School Daze (1988) - Rotten Tomatoes

School Daze (1988)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Fraternity and sorority members clash with the other students at a historically black university in this politically charged musical, which marked the sophomore feature from director Spike Lee. Dap (Laurence Fishburne) is a politically conscious brother who leads anti-apartheid demonstrations and eschews the social climbing of the Greek system. But Half-Pint (Lee), his craven young cousin, is willing to endure any humiliation to join the manly Gamma fraternity. As Half-Pint tries unsuccessfully to impress the Gammas with his inept womanizing, Dap engages in philosophical debates with Rachel (Kyme), his girlfriend. Meanwhile, the light-skinned, straight-haired sisters of the Gamma Ray sorority battle it out in a beauty parlor with their darker-skinned, Afro-headed fellow coeds. Eventually, Half-Pint gets the chance to join the frat, but only after a degrading episode with Jane (Tisha Campbell), the soon-to-be ex-girlfriend of his house president, causes Dap to lose all respect for him. Based in part on the director's experiences at Atlanta's Morehouse College, School Daze was also written and produced by Lee. Despite production numbers that included "Straight and Nappy," a dis-fest between the "wannabes" and "jigaboos" on campus, the biggest hit on the film's soundtrack was the go-go anthem "Da Butt," E.U.'s ode to shaking one's backside. Supporting players Kadeem Hardison and Jasmine Guy also co-starred on the TV comedy A Different World, another look at life on a primarily African-American campus.more
Rating: R (adult situations/language, nudity)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Spike Lee
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 30, 2001
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


Spike Lee
as Half-Pint
as Rachel Meadows
Joe Seneca
as President McPherson
Ellen Holly
as Odrie McPherson
Art Evans
as Cedar Cloud
Ossie Davis
as Coach Odom
Bill Nunn
as Grady
Harold L. Boyd III
as Alpha Phi Alpha
Eric Payne
as Booker T.
Anthony Thompkins
as Doo-Doo Breath
Guy Killum
as Double Rubber
Kirk Taylor
as Sir Nose
Kevin Rock
as Mussolini
Robert L. Cole Jr.
as Alpha Phi Alpha
Eric Dellums
as Slim Daddy
Cylk Cozart
as Big Brother Dr. Feel...
Darryl M. Bell
as Big Brother X-Ray Vi...
Rusty Cundieff
as Big Brother Chucky
Cilk Cozart
as Big Brother Dr. Feel...
Tim Hutchinson
as Big Brother Lance
Leonard Thomas
as Big Brother Gen. Geo...
Joie Lee
as Lizzie Life
Alva Rogers
as Doris Witherspoon
Ivan Goff
as EU Band
Jacquelyn Bird
as Jacquelyn
Stephanie Clark
as Stephanie
Rod Hodge
as Alpha Phi Alpha
John Keith
as Singer at Coronation
Monique Mannen
as Monique `Mo-Freak'
Derrek W. Jones
as Alpha Phi Alpha
Gregg Burge
as Virgil Cloyd
Cinqué Lee
as Buckwheat
A.J. Johnson
as Cecilia
Tracey Lewis
as Counter Girl
Florante P. Galvez
as Student in Bathroom
Leslie Sykes
as Miss Mission
Reginald Tabor
as Alpha Phi Alpha Memb...
Lester McCorn
as Alpha Phi Alpha Memb...
William N. Ross
as Alpha Phi Alpha Memb...
Keith E. Wright
as Alpha Phi Alpha Memb...
Dawn Jackson
as 1st Attendant
Angela Lewis
as 2nd Attendant
Kent Wood
as EU Band
Bill Lee
as Phyllis Hyman Quarte...
Consuela Lee Morehea...
as Phyllis Hyman Quarte...
Harold Vick
as Phyllis Hyman Quarte...
Joe Chambers
as Phyllis Hyman Quarte...
Erik Dellums
as Slim Daddy
Tisha Campbell
as Jane Toussaint
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for School Daze

Critic Reviews for School Daze

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (6)

Lee has a small, intimate talent; here, he goes for the big podium and blows it.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

For every tough-minded confrontation between the different student factions, School Daze is apt to offer a love scene less than vital to the plot, or an overlong musical scene whose effect is that of treading water.

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

Spike Lee had something in mind while he shot School Daze, his follow-up to the cult hit She's Gotta Have It. Unfortunately it's still lodged behind his cranium.

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

School Daze, with its pompous patchwork plot, is an arrogant, humorless, sexist mess.

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

Although the film has big structural problems and leaves a lot of loose ends, there was never a moment when it didn't absorb me.

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

Full Review… | September 23, 2008
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for School Daze


Some truly funny scenes and pretty entertaining song-and-dance numbers. But just too slow -- it was about half an hour too long.

Letitia Lew
Letitia Lew

Super Reviewer


This is producer/writer/director/co-star Spike Lee's sophmore effort: a musical dramedy set at a HBCU (historically black college or university) over the course of homecoming weekend.

What I found so engaging about the film is that it never once shows the perspective of white people, and instead looks at various issues (primarily black on black discrimination) solely from various and well rounded African American povs. The film is somewhat dated with specific issues, but the overall messages are still powerful and relevant.

I like musicals, but I don't know if that was really a good way to present this material. That, and only one of the numbers really grabbed me. I will say that the stomp competition sequence was well choreographed and executed though.

The performances are good, and you can see Lee's innovations and techniques getting better and better, but the film is a little weak structurally and leaves a few too many loose ends. However, it is entertaining, and makes some important contributions cinematically (but most culturally and socially), so I say give it a chance. It's not too bad.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


I think the main problem with this movie is that it doesn't have a wide enough audience. It's audience is pretty much just African Americans who went to college and were in a fraternity around the time the movie takes place. It's very specific and hard to relate to. The actors were very good, but that's all I liked about this movie. The story goes nowhere, and the song and dance numbers annoy me. Overall, I wouldn't recommend it unless you can relate to it.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

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