Based off of the autobiographical novel "The Water is Wide" by Pat Conroy, Conrack tells the story of Conroy (portrayed by Jon Voight), a young unorthodox teacher who travels to an island off the coast of South Carolina to teach a group of young African-American students with little to no education. He is railed against for his teaching methods by the school's principle and the superintendent, but Conroy (known as "Conrack" to his students who cannot pronounce his name properly) is bound and determined to teach the children as much as he can in the best way he knows how, no matter what the consequences may be. For all intents and purposes, Conrack is an uplifting, hopeful film on the surface. Fortunately, it steps outside of those confines and becomes something else. It's less of a story about hope and more about sacrifice and loss. Jon Voight gives a terrific performance, as you might expect, but its the direction of Martin Ritt that's really impressive. The film also leaves many things unsaid, so dialogue is never wasted nor overused. It may touch a bit on the clichéd side, but overall, it's a terrific little film with some very good performances.