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Blackboard Jungle [VHS]

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Product Details

  • Actors: Glenn Ford, Anne Francis, Louis Calhern, Margaret Hayes, John Hoyt
  • Directors: Richard Brooks
  • Writers: Richard Brooks, Evan Hunter
  • Producers: Pandro S. Berman
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: MGM (Warner)
  • VHS Release Date: November 12, 1996
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304196873
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,513 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


Novelist Evan Hunter burst America's postwar bubble when he described an inner-city school terrorized by switchblade-wielding juvenile delinquents. Director-screenwriter Richard Brooks's 1955 adaptation of Blackboard Jungle still packs a tremendous wallop (even if it was shot mostly on the back lot). A forerunner of Rebel Without a Cause and West Side Story, this black-and-white classic--set to Bill Haley and His Comets' "Rock Around the Clock"--is part exposé, part melodrama, part public-service announcement. "It is the frankest, the toughest, the most realistic film since On the Waterfront," ballyhooed MGM at the time.

Glenn Ford, at his slow-to-rile best, plays Richard Dadier, an incoming English teacher at North Manual High School. An idealist who knows how to handle himself in a dark alley, Dadier stands his ground and earns the begrudging respect of school thugs led by Vic Morrow and Sidney Poitier. Anne Francis plays Ford's especially vulnerable wife; Richard Kiley (later in Brooks's Looking for Mr. Goodbar) is the timid math teacher with the priceless jazz-record collection; Louis Calhern and John Hoyt are among the more cynical North Manual High veterans. See if you can ID Jamie Farr and director Paul Mazursky as gang members. The film was nominated for four Oscars. --Glenn Lovell

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 98 customer reviews
Even if it's from the 50's, it is one of the best movies I've seen.
Nathanial M
The part in the movie I loved most was where Dadier points out how low in wages school teachers make yet he still continues to teach to the very best of his ability.
Rafael says “stinkin’” instead of “finkin’”, like they did in the book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By gobirds2 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 31, 2006
Format: DVD
Said to provoke violence, this film about 1955's brutal and vicious NYC school system remains taut and effective to this day. The direction by Richard Brooks is groundbreaking. Based on Evan Hunter's novel, Brooks tackles the idea of contempt for authority within the school system as a problem with a distinct solution. That solution comes in the form of an idealistic new teacher played with effective restraint by Glenn Ford. Sidney Poitier and Vic Morrow portray the two major protagonists from the class of intimidating and delinquent juveniles. Sidney Poitier is the one weak link that Ford realizes he can reach. Poitier is antagonistic and disturbingly introverted but not truly dangerous. Vic Morrow is malicious and a real threat. Vic Morrow's performance is intense, riveting and absolutely convincing. Vic Morrow's talent as one of our finest actors seems long forgotten and certainly has gone unrecognized for too long now. His performance here is testament to that and adds to the shock value of this film. The very effective acting is convincing setting a benchmark for this genre on society's problems in urban education. In all, that is the point of this film. It is all about the strong and the weak be they teacher or student trying to survive in this setting.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Smallchief on April 23, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
I saw this movie in 1955. It was one of the best in that age in the genre about alienated youth, dealing as it did with ghetto kids and minorities rather than the spoiled brats of "Rebel Without a Cause."
Most of all, the movie introduced me and a million other kids to Rock and Roll. I remember listening spellbound to "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and the Comets at the end of the movie. Something, I perceived in my little noodle brain, had changed -- and nothing would ever be the same again.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Steven Hellerstedt on June 25, 2005
Format: DVD
Mix a dash of earnest social consciousness, a pinch of rock `n roll ("One, two, three o'clock, four o'clock ROCK..."), a dollop of exploitation (A shock story of today's high school hoodlums!) and you've got the recipe for BLACKBOARD JUNGLE (1955), director Richard Brooks' highly successful and award winning movie.
BLACKBOARD JUNGLE is the story of Richard Dadier (Glenn Ford), a rookie teacher newly hired at Emmanuel High School, an inner-city school that one of the veteran teachers aptly, we soon learn, refers to as a `garbage can.' Dadier - immediately and inevitably `Daddy-O' to his class full of juvenile delinquents - is an idealist of sorts who, against the stream, believes that he can reach and teach the kids. In the class is a glowering Vic Morrow and an apathetic Sidney Poitier - Poitier's character is apathetic, that is - and various other representatives of inner-city hoodlums. It's in this corrosive environment that Dadier's liberal idealism is buffeted and, finally, put to the acid test. Ford, Morrow and Poitier are outstanding in a story that seems quite dated today. Although it presents itself as an unblinking exposé of juvenile delinquency, there's an awful lot missing from this one - parents are never seen, nor students' homes nor, surprisingly, does there seem to be any female students. Perhaps, as is suggested on the commentary track, the school was originally supposed a trade school but changed when the powers that be checked what side their bread was buttered on. As it is, there's seems to be no reason given as to why these kids are so rotten, or whether anyone but Dadier really cares about them.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By drew behr on October 10, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I first saw this movie in the early 70s on TV and have rented it numerous times since the advent of VHS. It is an eye-opening portrayal of Richard Daddiere, an eager navy veteran who giddily wins his first teachng assignment at a hopelessly urban hellhole of a school. Right from the start though, one can immediately sense that his altruistic belief in the nobility of teaching will be reduced that of a desperate corrections officer doing his best to quell a daily uprising. And this does become the case very early into the film and serves as the film's central conflict. His first day of class begins with one of the punks hurling a baseball within inches of his head the first moment he turns his back on them, blasting a cracked hole into the blacboard. Daddiere wryly retorts with, "Well...whoever threw that will never play centerfield for the Yankees." This is our introduction to the likes of Artie West, more than convincingly played by the late Vic Morrow, a vicious punk whose demeanor instantaneously reveals that it is lkely that he'll not live a day beyond his twenty-first birthday. Then there is Gregory Miller, smoothly played by Sidney Poitier-a cool black cat who knows the score and is inherently decent. Daddiere smells this in him and encourages him to put his keenness to good use rather than waste his potential by being a lowlife like West and the rest of hs ilk. But Miller's race justifies his roguery, and he remains a sympathetic character for the duration. Then there is Bilozzi, a frightened punk and who takes sides with West because he's too afraid to be his own man and think for himself. I really admired this film, as it credibly depicted one man's quest to teach the unteachable, even though he well realizes that it is an unwinnable battle.Read more ›
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