7.4/10
16,342
81 user 15 critic

Lean on Me (1989)

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.

Director:

John G. Avildsen
Reviews
3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Morgan Freeman ... Principal Joe Clark
Beverly Todd ... Ms. Levias
Robert Guillaume ... Dr. Frank Napier
Alan North ... Mayor Don Bottman
Lynne Thigpen ... Leonna Barrett
Robin Bartlett ... Mrs. Elliott
Michael Beach ... Mr. Darnell
Ethan Phillips ... Mr. Rosenberg
Sandra Reaves-Phillips ... Mrs. Powers
Sloane Shelton Sloane Shelton ... Mrs. Hamilton
Jermaine 'Huggy' Hopkins ... Thomas Sams
Karen Malina White ... Kaneesha Carter
Karina Arroyave ... Maria
Ivonne Coll ... Mrs. Santos
Regina Taylor ... 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:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish | Portuguese

Release Date:

3 March 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Apóyate en mí See more »

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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Although Regina Taylor plays the mother of Karen Malina White, in real-life she's only five years older. See more »

Goofs

Since crack is a highly addictive substance, Thomas Sams wouldn't have been able to detox and quit cold turkey in such a short period of time. See more »

Quotes

Joe Clark: I'll tell you what I do see here...
Ms. Levias: No! I'm talking now! Let me finish! Everybody here may not like you as a person, but we all applaud your efforts. But what you don't understand is the same people that support you are the ones you're beating up! You don't even take the time to say 'Thank you. Job well done'. Nothing! You just step on their necks! Constantly abuse them!
Joe Clark: Ms. Levias...
Ms. Levias: Criticize them!
Joe Clark: What do you want from me?
[Faces her]
Joe Clark: What the HELL do you want?
Ms. Levias: I want you to get this straight...
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

LEAN ON ME
Performed by Sandra Reaves-Phillips and the Cast
Produced by Brooks Arthur and Michael Schiffer
Also Performed by Club Nouveau
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
by arrangement with Warner Special Products
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User Reviews

 
Much more realistic than "Dangerous Minds" with hardly any cussing
14 May 2005 | by mikel weisserSee all my reviews

I work in a school that was totally struggling and considered hopeless, marked as "failing" and basically in the same position as Eastside High in Paterson, NJ, the subject and setting of "Lean on Me." "Lean on Me" is a very good, nearly great movie. But better than that it is the true story of a true hero who truly made a difference (http://www.joeclarkspeaker.com/index.html.)

Even if i wasn't a teacher, "Lean on Me" is a solidly recommendable film. Fine workmanship in depicting the underdog who deserves to win from the director of "Rocky." Justifably award winning acting by Morgan Freeman, well before he became a stereotype of himself. BUT, better than the traditional "movie-ishness" of the picture, the story is not only a story of hope, but it is a true and ongoing lesson that real commitment can create real change.

The whole process of the often startling and occasionally unpleasant shock and force necessary to rebuild a dangerously failing school is accurately portrayed. And so is the joyous feeling sensing the turn around taking place.

Even if you never learned anyone's name from the film, the story will inspire. Even if you think of none of the ideas of it, you cannot help but feel its heart.


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