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Higher Learning (1995)

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People from all different walks of life, encounter racial tension, rape, responsibility, and the meaning of an education on a university campus.



4,343 ( 2,631)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bradford English ...
Dreads (as Busta Rhymez)
Billy (as Jay Ferguson)


Youngsters from different countries, races, and social background are forced to integrate when they all enroll in Columbus University. They all have their own problems, such as finance, harrassment, personal safety, and self doubt. Additionally, campus life seems to be causing a problem for everyone: racism. Students, already under pressure to perform in the classroom, on the track, or in front of their friends, are strained to the breaking point by prejudice, inexperience, and misunderstanding. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


49 Countries. 6 Races. 2 Sexes. 1 Campus. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for scenes of violence and sexuality, and for strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 January 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Higher Learning - Die Rebellen  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$38,290,723 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was heavily cut upon its release, eliminating much of the romantic relationship between Jennifer Connelly and Kristy Swanson's characters, including the resolution to it, along with more scenes involving the neo-Nazis and the other groups' activities and relationships going throughout the university. See more »


Immediately after the red Volkswagen beetle is flipped and the three girls are walking along the sidewalk, it is raining in the background but not on the girls. See more »


[repeated line]
Professor Phipps: Peppermint?
See more »


Referenced in Psych: Yang 3 in 2D (2010) See more »


Written by Ice Cube (as O'Shea Jackson) and Sir Jinx (Anthony Wheaton)
Produced by Sir Jinx
Performed by Ice Cube
Courtesy of Priority Records
See more »

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User Reviews

All the fun of an After School Special
18 April 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Yes, people are racist. People are even racist in college. That's a good point, and the issue of racism has been dealt with many times before in countless films. What sets Higher Learning apart from the pack is that it deals with the issue of racism in the most ham-fisted and predictable way possible, oh yeah it's in college too.

This film deals with this problem of racism the way Frankenstein deals with most problems, it bashes you over the head repeatedly in a brutal and sluggish manner. Most of the characters are cartoonish, one-dimensional, caricatures (lesbian feminist, angry black man), that react to situations as dramatically and predictably as possible. Instead of defying stereotypes this film is overpopulated with them. The angry black men feel cheated, feminists hate men, etc. (one feminist even holds a sign that reads "Dead Men Don't Rape." See what I mean?) I don't want to give anything away, but in this movie if someone seems like a shifty loner or a date rapist they'll probably behave exactly how you expect them to. The changes the characters go through seems obvious to everyone but the people in the movie. The big twist in the plot hinges on whether or not the violent neo-Nazis will act like violent neo-Nazis. I'll guess you'll just have to watch to find out what happens.

Another problem I have with this movie is that it's supposed to be "gritty" and "hard-hitting," but they make Nazis the bad guys. I agree Nazis are evil, but that's my point. Everybody thinks Nazis are bad; we're not breaking any new ground here. Nazis have been portrayed as villains since the 1930's. The film doesn't challenge any viewpoints or make bold statements. It just deals with issues we all know about in a clumsy, after-school-special like, manner. Being anti-rape, anti-racist, and anti-Nazi isn't exactly taking a hard stance on a controversial issue.

Higher Learning is predictable, cartoonish, and in a word stupid. Avoid at all costs.

30 of 52 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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