7.4/10
17,461
85 user 15 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
4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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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 'Huggy' Hopkins ... Thomas Sams
Karen Malina White ... Kaneesha Carter
Karina Arroyave ... Maria
Ivonne Coll ... Mrs. Santos
Regina Taylor ... Mrs. Carter
Learn more

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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 never had a principal this tough...or one who cared this much about its students. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Real-life students and teachers from Eastside High appeared as extras in this film. See more »

Goofs

Since crack is a highly addictive substance, Thomas Sams wouldn't have been able to detox and quit cold turkey in such a short period of time. See more »

Quotes

Joe Clark: I'll tell you what I do see here...
Ms. Levias: No! I'm talking now! Let me finish! Everybody here may not like you as a person, but we all applaud your efforts. But what you don't understand is the same people that support you are the ones you're beating up! You don't even take the time to say 'Thank you. Job well done'. Nothing! You just step on their necks! Constantly abuse them!
Joe Clark: Ms. Levias...
Ms. Levias: Criticize them!
Joe Clark: What do you want from me?
[Faces her]
Joe Clark: What the HELL do you want?
Ms. Levias: I want you to get this straight! Most...
See more »


Soundtracks

Rap Summary (Lean on Me)
Performed & Written by Big Daddy Kane
Produced by Marley Marl
Courtesy of Cold Chillin' Records and Video, Inc.
See more »

User Reviews

strong acting helps overcome the familiarity of the material
12 March 2007 | by Special-K88See all my reviews

Freeman is perfectly cast as "Crazy" Joe Clark, a radical, newly appointed principal at a deteriorating, gang-ridden school who gets through to his students with a tough, opinionated, no-nonsense approach to the pursuit of academic excellence. The odds are stacked against him as the education board threatens to shut down Eastside High School, but with his burning desire, devoted staff and administration, and some bright students who actually want to succeed, he rallies them for what will be the final chance to save the school. Based on a true story the premise is familiar and the script has its ups and downs, but it's meaningful and acted with strength and conviction, especially Freeman who is nothing short of superb. ***


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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