Paul Reis returns to the exclusive Catholic prep school he graduated from nine years earlier as a gym teacher. He is reunited with his former mentor and English teacher, the affable and gregarious Joseph Dobbs, the most popular member of the faculty and advisor to the junior class, and Jerome Malley, a strict disciplinarian and teacher of classical languages, whose old-fashioned methods make him heartily disliked by his pupils. Reis finds himself caught in between the two men in a struggle for the hearts, minds, and souls of the boys. Malley, nicknamed "Lash" by his students has ruled out retirement, and Dobbs, who feels that Malley has lost touch with the students, hopes to inherit the senior class. Even though Malley's mother is dying an agonizing death from cancer, the Latin and Greek teacher refuses to surrender his position as head of the senior class to a man whose motives he questions. The tensions on the faculty are mirrored in the student body, which has endured a rash of ...
You only lose once.
Did You Know?
Sidney Lumet realized just after watching the daily rushes that the terrific effect that the story had on stage - which it is inspired from - had totally disappeared on screen. He did not know here it came exactly from and above all did not know how to fix it. He kept this awful feeling for himself because he did not want the other persons among the crew, people he worked with, to lose their confidence in the film. He eventually never found what was wrong with the feature, compared with the stage play. See more
I don't know if you've noticed. There is the decided smell of brimstone in the air. This may have been the wrong way for me, but I believe in God, and I believe in Satan.
[He drinks and sets his glass down uneasily, only to have it fall
Now I believe I will go get another drink.
[He walks tipsily out of the room
Referenced in By Sidney Lumet