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Lean on Me (1989)

 -  Drama  -  3 March 1989 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 13,165 users  
Reviews: 74 user | 11 critic

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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Title: Lean on Me (1989)

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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:

Eastside High was a training ground for jail. Then Joe Clark took over. Now the kids are getting something they never had. A future. 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:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$31,906,454 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film came under intense criticism for many of the liberties taken with Clark's story. For instance, the subplot of the Proficiency Requirement that 75% of the students had to pass the Minimum Basic Skills Test to prevent a state take-over was fictitious. Clark never improved test scores during his tenure at Eastside, and the school was never in danger of a state take-over because it was zoned in an Abbott district (now known as an SDA district). 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 lunch, in the cafeteria, Clark has singled out Sams] ... I want all of you to take a good look at this slovenly, sloppy boy - as an example of how NOT to dress. If you look like THIS in the morning, find some other clothes to wear. Self-respect permeates every aspect of your existence. If you don't have respect for yourself, you're not gonna get it from anyone else.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Bad Teacher (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

YOU ARE THE ONE
Performed by T.K.A. (as TKA)
Produced by Tony Moran and Joey Gardner
Courtesy of Tommy Boy Records
Written by Keath Lowry (as K. Lowery) and David Gaskins (as D. Gaskins)
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User Reviews

YAY!! Someone get me a bat and a bullhorn!

Rocky and Karate Kid director, John Avildsen takes his stand-up-and-cheer style from the ring and the dojo to the halls of New Jersey's Eastside High School in this true story of the mercurial, and controversial, principal, Joe Clark. Morgan Freeman shines and has a strong supporting cast in this loud and manipulative, but nonetheless effective entry into the educator-hero genre. The story strains credibility and often goes over the top, but the fast pace and great Freeman performance allow this to still be an entertaining film.

Freeman's Joe Clark is recruited by Superintendent, Frank Napier (Robert Guillaume) for the seemingly impossible task of turning around the violent and out of control Eastside High School School and somehow motivating the staff and students to improve their results on the State Literacy Exam, or else see the school fall under state control. Clark uses a bullhorn, a baseball bat and a confrontational style with his staff and combines it with a tough, nurturing relationship with his students to try to bring this about, while battling alienated staff and angry parents, led by Ms. Levias (Lynne Thigpen) to try to bring about the desired changes.

Sure, this film is far-fetched and overblown and even has a couple scenes that approach unintentional humor, but it has enough strengths to compensate and make it worthwhile viewing for those who enjoy the true story school genre that Hollywood loves so much. Morgan Freeman is always a pleasure to watch and he is very strong here. So get ready to stand up and cheer!

(This review was first posted on realmoviereview.com)


5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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How Could Joe Clark Expel 300 Students? leighabc123
Joe Clarke's previous school ben-1047
Clark was too much of a sour a-hole oscarflix
Firing of Mrs. Elliott Staceyjj3
things a principal can't do gfnoyes
Morgan Freeman: Great actor jwpostman
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