Blackboard Jungle - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Blackboard Jungle Reviews

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½ May 23, 2011
Anyone who bemoans the state of public education today while pining for the 'good old days' where students were all well-behaved angels would do well to take in this incendiary classic, which was quite ahead of its time in unflinchingly depicting the hostility and apathy within a big city high school. Glenn Ford plays the idealistic and determined instructor, trying to reach an aloof and flippant Sidney Poitier while at the same time being threatened by a sullen, mumbling and explosive young Vic Morrow - his Artie West could be Terry Malloy's little brother. Notable for the use of Bill Haley and the Comets 'Rock Around the Clock' on the soundtrack, and bit parts by Jamie Farr and Paul Mazursky. Pretty strong stuff for its day or any day - the attempted rape of a teacher is a pivotal scene.
½ April 18, 2011
I wish I would have seen this film before the "teacher goes to school with delinquint kids, struggles for a while then finally gets through to them with a unique approach" plot was done to death. It does have the benefit of being original for its time, dealt with racism, provoked riots across the country as well as launched Bill Haley and The Comets to stardom. This is a dated yet highly-significant film.
April 9, 2011
Watched this last night on Netflix. Been awhile since I've seen it. Classic Glenn Ford, Sidney Poitier and Anne Francis (she was a babe). Way ahead of it's time. It's funny to see a young Jamie Farr (billed as Jameel Farah), he barely has a line in it, mostly just smiles like an idiot. Still a great film.
½ April 3, 2011
Perfect drama about a WWII veteran starting his new life as a teacher. The think is though, he choosed to teach at school with the worst reputation in the neighborhood.
½ March 28, 2011
Absilutely riveting, Blackboard Jungle stars Glenn Ford as a doey eyed teacher all ready to take on his first teaching assignment, but unfortunately for him, it's the worst school in the city. He has to somehow get through to the rowdy and eventually violent kids in the class, and has no clue how to. Step by step, and buouyed by a black boy, he finds a way. Glenn Ford is so good in this and the students are helmed by newcomers Vic Morrow and Sidney Poitier! Both give knockout performances here. Worth a watch to see the orignal good teach, bad school genre of filmmaking. Plus, it has that song...
March 20, 2011
Blackboard Jungle is a pretty intense film, and very cutting edge for 1955. It's probably the best "teacher vs unruly students" film I've seen.
½ December 8, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

(1955) Blackboard Jungle

Glenn Ford stars as Richard, a teacher with it's intentions to reform extremely rebellious and antagonistic students without much help from anybody especially from the staff! Well intentioned because it's the first film that deals with high school delinquents like watching a stage play in some parts!! However, sometimes it's a little too over the top- and demands subtley. And in this day and age, times had really changed since then making some of the characters unrelatable that if their were any troubled child to occur could easily get a suspension and can be arrested if tresspass on school property!

2 out of 4
December 1, 2010
I usually hate teacher movies, but this film has little of the contrived inspirational garbage found in most teacher films. Gritty, realistic, and way ahead of its team - deals with issues that were largely ignored in most Hollywood films of this era. The first movie to use a rock song also pushed the boundaries in a lot of other areas.
October 17, 2010
Great movie with a great cast. This movie is not dated like most of the 50"s movies. A must see.

"Yeah, I've been beaten up, but I'm not beaten. I'm not beaten, and I'm not quittin'."
October 14, 2010
Black and white, this film really said the truth about city schools in the 50's and even now.

"The film features smoldering performances by a young Sidney Poitier and Vic Morrow as tough-as-nails rebels fighting over the role of leader in Dadier's classroom. This innovative and ultimately uplifting portrayal of a generation at odds with the world served as a seminal portrait of the darker side of the 1950s" --- RT

For the reasons above and many more, catch this film. It was way ahead of its time and Glenn Ford was way ahead of his time as well for trying to act the role of a idealistic teacher of smart ass kids.

A forerunner to To Sir With Love, this film paved the way for West Side Story. Hard hitting, gritty drama.

Worth watching more than once.
½ August 2, 2010
As far as movies with teachers changing their students' lives are concerned, not many hold a candle to this one - the predecessor, pretty much. Amazing performances, social impact and commentary, the outlining of an era. Right and wrong meet as the lines are blurry, and this movie shows that even if some people don't want to be saved, some do and can be.
July 17, 2010
Very good "teacher trying to reach troubled students" film that pretty much started the genre (and of course, started rock and roll in film). Glenn Ford is perfect as Mr. Daddy-O, er, I mean Dadier and Sidney Poitier and Vic Morrow are also great as two of the students. Surprisingly this film has aged pretty well, maybe not the setting so much, but the message it's trying to make.
July 4, 2010
For it's time, a VERY balsy movie.
No other film had tackled inner city problems in schools, and the struggles teachers face to get their students to WANT to learn. Also featured racial, sexual, and social tension that were unseen at the time in Hollywood film.

Also, a film that featured a strong black lead in Hollywood in the 1950s, and launched the great Sidney Poitier. Glenn Ford plays his role fantastically, and every character is believable in this film, and each character (teacher and student) represents a demographic in the educational and social hierarchy that we can still see today.
½ May 21, 2010
Blackboard Jungle is an amazing film. I thought the film said the truth about the city schools with honesty. The cast is excellent which includes Glenn Ford, Anne Frances, and Sidney Poitier. The script is also well written. Richard Brooks brought incredible story to the big screen. Blackboard Jungle is a must see.
May 2, 2010
seems a little dated and maybe a bit too much but really a pretty solid movie, a lot more ballsy than most movies of the time....a for runner to films like A Dangerous Mind, etc...
April 1, 2010
this was funny! an early movie about young delinquents! if they wanted to change something about teenage delinquency ... it didn't!
½ March 12, 2010
The start of the inspirational teacher movies, first move for Vic Morrow and Jamie Farr. An exceptional film very real form a time when films were sugar coated.
March 7, 2010
Grade: C+

It's never a good sign when you find yourself two, three, even at times four steps ahead of the story of a film you're watching for the first time. It's a testament to the mere "watchability" of this film that I at least give the film a fresh review.

That's in part due to a couple of dedicated performance by the lead Glen Ford as Richard Dadier, who is a first time high-school english teacher at an inner-city school full of dissident thugs and non-learners. Sidney Poitier co-stars as the potential leader of the class, and his delinquint classmate, Artie West (vic morrow), is the films most glaring antagonist.

The film presents the school kids (15 and 16 year olds) as practically carbon copies of one another, with the execption of the two leads who are naturally not suited to get along, and so don't have much dialogue together. Much of the film is pointless filler, with the teachers standing around, ranting about the problems they are having controlling their pupils. Only when Ford steps it up and delivers monologues of urgency, exasperation, and anger do these conversations become truly arresting.

That said, some of the dialogue is witty, well-timed, and mildly insightful, and the climax of the film delivers a jolting, emotive response.

Mostly, the film basically rolls out obvious scenarios in which the threatening school children have their way with the teacher, call him names, even beat him up in a dark alley; various confrontational scenarios. The film has an air of over the top-ness to it, which makes it feel like its forcing its hand. The film doesnt seem to realize i, the viewer, have gotten the point, and that it doesn't need to be presented so bluntly. At some points this becomes problematic, to the point of seeming like an unrealistic representation of it's intended views. The film wets its feet a little with issues such as racism and class struggle, as well as youth rebellion, but mostly without great effect.

The film has a flimsy and half-hearted mystery plot within it, and to not know its outcome is to be a rookie film viewer. It basically involves the sabotaging of Ford's character, and comes to involve his pregnant wife.

No, the best scenes in this film are the isolated ones, like one in which Artie helps his gang steal a newspaper stand with his teacher in plain sight, and then attempts to cover for them; a couple of other ones between Poitier and Ford are rather poignant.

The Rotten Tomatoes synopsis for this film says it has influenced such films as West Side Story and Rebel Without A Cause. I see the obvious truth in that, and the parallels. However I also think those two films are better than Blackboard Jungle.
Super Reviewer
February 8, 2010
Seems like the prototype.
Super Reviewer
February 7, 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.
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