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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.



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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


Question The Knowledge 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 sniper scene was based on the Charles Whitman incident at the University of Texas in 1966. 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 »


Malik: As a black man in America, my stress comes from everywhere. Recognize. Take a look around you. Look at this, Columbus, it disgusts me. Fool wasn't nothin' but a thief, mass murder. He done slaughtered millions of native Americans, and we done got a holiday and university named after his honor.
See more »


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


Written by D-Knowledge and Mark Shelby
Produced by Mark Shelby
Performed by D-Knowledge and Black/Note
Black/Note appears courtesy of Columbia Records
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User Reviews

Ouch, this is bad- Spoilers (that is if this movie can be spoiled)
28 October 2003 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

Singleton has some serious issues he has to come to grips with. I get the feeling that he thinks he is pretty smart; however, this movie is almost comically transparent and self righteous. In addition, there are a bunch of "might-makes-right" messages like when our local Nazi jerks get beat up. I mean, who in their right mind is going to root for a bunch of Nazi jerks? However, he way Singleton portrays the "fight" is downright silly and seems to be designed to show us more the superior fighting qualities of the black protagonists than anything else. There is another "bad guy" (in reality a drunken frat boy) who rapes one of the movie's protagonists. In this instance, I think that Singleton actually does a nice job portraying what is probably an all too common situation when the woman involved asks the frat boy to use a condom and he either does not have one or does not want to use one. In any event, he does not accede to her demands that he stop and he proceeds to have intercourse despite her pleas. I think that this type of rape is all too common and in fact many uniformed people refuse to accept the fact that it is even a rape. Well, no means no, this is a rape, which probably occurs a lot in Universities across the country.

Having established the rape, how does Singleton deal with it? When the frat boy tries to call the woman, her roommate refuses to put the victim on the phone, at which point the frat boy calls the roommate a "black bitch." The aggrieved roommate appears to appeal to a counsel of Ice Cube, et al, who then proceed to physically humiliate and abuse the frat boy into repeated and prolonged "apologies" to roommate for his racist remarks; however the (apparently in Singleton's mind) lesser crime of rape is not mentioned. Again, no one really should feel sorry for the frat boy; however, Singleton seems to be sending a dual message that a racist comment is a greater offense then rape and in any event violence is justified against jerks.

What is so ultimately so disappointing is that this movie could have truly been about something important but Singleton, while no doubt a talented director, does not appear to have the maturity or depth to pull of something of this magnitude.

45 of 75 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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