- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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What BBJ taught me: that the blonde, male youth is the source of trouble; that the male youth of color is the purveyor of reason; that same sex classrooms may not work as well as same sex unions; & that rock n roll, with all its endless offshoots , will provide permanent background music for all of this post WWII enlightenment!
- kevin sellers
I agree that the ending is too Hollywood simplistic and "upbeat" but I still regard this as one of the better teacher films for reasons given in my previous review. Let's downgrade it to a B plus, though, in light of that flawed ending.
- kevin sellers
Still packs a punch after all these years. One of the first Hollywood teacher movies and still in the top five, in my opinion. (The other four, in no particular order, are "Up The Down Staircase," "Stand And Deliver," "To Sir With Love," and "Dangerous Minds") Some of the scenes of a rookie teacher ( well played by Glenn Ford, a truly under-rated actor) trying to handle an out of control class are as valid today as they were in 1955 and I speak as a 23 year teacher in the LAUSD. The scene where the kids cruelly destroy a weak teacher's record collection because of their contempt for him still brings on violent emotions in me. Ford's co stars (with one exception) are first rate. Sidney Poitier makes a strong impression in this, his first film, as a kid poised between good and bad, as does Vic Morrow as the incorrigible student from hell. And Richard Kiley is great as the wimpy teacher. Throw in the opening song by Bill Hailey, which indelibly sets the gritty tone of this movie, and you can see why it's one of the best of the 1950s socially conscious pics. There are some elements that don't work. Ford's long suffering wife, as played by Anne Francis, strikes one as bland rather than pitiable, and do they have to make the ideal public school, which Ford renounces because he wants a challenge, so ideal as to be positively platonic? Aside from these caveats, however, one should commend writer/director Richard Brooks for a fine job. Give it an A minus. P.S. Yes, that's a twenty something Paul Mazursky as one of the rotten kids.
One Bad Apple
- disinterested spectator
Glenn Ford becomes a teacher at a high school, and it is a jungle indeed. Mean, scary, and dangerous, the students are a bunch of savages. Later in the film, Glenn Ford is taken on a tour of another school. And what a bunch of polite, well-mannered, well-dressed students they are, attending to their lessons, right after singing "The Star Spangled Banner." The point is to show that not all teenagers are bad. But what no one seems to notice, even though it was obvious to me, is that the good school had both boys and girls in it, whereas Ford's high school was for boys only. Anyway, the problem is not solved by making the school go co-educational. Rather, the movie's solution is to concentrate all the evil into just one student, and then get rid of that student. When Vic Morrow pulls out his switchblade knife, Sydney Poitier warns Ford, "Watch out chief! He's floating on Sneaky Pete wine." The other students help subdue Morrow, and once he is expelled, we discover that all the rest of the students are basically good, and now that this Wicked Witch has been eliminated, all the problems are solved.
I have seen this movie more times than I could count. I'm glad I have. It's a good film. I like it because it is so far removed from my life it opens my eyes to differences and similarities we all have in life. The one thing I have a hard time understanding is West's extreme hatred of Dadier to the point of sending his wife letters and calling her to accuse Dadier of adultery. Also, West seems to be partly correct in that Hammond would be very interested in having an affair with Dadier. So, I just wonder how he knew that.
Blackbaord Jungle-The Class
As a teacher I love the movie however the casting of the students left something to be desired. Major error in casting Vic Morrow as a student, good acton wrong movie. He was MUCH, much too old and threw off the messge and credibility of the rest of the students with his presence. Just a thought.Ross
- Dashiell Barnes
If "The Wild One" created the archetypal teen rebel, this film made them more complex beings. Ford is a teacher who comes into conflict with the boys at his inner-city school, Poitier is great & Damon is perfect as an unapologetic thug. This film had a major impact on viewers with the brutality seen, the famous rock hit "Around the Clock" sets the tone for the whole film. A gritty, excellent social commentary that has aged little. I give it a 4.5/5.
- Bob Hendrick
When you think of great directors like Wyler, Huston, Kazan, and Ford (to name a few); you must add Richard Brooks to that list. Like Huston, he wrote his own (usually original) screenplays, and his body of work is extensive and brilliant. Blackboard Jungle was the forerunner of all the juvenile delinquent movies that would follow. Glenn Ford has never been better; and should have received an Academy Award nomination. Sidney Poitier Vic Morrow and Richard Kiley stand out in supporting roles. I was a junior in high school when this film came out, and I and my peers flocked to see it.
Ahead Of It's Time
- Bruce Reber
"Blackboard Jungle" is the first film to confront the realities of violence and juvenile delinquency in America's urban high schools in the 1950's. It is a powerful unflinching look at a problem that still exists over 50 years later. It is the first film to feature Rock and Roll music, preceding the Elvis Presley films. It is an intense story of one teacher who finds his ideals tested by both the cynical attitude of the other teachers and the delinquents in his class who are unwilling to learn or even make the effort. But he also finds redemption when he stands up to the class ringleader, wins the respect of the other students and sees that there may be some hope after all. I watch it every time it airs on TCM; I have a poor quality recording on VHS but hope to have the DVD soon.