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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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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:

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:

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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the graduation ceremony during the credits, Sams joins the rest of the seniors. In reality, he would've graduated from Eastside as a member of the Class of 1991. See more »

Goofs

The practice exam booklet reads "New Jersey Minimun Basic Skills Tests"...probably the last place the school board (or the film's producers) would want a spelling error. See more »

Quotes

Joe Clark: [at the first teachers' meeting] ... You are now my chief custodian, Reverend Slappy. You will scour this building clean. Any graffiti that goes up, comes off the next day. Is that clear? Detention students can help you. Let them scrub this place for a while, discover what a fine living you make doing this. And tear down those cages in the cafeteria! If we treat our students like animals, that's exactly how they'll behave!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in 30 Rock: Plan B (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

You Are The One
Written by Keath Lowry and David Gaskins
Administered by Hey Vinnie Music
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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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Reverend Slappy edobrien1979
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