63% The Maze Runner Sep 19
62% A Walk Among the Tombstones Sep 19
45% This Is Where I Leave You Sep 19
83% Tracks Sep 19
93% The Guest Sep 17

Top Box Office

11% No Good Deed $24.3M
71% Dolphin Tale 2 $15.9M
92% Guardians of the Galaxy $8.1M
19% Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $4.9M
20% Let's Be Cops $4.4M
88% The Drop $4.1M
37% If I Stay $3.9M
36% The November Man $2.8M
34% The Giver $2.6M
67% The Hundred-Foot Journey $2.4M

Coming Soon

68% The Equalizer Sep 26
71% The Boxtrolls Sep 26
86% The Two Faces of January Sep 26
—— Two Night Stand Sep 26
91% Jimi: All Is by My Side Sep 26

New Episodes Tonight

82% Girl Meets World: Season 1
87% The Knick: Season 1
50% Z Nation: Season 1

Discuss Last Night's Shows

100% Garfunkel and Oates: Season 1
—— Haven: Season 5
89% The Honorable Woman: Season 1
56% Married: Season 1
39% Rush: Season 1
82% Satisfaction: Season 1
79% You're the Worst: Season 1

Certified Fresh TV

87% Boardwalk Empire: Season 5
86% The Bridge (FX): Season 2
91% Doctor Who: Season 8
83% Extant: Season 1
89% The Honorable Woman: Season 1
87% The Knick: Season 1
89% Manhattan: Season 1
97% Masters of Sex: Season 2
90% Outlander: Season 1
82% Satisfaction: Season 1
87% The Strain: Season 1
79% You're the Worst: Season 1

Lean on Me (1989)


No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 2
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 1



liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 40,933

My Rating

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



Oct 20, 1998

Warner Home Video

Watch It Now


Latest News on Lean on Me

November 2, 2005:
Trailer Bulletin: Take the Lead
Want to see a movie about a dedicated teacher who, after much struggle and drama, manages to...


Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (5) | DVD (3)

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

July 9, 2014 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Inspirational movie about a controversial teacher.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
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

Freeman, as usual, infuses a standard-issue plot with extraordinary emotional conviction.

August 17, 2003
Nick's Flick Picks

Freeman goes for the gusto and pulls it off...

August 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Watchable but formulaic tough-love-teacher movie, made perhaps before Morgan Freeman could get himself better roles.

August 1, 2002
Film Blather

calculated to get you cheering -- and it does

July 29, 2002
Kalamazoo Gazette

Audience Reviews for Lean on Me

Morgan Freeman is great in this role, but Lean on Me is a bit cheesy and predictable.
January 26, 2012
Raymond Wieser

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.
February 11, 2007
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

A teacher inspires his students to do better. Good flick.
January 27, 2007

Super Reviewer

    1. Joe Clark: You used to call me Crazy Joe. Well now they you can call me Batman.
    – Submitted by Adam O (12 months ago)
    1. Joe Clark: We sink, we swim, we rise, we fall. We meet our fate together.
    – Submitted by Adam O (12 months ago)
    1. Joe Clark: This is an institution of learning, ladies and gentlemen. If you can't control it, how can you teach? Discipline is not the enemy of enthusiasm!
    – Submitted by Adam O (12 months ago)
    1. Joe Clark: Discipline is not the enemy of enthusiasm.
    – Submitted by Ryan N (2 years ago)
    1. Joe Clark: I don't have to do nothin' but stay black and die!
    – Submitted by Kevin S (2 years ago)
    1. Joe Clark: You'll be dead in a year son. You hear me? You'll be dead in a year.
    – Submitted by Emani S (2 years ago)
View all quotes (8)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Lean on Me on our Movie forum!

What's Hot On RT

Critics Consensus
Critics Consensus

Maze Runner is Better than Average

Red Carpet Roundup
Red Carpet Roundup

100 pics from Toronto Film Fest

Hunger Games
Hunger Games

New Mockingjay - Part 1 trailer

24 Frames
24 Frames

Longest-running American sitcoms gallery

Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile