|Lean on Me|
|Directed by||John G. Avildsen|
|Produced by||Norman Twain|
|Written by||Michael Schiffer|
|Music by||Bill Conti|
|Edited by|| John G. Avildsen |
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|March 3, 1989|
|Box office||$31 million|
Lean on Me is a 1989 American biographical drama film written by Michael Schiffer, directed by John G. Avildsen and starring Morgan Freeman. It is based on the story of Joe Louis Clark, a real life inner city high school principal in Paterson, New Jersey, whose school is in danger of being placed into receivership of the New Jersey state government unless students improve their test scores on the New Jersey Minimum Basic Skills Test. This film's title refers to the 1972 Bill Withers song of the same name, which is used in the film. Parts of the film, including the elementary school scenes, were filmed in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.
By 1987, the once successful Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey, has deteriorated due to drugs and crime. The majority of students cannot pass basic skills testing, and even the teachers are not safe from gang violence. Mayor Bottman (Alan North) learns that the school will be turned over to state administration unless 75% of the students can pass the minimum basic skills test. He consults with school superintendent Dr. Frank Napier (Robert Guillaume), who suggests the school hire elementary school principal Joe Clark, aka "Crazy Joe" (Morgan Freeman), a former teacher at Eastside High, as the new principal. Reluctantly, the mayor hires Clark.
Clark's immediate radical changes include expelling 300 students identified as drug dealers or abusers and troublemakers, instituting programs to improve school spirit including painting over graffiti-covered walls, and requiring students to learn the school song, and be punished if they cannot sing it on demand. When one of the expelled students is found beating up another student, Clark orders the doors of the school chained shut during school hours since funds are insufficient to purchase security doors.
Some parents react strongly to these measures, including Leonna Barrett (Lynne Thigpen), mother of one of the expelled students, who presses the mayor to oust Clark. Clark's radicalism causes him to come into conflict with members of the faculty, particularly English teacher Mr. Darnell (Michael Beach), whom Clark suspends for picking up a piece of trash during a recital of the school song, and choir teacher Mrs. Elliot (Robin Bartlett), whom Clark fires for being insubordinate after he cancels a pre-planned choral event, the school's upcoming annual Lincoln Center concert. Napier sets Clark straight over these incidents and lectures him to start being a team player; Clark subsequently re-instates Mr. Darnell.
Clark's actions begin to have a positive effect on his students. Thomas Sams (Jermaine 'Huggy' Hopkins), a student expelled for crack use, pleads to be allowed to return to school and gradually reforms. Clark also reunites one of his old elementary students, Kaneesha Carter (Karen Malina White), with her estranged mother. Unfortunately, a practice basic skills test fails to garner enough passing students. Clark confronts his staff for their failure to educate their students and to prepare them for the world. He institutes a tutorial program to strengthen academic skills and encourages remedial reading courses on Saturdays which parents may attend alongside their children.
When the minimum basic skills test is finally assessed, the students are much better prepared and filled with a sense of self-worth. Before the results can arrive, the fire chief raids the school and discovers the chained doors. Clark is arrested for violating fire safety codes. That evening, the students gather at the meeting of the Paterson Board of Education, where school board member Leona Barrett is leading the call for Clark's removal.
The students demand that Clark be released from jail and retained as principal. The mayor has Clark released from jail to urge the children to return home for their own safety. He is then interrupted by assistant principal Ms. Levias who reports that more than 75% of the students have passed the basic skills test. He announces the results over his megaphone.
As a result, the school's current administration remains intact, and Clark is allowed to keep his job as principal, as he cheerfully informs the mayor to tell the state to "go to hell". The students break into their school song in celebration. The film ends with the senior students graduating high school and Clark handing them their diplomas.
Songs included in the film include:
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 69%, based on 16 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10.On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film a rare grade of "A+" on an A+ to F scale.
1989 NAACP Image Awards
1990 Young Artist Awards
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
On September 13, 2018, it was reported that a television series based on the film was in development at The CW. The project, hailing from Warner Bros. Television, was written by Wendy Calhoun, with LeBron James, Maverick Carter, John Legend, Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius also set to executive produce. The female-led drama was to center around "when a spirited young black teacher [named] Amarie Baldwin scores the principal job at an Akron, Ohio public high school, she must dig deep to transform a failing campus into an urban oasis. In a time when education and school safety have life-or-death stakes, Amarie will take on a broken system that tests her mettle, love life and family. But can she keep her moxie in check in order to embody the aspirational educator that motivates and uplifts an entire community?"On February 8, 2019, it was revealed that the script was not picked up to pilot.
The Graduate is a 1967 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Mike Nichols and written by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham, based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Charles Webb, who wrote it shortly after graduating from Williams College. The film tells the story of 21-year-old Benjamin Braddock, a recent college graduate with no well-defined aim in life, who begins an affair with an older woman, Mrs. Robinson, and then becomes obsessed with her daughter Elaine.
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is a 1936 American comedy-drama romance film directed by Frank Capra and starring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur in her first featured role. Based on the 1935 short story Opera Hat by Clarence Budington Kelland, which appeared in serial form in The American Magazine, the screenplay was written by Robert Riskin in his fifth collaboration with Frank Capra.
Lassie Come Home is a 1943 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Technicolor feature film starring Roddy McDowall and canine actor Pal, in a story about the profound bond between Yorkshire boy Joe Carraclough and his rough collie, Lassie. The film was directed by Fred M. Wilcox from a screenplay by Hugo Butler based upon the 1940 novel Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight. The film was the first in a series of seven MGM films starring "Lassie."
Stand and Deliver is a 1988 American drama film based on the true story of a high school mathematics teacher, Jaime Escalante. For portraying Escalante, Edward James Olmos was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor at the 61st Academy Awards. The film won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature in 1988. The film's title refers to the 1987 Mr. Mister song of the same name, which is also featured in the film's end credits.
Dead Poets Society is a 1989 American teen drama film written by Tom Schulman, directed by Peter Weir, and starring Robin Williams. Set in 1959 at the fictional elite conservative Vermont boarding school Welton Academy, it tells the story of an English teacher who inspires his students through his teaching of poetry.
Mr. Holland's Opus is a 1995 American drama film directed by Stephen Herek, produced by Ted Field, Robert W. Cort, and Michael Nolin, and written by Patrick Sheane Duncan. The film stars Richard Dreyfuss in the title role of Glenn Holland, a dedicated high-school music teacher who attempts to compose his own music while struggling to balance his job and life with his wife and profoundly deaf son. The cast also includes Glenne Headly, Olympia Dukakis, William H. Macy, and Jay Thomas.
Karen Malina White is an American film and television actress. White is best known for her roles as Kaneesha Carter, in the 1989 drama film Lean on Me, as Charmaine Brown during the two final seasons on The Cosby Show (1990–1992) and its spin-off A Different World (1992–1993); Nicolette Vandross on Malcolm & Eddie (1996–2000) and the voice of Dijonay Jones on the Disney Channel animated comedy The Proud Family (2001–2005).
High School High is a 1996 American comedy film about an inner city high school in the Los Angeles, California area, starring Jon Lovitz, Tia Carrere, Mekhi Phifer, Louise Fletcher, Malinda Williams, and Brian Hooks. It is a spoof of movies concerning idealistic teachers being confronted with a class of cynical teenagers, disengaged by conventional schooling, and loosely parodies Blackboard Jungle, High School Confidential, The Principal, Dangerous Minds, Lean on Me, The Substitute, Stand and Deliver, and Grease, “Sister Act 2, back in the habit”. The film is dedicated to the memories of casting director Elisabeth Leustig and actor Lexie Bigham, both of whom were killed in automobile crashes shortly after filming was completed.
Teachers is a 1984 American satirical black comedy-drama film written by W. R. McKinney, directed by Arthur Hiller, and starring Nick Nolte, JoBeth Williams, Ralph Macchio, and Judd Hirsch. It was shot in Columbus, Ohio, mostly at the former Central High School. At the time of its release, the film held a rating of R with the MPAA rating system. Bob Seger composed the music for the film and the song "Understanding" was a Top 20 Hit for Bob Seger in 1984.
Joseph or Joe Clark may refer to:
Joe Louis Clark was the principal of Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey. He is also the subject of the 1989 film Lean on Me, starring Morgan Freeman. Clark gained public attention in the 1980s for his unconventional and controversial disciplinary measures as the principal of Eastside High.
Eastside High School is a four–year public high school located in Paterson section of Passaic County, New Jersey, United States, that serves the eastern section of Paterson. EHS, which serves ninth through twelfth grade students, operates as part of the Paterson Public Schools. The school has been accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools since 1928. Eastside High School opened on February 1, 1926.
Eastside High School (EHS) is a public high school located in Taylors, a suburb of Greenville, South Carolina, United States. It is a public school under the jurisdiction of the Greenville County School District.
Conrack is a 1974 American drama film based on the 1972 autobiographical book The Water Is Wide by Pat Conroy, directed by Martin Ritt and starring Jon Voight in the title role, alongside Paul Winfield, Madge Sinclair, Hume Cronyn and Antonio Fargas. The film was released by 20th Century Fox on March 15, 1974.
Ricardo McDonald is a former linebacker in the National Football League that played for the Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears, and the Denver Broncos. He played college football for the University of Pittsburgh.
Damn Yankees is a 1958 musical sports romantic comedy film directed by George Abbott and Stanley Donen from a screenplay by Abbott adapted from his and Douglass Wallop's book of the 1955 musical of the same name, itself based on the 1954 novel The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant by Wallop. The story is a modern take on the Faust legend involving the New York Yankees and Washington Senators baseball teams. With the exception of Tab Hunter in the role of Joe Hardy, the Broadway principals reprised their stage roles, including Gwen Verdon as Lola.
Centennial Summer is a 1946 musical film directed by Otto Preminger. The musical, that stars Jeanne Crain and Cornel Wilde, is based on a novel by Albert E. Idell.
Frank Xavier Graves Jr. was an American Democratic Party politician who is best known for serving two separate terms as Mayor of Paterson, New Jersey. He also served on the Paterson City Council, the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders and in the New Jersey State Senate in his long career.
Norman Twain was an American film and theatre producer.
Frank Napier Jr., Ed.D. was an American former superintendent of the Paterson School District in Paterson, New Jersey. In the 1980s, he received national recognition as superintendent through Joe Louis Clark, the notable and controversial former principal of Eastside High School. It was Napier who asked Clark to be the principal of Eastside High. Napier was portrayed by Robert Guillaume in the 1989 film, Lean on Me.
...Mayor Frank X. Graves, who, unlike the mayor portrayed in the movie...
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