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Hard Lessons

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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(Apr 23, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

The George McKenna Story

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Denzel Washington, Lynn Whitfield, Debra Artis, Edna Auguillard, Billy Jaye Banner
  • Directors: Eric Laneuville
  • Writers: Charles Eric Johnson
  • Producers: Howard Lipstone, Jerram A. Swartz, Linda Otto
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: April 23, 2002
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000633QV
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,598 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Hard Lessons" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By GRAHAM TOMLINSON on September 8, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I seriously doubt Mr. Denzel Washington is able to give anything less than a performance of total conviction, as he proves once again to me here in one of his earliest leading roles. In a true-life portrayal of George McKenna, new principal to the trouble-torn George Washington Memorial High School, he is wholly convincing. The problems he encounters are not solely those caused by the students, but also the parents and indeed some of the teachers. His determination to turn things round stems from his passion that his pupils WILL graduate to college if they want to, and that this will never happen if they don't feel anyone cares about them. Despite resistance from some pupils and teachers,(not to mention ongoing gang warfare within the grounds), others rise to the occasion, both for themselves and for McKenna himself, such is the respect he gains. In the process of such diligence his once supportive girlfriend leaves him under the pressure of his split commitments, but as for the School, he succeeds. Seeing the graduating students really is a heartwarming moment! Having previously seen "187", it does make the violent scenes and troublesome pupils here look bland by comparison, but its hard to tell if this film was sanitised or "187" sensationalised. Regardless, its still well worth the watch, especially if you respect Denzel's work in later movies already.
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I am one of many family members who in fact attended George Washington High School, now George Washington Preparatory High School. After reading the previous reviews of others, I can make this statement. You have to live an event to really appreciate art imitating life.

For most movie makers it can be difficult at best to recreate a story such as this about a person who took on odds, doubt & obstacles to give African American & Latino students a better shot at life, through eduaction.

Personally, I loved this movie. I first saw it during my Sophomore year in high school. I was on hiatus my fall semester attending another school, and was upset that I couldn't be back home. However, I was filled with pride knowing that my principal, & school's history was becoming a part of Americana. So to some this may have been a cheezy attempt. To me this made for TV film will go down in history that preceeded Lean On Me, Stand and Deliver an others, but all will chronical the struggles and triumphs that a few will self inflict to take on the inequalities our nation perpetuates on it's inner city youth.
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All teachers, community leaders and parents should see this. This was based on a true story about one mans, courage and preservation to mkae something out of those who gave up on themselves, their children and education. It took Denzel with that swagger to make his point come across. For the real George McKenna you should have gotten a Nobel Peace prize for what you did. You proved that it takes a village to take care, protect and raise a child and that without an education you won't go far. Thank you I was literally moved to tears.
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I loved this movie; not only because that fine Denzel Washington played Mr.McKenna, but because it was very personal to me. George McKenna was one of my instructors at Jordan High School in Watts. Denzel portrayed Mr.McKenna to the T!!!! After 45+ years, I am still in touch with Mr.McKenna, my not so secret crush!!!!!!
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Format: DVD
VERY GOOD FILM.IT IS A GOD FILM TO WATCH FOR ANYONE, BUT A BRILLIANT FILM TO WATCH IF YOU LIKE TRUE STORIES.
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This book reflected a story I experienced hands on. I attended Washington Prep and had the opportunity to be a student under Principle George McKenna between 1984 and 1986. He demonstrated that one person can make a difference when they are willing to show true compassion to others.
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The merchandise arrived promptly and packaged appropriately. It is like new and in excellent condition. As soon as I received it, I was able to play it for my students. They thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Thank you.
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I had seen this movie on television and loved it. Being a Denzel Washington fan, I had to have it for my collection
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