7.4/10
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81 user 13 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.

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ON DISC
3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Mrs. Powers
Sloane Shelton ...
Mrs. Hamilton
Jermaine 'Huggy' Hopkins ...
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Mrs. Santos
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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:

Eastside High was out of control...until Joe Clark took it back. 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 mi  »

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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:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the graduation ceremony during the credits, Thomas Sams joins the rest of the seniors. In reality, he would've graduated from Eastside as a member of the Class of 1991. See more »

Goofs

Maria's hair between shots when Clark is somewhat berating Mrs. Powers over the way she taught the school song to the "song birds". See more »

Quotes

Joe Clark: [Clark's roof-top pep-talk to Thomas Sams] Now let me tell you something: The trouble with being a teenager is you don't know nothing. The problem with teenagers is you think you're smarter than people who already been down the road you're traveling. You know what I'm tryin' to say to you, boy? DO YOU?
Thomas Sams: Yes, sir.
Joe Clark: Did you tell your father I threw out of school?
[Sams, with his head down, doesn't answer]
Joe Clark: [picks Sams' head up; yells] Look at me DAMNIT!
Thomas Sams: [sobs] No, sir.
Joe Clark: Why not? No guts, huh? Afraid of ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in 30 Rock: Plan B (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

AFTER 12
Performed by Force M.D.'s
Produced & Written by Timmy Gatling and Fred McFarlane
Courtesy of Tommy Boy Records
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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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