7.5/10
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86 user 17 critic

Lean on Me (1989)

PG-13 | | Drama | 3 March 1989 (USA)
Trailer
1:31 | Trailer
The dedicated but tyrannical Joe Clark is appointed the principal of a decaying inner-city school he is determined to improve by any and all means.

Director:

John G. Avildsen
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3,105 ( 832)
4 wins & 5 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 ... Mrs. Hamilton
Jermaine Hopkins ... Thomas Sams (as Jermaine 'Huggy' Hopkins)
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 he is 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 out of control...until Joe Clark took it back. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The real-life Joe Clark resigned as principal of Eastside High School shortly after the film was released. Around the time the film debuted, he was suspended by the school board for one week, after scheduling an assembly in which dancers stripped down to their G-strings. Clark said he hadn't known about it in advance. Ironically, the man who suspended him was Dr. Frank Napier. After Clark left Eastside, he became an author, and motivational speaker. In 1995, he was hired to run a juvenile detention center in Newark, New Jersey, a position he held until he resigned in 2002. During his time there, he once again came under fire for his controversial methods. See more »

Goofs

The film portrays Joe Clark as becoming the principal of Eastside High School for its 1987-88 school year. In reality Clark became principal in 1982 and remained there until shortly after the film was released in 1989. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Frank Napier: Did you see this yet?
[holding up newspaper story about Clark's fight with a former student]
Dr. Frank Napier: You know, a lot of your shit comes down on my head.
Joe Clark: Oh, Frank! Look, this is...
Dr. Frank Napier: No, You let me talk! It's like you're a big bird with radar and I'm tired of getting hit!
Joe Clark: Th... this is my fault?
Dr. Frank Napier: This is nothing! I've got union lawyers threatening me and there's talk of a walk-out!
Joe Clark: Well, let 'em! They're not doing anything down there anyway!
Dr. Frank Napier: It is your job to...
Joe Clark: None of them have a personal stake at that school! ...
[...]
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Connections

References The Great White Hope (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

Eastside High School Alma Mater
Written by Catherine Peragallo Miller
See more »

User Reviews

'Lean on Me' doesn't need any helping hand
3 January 2003 | by smla02See all my reviews

****

Starring: Morgan Freeman, Beverly Todd, and Robert Guillaume.

A man is assigned principle of a broken-down inner-city school. Nobody thinks he will last there. But, Joe isn't going to take that and will try his best to improve that school.

This movie should've gotten Academy Award nods. Freeman's performance alone was unbelieveable. It should've been nominated for Actor and Picture.

Overall the movie is a fantastic film and shows the true story of Joe Clark.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | Portuguese

Release Date:

3 March 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lean on Me See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,032,605, 5 March 1989

Gross USA:

$31,906,454

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$31,906,454
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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