
Stars: Stephen Dorff, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Morgan Freeman
Glory (1989)
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Robert Gould Shaw leads the US Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices of both his own Union army and the Confederates.

Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A hustling drug addict checks himself into rehab to escape trouble with the law, and realizes that it's exactly what he needs.

Director: Glenn Gordon Caron
Stars: Michael Keaton, Kathy Baker, Morgan Freeman
La Bamba (1987)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Biographical story of the rise from nowhere of early rock and roll singer Ritchie Valens who died at age 17 in a plane crash with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper.

Director: Luis Valdez
Stars: Lou Diamond Phillips, Esai Morales, Rosanna DeSoto
Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

An aging out of shape reporter falls for a pretty but seriously ill ballerina.

Director: John G. Avildsen
Stars: Paul Sorvino, Anne Ditchburn, Nicolas Coster
Major League (1989)
Comedy | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The new owner of the Cleveland Indians puts together a purposely horrible team so they'll lose and she can move the team. But when the plot is uncovered, they start winning just to spite her.

Director: David S. Ward
Stars: Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen
Brubaker (1980)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The new warden of a small prison farm in Arkansas tries to clean it up of corruption after initially posing as an inmate.

Director: Stuart Rosenberg
Stars: Robert Redford, Yaphet Kotto, Morgan Freeman
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Small time crooksters Nick and Charlie have an elaborate plan to rob an exclusive jewelers store. Using a variety of disguises and posing as rich old men and women they begin the set-up, ... See full summary »

Director: John G. Avildsen
Stars: Peter Falk, Charles Durning, Claude Lelouch
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A frustrated composer finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher.

Director: Stephen Herek
Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Glenne Headly, Jay Thomas
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

People from all different walks of life, encounter racial tension, rape, responsibility, and the meaning of an education on a university campus.

Director: John Singleton
Stars: Omar Epps, Kristy Swanson, Michael Rapaport
Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A businessman's professional struggles begin to conflict with his personal life over the course of two days.

Director: John G. Avildsen
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Alan North ...
...
...
...
...
Sandra Reaves-Phillips ...
Sloane Shelton ...
Jermaine 'Huggy' Hopkins ...
...
Kaneesha Carter
...
Maria
...
Mrs. Santos
...
Mrs. Carter
Edit

Storyline

An arrogant and unorthodox teacher returns as principal to the idyllic high school from which he had earlier been fired to find it a den of drug abuse, gang violence, and urban despair. Eventually his successful but unorthodox methods lead to a clash with city officials that threatens to undo all his efforts. Based on a true story. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They called him crazy for padlocking the doors, and for changing all the rules. But Joe Clark was crazy about one thing only: the students who loved him. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

3 March 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Apóyate en mi  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$31,906,454 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Regina Taylor plays the mother of Karen Malina White, in real life she's only 5 years older. See more »

Goofs

When the superintendent is discussing who to hire as the principal with the Mayor, the Mayor asks "What was last year's score?". The Superintendent answers "38%". Later, when Joe leaves the stage after expelling the bad students, there is a chart that shows that last year's score was 30%. See more »

Quotes

Joe Clark: [at an assembly] I want all of you to take a good look at these people on the risers behind me. These people have been here roughly five years, and done absolutely nothing. These people are drug dealers and drug users. They have taken up space. They have disrupted this school. They have harassed your teachers. And they have intimidated you. Well, times are about to change. You will not be bothered in Joe Clark's school. These people are incorrigible. And since none of them could graduate anyway....
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Psych: High Top Fade Out (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

SKEEZER
Performed & Written by Roxanne Shanté
Produced by Marley Marl
Courtesy of Cold Chillin' Records and Video, Inc. and A&M Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Morgan Freeman Dominates the Action From Start to Finish
25 November 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Good film about a high school principal in New Jersey (Morgan Freeman) who will stop at nothing to make the school the best it can be. This film is based on a true story, but it never does come through as well as it could have. Freeman dominates the action, but everyone else just seems to be going through the motions. A few people have their moments, but Freeman's dynamite performance overshadows everyone else. These are both the strong and weak points of "Lean on Me". John G. Avildsen once again proves that he has trouble with his direction. The screenplay though is the real culprit, as it is just not as smart and intriguing as it could have been. 3.5 out of 5 stars.


5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Clark was too much of a sour a-hole oscarflix
Joe Clarke's previous school ben-1047
things a principal can't do gfnoyes
Reverend Slappy edobrien1979
Firing of Mrs. Elliott Staceyjj3
Morgan Freeman: Great actor jwpostman
Discuss Lean on Me (1989) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?