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Lean on Me (1989)

 -  Action | Drama  -  3 March 1989 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 12,211 users  
Reviews: 68 user | 10 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:
...
...
Ms. Levias
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Alan North ...
...
...
...
...
Mr. Rosenberg
Sandra Reaves-Phillips ...
Mrs. Powers
Sloane Shelton ...
Mrs. Hamilton
Jermaine 'Huggy' Hopkins ...
...
Kaneesha Carter
...
Maria
...
Mrs. Santos
...
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

Plot Keywords:

teacher | high school | test | violence | gang | See more »

Taglines:

Eastside High never had a principal this tough...or one who cared this much about its students. See more »

Genres:

Action | 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:

Lean on Me  »

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
See  »
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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

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

Mayor Don Bottman: What do you want?
Leonna Barrett: Clark!
Mayor Don Bottman: Just like that, huh? Head on a platter.
Leonna Barrett: You think I got an attitude. Well, let me tell you what I think. I know why you like Clark. He's a guard dog. Does your dirty work. Keeps the black folk in line - that's fine. But you've got to get re-elected. I've got enough folks lined up with me to give you a DAMN hard time, and I will get more. I will organize. I will beat the streets.
Mayor Don Bottman: Unless I do what?
Leonna Barrett: Appoint me to the school board so we can vote Clark out. Otherwise, we'll ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #19.9 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

I AIN'T MAKIN' IT
Performed by Stetsasonic
Produced by Daddy-O and DBC
Courtesy of Tommy Boy Records
Written by Arnold Hamilton, Bob Coulter and Glenn Bolton
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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.






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

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