Up the Down Staircase Reviews

  • Jul 22, 2018

    Accurate depiction of what teaching is really like. Great performances.

    Accurate depiction of what teaching is really like. Great performances.

  • Dec 04, 2014

    ***Due to the recent RT changes that have basically ruined my past reviews, I am mostly only giving a rating rather than a full review.***

    ***Due to the recent RT changes that have basically ruined my past reviews, I am mostly only giving a rating rather than a full review.***

  • Nov 10, 2014

    Can a new school teacher have an impact in the toughest of schools? Inspirational and authentic.

    Can a new school teacher have an impact in the toughest of schools? Inspirational and authentic.

  • May 13, 2012

    Sandy Dennis becomes a star in this

    Sandy Dennis becomes a star in this

  • Sep 03, 2011

    Probably, the best film about a teacher struggling to earn respect among its students and get them to like and to live the subject she teaches. A slight shade of 1970s idealism spoils the overall impression.

    Probably, the best film about a teacher struggling to earn respect among its students and get them to like and to live the subject she teaches. A slight shade of 1970s idealism spoils the overall impression.

  • jay n Super Reviewer
    Apr 29, 2011

    Well made, well acted drama of a young teacher's struggle to adapt to a tough inner city school. Some of the sheen has worn off the topicality of the issue since there have been many versions of it but this is a fine rendering of the tale. Sandy Dennis is perfectly cast in the lead.

    Well made, well acted drama of a young teacher's struggle to adapt to a tough inner city school. Some of the sheen has worn off the topicality of the issue since there have been many versions of it but this is a fine rendering of the tale. Sandy Dennis is perfectly cast in the lead.

  • Nov 29, 2010

    A film that presents present day challenges that were also hot-button in the late 1960's. Sandy Dennis presents her role with an understated, passive grace that benefits her strongly in the role, and the hidden enthusiasm of the other students is a mark to society that children really do care about their education.A wonderful film with many gems of wisdom that will make you think. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars.

    A film that presents present day challenges that were also hot-button in the late 1960's. Sandy Dennis presents her role with an understated, passive grace that benefits her strongly in the role, and the hidden enthusiasm of the other students is a mark to society that children really do care about their education.A wonderful film with many gems of wisdom that will make you think. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars.

  • Nov 08, 2010

    The first major film to put a chirpy/quirky spin on the 'tough school' genre first defined by 1955's "Blackboard Jungle." From a 1964 Bel Kaufman novella, born of her keen observations and notebooks while inside the New York City school system. First out on DVD in late 2007; WB's DVD transfer quality is surprisingly high. Sandy Dennis slips easily into her role as naive break-in teacher at fictional Coolidge High. Coolidge's foremost problem is that it's more an impotent bureaucracy than any kind of institution of learning, with many of its teachers and administrators bunkered well inside silos built of complex, needless paperwork. Along the way Dennis encounters a variety of now-predictable scenarios: student abused by parent, punk takes compassion as come-on, student crush on teacher (and vice-versa), student without parent or home. Dennis truly excels at her subtle revealing of the character's emotions as she navigates and eventually finds port within such choppy waters. Perhaps the film's scenarios are no revelation today, but it surely jolted 1967 viewers reared amidst the cornfields of Iowa. As a once NYC public school student, I know there is validity in the notions this film sets out to portray. Two-foot-wide red centerlines down each hall ensured only counter-clockwise flow of students. Classroom order was the only goal for many instructors; one Spanish teacher told endless macabre tales to mesmerize, skinning his neighbor's cats alive was but one of them. The Principal was unknown by sight; only his voice booming through the classroom speaker boxes was familiar. Truants went undetected for months until the paperwork caught up to them. And there's a strong concordance between this film and many of my personal experiences while teaching within 'a high-need urban high school.' These situations cannot be so much improved decades later. Accordingly, I find this film is still well recommended immersion for those considering K-12 teaching as 'a profession.'

    The first major film to put a chirpy/quirky spin on the 'tough school' genre first defined by 1955's "Blackboard Jungle." From a 1964 Bel Kaufman novella, born of her keen observations and notebooks while inside the New York City school system. First out on DVD in late 2007; WB's DVD transfer quality is surprisingly high. Sandy Dennis slips easily into her role as naive break-in teacher at fictional Coolidge High. Coolidge's foremost problem is that it's more an impotent bureaucracy than any kind of institution of learning, with many of its teachers and administrators bunkered well inside silos built of complex, needless paperwork. Along the way Dennis encounters a variety of now-predictable scenarios: student abused by parent, punk takes compassion as come-on, student crush on teacher (and vice-versa), student without parent or home. Dennis truly excels at her subtle revealing of the character's emotions as she navigates and eventually finds port within such choppy waters. Perhaps the film's scenarios are no revelation today, but it surely jolted 1967 viewers reared amidst the cornfields of Iowa. As a once NYC public school student, I know there is validity in the notions this film sets out to portray. Two-foot-wide red centerlines down each hall ensured only counter-clockwise flow of students. Classroom order was the only goal for many instructors; one Spanish teacher told endless macabre tales to mesmerize, skinning his neighbor's cats alive was but one of them. The Principal was unknown by sight; only his voice booming through the classroom speaker boxes was familiar. Truants went undetected for months until the paperwork caught up to them. And there's a strong concordance between this film and many of my personal experiences while teaching within 'a high-need urban high school.' These situations cannot be so much improved decades later. Accordingly, I find this film is still well recommended immersion for those considering K-12 teaching as 'a profession.'

  • Oct 24, 2010

    Dated, but still worth watching; If only because Sandy Dennis was such a terrific actor. And, of course, Frances Sternhagen is great as the fussy librarian.

    Dated, but still worth watching; If only because Sandy Dennis was such a terrific actor. And, of course, Frances Sternhagen is great as the fussy librarian.

  • Mar 11, 2010

    I really like Sandy Dennis in this film, and her character. Her nervous energy makes her feel real. It's a unique style that works well in this emotional drama. (First and only viewing - 11/18/2014)

    I really like Sandy Dennis in this film, and her character. Her nervous energy makes her feel real. It's a unique style that works well in this emotional drama. (First and only viewing - 11/18/2014)