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Conrack (1974)

PG | | Drama | 7 June 1974 (UK)
White Pat Conroy was born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina. In March 1969 under the Beaufort School District, he starts a job teaching at a small poor school located on Daufuskie ... See full summary »

Director:

Martin Ritt

Writers:

Pat Conroy (from the book "The Water Is Wide"), Irving Ravetch (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jon Voight ... Pat Conroy
Paul Winfield ... Mad Billy
Madge Sinclair ... Mrs. Scott
Tina Andrews ... Mary
Antonio Fargas ... Quickfellow
Ruth Attaway Ruth Attaway ... Edna
James O'Rear James O'Rear ... Messenger (as James O'Reare)
Gracia Lee Gracia Lee ... Mrs. Sellers
C.P. MacDonald C.P. MacDonald ... Mr. Ryder
Jane Moreland Jane Moreland ... Mrs. Webster
Thomas Horton Thomas Horton ... Judge
Nancy Butler Nancy Butler ... Mrs. Ryder
Robert W. Page Robert W. Page ... Mr. Spaulding
Hume Cronyn ... Skeffington
Mac Arthur Nelson Mac Arthur Nelson ... Mac
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Storyline

White Pat Conroy was born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina. In March 1969 under the Beaufort School District, he starts a job teaching at a small poor school located on Daufuskie Island, an island in a South Carolina river delta, the island accessible only by boat. The island is inhabited exclusively by blacks. He quickly learns that his students, who have never left the island, lack not only a basic understanding of academic items such as the alphabet and simple arithmetic, but also of other basic necessities of life such as personal hygiene. They can't even pronounce his name, they who call him Conrack. The teachers before him, including the school principal Mrs. Scott, have always treated the students as being slow and basically unteachable of academics. Conrack, a free thinking man, decides to expose his students not only to the academic subjects, but also to the gamut of life skills from brushing one's teeth to human anatomy, and some of the fun things in life like ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One beautiful movie. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 June 1974 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Conrack See more »

Filming Locations:

Brunswick, Georgia, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a 2007 interview on the Dennis Miller Radio Show, Jon Voight recalled a reunion that was held twenty years after the release of the movie, with all of the available actors and actresses. Of the twenty-one actors and actresses who portrayed students, at the time of the reunion, three were teachers. See more »

Quotes

Pat Conroy: [while they're listening to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony] Okay, this is it! We're going up the hill, together... a foot may slip, but no one's gonna fall!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: This is based on a true story. It began in March of 1969. See more »

Connections

Features The Black Swan (1942) See more »

Soundtracks

On the Good Ship Lollipop
(uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Sidney Clare
See more »

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User Reviews

Trip Up The River
15 October 2001 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

Pat Conroy must be an interesting guy. It's easy to be progressive in, say, Milwaukee. (In fact, you had BETTER be.) But he evidently grew up in the South, military family, attended the Citadel, and then finally found his head different from most of the others in his community. Social friction in the South is nothing to mess with. No, sir. He's writing good novels and letters to the editor. I admire him tremendously. The movie reminds me of a lesson in an introductory philosophy class, about the fallacy of arguing by analogy. Time is like a river, you see, and you can travel back in time because you can paddle upstream in a river. Conrack gives us a little trip into the past, when things were even worse than they are now. The African-American kids he's teaching don't know what country they live in, or the name of the ocean lapping at the shores of their little island. (Perhaps now overgrown with expensive condos.) He paints himself as an inspiring teacher. He can't help it. He was callow, and anyway autobiographies don't have much choice -- they're either hagiographic or honest, and in the second case the author always comes out looking like a Schmuck. Anyhow, in the end he admits failure, though through no fault of his own. John Voight, known for his involvement in sociopolitical issues, is the perfect choice for Conroy's surrogate, and Martin Ritt perhaps the best possible director, given his having lived in the South and coped with it, though his hand slips from time to time and we get black kids answering Conrack's questions in plainsong. The musical score sucks, so when the kids are out on a Halloween spree we have music that belongs in Robin Hood. The photography is good. The film hit a nerve. I was subbing as a teacher in elementary school in the South at one point. My wife at the time was a professor at UNC, Wilmington, and told me matter of factly how she was having lunch with her colleagues and some guy's daughter met him in the cafeteria and told him so enthusiastically about the new substitute teacher they had that day, and it was only after several minutes of conversation that she realized the girl was talking about me. I can't remember many moments in my life when I felt more pleased. Nothing is as exalting as seeing somebody's face light up when they learn something new and extraordinary. I've seen it in kindergarten kids and in Marines at Camp Lejeune, people wincing with pleasure at the dawning of a new realization. As Mel Brooks might say, "It's good to be da teacher." Conrack gets that idea across most effectively.


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