7.4/10
1,766
38 user 15 critic

Up the Down Staircase (1967)

Approved | | Drama | 28 June 1967 (USA)
The experiences of a young female English teacher in an inner-city New York high school.

Director:

Robert Mulligan

Writers:

Bel Kaufman (novel), Tad Mosel (screenplay)
Reviews
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sandy Dennis ... Sylvia Barrett
Patrick Bedford Patrick Bedford ... Paul Barringer
Eileen Heckart ... Henrietta Pastorfield
Ruth White ... Beatrice Schacter
Jean Stapleton ... Sadie Finch
Sorrell Booke ... Dr. Bester
Roy Poole ... Mr. McHabe
Florence Stanley ... Ella Friedenberg
Vinnette Carroll Vinnette Carroll ... The Mother
Janice Mars Janice Mars ... Miss Gordon
Loretta Leversee Loretta Leversee ... Social Studies Teacher
John Callahan John Callahan
Denis Fay Denis Fay
Otto Lomax Otto Lomax
Martha Greenhouse Martha Greenhouse ... Alberta Kagan
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Storyline

Sylvia Barrett is a rookie teacher at New York's inner-city Calvin Coolidge High: her lit classes are overcrowded, a window is broken, there's no chalk, books arrive late. The administration is concerned mainly with forms and rules (there's an up and a down staircase); bells ring at the wrong time. Nevertheless, she tries. How she handles the chaos and her despair in her first semester makes up the film: a promising student drops out, another sleeps through class, a girl with a crush on a male teacher gets suicidal, and a bright but troublesome student misunderstands Sylvia's reaching out. A discussion of Dickens, parents' night, and a mock trial highlight the term. Can she make it? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The first mistake this pretty young teacher made was to get off the bus. The second was to walk into Calvin Coolidge High School for the first time. The third was to fall in love with it. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 June 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Apigorevmena skalopatia See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Park Place Production See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although this film was shot before the release of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Sandy Dennis was cast in this, her first starring role, based in large part on industry word-of-mouth about her performance in that film - a performance that would win Dennis a Best Supporting Actress Oscar before Up the Down Staircase was released. See more »

Goofs

In the classroom scene where Harry A Kagan is talking, his necktie alternates between being tucked into the belt and in front of the belt. See more »

Quotes

[Frequently Over Intercom]
Mrs. Finch: Disregard all bells.
See more »

Connections

References My Blue Heaven (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

A Breath of Fresh Air (from 32 years ago!!!)
17 October 1999 | by Freak-30See all my reviews

It's hard to compare this movie with other films of the genre. "The Principal", "Dangerous Minds", "Lean on Me", and "Stand and Deliver" really don't have much in common with UtDS. Nevertheless, this film is very good and Sandy Dennis is outstanding as the young teacher who is starting out in a tough New York City high school.

What makes UtDS unique is that there's no focus on gang fights, or ghetto culture, or the teachers' private lives. Instead, the story focuses almost entirely on the classroom. More specifically, it focuses on an English teacher (Dennis) and her students. That may seem boring, but this movie is anything but. The student characters are well developed and their relationships with each other, their parents, their teachers, and the school administrators are extremely realistic.

Anyone who is tired of the mindless, inhuman **** being shown in multiplexes all over America should give this film a look. It'll be a breath of fresh air. It's a positive, intelligent, engrossing story.

Unfortunately, it's not likely to be in your local video store. But if you should have the rare opportunity of seeing UtDS - perhaps on premium cable or on a VHS tape from a public library - you will not be disappointed!


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