Class of 1984 - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Class of 1984 Reviews

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Super Reviewer
May 14, 2016
In the early 1980's high schools in the United States had a reputation of being filthy, violent places that were overrun by gangs of rebellious students that can't be expelled for one reason or another (why these hardened criminals would want to hang out a high school all day is beyond me). Films such as Teachers, 3 O'Clock High, and others regurgitated that idea throughout the early part of the decade. Class of 1984 is another member of that genre. The formula follows and idealistic teacher (Perry King) that represents a young go getter, ready to change the world by teaching. You need a leader of the thugs (Timothy Van Patten) who gets into a conflict with the idealistic teacher and drags that person down to his level in the end. The idealistic teacher has to have a spouse (Merrie Lynn Ross) that is semi oblivious until the danger appears at the front doorstep. Finally, you must have the older, fed up teacher (Roddy McDowell) that serves as a mentor to the young, idealistic teacher, but will probably end up a sacrifice to fuel the revenge fire.

Class of 1984 is an average film from this genre. Very predictable if you've seen any film like this from the 1980's. The only standout in the film is the performance by Roddy McDowell, who pushes his character beyond its generic function. Otherwise, the film doesn't really stand out from any high school centered version of Death Wish. Class of 1984 serves its purpose more as a time capsule of the era than delivering anything new. This is a totally forgettable film.
½ May 14, 2016
Some fun kills at the end, Michael J Fix, and one great line reading ("You suburbanite!") aren't enough to make it a good watch.
½ May 2, 2016
exploitation cinema at its finest.
½ November 23, 2015
Silly and contrived. It did a disservice to those real people whose story they were trying to tell.
½ November 9, 2015
Such a blast. Blackboard Jungle-type exploitation movie. The punk schtick that runs throughout is so reflective of the time. Whatcha gonna do teacha-teacha?!!
May 18, 2015
Although most might view Class of 1984 as a film artifact from the 1980's, it's subject matter is actually quite relevant, and continues to be relevant decades after its release. Having seen this one for the first time, I was shocked at how serious and violent it was, especially the rape scene which left a seriously bad taste in my mouth. The cast gives a lot of good performances and Mark L. Lester's direction seems to be spot on. The last portion of the movie is really when this movie shines too as far as a character being pushed completely over the edge and striking back, but everything before that is a really good build up.
May 9, 2015
Despite its age, this is a classic and was no doubt quite hard hitting and controversial in its day. I certainly enjoyed watching it 30 years after it was made.
½ July 15, 2007
Saw it back in the 80's and want to see it again.
April 21, 2015
Along the lines of something like Cannibal holocaust, if you pull back the shroud of exploitive b-movie ultraviolence, there's actually some food for thought. Disturbing and engrossing.
½ April 18, 2015
This movie is an early 80s gem that rises above the other exploitation flicks of the era. In many ways, it's portrayal of urban decay and the collapse of inner city schools has proven highly prophetic. As far as the cast goes, we get solid performances from mostly obscure performers. And having an Alice Cooper song on the soundtrack does t hurt either.
½ March 25, 2015
Over the top cheese that just pummels one with schlock.
½ January 22, 2015
The 80s cult classic that predicted where were at now with our public schools in terms of violence. Exaggerated: absoluety. Cheesy? Without a doubt. All time cult classic favorite? Absolutely. All the classic 80s elements in place to entertain on many levels to different people because there is a little bit here for everyone who loves these type of forgotten gems. The director of such other 80s classics such as Commando delivers in all the right areas setting up an unforgettable battle between teacher and student that ends more viciously than it began.
½ October 23, 2014
Good bad movies like this are tough to review. Class of 84 is a 'high school from hell' flick that's way to ridiculous & reactionary to be a good movie, but it's so over the top that it ends up being kind of a funny one
Super Reviewer
November 10, 2011
The first in the 'Class of' trilogy and a pretty different outlook over the other two as this film is actually more of a serious approach to the story. One teacher up against a gang of yobs within the school which starts off as mere issues but slowly develops into a life or death scenario as both the gang and the teacher press harder for retaliation.

Compared to the other films this is a much darker affair which does get pretty tense as you really get behind Perry King's character to defeat the gang, you wanna see him beat them. Set in the present (at the time) so everything looks as it should unlike the sequels. The film does of course look really dated now mainly down to cars, hair styles and outfits but its still a great thriller with a really nice ensemble cast that all perform well.

Van Patten as the psychopathic pretty boy leader is really good the way he switches from menacing greaser to a whimpering high school kid to trick the officials, McDowall fits this type of trashy low budget film perfectly and King really cranks up the suspense giving the film real edge.

For all its silliness, increasing amounts of violence and lack of subtlety the film is probably quite accurate I think, it possibly does show what can and has happened in urban schools to some degree, the security guards etc...a reasonable prediction. Yes this film was a video nasty back in the day in the UK, one of those films that was thought to corrupt the young and innocent hehe I can see why somewhat. Looking back now though its a good fun revenge thriller which is so gloriously 80's and introduced us all to a young chubby Michael J. Fox.
½ September 16, 2014
Strange time capsule movie. Just can't take any of the students seriously (as characters or threats).
½ July 23, 2014
Crass, absurd, naive, kind of stupid, but bloody good B-grade fun!
May 25, 2014
"a teacher is required to be responsible".

Crazy movie, mad new teacher causes escalation of violence instead of difusing it.

A second teacher holds his class hostage with a gun and the principle says, "a teacher is required to be responsible". This is portrayed as unfair. The second mad teacher tries to kill a student later that night and dies in the attempt...

Super Reviewer
May 8, 2014
Although the seventies was certainly more the era for revenge flicks, the eighties certainly had their fair share, and if I'm completely honest, Class of 1984 does not stand particularly high among them.

But I really did enjoy it. It's nice to go back to some classic R-rated cinema with low expectations and have those expectations met. It may not sound like much of a compliment but Hell, it's better than most can muster. Sure it suffers from that standard catchall where you chuck the villains some Nazi references to make sure nobody can sympathise with them (which actually particularly aggravated me, because the next day they throw you a curve-ball with the leader of the villains by making him actually a three dimensional character, but his gang never amount to more than utterly moronic skinheads-come-punks), but I found its merits outweighed its downfalls.

It was one of Michael J. Fox's first roles (simply "Michael Fox" at the time) and I'm told presents a vision of Detroit, L.A and Chicago schools that is horrifically accurate to this day (having never seen them myself, I can neither confirm nor deny this). Doesn't matter, because what's important is that this dated piece does hold up to this days gauge for entertainment-value. Or at least it does mine.


February 24, 2014
An 80's sleaze picture with more brains and decent acting than usual with these movies. A main draw to this now is to see Michael (no J at this point) Fox in an early role in which he does have quite a bit of screen time, and looks very young, particularly compared to his school mates, and it is no wonder why he played a 17 year old whilst in his twenties for his most famous role yet to come. The movie still is somewhat shocking, mainly because metal detectors in schools and the like have now become widespread in certain parts of the world, which is a little sad. The flick really is more of a drama than anything else so don't expect too much horror (although the wood work room death is a grisly highlight) or action for that matter, and for that much alone it's still worth tracking down, and even if the opening and closing theme song from Alice Cooper is pretty awful, and overall the movie is far from great. But it's still worth a look mainly for fans of these hard-edged 80's films, or those that want to see Fox in an early gritty move before he became a world wide star.
March 2, 2014
Most untouchable killer teens film study. They kill! They maim! They're obstinate! They sell drugs! Sadly, nothing can be done, ever, except by Man Zero, Mr. Norris. Nothing makes any sense, it's all schlock, but the ending is very satisfying. Strange Michael J. Fox role too.
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