7.4/10
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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.

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3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Principal Joe Clark
... Ms. Levias
... Dr. Frank Napier
... Mayor Don Bottman
... Leonna Barrett
... Mrs. Elliott
... Mr. Darnell
... Mr. Rosenberg
... Mrs. Powers
Sloane Shelton ... Mrs. Hamilton
Jermaine 'Huggy' Hopkins ... Thomas Sams
... Kaneesha Carter
... Maria
... Mrs. Santos
... 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:

They called him crazy for padlocking the doors, and for changing all the rules. But Joe Clark was crazy about one thing only: the students who loved him. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

3 March 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Apóyate en mí  »

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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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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

When Clark first expels all the delinquent students we see all the security escorting the students out but later in the film Clark says the state government can't provide any funding to install the doors that come with sound alarms. If the state government can pay all the yearly salaries plus benefits for all the security guards they can obviously pay a one time fee of installing alarm doors. See more »

Quotes

Joe Clark: Mr. Major, on behalf of myself and on behalf the students of Eastside High, you can tell the State to go to hell!
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Connections

References The Great White Hope (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

HIT THE ROAD, JACK
Written by Percy Mayfield
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User Reviews

Great acting, so-so script
30 April 2001 | by See all my reviews

Morgan Freeman's performance is the real reason to see this film. He's helped by a solid supporting cast, leading to some truly memorable scenes as principal Joe Clark (Freeman) battles teachers, parents, and administrators who are outraged by his controversial methods.

But this film deserved a grittier treatment than what it was given. The script is an awkward blend of inner-city drama with feel-good heroics. The subplot about the basic skills test should have been scrapped. First of all, it never happened in real life. But more importantly, it changed the entire tone of the film. Clark's story was about how he disciplined a school, not how he educated it. The softened approach leaves LEAN ON ME at odds with itself - it tries to be like STAND AND DELIVER, when it should have been like THE PRINCIPAL.


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