Directed by Mark Lester
Starring Perry King, Tim Van Patten, Michael J. Fox, and Roddy McDowall
This is what is known as a “cult classic” because it gained a following through home video rental. I was one who first saw it on home video. At that time it was a shocking film and the director said he wanted to warn about the problem of violence at school.
Mr. Norris is a new teacher at Lincoln High. There he meets another teacher who he sees carries a gun. They become friends and he tries to warn Mr. Norris about the kids at this school. Stegman is a student who is the leader of a gang that seems to rule the school and when Mr. Norris decides to stop them they start a war between students and teachers.
From the opening moment, you can feel you are about to see something violent and dark. The opening song sets the mood perfectly for the rest of the film, with the lyrics that say “take a look at my face I am the future how do you like what you see” a perfect reference to the phrase that kids are the future. I think the movie is very effective in the way the story was told. The violence was realistic and that made it more frightening in the sense that what you were seeing on the screen as possible. The Norris character left me undecided because on one side you know he has to stop them but on the other side, a lot could have been avoided if he backed down. It puts us in that moral place where what would we do, stay quiet or do something.
This film was the first film featuring Michael J. Fox before Family Ties. He is charming in the film and effective as the good kid Arthur. Perry King was very good as the teacher who stood up to the gang and Tim Van Patten was excellent as the main villain. This film was not a high budgeted film so the rest of the cast was effective and played their roles just as needed for the film.
At the time it was made it was shocking and at least for me, it has been a film that stayed on my mind and from time to time I always see it again. The song I mentioned was performed by Alice Cooper and it goes perfectly with the movie.