Rich Donato is the high school janitor at an Oregon high school. He is looked up to by the kids who often seek his advice. There is only one problem. He doesn't have a high school diploma. ... See full summary »




On Disc

at Amazon

1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Sioux City (1994)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A young Lakota Sioux, adopted by a wealthy Jewish couple in Beverly Hills, gets in touch with his cultural roots and solves a mystery in this thriller. Because of his upbringing, Jesse ... See full summary »

Director: Lou Diamond Phillips
Stars: Lou Diamond Phillips, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Melinda Dillon
Undertow (TV Movie 1996)
Action | Thriller | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

After his car breaks down, Jack seeks shelter, lost in a thunderstorm in a remote shack in the woods. He finds himself held at gunpoint by a deranged mountain man who lives there with his ... See full summary »

Director: Eric Red
Stars: Lou Diamond Phillips, Mia Sara, Charles Dance
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A Chicago cop quits the force and finds himself threatened by the Mafia.

Director: Scott Wiper
Stars: Scott Wiper, Jack Conley, Carmen Argenziano
Hangman (TV Movie 2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

Death by noose. A nasty way to die if you're not dropped from a length, but instead just had the support kicked from beneath you. A series of murders like this is taking place, linked to a ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Girotti
Stars: Lou Diamond Phillips, Mädchen Amick, Mark Wilson
Dakota (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

John Dakota is young bum with a hidden past. He meets a nice family and works on their ranch. He soon becomes a good friend of the disabled son and helps them overcome local problems.

Director: Fred Holmes
Stars: Lou Diamond Phillips, DeeDee Norton, Herta Ware
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

A small New Mexican village discovers a severed hand that is considered a miracle of God, when it actually belongs to a murdered spouse with a husband in search of it.

Director: Alfonso Arau
Stars: Woody Allen, David Schwimmer, Angélica Aragón
Knight Club (2001)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A wannabe actor becomes a bouncer and is seduced by the fast-paced world of Los Angeles nightlife.

Director: Russell Gannon
Stars: Lochlyn Munro, Glenn Plummer, Ed Lauter
Harley (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

Harley is a 'troubled teen' from L.A. who is arrested. A progressive social worker has Harley sent to Texas to live with the Nortons, an open-minded, heartful Christian family, and spend ... See full summary »

Director: Fred Holmes
Stars: Lou Diamond Phillips, Eli Cummins, Jan DeWitt
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.3/10 X  

An erotic thriller about a promiscuous radio sex therapist who is dragged into blackmail by a young hustler.

Director: Lou Diamond Phillips
Stars: Kate Vernon, Robert Prentiss, Bill Allen
Ambition I (1991)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

Mitchell Osgood dreams of being a famous writer, but the book he has written constantly is rejected by the editors. When the psychopathic killer Albert Merrik is released from prison after ... See full summary »

Director: Scott D. Goldstein
Stars: Lou Diamond Phillips, Clancy Brown, Cecilia Peck
Lone Hero (2002)
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

An actor in a Wild West show must become a mythical Western Hero when a biker gang descends upon a small Montana town.

Director: Ken Sanzel
Stars: Lou Diamond Phillips, Sean Patrick Flanery, Robert Forster
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The story of Jaime Escalante, a high school teacher who successfully inspired his dropout prone students to learn calculus.

Director: Ramón Menéndez
Stars: Edward James Olmos, Estelle Harris, Mark Phelan


Credited cast:
Ricardo 'Rich' Donato
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lenno Britos ...
Mr. Guiterrez
Jake Matteson
Sherry Donato
Linda Ching
Nathaniel DeVeaux ...
Vincent Lexington
Rich Donato ...
Parent in Auditorium
Mrs. Matteson
Security Guard
Mrs. Escobar
Charles 'Charlie' Zaken
Skip Jordan
Brandy (as Candice McClure)


Rich Donato is the high school janitor at an Oregon high school. He is looked up to by the kids who often seek his advice. There is only one problem. He doesn't have a high school diploma. The school board tells him that he must get his GED in 30 days or he will lose his job. He tries taking the test on his own, but fails. His wife rallies the community to help Rich pass the test. Now that Rich has help from teachers and students, there is nothing he can't do. Written by Pat McCurry <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on true story | See All (1) »







Release Date:

17 October 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Prince of Mirrors: The Rich Donato Story  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Underdog wins as usual, but in cute way
18 January 2000 | by (Stockholm, Sweden) – See all my reviews

Waking up on a sunny January morning with little else to do but study, I turned on my TV and found this gem of a made-for-TV film.

It stars Lou Diamond Phillips in a strong performance as high school janitor Rich Donato who is faced with the possibility of losing his job because he does not have a high school degree. He is loved by the pupils of the school to whom he functions as both a friend and a teacher. He is seen as the best thing that has ever happened to that troubled school. Donato has to study for his degree and reach those near-impossible 81 pts.

Along the way he of course befriends some troubled angst riddled students, gets help from teacher Ms Ching, played by Joan Chen. Will he succeed?

Well, of course. The story is based on true events, a real Hallmark picture. Funny then how Donato at one point says; "OK, that's enough of this Hallmark moment", when two of the students find comfort in eachother.

See this film. It pulls the right strings. You've seen it before, but I think it is admirable that the handiwork on movies like these has improved over the years. And this is certainly a vast upswing for Phillip's acting career, quality wise. Seeing him last time in idiotic mercenary comedy The Big Hit, it is a relief he found his way back into "Ritchie Valens territory". This boy can play drama better... Just look at "Courage Under Fire".

It's still on Hallmark. Catch it if you can.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss In a Class of His Own (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: