Class of 1984


Class of 1984

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 19


Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,579
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Movie Info

When a group of students led by a psychopath (Timothy Van Patten) terrorizes an inner-city high school, the new music teacher (Perry King) decides on violence as the final measure of discipline. The film was followed by a sequel, Class of 1999.


Critic Reviews for Class of 1984

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (5)

  • Class of 1984 is AAA+++ exploitation: violent, grotesque, morally debased, and completely reactionary - and perfectly crafted to deliver its grimy dystopia like a punch to the throat.

    Aug 31, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Whatever statement Lester wanted to make is lost as a result, whether he did predict the decline of schools a moot point.

    Feb 26, 2019 | Rating: 7/10 | Full Review…
  • For a film that revels in its own grittiness Class of 1984 really is highly enjoyable and very rewatchable

    Feb 25, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Timothy Van Patten is definitely one of the most charismatic movie villains of all time, the epitome of punk anarchy and chaos...

    Jan 13, 2016 | Full Review…
  • The title suggests an Orwellian nightmare, but this extremely efficient and gleefully alarmist exploitation hit owes less to Big Brother than to 'Blackboard Jungle.'

    May 15, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • prophetic with his ultra-violent cautionary tale of the youth of that day

    Apr 27, 2015 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Class of 1984

  • May 14, 2016
    In the early 1980's high schools in the United States had a reputation of being filthy, violent places that were overrun by gangs of rebellious students that can't be expelled for one reason or another (why these hardened criminals would want to hang out a high school all day is beyond me). Films such as Teachers, 3 O'Clock High, and others regurgitated that idea throughout the early part of the decade. Class of 1984 is another member of that genre. The formula follows and idealistic teacher (Perry King) that represents a young go getter, ready to change the world by teaching. You need a leader of the thugs (Timothy Van Patten) who gets into a conflict with the idealistic teacher and drags that person down to his level in the end. The idealistic teacher has to have a spouse (Merrie Lynn Ross) that is semi oblivious until the danger appears at the front doorstep. Finally, you must have the older, fed up teacher (Roddy McDowell) that serves as a mentor to the young, idealistic teacher, but will probably end up a sacrifice to fuel the revenge fire. Class of 1984 is an average film from this genre. Very predictable if you've seen any film like this from the 1980's. The only standout in the film is the performance by Roddy McDowell, who pushes his character beyond its generic function. Otherwise, the film doesn't really stand out from any high school centered version of Death Wish. Class of 1984 serves its purpose more as a time capsule of the era than delivering anything new. This is a totally forgettable film.
    Chris G Super Reviewer
  • May 08, 2014
    Although the seventies was certainly more the era for revenge flicks, the eighties certainly had their fair share, and if I'm completely honest, Class of 1984 does not stand particularly high among them. But I really did enjoy it. It's nice to go back to some classic R-rated cinema with low expectations and have those expectations met. It may not sound like much of a compliment but Hell, it's better than most can muster. Sure it suffers from that standard catchall where you chuck the villains some Nazi references to make sure nobody can sympathise with them (which actually particularly aggravated me, because the next day they throw you a curve-ball with the leader of the villains by making him actually a three dimensional character, but his gang never amount to more than utterly moronic skinheads-come-punks), but I found its merits outweighed its downfalls. It was one of Michael J. Fox's first roles (simply "Michael Fox" at the time) and I'm told presents a vision of Detroit, L.A and Chicago schools that is horrifically accurate to this day (having never seen them myself, I can neither confirm nor deny this). Doesn't matter, because what's important is that this dated piece does hold up to this days gauge for entertainment-value. Or at least it does mine. 65% -Gimly
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2013
    Gosh the acting was awful, but it accurately predicted what the teenagers would be like in Detroit or Chicago even till today. The film makes me depressed, even though all the actors are well overaged and nothing is realistic; Class of 1984 may be a shocker, but it managed to be a nostalgic cult classic..
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Nov 10, 2011
    The first in the 'Class of' trilogy and a pretty different outlook over the other two as this film is actually more of a serious approach to the story. One teacher up against a gang of yobs within the school which starts off as mere issues but slowly develops into a life or death scenario as both the gang and the teacher press harder for retaliation. Compared to the other films this is a much darker affair which does get pretty tense as you really get behind Perry King's character to defeat the gang, you wanna see him beat them. Set in the present (at the time) so everything looks as it should unlike the sequels. The film does of course look really dated now mainly down to cars, hair styles and outfits but its still a great thriller with a really nice ensemble cast that all perform well. Van Patten as the psychopathic pretty boy leader is really good the way he switches from menacing greaser to a whimpering high school kid to trick the officials, McDowall fits this type of trashy low budget film perfectly and King really cranks up the suspense giving the film real edge. For all its silliness, increasing amounts of violence and lack of subtlety the film is probably quite accurate I think, it possibly does show what can and has happened in urban schools to some degree, the security guards etc...a reasonable prediction. Yes this film was a video nasty back in the day in the UK, one of those films that was thought to corrupt the young and innocent hehe I can see why somewhat. Looking back now though its a good fun revenge thriller which is so gloriously 80's and introduced us all to a young chubby Michael J. Fox.
    Phil H Super Reviewer

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