Higher Learning (1994)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Higher Learning Videos & Photos

Movie Info

This drama examines the personal, political, and racial dilemmas facing a group of college freshmen as they begin their first semester at Columbus University. Malik (Omar Epps) is an African-American student attending on a track scholarship; academics are not his strong suit, and he goes in thinking that his athletic abilities will earn him a free ride through college. Fudge (Ice Cube), a "professional student" who has been at Columbus for six years so far, becomes friendly with Malik and … More

Rating: R
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: John Singleton
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 3, 2001
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


as Malik

as Kristen

as Fudge

as Prof. Phipps

as Scott Moss

as Chad Shadowhill

as Officer Bradley

as David Isaacs

as Claudia

as Orientation Advisor

as Counselor

as Counselor

as Starting Judge

as TV Reporter

as Disgruntled Yet Eage...

as Himself

as Security Guard

as Security Guard

as Security Guard

as Fudge's Homie

as Fudge's Homie

as Fudge's Homie

as Frat Member

as Race Official

as Race Official

as Race Official

as Drunk Student

as Monet's Friend

as Festival Singer

as Flyer Girl

as Party Girl

as Black Pepper

as Gay Victim

as Gay Victim

as Festival Singer
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Higher Learning

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (12)

Despite some likable performances (Epps is especially winning), the drama in Higher Learning is constricted, hemmed in by Singleton's compulsion to view his characters as walking paradigms of racial and sexual politics.

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Higher Learning has a great many things on its mind, which immediately places it in a rather exclusive category of American films these days.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

A stylish, intelligent film-maker, Singleton interweaves the threads of his demographic tapestry with assurance, passion and a welcome awareness of the complexities of the college community's contradictory impulses towards integration and separatism.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Everyone here, from beer-swilling white fraternity boys to rap-loving black students harassed by the campus police, can be judged at face value. Everyone is exactly what he or she seems.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Higher Learning is often clichéd, unfocused and didactic. But Singleton has a goal most of his contemporaries have given up on: He wants to make a movie that makes a difference.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Presenting problems is not the same as dramatizing them successfully, and as strong as his message is, Singleton has not found the best way to deliver it.

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Higher Learning

a gripping story of race relations at the university level. thankfully most universities are beyond this, as is much of american society, but there are still places in the u.s. where this sort of tragic ignorance remains and this is a great film to address the issues. many only decent actors really stepped up their game for this film, and rapaport was simply sensational. an underrated and under appreciated film.

danny d

Super Reviewer

I remember in late '94 or early '95 when I and about 5 other students were helping out a teacher outside of class in her room, and she asked what our favorite movie is currently. Two said "Higher Learning," two (one of them me) said "Speed," and one said something else. I never saw this movie until 2007, and while I still prefer "Speed," this really was an excellent movie.

It deals with so many touchy subjects and is like a coming of age drama/crime film. It reminded me of going to high school and college and the struggles we go through while trying to find ourselves during those times. Definitely see this one.

Jason Owens

Super Reviewer

John Singleton's ability to delve into multi-issues and stories creates a superb drama in the most unusual of settings - a university campus. Headed by a superb cast including Michael Rapport, Jennifer Connelly, Ice Cube, Omar Epps, and Kristy Swanson, Higher Learning visualises freshman's first step into the new world, and the many issues and lessons they have to deal and learn to make it. From racial, sexual, political and personal, this movie engages these issues in a maze of superb acting and lines, with credit going to Laurence Fishburne as the Political Science lecturer who steals his screen slots with his thoughtful, powerful and engaging presence and lessons. Ice Cube is also a standout, playing a ghetto student, obviously entrenched in the black stigmata and social status, but showing that he is also a refined and poltically savvy individual with heart and a will to learn and build his own ideals and apply it to the world around him.
Watch this for a good insight into uni or college life and the many views from many sides - a movie which works to create understanding - and show that not everything that needs to be learnt is in a classroom.

For those who are willing to open their eyes to understanding and objectivity - but as Fishburne states: this isn't about objectivity - you have to make a stand.

Welcome to the real world.

Khris N

Super Reviewer

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