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The Principal (1987)

James Belushi , Louis Gossett Jr. , Christopher Cain  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Belushi, Louis Gossett Jr., Rae Dawn Chong, Michael Wright, J.J. Cohen
  • Directors: Christopher Cain
  • Writers: Frank Deese
  • Producers: Thomas H. Brodek
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Portuguese, English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 30, 2002
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000694WJ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,175 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Principal" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Rick Latimer (Belushi), a screw-up teacher at a white bread high school, is presented with an ultimatum by the school board: find a new employer or become the principal of the district's most troublesome high school. He becomes the no-nonsense principal at a school populated by violent gangs, drug dealers, and other delinquents and rules with an iron fist.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
In this wonderful reworking of Hawks' Rio Bravo, Belushi takes on both the role of the sheriff and of the drunk. This is the best of all of the 1980s faculty vs. evil student movies. Belushi towers in this film, giving a wondeful leading man performance which should have forever brought him out from under his brother's shadow. The film, like a lot of Hawks films, has the main characters trapped in a building and having to fight their ways out. Morales, Gosset and Rae Dawn give strong support. Though director's Cain's Young Guns was his most popular film on the decade, this was clearly his best.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Belushi at his best October 13, 2010
This is one of if not the best of James Belushi's movies. I love watching the 'teacher fix a school' kind of movie like The Substitute, Dangerous minds, Lean on Me because I relate to the difficult task a teacher or administrator is charged with in U.S. school systems. The Principal does utilize some of the typical cliche's such as the 'main man bad guy' or 'out of control students' but it's done in such a way it's fun to watch. Both Lou Gossett jr. and Rae Dawn Chong give excellent supporting roll performances. The Principal is about a teacher who goes and has gone through some tough personal battles (ex wife he still loves, turns to drink, etc) and it treats us to an inside look at a man who's just trying to get through and do his job. He's (belushi), offerred the job as Principal at a school (Surprise!) and the rest of the movie follows him through his, the school, the students, and faculty's learning process. In many ways The Principal is the best of the 4 or 5 good 'teacher movies' out there.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars James Belushi should have gotten an oscar for this... February 15, 2004
So then why do I only give 3 stars? Well, for one the movie was not as long as I hoped it would be and I also didn't care too much for the abrupt ending. Despite all that The Principal is probably the most realistic story of a man who even though has serious difficulty turning a trashy high school into a somewhat safer learning environment, manages to slowly succeed while firmly enforcing his rules. I wouldn't be surprised if this movie was based on a true story. I've seen movies like this such as Lean on Me, Dangerous Minds, High School High, and the Substitute but The Principal is the most realistic (not to mention more entertaining) film of the "Teacher vs. dangerous schools" scenario and I never seem to tire of it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellence in movie making July 9, 2007
The Principle is a riviting, edge of your seat kind of movie. It was well written, and the actors do their part very well. It goes to show that not all kids are bad, some are just in bad situations. If someone cares enough to help, it can go a long way in improving someone's life. This is a must see movie.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars James Belushi gets a promotion March 22, 2001
By C.H.
Format:VHS Tape
Following an arrest for drunk and disorderly conduct, schoolteacher Belushi is transferred to the worst school in the district and designated the new principal. Except for some halfhearted support from some of the faculty and a few students, he's all on his own. That sets the tone of the story, because most of the student body is out to get him. Louis Gossett Jr. is solid as the school security guard, and so is Rae Dawn Chong as a teacher that Belushi is able to make headway with. The fine performances and some gripping tension lift this above some of the other "violent youthgang" movies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The Principal (1987) has the great actors James Belushi and Louis
Gossett Jr, (both with high critical and viewer acclaim) _ taking
on challenging roles. There's a glimpse back at the 1980's a
quarter century later, in particular, the fascinating scenario of
an inner city high school comprised of a melting pot of various
cultures and backgrounds.

Cast as an underdog, struggling with strained relationships of
various sorts (wife, elite school job, family) and a hot temper,
Belushi is assigned to an inner city school, as the director (in
lieu of jailtime or fine for damaging the Porche owned by his
wife's new lover.)

The personality of Belushi's character is to never turn down any
challenge, physical confrontation, being never too small for any

Albeit a school setting, there's a great entertainment value of
suspense, body to body fights, flashy motorcycle, humor, action,
thrills, stunts, with an effective soundtrack (not at all dated)
and a crystal clear cinematography and DVD transfer.

A principal requires an agile body, a fitness prepared for body
combat, a honed fighting technique and brute muscular strength,
from the lessons learned, in counterpoint to delinquents and
mockingbird detractors and unbelievers in the mission of education
in general.

As with guerilla conflicts, the war is not winnable by the entity
in whom authority and hierarchical power is invested unless the
"hearts and minds" are won of the overall, numerous population at
large - here, the student body.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No More! November 25, 2007
He is the princpal at the worst High School in the area. And the students get raped, beatten, everyone is smoking or taking somthing.
All he asks is no more! Great movie........
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