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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)
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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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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:

Simple words that could start a war. 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:

Up the Down Staircase 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

Bel Kaufman, in the Preface to the 25th anniversary edition of the book, writes: "The movie was filmed in New York City, in and around Haaren High School, which had been emptied for the summer." See more »

Goofs

During the opening montage establishing the first day of school in September in a New York high school, several shots were obviously filmed in dead of winter with extras in heavy coats, gray skies, etc. contrasting wildly with scenes of sunny skies and lightweight costumes of main characters. See more »

Quotes

Sylvia Barrett: When I finally get the chance, the first few precious minutes to talk to them about something I want them to understand, and I find that I am some kind of enemy... the butt of some enormous joke.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Wire: Home Rooms (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Every Teacher Should See This Movie!
25 August 2014 | by SylviastelSee all my reviews

I felt that I was watching reality even forty years later. I too aspired to be an English teacher like Sylvia Barrett. Sandy Dennis was a terrific actress and this film shows her ability and wide range. The cast features well known and familiar faces. Sylvia endures a stark reality of the urban teaching world. Schools in the poorest sections of New York City are still under funded. The Calvin Coolidge High School appears more like a prison than a school. The atmosphere reminds me of going to the unemployment office where its grim and depressing. How can anybody believe learning is going on? Of course not, schools are supposed to prepare our students for the future but are terribly let down. Today's students believe technology will solve everything. We can't teach how to think as teachers. This film should be shown to all aspiring teachers about the reality of urban school teaching.


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