Rock 'n' Roll High School - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Rock 'n' Roll High School Reviews

Page 1 of 35
½ August 30, 2016
A lot cornier than I was expecting. Pretty typical story of teenage rebellion. Cringeworthy acting and jokes abound. It plays as a cool time capsule though. It didn't feel as punk rock as it should have though.
May 15, 2016
I think everyone had at least one moment during their four years of high school in which they fantasized about a day completely overtaken by anarchy. A day where students would have no other responsibility besides having to enjoy each other's company; where teachers would be figures of the background and not ones of authority; where flipping the bird at administration would be a possibility. A change of pace, a sense of excitement, and enhanced sociability were things only sometimes flirted with (through instances of fire-drills, lock-downs, power outages, and graduation-based assemblies). But even then, disobeying order was next to impossible, unless you were a rebel without a cause that realized their immaturity much too late.
Granted, I'm the child of teachers and therefore liked school, so ideas of chaos were distant and maybe fulfilled by the simplistic, spontaneous joys of the last few days of the school year when classes were comprised of signing yearbooks and reminiscing. But I'm sure other daydreams of freedom, especially from the kids who looked and acted like Avril Lavigne in the mid-2000s, were much more potent than mine.
1979's "Rock 'n' Roll High School" is such a fun no-budgeter because it indulges the aforementioned fantasy with youthful energy and knowing wit. Produced by B-movie giant Roger Corman and co-written and directed by Allan Arkush, the film is a exquisitely good time shaped by shades of '70s rock musicals and '60s delinquency pictures peppered by insurgency.
It has a killer storyline. It revolves around the antics at Vince Lombardi High School, an establishment whose academia has been greatly tarnished by the student body's obsession with modern rock 'n' roll. Teachers and principals have come and gone with frightening frequency - the students are much too wild to keep in check - and it seems that nothing's ever going to change so long as the going continues to be rough.
In order to reverse the school's seemingly irreversible plight of rebellion, no-nonsense authoritarian Evelyn Togar (Mary Woronov) is brought in to fill in the elusive role of the principal; her nonexistent sense of humor and guiltless disciplinary tactics are the very thing this high school needs.
But changing the values of the students is something even the strongest of a hand cannot deter. As most follow to the beat of the same drum as Riff Randell (PJ Soles), a popular, rock 'n' roll adoring classmate, putting a stop to the orneriness of Vince Lombardi High's uncontrollable ways might as well be laughable. Things only worsen when The Ramones come to town for a show, which immediately sends the entire town into a bewildered frenzy.
And when "Rock 'n' Roll High School" gets to this point, that's when the film announces itself to be among the best cult classics of our time. Before The Ramones integrate themselves as main characters, the movie is spunky satire that maybe wouldn't seem so special in the grand scheme of the high school movie genre. But their flawless easing into the film, all thanks to Arkush and Joe Dante's ("Piranha," "Gremlins") ingenious screenplay, is cheeky and totally fitting - their music is the cement that holds the movie's anarchical premise together. It's a contumacious blast.
Better yet is the performance by Soles (best known for her supporting role in 1978's "Halloween"), whose vibrancy makes her a stereotypical bad girl worth rooting for; Woronov is a hoot as the villainous principal. "Rock 'n' Roll High School" is a delightful reminder that a low-budget cannot stop easy entertainment so long as the right people are a part of the action. Good thing the cast of the film appears to be having the time of their lives.
July 9, 2015
Classic punk rock movie. 'Nuff said
July 3, 2015
Still a top 5 all time movie.
½ February 10, 2015
Cornball style of comedy but original for its time. Recommended for the die-hard Ramones fan!
½ December 23, 2014
They don't make cult classics anymore. One of the first of its kind. A showcase for Ramones music.
½ November 7, 2014
Pure awesome a king of entertainment that will having you laughing and Rocking a Ramones level on the Rockometer.
½ September 13, 2014
In view of the holy words chanted by Joey Ramone this film is "fun,fun,fun, oh baby! fun,fun,fun ."
July 18, 2014
The last member of the legendary NYC Punk band, The Ramones, Marky Ramone (AKA Marc Bell) recently passed away. He and his deceased bandmates can be seen in this Roger Corman-produced film. Corman saw how well the Saturday Night Fever was doing and came up with a title for a film called "Disco High." Luckily, director Alan Arkush convinced Roger to make Rock n' Roll High School instead. The film is a straightforward film about rebellious Ramones fan Riff Randle (P.J. Soles) fight with the repressive (and anti-rock n' roll) principal Miss Evelyn Togar (Mary Woronov who gets to deliver the best line in the film: "Does your mother know you're Ramones?"). Gene Simmons of Kiss has long maintained that his band was approached first but elected to film Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park. Corman's people do admit that they approached Cheap Trick. But its hard to imagine this movie with anyone other than The Ramones. Alas, the commercial breakthrough that this movie and the LPs Road To Ruin and End Of The Century promised never delivered. The film is funny but calls for some of the more raunchy humor from Animal House; a major subplot does revolve around Vincent Van Patten trying to hook up with P.J. Soles while Dey Young tries to hook up with him. Look for Paul Bartel as a sympathetic music teacher, Clint Howard (already thinning on top) as a sleazy high school fixer, and Corman regular Dick Miller in a virtual walk-on bit as the chief of police. This movie was recommended to me by a friend and I rented it the same night I rented The Wicker Man which had been recommended by another fan; both films are in Danny Peary's Cult Movies.
Super Reviewer
½ July 6, 2014
It's more a 90 minute advert for The Ramones than a film.
June 30, 2014
In the late 1970's, budget producer extraordinaire Roger Corman took a break from horror and science fiction knock offs, wanting to give the world a teen comedy filled with the popular music of the day the likes of which started his career a decade earlier. The result of that is "Rock and Roll High School", a goofy but engaging film that inexplicably defied the odds to become a cult classic.

There's barely a story here, but its theme of youthful rebellion against the establishment struck a chord with young moviegoers, and you just can't beat the music. After considering other, presumably more expensive bands for the film, Corman settled on the Ramones and the rest was history. They were perhaps the ugliest band going at the time, and it's a wonder they could deliver any of their dozen or so lines, but the songs are timeless and bring the movie to life.

Amid all of the chaos are two very likable young stars in Dey Young and P.J. Soles, who both give winning and effervescent performances here. After already appearing in both "Carrie" and "Halloween", it's a shame that Soles never became more famous after her memorable and star-making turn in this.

There's hardly a story to follow, as this is basically one long ad for the band, primarily concert footage with some occasionally amusing jokes thrown in for good measure. Still, "Rock and Roll High School" captures its time and place perfectly and preserves it for posterity. It's not going to change the world, but it is a bubbly and energetic film.
April 10, 2014
Ramones fans will be spinning. Just about everyone else will cringe at this scattered plot and attempt at portraying the teenage unrest that swept the nation during this time period.
½ August 16, 2013
a good ramones movie
August 3, 2013
A pretty good film and a great soundtrack,
June 25, 2013
I kept watching for the mouse people and sound effects...
May 30, 2013
The Ramones really saved this film and made it watchable.
½ April 16, 2013
I know this is supposed to be a cult classic but I didn't find it interesting or funny...I thought it was really stupid and not in a good way.
March 28, 2013
the concert was much better.
March 23, 2013
The thing about Rock 'n' Roll High School is that if you're not a fan of rock and roll, specifically The Ramones or music like The Ramones, then chances are pretty good that you won't like this movie. It's not a music video or a promotion for the band (in my opinion), but instead uses the band and their music to tell the tale a rebellious teenager. I happened to like the movie a lot because I liked the characters, the music and the spirit of it all. It feels like a precursor to Dazed and Confused in some ways (unintentionally, of course), but it's a pretty good blend of characters, music and style. It can be weird and disconcerting at times, but it's never not any fun. It's just an enjoyable movie about teenage angst with some good music.
March 19, 2013
Cornball style of comedy but original for its time. Recommended for the die-hard Ramones fan!
Page 1 of 35