The Principal is a 1987 American crime thriller action film directed by Christopher Cain, starring Jim Belushi, Louis Gossett, Jr. and Rae Dawn Chong.


Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

After high school teacher Ric Latimer gets in trouble for destroying a man (who was with his ex-wife, Kimberly)'s car outside of a bar, the school district transfers him to Brandel High, a crime and gang-ridden school where he is named the school principal.

Believing that can he can fix up his image by cleaning up the school, Rick attempts to have an assembly to declare his intentions: "No more "meaning no more drugs, no more running in the hallways and no more being late to class.

During his speech, Victor Duncan (who is the leader of the main gang in the school) walks in & derides Rick in front of everyone and then walks out which eventually results in a small riot which also earns Rick the enmity of not only the teachers, but also the school head of security, Jake.

Eventually, Rick is able to enforce his policy of no drugs in school and clearing the hallways, but not always with success and because the students are now forced to go to class, some of the more unruly students become increasingly disruptive, including a student named White Zac who attempts to rape one of the teachers, Ms. Orozco, one of the school's teachers that Rick is beginning to develop a close friendship.

Meanwhile, Victor continues to assert his influence on the school and even goes so far as to brutally assault a former member of his gang and hang him by his ankles when the member warms to Rick and actually starts learning.

The tension between Rick and Victor eventually leads to a showdown in the school hallways where Jake is temporarily locked inside of a supply closet while Victor and his gang are hunting Rick down. Victor even shoots a guy named Jojo in the head when he refuses to cut Rick's throat.

In the end, Rick and Victor fight each other with their fists and it seems as though Victor is winning the fight, but Rick is able to overpower him much to the surprise of the rest of the school who witness the fight & several students are cheering Rick on.

When a small fight breaks out, once again, Rick declares, "No more" and Victor ends being taken away in a police car. When a student derisively asks Rick, "Hey man, who the hell do you think you are?" and Rick responds back, "I'm the principal, man!" & he is shown riding away on his motorcycle.


  • Jim Belushi as Principal Rick Latimer
  • Louis Gossett, Jr. as Head Guard Jake Phillips
  • Rae Dawn Chong as Hilary Orozco
  • Michael Wright as Victor Duncan
  • Jeffrey Jay Cohen as White Zac
  • Kelly Minter as Treena Lester
  • Esai Morales as Raymi Rojas
  • Troy Winbush as Baby Emile
  • Jacob Vargas as Arturo Diego


"The Principal" was filmed in Alameda, Oakland and Walnut Creek, California which lasted from February 2 to April 4, 1987.

Box OfficeEdit

The movie opened at #4 at the box office (behind films such as Fatal Attraction, The Pick-Up Artist and Hellraiser), grossing $4,297,710 in its opening weekend. The domestic total gross for the movie was was $19,734,940.

Critical ReceptionEdit

Critic Desson Howe from the Washington Post wrote in his review of the film: "Despite the "Sybil"-like plot (and questionable Rambo mentality), there's something watchable about it all. Weird it is, flop it ain't."


Actor Jacob Vargas was nominated for a Young Artist Award for "Best Young Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama."


The Principal Trailer (1987)

The Principal Trailer (1987)

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