Lean on Me Movie Review

Type of paper: Movie review

Topic: Cinema, Leadership, Drugs

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2019/10/04


Lean on Me is a movie which was produced in 1989 and written by Michael Schiffer. It is about a high school principal whose school was at a risk of being taken over by the government since the students were not performing well in their tests.

Task role

In the movie, Joe Louis Clark was a high school principal. His school faced numerous problems especially those ones which were dealing with drugs and gang violence. His student’s were also receiving low test scores. He therefore had the obligation of devising mechanisms in order to improve the performance of his school or else it be taken by the government.

Social role

The principal Mr. Clark is dedicated to the school and is ready to do anything just to realize the good progress of the school. He does not listen to what the community tells him for as long as he feels that whatever he is doing is for the benefit of the school and the students in the school. On several occasions, the principal clashes with the community about the decisions he makes. On one instance, he clashed with parents of the expelled students and the mayor about his controversial decisions to expel the students. He is arrested but students demonstrate in order to have him back to the school as the principal. He is later released and the mayor becomes the one on the losing side.

Anti-group role

The principal was against the group of students in the school that was involved in abusing drugs.  He decided to expel all the students who were involved in the vice. The decision was greatly opposed by the parent’s whose children were expelled. Some teachers also tried to oppose him but were served with dismissal letters. However, there was an instance of his purported sacking that was reversed by the superintendent.  Mr. Clark’s continual strictness on the group of students who were degrading education in the school helped shape up the school and the performance of the students also increased.

Kind of leadership in the group

Mr. Clark exercised a dictatorial kind of leadership whereby he said something and he wanted it done just as he said it without any form of opposition. It is evident that he did not accept any form of opposition especially from the teachers. He sacked the teachers who opposed him.

Type of structure in the group

The structure in the group is hierarchical. The principal is above everyone in the school but the superintendent is above the principal. The kind of leadership structure can be seen from the way commands were being issued. The principal had powers to sack teachers especially those ones who opposed him. However, the superintendent had more powers than the ones possessed by the principal. This can be seen when the superintendent reversed one of his actions of sacking a teacher.


The movie gives a clear insight on how dictatorial leadership can help shape up a society. It also shows us on how education mixed with politics, drugs and other amoral behaviors usually deteriorates. Mr. Clark’s strictness helped the school improve in its performance and also helped in stamping out the vice that was rampant in the school of drug abuse. The involvement of the mayor did not bring any good as the students were ready to have Mr. Clark as their principal which we can see them achieve as the movie ends.

Work Cited List

The movie Lean on Me by Michael Schiffer, directed by John G. Avidsen and Satarring Morgan Freeman