Lean on Me

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Released 1989

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Movie Summary

Director:
John G. Avildsen
Released:
1989
Rating:
PG-13

Lean on Me is a 1989 drama that chronicles the true story of how principal Joe Clark (Morgan Freeman) defied the odds to change the culture in an inner-city high school. Clark, a strict educator, is initially asked by his friend, school superintendent Dr. Frank Napier (Robert Guillaume), to help resurrect Eastside High School, an inner-city high school in Paterson, New Jersey. This task initially seems impossible, as Eastside is known as a hotbed for drug dealers and delinquent kids who care more about the streets than their grades. Napier calls on Clark because the state of New Jersey is considering shutting down the underperforming school. The superintendent promises Clark that if he can get the kids' basic scores up to a competitive level, he can keep the job permanently. From then on, Clark takes an almost tyrannical approach to teaching the students, many of whom have not received such discipline at home. Eventually, his tactics get results and even make him famous, much to the dismay of those who were hoping to shut the school down for good. Lean on Me is also notable as it was Morgan Freeman's first lead role in a major motion picture.

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Categories

Drama

Themes

Historical, African-American Drama, Biography