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High School (1968)

Not Rated | | Documentary | May 1969 (USA)
Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman takes us inside Northeast High School as a fly on the wall to observe the teachers and how they interact with the students.


Frederick Wiseman
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Producer and director Frederick Wiseman takes his camera into a high school in 1968 and records events as they occur. Told without narration, the film essentially listens in on students, teachers and parents as they deal with issues of everyday life. Students are clearly meant to do as they are told without question - many of the teachers are autocratic in this respect - and the developing clash of cultures is evident in almost every scene. The role these young women are expected to play after high school is particularly archaic by today's standards. Written by garykmcd

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Not Rated

Did You Know?


This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1991. See more »


Male Teacher: Do you know, uh, what the Department of Labor says should be the comfort level of a family of four? A man, a wife, and two children, what they should earn to be comfortable? Not! Moderately comfortable, not you know affluent, but just moderately comfortable in our society. You know what the figure is? Any idea what it is, Christine?
Christine: [mumbles]
Male Teacher: How much? It's a little over 9,000 dollars. So you can imagine-- you know what percent of the American population earns 9,000 dollars? It's not the majority.
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Referenced in Rushmore (1998) See more »


The Dangling Conversation
Written by Paul Simon
Performed by Simon & Garfunkel
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User Reviews

Some Things Never Change
5 December 2017 | by gavin6942See all my reviews

Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman takes us inside Northeast High School as a fly on the wall to observe the teachers and how they interact with the students.

This film came out in 1969 and I graduated in 1999. So there is a thirty year gap between these students and myself. Yet, in many ways, this seemed all too familiar. My impression is that school has increasingly become oppressive for students, but the old back-and-forth between students and authority is still here. The kid who does not want to change for gym class. We did not learn that Paul Simon was a poet, but just within the last year (2016-2017) Bob Dylan has received a Nobel Prize for Literature. So the same idea is there.

The camera has a strange lingering on teenage butts. Maybe we can dismiss this as a product if its time, but today if someone went into a high school and zoomed in on a girl's butt in gym shorts, that would not be seen as very appropriate.

And what is up with the gynecologist? The sexual education comes across as surprisingly progressive, but this guy is saying things he may not know to be creepy... saying he gets paid to put his fingers inside teenage girls? And laughing about it? Ummmm... what do you even say about that sort of thing? I expect locker room talk from high school boys, but doctors?

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May 1969 (USA) See more »

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High School See more »

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Osti Productions See more »
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