7.4/10
16,183
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:

A true story about a real hero. 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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the auditorium scene, where Mr. Clark expels the students on-stage, a young Taye Diggs can be seen sitting in the audience. He is the one wearing a blue shirt. See more »

Goofs

The practice exam booklet reads "New Jersey Minimun Basic Skills Tests"...probably the last place the school board (or the film's producers) would want a spelling error. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Elliott: [in the choir room] I would love to chat, Mr. Clark, but I have a concert next week in New York and I would like to be prepared.
Joe Clark: What?
Mrs. Elliott: Prepare. You do know that means? It means capable, ready and up to your job.
Joe Clark: What concert, Mrs. Elliott?
Mrs. Elliott: The one at Lincoln Center. We do one every year.
Joe Clark: Until now. Your concert is cancelled.
Mrs. Elliott: What?
Joe Clark: CANCELLED! You do know what cancelled means, don't you, Mrs. Elliott? Over! Finished! Terminated!
Mrs. Elliott: WHY? These children have worked too hard!
Joe Clark: And for not telling me for ...
[...]
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Connections

References Batman (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

I AIN'T MAKIN' IT
Performed by Stetsasonic
Produced by Daddy-O and DBC
Courtesy of Tommy Boy Records
Written by Arnold Hamilton, Bob Coulter and Daddy-O (as Glenn Bolton)
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User Reviews

 
Morgan Makes It His Film
13 May 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

Morgan Freeman made himself into a star with this film, and also made the movie a hit with his great performance. He IS the movie playing fascinating real- life high school principal Joe Clark. He's just fun to watch all the way through.

All the characters in this movie all have the same trait: tough on the outside, soft on the inside. Here is a bit of a warning for people who want to show this to their kids and don't know the material: there are at least a half-dozen abuses of God's name in vain and some unneeded sexual remarks. Also, they dealt with teen pregnancy a little too liberally but didn't dwell on it. ("There are alternatives," Clark says to a young girl after she confesses she's become pregnant.)

Other than that, solid acting and an interesting based-on-a-true life story made this a deserved hit film. A year later, Freeman solidified his status as a "star" with "Driving Miss Daisy."


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