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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.

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

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

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

3 March 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Apóyate en mi  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$31,906,454 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The real-life Joe Clark resigned as principal of Eastside High School shortly after the film was released. Around the time the film debuted he was suspended by the school board for one week after scheduling an assembly in which dancers stripped down to their G-strings. Clark said he hadn't known about it advance. Ironically, the man who suspended him was Dr. Frank Napier, the superintendent played by 'Robert Guillaume' in the film.

After Clark left Eastside he became an author and motivational speaker.

In 1995, he was hired to run a juvenile detention center in Newark, New Jersey, a position he held until he resigned in 2002. During his time there he once again came under fire for his controversial methods. See more »

Goofs

Mr Clark stops Sams in the hallway when he's about to duck into the bathroom to look for his friends. He begins to question Sams how he's doing in class and asks when he gets his report card. The principal of a school, especially one as hard-nosed as Mr Clark would know when report cards are issued. See more »

Quotes

Ms. Levias: [as Mr. Clark is walking down a hallway, she is running up to him] Mr. Clark!
Joe Clark: Yes, Ms. Levias?
Ms. Levias: May I talk to you for a minute please?
Joe Clark: What is it?
Ms. Levias: I want you to transfer me.
Joe Clark: To where?
Ms. Levias: Out of here!
Joe Clark: You know, this doesn't surprise me one bit, Ms. Levias. I have sensed resistance in you since our very first meeting.
Ms. Levias: You're an egomaniacal windbag
Joe Clark: Who are you talking to?
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Half in the Bag: Red Tails (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

EASTSIDE HIGH SCHOOL ALMA MATER
Written by Catherine Peragallo Miller
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User Reviews

Great acting, so-so script
30 April 2001 | by (New York, NY) – See all my reviews

Morgan Freeman's performance is the real reason to see this film. He's helped by a solid supporting cast, leading to some truly memorable scenes as principal Joe Clark (Freeman) battles teachers, parents, and administrators who are outraged by his controversial methods.

But this film deserved a grittier treatment than what it was given. The script is an awkward blend of inner-city drama with feel-good heroics. The subplot about the basic skills test should have been scrapped. First of all, it never happened in real life. But more importantly, it changed the entire tone of the film. Clark's story was about how he disciplined a school, not how he educated it. The softened approach leaves LEAN ON ME at odds with itself - it tries to be like STAND AND DELIVER, when it should have been like THE PRINCIPAL.






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