Blackboard Jungle - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Blackboard Jungle Reviews

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February 20, 2016
Glenn Ford pioneers the teacher-drama film. It's well-made and intense. (First and only viewing - 2/19/2016)
½ February 9, 2015
The movie that created the "Teacher reforms delinquent kids" genre, launched the career of Sidney Poitier and introduced many people to rock 'n roll (thanks to Rock Around the Clock, by Bill Haley and the Comets, being in the soundtrack).

However, for all this, it is idealistic, heavy-handed and very frustrating. It just doesn't feel like the real world. The abuse the teachers suffer seems over-the-top, just for effect. Worse still, they just grin and bear it. eg A teacher gets assaulted by students and can identify them, yet doesn't identify them to the cops as he would rather "reform" them. Oh, please. They should all have gone to jail. (Plan B: a posse of teachers with baseball bats evens the score...).

Has a decent ending, but that would be it.
December 17, 2014
The seminal "teacher in a ghetto" story that launched the Rock and Roll Era marked the screen debuts to Sidney Pottier, Vic Morrow and Jamie Farr, Sixty years later, guns have taken the place of knives and the music is rap, but the message is more relevant than ever. Essential.
October 27, 2013
Blackboard Jungle was one of the originals of the "Teacher saves the ghetto students" movies that became over-saturated in the 90's. It's very easy to see how it come be called ineffective today... After all, we live in times where rebellion is no longer shocking. But this was in different times, and if you put the film in context this is a pretty intense film with good performances by Glenn Ford and Sidney Poitier.

When you mention films like Dangerous Minds and Stand and Deliver you will most likely know pretty this entire film story wise. Since I can put my mind in the time of the film, I'm able to fully appreciate the characters and what they mean to what was then a fresh story. The good news for me also is that it's not filled with sappy music, and it's not over-dramatic to the point of being silly.

But it's not perfect... The attempts to bring racial tension to the forefront doesn't always hit their mark. One scene Ford and Sidney share a scene where they standing on the stairs and Ford's character lets lose and nearly calls Sidney's character a vile name. Some of the scenes like that are meant to have some kind of emotional punch, but sometimes they fail to do so. A times the film fits a bit forced and unconvincing. But I mostly found it to be worthwhile I'd suggest it to anyone that wants a very watchable historic drama.
August 5, 2013
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
½ July 22, 2013
Very very dated and full of 1950's sentimentalities, but and interesting and honest for its time on inner city schools.
May 30, 2013
These high school students must stayed back at least 10 years.
April 24, 2013
Hard-edged look at a social phenomenon--Taut, tense and thrilling - a jungle of inner city excitement!!
March 12, 2013
Really good...some things have changed very little! Sadly...
February 6, 2013
The original high school delinquent movie. Certainly more dramatic than the films of the same theme these days and by dramatic I mean brutal but in a sort of Broadway show way. Perhaps this is just the time the film was made in. Anyway excellent movie well worth watching especially to see where this type of movie originated from. Sidney Poitier makes a stand out performance as the quiet yet unopposed student leader.
January 19, 2013
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. also the first 2 use a rock n roll song in the credits
½ December 5, 2012
Not a weak depiction actually but frankly not my kind of film, I couldn't care less about its characters
August 20, 2012
Great movie for a summer night.
½ August 9, 2012
Blackboard Jungle has its mind in the right place. That's about as much merit as it deserves. I'm not appalled by the behavior of the film's student body. I've seen it all before, and half of what I've seen isn't even in film. I'm much more appalled by the manner in which, halfway through the film, all the adult character's struggles seem to fade away. In less than a year, a rookie teacher who hardly changes at all throughout the movie, somehow manages to get his students to, not only participate in class, but Like him and Defend him during the final scene. How was this change in students possible? By making friends with the token black character, showing audiences that, hey, not all black people are as bad as they seem. Yes, I am aware of the era this movie was made in. Yes I know how controversial and how much good it did in inspiring others to also help their students. As a film, it is fine, The acting is fine, the music, the lighting, and so forth, are all fine. But this is an extremely dated film, and i despised how much it thought it knew about how to handle the reckless. Though it plays out seriously, the methods used to woo the children are mundane and the results are ridiculous.
If you really want to see an accurate film about the education system and how the perfect teacher should inspire children, see Blackboard Jungle's modern contemporary (a sort of grim mockery of this film), see Detachment.
Super Reviewer
½ May 27, 2012
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.
May 17, 2012
dated but still watchable lifted by all star cast
February 28, 2012
Glenn Ford takes on the role of an English teacher, trying to deal with his delinquent students. What I find fascinating about this movie is it was made during the time desegregation was starting to go into effect. It was very tense as the classroom literally became a battleground. Nothing much changed by the end of the film, but it's an interesting peek at the battles teachers were facing during the time. The film was made for the purpose of bringing awareness to those problems.
½ February 1, 2012
A well acted, real-life situation and characters, an engaging make-you-think film that is impossible to pull yourself away from. Excellent.
November 6, 2011
This practically screams 1950's.
½ June 19, 2011
Dated. But a very good film that paved the way for many other High School films and TV series.
The casting is great. Glenn Ford, Sidney Poitier ,and Vic Morrow all turn fine performances
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