Lean on Me (1989)


No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...


Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

After earning rave notices for powerful supporting turns as a pimp in Street Smart (1987) and an alcohol abuse counselor in Clean and Sober (1988), actor Morgan Freeman began his ascent to stardom with this, his first lead role in a major motion picture. Freeman is real-life high school principal Joe Clark, a tough, harsh educator and administrator who in 1987 is given a nearly impossible task by his old friend, school superintendent Dr. Frank Napier (Robert Guillaume). Clark is asked to reform … More

Rating: PG-13 (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Michael Schiffer
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 20, 1998
Warner Home Video


as Joe Clark

as Ms. Levias

as Dr. Frank Napier

as Mayor Don Bottman

as Leona Barrett

as Mrs. Elliott

as Thomas Sams

as Kaneesha Carter

as Rosenberg

as Mrs. Hamilton

as Mrs. Carter

as Mrs. Santos

as Mr. O'Malley

as Fire Chief Gaines

as Mr. Wright

as Mr. Zirella

as Mrs. Arthur

as Brian Banes

as Mr. Danley

as Mr. Lott

as Miss Ruiz

as Mrs. Richards

as Police Officer

as Teacher in Cafeteria

as Burger Joint Manager
Show More Cast

Related News & Features

Trailer Bulletin: Take the Lead
– Rotten Tomatoes

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Critic Reviews for Lean on Me

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4)

Avildsen's enthusiastic direction gives Lean on Me a heartwarming, feel-good tone that is accessible beyond the environs of its subject.

Full Review… | July 9, 2014
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Inspirational movie about a controversial teacher.

Full Review… | January 2, 2011
Common Sense Media

Is a baseball bat the best way to organize a school? In the movie, sure. In real life, maybe not.

April 7, 2004
New Times

Audience Reviews for Lean on Me


Morgan Freeman is great in this role, but Lean on Me is a bit cheesy and predictable.

Raymond Wieser
Raymond Wieser

Super Reviewer


A good movie. A bit dated but Freeman was great none the less.

Jim Careter

Super Reviewer


Great courage and true story of a high school principal who is saving the school from the troublemakers. Morgan Freeman electrifies his fiction character in an extraordinary performance as an extraordinary man.

Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

Lean on Me Quotes

– Submitted by Adam O (20 months ago)
– Submitted by Adam O (20 months ago)
– Submitted by Adam O (20 months ago)
– Submitted by Ryan N (2 years ago)

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