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Lean on Me (1989)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  3 March 1989 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 13,586 users  
Reviews: 76 user | 12 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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several homages to the Sesame Workshop are referenced in the film - when Clark was seen as a history teacher in the 1967 scene he sported an Afro (similar to the character Easy Reader on The Electric Company where Morgan Freeman was part of the cast) and when he arrives at Eastside High on the first day on the job he wears a business suit similar to the one he had during The Electric Company's opening credits. Dr. Napier said to Clark in one scene that he is a Big Bird with Radar which was a double entendre (either as an airplane or the famous Sesame Street character with his pet teddy bear). Also, Lynne Thigpen would later join the cast of the PBS series Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? as the Chief. 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 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 »

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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.


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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
things a principal can't do gfnoyes
Firing of Mrs. Elliott Staceyjj3
Morgan Freeman: Great actor jwpostman
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