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Higher Learning (1995)

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People from all different walks of life, encounter racial tension, rape, responsibility, and the meaning of an education on a university campus.

Director:

John Singleton

Writer:

John Singleton
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Popularity
4,630 ( 465)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Omar Epps ... Malik Williams
Kristy Swanson ... Kristen Connor
Michael Rapaport ... Remy
Jennifer Connelly ... Taryn
Ice Cube ... Fudge
Jason Wiles ... Wayne
Tyra Banks ... Deja
Cole Hauser ... Scott Moss
Laurence Fishburne ... Professor Maurice Phipps
Bradford English Bradford English ... Officer Bradley
Regina King ... Monet
Busta Rhymes ... Dreads (as Busta Rhymez)
Jay R. Ferguson ... Billy (as Jay Ferguson)
Andrew Bryniarski ... Knocko
Trevor St. John ... James
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Storyline

Youngsters from different countries, races, and social background are forced to integrate when they all enroll in Columbus University. They all have their own problems, such as finance, harrassment, personal safety, and self doubt. Additionally, campus life seems to be causing a problem for everyone: racism. Students, already under pressure to perform in the classroom, on the track, or in front of their friends, are strained to the breaking point by prejudice, inexperience, and misunderstanding. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

18.000 Estudiantes 33 Nacionalidades 6 Razas 2 Sexos 1 Campus (18,000 Students 33 Nationalities 6 races 2 Sexes 1 Campus) (Spain release) See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for scenes of violence and sexuality, and for strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 January 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Higher Learning - Die Rebellen See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$38,290,723
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kristy Swanson had many things in common with her character, Kristen. As well as sharing the same name, both came from Orange County, California. Swanson was born and raised in Mission Viejo, CA. See more »

Goofs

Malik competes in track meets. The film takes place in the fall semester. Track in universities is a spring sport. See more »

Quotes

[after Malik referred to him as a "sell-out"]
Professor Phipps: So, Mr. Williams thinks I am an Uncle Tom, hmmm? Well, well, well. What does that have to do with your ability to place a comma in its proper place or put a period at the end of a sentence, hmmm?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Unlearn [appears in movie's closing shot, instead of "The End"] See more »

Connections

Referenced in Cruel Intentions (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

IT'S ONLY MONEY
Written by John Easdale
Performed by Dramarama
Courtesy of eggBert Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Watch Boyz n the Hood instead
30 April 2004 | by honkusSee all my reviews

I was thoroughly disappointed by this movie. I love John Singleton's ideas and themes, and once in a while he creates powerful moments in film, but this one was a total miss. First of all, I don't know if Singleton ever went to college (I'm assuming he did) but the campus atmosphere in this movie was completely ridiculous. Yes, certain groups of students tend to congregate together and isolate themselves from other groups, but the division of these groups into warring factions in the film was way over the top. I mean, come on, a Nazi fraternity? Also, I almost laughed out loud when the innocent, vulnerable freshman girl gets raped and automatically becomes a bisexual feminist campus organizer.

On the other hand, the film does give sheltered white people a better view of the more subtle forms of racism minorities are bombarded with in all parts of America, even college campuses. I loved how Michael Rappaport's (white) character got away with violent crime while Omar Epps's (black) character was detained by the police for the same incidents, not once, but twice! This happens everyday, and it's about time we see it in film.

Lawrence Fishburne plays a sort of mentor/professor to Epps in the film, but his character is not nearly developed enough, and also, doesn't seem to know what he's talking about in his lectures. He said America was founded in order to create democracy? Even the most cursory study of history supports the view that America's founders were the same wealthy white men who felt their social "inferiors" needed to be exploited and controlled to support the ruling class. I'm a little off topic now, but the point is that Singleton has failed in his efforts here to illuminate the roots of hatred and racial conflict. Compared to his more successful efforts Boyz n the Hood and Baby Boy, this movie is a failure.

Note: I've heard this film is required viewing in many college courses! Give me a break -- either those professors are so out of touch with actual campus life that they think this is somehow realistic, or they are closet conservatives who think this failed effort at liberal ideology will turn students off to efforts at social change. I wish they would give students more credit and show them a film that actually does a decent job of showing racial and class conflict in contemporary America, like the Weather Underground.


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