The Principal - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Principal Reviews

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May 4, 2017
Jim Belushi cracks down on a crime-ridden high school. The Principal is full of cliches and feels like a movie you've seen before and know all too well, but it is watchable. (First and only viewing - 8/6/2014)
½ August 18, 2016
Schoolteacher gets in trouble and is assigned to be principal at one of the city's dangerous high schools. The action picks up from there and Gossett Jr. puts in a top notch performance.
May 9, 2016
Another generic "tough principal takes over a chaotic and failing high school" movie that fails to deliver any emotional impact or leave a lasting memory.
May 1, 2016
I remember the first time I saw this insane piece of cinema. I was just a kid, and I had this tiny, old TV in my room. At the time, the only thing that most channels ran at night were old movies and shows. Spike was having a nostalgia binge, playing tons of cheesy movies from the 80s, when this oddity popped up. It was just crazy enough to make me put down my comic and sit through the entire thing. It was like watching every joke about 80s movies come to life. It is beyond cheesy, beyond implausible, and completely insane, but it might just be some of the most fun I have ever had watching a movie.
January 16, 2016
I loved this movie! While the ending kind of turned into a 80's cliche, I still was on board with this all the way! There was room for it to dig a bit deeper and explore a bit more, but overall I was very happy and engaged with this movie. Very underrated in my opinion.
½ April 9, 2015
Belushi as the rough and tumble,no nonsense principal friggin you believe that $hit.
March 3, 2015
No schmaltz or touchy feely moments here. This is the "teacher-cleans-up-bad-school" movie for people who hate those type of movies. Helps if you're a Belushi fan too.
January 31, 2015
The Principle tries to be a serious, but predictable, movie about turning a underfunded, unsatisfactory school around. Yet, the seriousness factor is overlooked by all the campy/cheesy scenes and lines that are more depressing than anything else.
April 5, 2014
It was ok. It's one of those 80s films that can entertain modern viewers once in a while. But, the tone is extremely dark, and the plot is something that modern high school movies have to be thankful for. The performances are nicely competent and carry the film. The Principal is intense, dark, affecting, and gripping for an 80s film, with one of my favorite performance out of James Belushi. The Principal is one of the most darkest toned films I have ever seen from the 80s generation.
½ December 11, 2013
Rick Latimer (James Belushi) is a high-school teacher with a drinking problem. Spotting his ex-wife Kimberly (Sharon Thomas Cain) in a bar one night, Rick gets into a fight with the man she's with, culminating in his beating the hapless man's car with a baseball bat. The board of education finds that Rick's behavior is reflecting poorly on the school district's image. They unanimously decide to transfer him to another school, in another district: Brandel High, a crime-ridden and gang-dominated institution, where he is made the new principal. Believing he can repair his image by cleaning up the school, Rick attempts to have an assembly to declare his intentions: "No more." No more drugs, running in the hallways or being late to class. While he's giving his speech, Victor Duncan (Wright), the leader of the main gang in the school, walks in, derides Rick in front of everyone, then walks out, which eventually results in a small riot, which earns Rick the enmity of not only the teachers but also the school custodian Jake (Louis Gossett Jr.). Rick will soon find out that the result of his actions is putting his own life in danger...

This is a kind of classic 80´s so so action drama with yet a social political theme putting the focus on the school system and its non functional institutions. There´s a clear connection to the great "Class Of 1984", but "The Principal" is not close to the former. James Belushi is ok as Latimer, this is the sort of role that fits him. Nice to re-see the always stunning Rae Dawn Chong.
½ November 2, 2013
El final esta flojo.
September 19, 2013
This is a decent flic contra to popular belief. What I liked about this film is that the principal played by Belushi tries to reform the school on a technical level starting with stopping the crime first. Not a great film but it has its moments. It is a given that it is not even close to as good as "Lean On Me" (1988). But I still enjoyed it. Definitely a social commentary on what was happening then in inner city schools & has gotten worse now in those schools & in the suburbs. Flic was way ahead of its time. I especially liked the performance of Rae Dawn Chong as one of the liberal teachers trying to teach the few who want to learn.
August 13, 2013
This is one of those films that I often bring up in conversation as a "do you remember the film where Belushi plays a principal in a dangerous school?" and I'm often met with blank faces. It was one of those films I caught late at night back in the day and reasonably enjoyed. Belushi as a leading man is truly a weird choice, but here he is actually pretty decent in a weird 80s kind of way. It's filled with terrible clichés, racial profiles and Belushi riding a motorbike through the school halls...but I've seen plenty worse.
½ July 31, 2013
An oldie, but a goodie.
½ July 14, 2013
One long mildly amusing corny-as-hell after school special starring James Belushi.
May 14, 2013
The normal "new principal" cleaning up the school story. However, the movie does have its moments.
April 7, 2013
Maverick school teacher Rick Latimer (Belushi) is giving a promortion and made a princpal. The only catch is, that it is an inner city school in the ghetto. Excellent support with Luis Gossett Jnr helping him clean up the school from the scum who control it.
January 26, 2013
One of the best Jim Belushi movies out there.
January 22, 2013
As teaching exploitation films go, this is less about actual teaching and more about beating people up. This is a much harder, vulgar, tougher troubled school movie than were getting made around this time. Overall, it's pretty forgettable, but the final showdown in a shower room was genuinely nerve wracking. Even if you hated the Belushi character, I dare you not to be on the edge of your seat.
December 11, 2012
A very good movie. Has a life lesson.
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