Blackboard Jungle is a 1955 American drama\social commentary film based on Evan Hunter's 1954 novel "The Blackboard Jungle" that starred Glenn Ford and Sidney Poitier.
It was released on March 19, 1955 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
New schoolteacher Richard Dadier (Glenn Ford) starts working at North Manual Trades High School, an inner-city school of diverse ethnic backgrounds where many of the pupils [which is lead by a student named Gregory Miller (Sidney Poitier)] engage in anti-social behavior..
Dadier tries to refocus the students on their education which challenges not only the students, but the school staff as well. He also becomes subjected to violence and schemes & later finds himself in a confrontation with a student, Artie West (Vic Morrow).
- Glenn Ford as Richard Dadier
- Sidney Poitier as Gregory Miller
- Vic Morrow as Artie West
- Anne Francis as Anne Dadier
- Louis Calhern as Jim Murdock
- Margaret Hayes as Lois Hammond
- John Hoyt as Mr. Warneke
- Richard Kiley as Joshua Edwards
- Emile Meyer as Mr. Halloran
- Warner Anderson as Dr. Bradley
- Basil Ruysdael as Professor A. R. Kraal
- Dan Terranova as Belazi
- Rafael Campos as Pete V. Morales
- Paul Mazursky as Emmanuel Stoker
- Horace McMahon as Detective
- Jameel Farah as Santini
The original novel for "Blackboard Jungle" was based on author Evan Hunter's experiences working as a teacher in New York City's tough South Bronx area.
The movie marked the rock and roll revolution by featuring Bill Haley & His Comets' hit song "Rock Around the Clock." In some theaters (when the film was in first release), it wasn't heard at all at the beginning of the film because rock & roll music was considered a bad influence at the time. Despite this, other instances of the song were not cut.
It was the film debut for actors Rafael Campos, Vic Morrow and Jameel Farah (who would later change his name to Jamie Farr & appear on the TV series "M*A*S*H").
Due to the movie's theme of juvenile deliquency & violence, "Blackboard Jungle" was initially rejected in other countries such as Italy and the United Kingdom, but some of the scenes from the film were eventually cut out in those particular countries.
In many European countries, the movie led to teenage violence in cinemas. When it shown at a South London Cinema in Elephant & Castle in 1956, the teenage Teddy Boy audience began rioting, tearing up seats and dancing in the aisles.
According to MGM records, "Blackboard Jungle" earned $5,292,000 in the United States & Canada and $2,852,000 elsewhere which resulted in a profit of $4,392,000.
1955 Academy Award Nominations
- "Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium" (to Richard Brooks)
- "Best Cinematography, Black-and-White" (to Russell Harlan)
- "Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White" (to Cedric Gibbons, Randall Duell, Edwin B. Willis & Henry Grace)
- "Best Film Editing" (to Ferris Webster)