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School Daze (1988)

A not so popular young man wants to pledge to a popular fraternity at his historically black college.


Spike Lee


Spike Lee

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1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Laurence Fishburne ... Dap (as Larry Fishburne)
Giancarlo Esposito ... Julian
Tisha Campbell-Martin ... Jane Toussaint (as Tisha Campbell)
Kyme Kyme ... Rachel Meadows
Joe Seneca ... President McPherson
Ellen Holly Ellen Holly ... Odrie McPherson
Art Evans ... Cedar Cloud
Ossie Davis ... Coach Odom
Bill Nunn ... Grady
James Bond III ... Monroe
Branford Marsalis ... Jordan
Kadeem Hardison ... Edge
Eric Payne ... Booker T. (as Eric A. Payne)
Spike Lee ... Half-Pint
Anthony Thompkins Anthony Thompkins ... Doo-Doo Breath


In the South of the United States are taking place confrontations between two groups of students who have different ideas and are not able to accept the one of the opponent. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Musical


R | See all certifications »






Release Date:

12 February 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aulas turbulentas See more »

Filming Locations:

Atlanta, Georgia, USA See more »


Box Office


$6,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,802,656, 15 February 1988, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The film came out when A Different World (1987), which was also set at a fictional historically African-American college, was in the middle of its first season. Jasmine Guy, Darryl Bell, and Kadeem Hardison starred on the show. Tisha Campbell-Martin appeared in two episodes as Josie Webb, an HIV-positive student. Roger Guenveur Smith appeared in five episodes as Professor Howard Randolph, an African-American History professor. See more »


Toward the end of "I Don't Want to Be Alone Tonight", the audio is slightly ahead of the video. See more »


Julian Eaves: You talk more shit than a little bit.
See more »


Featured in At the Movies: Spike Lee (1989) See more »


Be Alone Tonight
Music and Lyrics by Raymond Jones
Performed by The Rays: Tisha Campbell-Martin (as Tisha Campbell), Jasmine Guy,
Paula Brown and Angela Ali
Lead Vocals by Tisha Campbell-Martin (as Tisha Campbell)
Produced by Raymond Jones
Zubaidah Music Inc./Warner Brothers Music (ASCAP)
See more »

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User Reviews

a blunder, but an early one
17 July 1999 | by Jaime N. ChristleySee all my reviews

There are things I liked about "School Daze." In particular, there was the scene near the end of the film between Giancarlo Esposito's Julian and his girlfriend. It's when he breaks up with her for sleeping with another student, all the while completely aware that he made her do it. I've actually seen guys do this -- trick their girlfriends into doing something that, later on, they can use as cause to dump them -- and the reality of the scene carried such a raw, emotional weight that it nearly derailed the rest of the film.

"School Daze" is, first and foremost, a period piece of 1980s pop culture. Many of the sequences, especially the ones requiring dancing and choreography, are hopelessly dated, like early break-dancing videos.

Dated is okay, as long as there are other elements to counterbalance its datedness. Example: "All That Jazz" is a relic of Bob Fosse's toxic, overindulgent mind, a '70s time capsule item. However, the untouchable authority and supreme confidence he brought to it, along with the visual beauty, and the letter-perfect performances, made up for any drawbacks, and then some. "...Jazz" went from silly to sublime inside of sixty seconds.

Lee's direction is alarmingly hesitant and amateurish, giving no hint of the originality, vitality, and sheer genius he would display in his later films. It's certainly difficult to believe he made this film between "She's Gotta Have It" and "Do the Right Thing." His editing is sloppy, his staging is slapdash, and the performances from his actors and actresses range from sleepy to histrionic. The stories lose their punch through careless juggling, and the illogical "Wake Up!" scene at the end is unearned and unwarranted. Most disappointing of all, the thing I value his films for most -- his constant pushing of the cinematic envelope in all sorts of unexpected ways -- is all but totally absent.

I love most of Lee's films. I'll go so far as to say that he's one of the last risk-takers left in the business (Stanley Kubrick is dead, Quentin Tarantino is MIA, and anything done by Spielberg, God love him, automatically becomes non-risk). His "Do the Right Thing" is as good as any other film released in the '80s. The best thing I can say about this one is: I'm glad he got it out of his system.

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