Blackboard Jungle Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ September 12, 2009
Not a weak depiction actually but frankly not my kind of film, I couldn't care less about its characters
Super Reviewer
February 7, 2010
A provocative and powerful drama about a teacher, Glenn Ford in a superb performance and his harrowing experiences in a New York City high school in the mid 1950s. Where gang violence, racial and sexual tensions are out of control, from the scenes that show the painful inability of the teacher to control his class to incidents of straight assaults by some juvenile hoodlums this a hard-hitting entertainment. A first-rate cast with Vic Morrow as the leader of teen misfits and Sidney Poitier in star-making performance as a troubled youth. This was the first film to feature rock music-"Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley is played over the opening and closing credits. One of the most controversial films in cinematic history.
Super Reviewer
½ December 11, 2009
One of the earliest if not the earliest school/teacher drama out there that deals with issues of violence, drugs, crime (attempted rape) etc. You got give the filmmakers credits for taking this bold step and Glenn Ford holds his own as tight-teethed teacher fighting against the odds. Of course, the depiciton of the kids is very one-sided and follow (or should I say established) the typical formula that is still being used today. Evil leader, good leader and the teacher who tries to win over the other while getting rid of the bad seed. Yes, the whole pro-America, hard-working man take is slightly annoying but then again, the film is from 1955 and that is probably what one has to expect.

Apart from being one of the first of its kind, a solid lead performance and the charisma of Poitier, I don't see a lot of merit in her that warrants a rating above 2.5.
January 19, 2013
Glenn Ford, Morrow and Poitier are so real in their performances under the probing direction by Brooks that the picture alternatingly has the viewer pleading, indignant and frightened before the conclusion. also the first 2 use a rock n roll song in the credits
February 28, 2012
Glenn Ford takes on the role of an English teacher, trying to deal with his delinquent students. What I find fascinating about this movie is it was made during the time desegregation was starting to go into effect. It was very tense as the classroom literally became a battleground. Nothing much changed by the end of the film, but it's an interesting peek at the battles teachers were facing during the time. The film was made for the purpose of bringing awareness to those problems.
½ April 18, 2011
I wish I would have seen this film before the "teacher goes to school with delinquint kids, struggles for a while then finally gets through to them with a unique approach" plot was done to death. It does have the benefit of being original for its time, dealt with racism, provoked riots across the country as well as launched Bill Haley and The Comets to stardom. This is a dated yet highly-significant film.
½ August 3, 2009
A new teacher goes into a school and with work on his part manages to turn an impossible class into good students.
½ June 15, 2009
the great original teacher movie. the writing and acting are above average, but not significantly. I give the story credit for tackling such tough material, especially in 1955, but unfortunately like just about every other teacher movie, actual reality takes a back seat to sentimental Hollywoodized reality. nonetheless, it's still a well-made and enjoyable film with memorable characters and pioneering subject-matter.
June 30, 2007
Although it's a bit sensational at times, this movie is a great entry in the "juvenile delinquent" subgenre. Switchblade wielding students smash a teacher's record collection, jump Glenn Ford in an alley, and threaten the welfare of his wife and child! Vic Morrow and Sidney Poitier are excellent as leaders of rival gangs. Recommended.
July 1, 2007
Before Dangerous Minds there was Blackboard Jungle! I loved this movie! The kids in this movie were just crazy.
½ February 9, 2015
The movie that created the "Teacher reforms delinquent kids" genre, launched the career of Sidney Poitier and introduced many people to rock 'n roll (thanks to Rock Around the Clock, by Bill Haley and the Comets, being in the soundtrack).

However, for all this, it is idealistic, heavy-handed and very frustrating. It just doesn't feel like the real world. The abuse the teachers suffer seems over-the-top, just for effect. Worse still, they just grin and bear it. eg A teacher gets assaulted by students and can identify them, yet doesn't identify them to the cops as he would rather "reform" them. Oh, please. They should all have gone to jail. (Plan B: a posse of teachers with baseball bats evens the score...).

Has a decent ending, but that would be it.
December 17, 2014
The seminal "teacher in a ghetto" story that launched the Rock and Roll Era marked the screen debuts to Sidney Pottier, Vic Morrow and Jamie Farr, Sixty years later, guns have taken the place of knives and the music is rap, but the message is more relevant than ever. Essential.
July 1, 2010
Blackboard Jungle was one of the originals of the "Teacher saves the ghetto students" movies that became over-saturated in the 90's. It's very easy to see how it come be called ineffective today... After all, we live in times where rebellion is no longer shocking. But this was in different times, and if you put the film in context this is a pretty intense film with good performances by Glenn Ford and Sidney Poitier.

When you mention films like Dangerous Minds and Stand and Deliver you will most likely know pretty this entire film story wise. Since I can put my mind in the time of the film, I'm able to fully appreciate the characters and what they mean to what was then a fresh story. The good news for me also is that it's not filled with sappy music, and it's not over-dramatic to the point of being silly.

But it's not perfect... The attempts to bring racial tension to the forefront doesn't always hit their mark. One scene Ford and Sidney share a scene where they standing on the stairs and Ford's character lets lose and nearly calls Sidney's character a vile name. Some of the scenes like that are meant to have some kind of emotional punch, but sometimes they fail to do so. A times the film fits a bit forced and unconvincing. But I mostly found it to be worthwhile I'd suggest it to anyone that wants a very watchable historic drama.
August 5, 2013
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
May 30, 2013
These high school students must stayed back at least 10 years.
½ August 9, 2012
Blackboard Jungle has its mind in the right place. That's about as much merit as it deserves. I'm not appalled by the behavior of the film's student body. I've seen it all before, and half of what I've seen isn't even in film. I'm much more appalled by the manner in which, halfway through the film, all the adult character's struggles seem to fade away. In less than a year, a rookie teacher who hardly changes at all throughout the movie, somehow manages to get his students to, not only participate in class, but Like him and Defend him during the final scene. How was this change in students possible? By making friends with the token black character, showing audiences that, hey, not all black people are as bad as they seem. Yes, I am aware of the era this movie was made in. Yes I know how controversial and how much good it did in inspiring others to also help their students. As a film, it is fine, The acting is fine, the music, the lighting, and so forth, are all fine. But this is an extremely dated film, and i despised how much it thought it knew about how to handle the reckless. Though it plays out seriously, the methods used to woo the children are mundane and the results are ridiculous.
If you really want to see an accurate film about the education system and how the perfect teacher should inspire children, see Blackboard Jungle's modern contemporary (a sort of grim mockery of this film), see Detachment.
½ February 1, 2012
A well acted, real-life situation and characters, an engaging make-you-think film that is impossible to pull yourself away from. Excellent.
½ December 8, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

(1955) Blackboard Jungle

Glenn Ford stars as Richard, a teacher with it's intentions to reform extremely rebellious and antagonistic students without much help from anybody especially from the staff! Well intentioned because it's the first film that deals with high school delinquents like watching a stage play in some parts!! However, sometimes it's a little too over the top- and demands subtley. And in this day and age, times had really changed since then making some of the characters unrelatable that if their were any troubled child to occur could easily get a suspension and can be arrested if tresspass on school property!

2 out of 4
January 24, 2010
Black and white, this film really said the truth about city schools in the 50's and even now.

"The film features smoldering performances by a young Sidney Poitier and Vic Morrow as tough-as-nails rebels fighting over the role of leader in Dadier's classroom. This innovative and ultimately uplifting portrayal of a generation at odds with the world served as a seminal portrait of the darker side of the 1950s" --- RT

For the reasons above and many more, catch this film. It was way ahead of its time and Glenn Ford was way ahead of his time as well for trying to act the role of a idealistic teacher of smart ass kids.

A forerunner to To Sir With Love, this film paved the way for West Side Story. Hard hitting, gritty drama.

Worth watching more than once.
½ May 21, 2010
Blackboard Jungle is an amazing film. I thought the film said the truth about the city schools with honesty. The cast is excellent which includes Glenn Ford, Anne Frances, and Sidney Poitier. The script is also well written. Richard Brooks brought incredible story to the big screen. Blackboard Jungle is a must see.
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