Blackboard Jungle 1955

Blackboard Jungle

Critics Consensus

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76%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 25

77%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,698

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Movie Info

World War II veteran Richard Dadier (Glenn Ford) takes a teaching position at a rough New York City school for boys. The staff warns him that the students are nearly impossible to control, but the optimistic Richard remains unfazed. Soon, though, he realizes that his class isn't merely rowdy -- they can be downright dangerous. The students, led by the thuggish Artie West (Vic Morrow), threaten their teacher and his family with violence, yet Richard refuses to give up on the troubled teens.

Cast & Crew

Glenn Ford
Richard Dadier
Vic Morrow
Artie West
Anne Francis
Anne Dadier
Louis Calhern
Jim Murdock
Margaret Hayes
Lois Judby Hammond
John Hoyt
Mr. Warneke
Richard Kiley
Joshua Y. Edwards
Emile Meyer
Mr. Halloran
Basil Ruysdael
Professor A.R. Kraal
Anne Béranger
Original Music
Tom Delaney
Original Music
Willis Holman
Original Music
Russell Harlan
Cinematographer
Ferris Webster
Film Editor
Randall Duell
Art Direction
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News & Interviews for Blackboard Jungle

Critic Reviews for Blackboard Jungle

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (6)

  • More important, however, than the letter of the film is the spirit. It seizes a burning issue, and lets the sparks fall where they may.

    January 8, 2018 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top Critic
  • Glenn Ford, Morrow and Poitier are so real in their performances under the probing direction by Brooks that the picture alternatingly has the viewer pleading, indignant and frightened before the conclusion.

    April 8, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • The studied pseudo-documentary atmosphere never quite convinces.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Tom Milne

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It gives a blood-curdling, nightmarish picture or monstrous disorder in a public school. And it leaves one wondering wildly whether such out-of-hand horrors can be.

    March 25, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Writer-director Richard Brooks had a flair for sensationalism, and his adaptation of Evan Hunter's novel is loads of fun as a consequence, but don't expect much analysis or insight.

    September 26, 2001 | Full Review…
  • Hoodlumism in today's big-city classrooms is examined in a shocking, angry drama which some educators have denounced as grossly exaggerated. It's a gripping movie nonetheless.

    November 14, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Blackboard Jungle

  • Feb 07, 2010
    A provocative and powerful drama about a teacher, Glenn Ford in a superb performance and his harrowing experiences in a New York City high school in the mid 1950s. Where gang violence, racial and sexual tensions are out of control, from the scenes that show the painful inability of the teacher to control his class to incidents of straight assaults by some juvenile hoodlums this a hard-hitting entertainment. A first-rate cast with Vic Morrow as the leader of teen misfits and Sidney Poitier in star-making performance as a troubled youth. This was the first film to feature rock music-"Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley is played over the opening and closing credits. One of the most controversial films in cinematic history.
    Danny R Super Reviewer
  • Dec 11, 2009
    One of the earliest if not the earliest school/teacher drama out there that deals with issues of violence, drugs, crime (attempted rape) etc. You got give the filmmakers credits for taking this bold step and Glenn Ford holds his own as tight-teethed teacher fighting against the odds. Of course, the depiciton of the kids is very one-sided and follow (or should I say established) the typical formula that is still being used today. Evil leader, good leader and the teacher who tries to win over the other while getting rid of the bad seed. Yes, the whole pro-America, hard-working man take is slightly annoying but then again, the film is from 1955 and that is probably what one has to expect. Apart from being one of the first of its kind, a solid lead performance and the charisma of Poitier, I don't see a lot of merit in her that warrants a rating above 2.5.
    Henrik S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 10, 2009
    Blackboard Jungle is a 1955 social commentary film about teachers in an inner-city school. It is based on the novel of the same name by Evan Hunter. The movie is hard hitting and probably a better representation of juvenile delinquency in the nineteen fifties than Rebel Without A Cause or The Wild One. The story revolves around an idealistic teacher on his first job in a tough urban all male high school. Richard Dadier (Glenn Ford) is the teacher at North Manual High School, an inner-city school where many of the pupils, led by an African American student, Gregory Miller (Sidney Poitier), frequently engage in anti-social behaviour. Dadier makes various attempts to engage the students' interest in education, challenging both the school staff and the pupils. He is subjected to violence as well as duplicitous schemes; he first suspects Miller, but later realizes that Artie West (Vic Morrow) is the perpetrator, and challenges him in a showdown-type scenario in the classroom. The film has also been credited with sparking the rock and roll revolution by featuring Bill Haley & His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock", over the film's opening credits, as well as in the first scene, in an instrumental version in the middle of the film, and at the close of the movie, establishing that song as an instant classic. Popularized by its use in the film, "Rock Around the Clock" reached number one on the Billboard charts, and remained there for eight weeks. The music also led to a huge teenage audience for the film, and their exuberant response to it sometimes overflowed into violence and vandalism at screenings. In this sense, the film has been seen as marking the start of a period of visible teenage rebellion in the late 20th century. The film marked a watershed in the United Kingdom. When shown at a South London Cinema in 1956 the teenage teddy boy audience began to riot, tearing up seats and dancing in the aisles. After that riots took place around the country wherever the film was shown. Blackboard Jungle was the first of what would become a popular genre: the film in which an idealistic teacher is confronted with a class of cynical teenagers, who have disengaged from conventional schooling. As so often in later films, issues of race and class lie at the heart of the dynamics. Subsequent films that exploited the theme include: Blackboard Jungle was a shocking film for its time and several cities banned the movie which only served to contribute to its success. Some cities banned it because of its multi-racial content while others did it because of fear that it would spark violence. Even today it is a disturbing film.
    Arianeta L Super Reviewer
  • Sep 12, 2009
    Not a weak depiction actually but frankly not my kind of film, I couldn't care less about its characters
    Arash X Super Reviewer

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