7.4/10
16,181
79 user 14 critic

Lean on Me (1989)

PG-13 | | Drama | 3 March 1989 (USA)
The dedicated but tyrannical Joe Clark is appointed the principal of a decaying inner-city school and he is determined to improve by any and all means.

Director:

John G. Avildsen
Reviews
Popularity
4,401 ( 702)

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3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Morgan Freeman ... Principal Joe Clark
Beverly Todd ... Ms. Levias
Robert Guillaume ... Dr. Frank Napier
Alan North ... Mayor Don Bottman
Lynne Thigpen ... Leonna Barrett
Robin Bartlett ... Mrs. Elliott
Michael Beach ... Mr. Darnell
Ethan Phillips ... Mr. Rosenberg
Sandra Reaves-Phillips ... Mrs. Powers
Sloane Shelton Sloane Shelton ... Mrs. Hamilton
Jermaine 'Huggy' Hopkins ... Thomas Sams
Karen Malina White ... Kaneesha Carter
Karina Arroyave ... Maria
Ivonne Coll ... Mrs. Santos
Regina Taylor ... Mrs. Carter
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Storyline

An arrogant and unorthodox teacher returns as principal to the idyllic high school from which he had earlier been fired to find it a den of drug abuse, gang violence, and urban despair. Eventually his successful but unorthodox methods lead to a clash with city officials that threatens to undo all his efforts. Based on a true story. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Eastside High was a training ground for jail. Then Joe Clark took over. Now the kids are getting something they never had. A future. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | Portuguese

Release Date:

3 March 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Apóyate en mí See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,000,000, 5 March 1989, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$31,906,454
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the graduation ceremony during the credits, Thomas Sams joins the rest of the seniors. In reality, he would've graduated from Eastside as a member of the Class of 1991. See more »

Goofs

Mr Clark stops Sams in the hallway when he's about to duck into the bathroom to look for his friends. He begins to question Sams how he's doing in class and asks when he gets his report card. The principal of a school, especially one as hard-nosed as Mr Clark would know when report cards are issued. See more »

Quotes

First Title Cards: The following is based on a true story. Once considered one of the finest schools in America, Eastside High of Paterson, New Jersey, declined over the years until an official report called it a "terrible cauldron of violence." The battle of one man, Joe Clark, to save Eastside High School and to restore its former pride is the subject of our story. It began about twenty years ago.
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Connections

References Batman (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

ALL THE WAY TO LOVE
Performed by Siedah Garrett
Produced by Glen Ballard, Brooks Arthur and Michael Schiffer
Courtesy of Qwest Records
Written by Glen Ballard and Siedah Garrett
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User Reviews

 
Much more realistic than "Dangerous Minds" with hardly any cussing
14 May 2005 | by mikel weisserSee all my reviews

I work in a school that was totally struggling and considered hopeless, marked as "failing" and basically in the same position as Eastside High in Paterson, NJ, the subject and setting of "Lean on Me." "Lean on Me" is a very good, nearly great movie. But better than that it is the true story of a true hero who truly made a difference (http://www.joeclarkspeaker.com/index.html.)

Even if i wasn't a teacher, "Lean on Me" is a solidly recommendable film. Fine workmanship in depicting the underdog who deserves to win from the director of "Rocky." Justifably award winning acting by Morgan Freeman, well before he became a stereotype of himself. BUT, better than the traditional "movie-ishness" of the picture, the story is not only a story of hope, but it is a true and ongoing lesson that real commitment can create real change.

The whole process of the often startling and occasionally unpleasant shock and force necessary to rebuild a dangerously failing school is accurately portrayed. And so is the joyous feeling sensing the turn around taking place.

Even if you never learned anyone's name from the film, the story will inspire. Even if you think of none of the ideas of it, you cannot help but feel its heart.


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