6.0/10
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39 user 17 critic

Teachers (1984)

A well meaning but burned-out high school teacher tries to maintain order against the backdrop of a pending lawsuit against his school district when it comes to light they gave a diploma to an illiterate student.

Director:

Arthur Hiller

Writer:

W.R. McKinney
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nick Nolte ... Alex Jurel
JoBeth Williams ... Lisa Hammond
Judd Hirsch ... Roger Rubell
Ralph Macchio ... Eddie Pilikian
Allen Garfield ... Carl Rosenberg
Lee Grant ... Dr. Donna Burke
Richard Mulligan ... Herbert Gower
Royal Dano ... Ditto Stiles
William Schallert ... Horn
Art Metrano ... Troy
Laura Dern ... Diane
Crispin Glover ... Danny
Morgan Freeman ... Lewis
Madeleine Sherwood ... Grace
Steven Hill ... Sloan
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Storyline

A teacher overcomes his frustration in a high-school full of flunkies. As he attempts to educate his students, his attempts to help them gets him into trouble with the school board, which only adds to his problems. With the support of his students he beats the school board and his frustration. Written by K. Rose <rcs@texas.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Monday morning at JFK High. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 October 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Aufsässigen See more »

Filming Locations:

Columbus, Ohio, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,013,366, 8 October 1984, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$27,774,237
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Richard Mulligan's character impersonates several historical figures, including General George Armstrong Custer. Mulligan had previously portrayed Custer in Little Big Man (1970). See more »

Goofs

When questioning one of the students on how her name is pronounced, Rosenbloom refers to the fact that just yesterday, she said it was something different. It had already been established that this scene was taking place on a Monday, which would have made Sunday the previous day. Highly doubtful that school was in session on a Sunday. See more »

Quotes

Roger Revel: We're not here to worry about one kid, we're trying to get as many through with what we've got.
See more »

Connections

References Little Big Man (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

(I'm The) Teacher
Performed by Ian Hunter
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User Reviews

Good film with some problems.
20 April 2003 | by grendelkhanSee all my reviews

I love this film. My father, a teacher for 37 years, loved this film. It's not the greatest cinematic effort in the world, it's not even the best film about teaching (see "The Blackboard Jungle" or "Goodbye Mr Chips"). It is, however, a fine effort and an entertaining film.

There are some great comedic moments in this film: the school psychologist flipping out and squirting Ditto in the face with ink, Richard Mulligan as a mental patient who becomes a substitute history teacher, the theft of a teacher's desk, the whole "Ditto" character. There are problems, however.

The chief problem in this film is the inability to strike a balance between comedy and drama. The film tries to raise vital issue facing schools: funding, apathy amongst staff, lack of parental involvement, safety, administrators who worry more about image than the education of their students, teen angst, conformity vs. individuality. Much of the comedy is used to highlight many of these issues, and some of it works quite well. At other times, it devalues the issue at hand.

There are fine performances from Nick Nolte, Judd Hirsch, Morgan Freeman, Jobeth Williams, Crispin Glover, and Laura Dern. Richard Mulligan and Royal Dano are hysterical. Ralph Macchio is Ralph Macchio; not much depth, but some good moments.

I don't think this is an insult to teaching, as it tries to show different styles. Nolte is the idealistic teacher who tries to reach his students and get them involved, but has lost his passion in an uncaring system. Royal Dano, "Ditto", is a teacher who has removed any responsibility in actively teaching his students and just marks time until retirement. Allen Garfield tries to teach his class, but doesn't seem to be able to reach them and is reduced to an object of ridicule amongst his students. Richard Mulligan is a mental patient, who through an absurd set of circumstances, becomes a substitute history teacher. He literally brings history to life, by dressing up as various figures of history, and acting out their achievements. He uses different methods to engage his students and they respond.

In the end, this film is a mixed bag. It tries to illuminate the struggles of education, offers some solutions, and entertains; but, its message gets a bit lost. Still, it's definitely worth viewing.

Incidently, one reviewer remarked about the scene where Ditto is squirted with ink, saying he is using some kind of paper machine. For you younger viewers out there, that is a ditto machine. In the ancient days before photocopiers became standard, teachers had to prepare their tests and hand-outs on ditto machines. It was a kind of simple printing press. Many were hand-cranked and required a lot of effort to churn out a stack of tests. God help you if you had several pages to print. The ink had a very distinct smell and was often the center of student jokes about getting high off of the tests. Ah, those were the days! Nowadays, the best students can hope for is getting a little toner on their hands from the copier, or a faded screen on their computer. And we used to have to walk ten miles to school, through fifty feet of snow, uphill, both ways; and we liked it!


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