Class of 1984 Mark L. Lester
Published May 23, 2008Time has a way of taking the edge off, but not in this case. When it first hit theatres in 1982, Class Of 1984 was a disturbing look into the future of North American school systems: crumbling buildings plastered with graffiti, unruly bullies taking their angst out on helpless students/teachers and rampant drugs. While exaggerated for impact, such was the setting for Lesters film featuring Perry King and Roddy McDowall as teachers Andrew Norris and Terry Corrigan. Norris, a vibrant, energetic teacher, is assinged to an inner-city high school with no concept of its deterioration. Plagued by drugs and violence, the school is overtaken by a variety of gangs. Struggling to teach, Norris eventually goes head-to-head with gang leader Peter Stegman (Timothy Van Patten). The rivalry eventually becomes personal, as Norriss pregnant wife is assaulted and a fight to the finish ensues. There are two elements to Class Of 1984: film and social commentary. With the latter, the movie is powerful, foreshadowing the reality of times to come, when metal detectors and security guards would be crucial to maintaining order and teachers would have less power than pupils. It would seem as if even Lester understated the level to which our learning facilities would collapse, yet almost three decades after its cinematic run the apocalyptic aura of Class Of 1984 resounds. With its B-film atmosphere, Class Of 1984 rides an interesting line. The films graininess and rough edges lend a touch of realism. However, some of the clichés of what a "punk rocker are, when coupled with a few awkward scenes and the occasional groan-inducing line/delivery, have a weakened impact. Regardless, to cinephiles, the list of notable actors (watching then-newbie Michael J. Fox get knifed in the cafeteria is worth it alone) and the political nature within are gripping enough to merit more credit than Class Of 1984 has gained since its once-shocking debut. Extras: actor/director interviews, photo gallery, commentary and more.