Class of 1984

Class of 1984 is a 1982 Canadian-American action thriller crime film directed by Mark L. Lester and co-written by Tom Holland and John Saxton based on a story by Holland. The film stars Perry King, Merrie Lynn Ross (who also served as co-executive producer), Timothy Van Patten, Lisa Langlois, Stefan Arngrim, Michael J. Fox (credited as Michael Fox in an early role shortly before his breakthrough on the TV series Family Ties), and Roddy McDowall.

Class of 1984
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMark L. Lester
Produced byArthur Kent
Screenplay by
Story byTom Holland
Music byLalo Schifrin
Alice Cooper
CinematographyAlbert J. Dunk
Edited byHoward Kunin
Guerrilla High Productions
Distributed by
  • Citadel Films (Canada)
  • United Film Distribution Company (US)
Release date
  • August 20, 1982 (1982-08-20) (USA)
  • June 3, 1983 (1983-06-03) (Canada)
Running time
94 minutes[1]
United States
Budget$4.3 million

The movie is considered by some to be a recollection of 1955's The Blackboard Jungle. King and Van Patten have the Glenn Ford and Vic Morrow roles (respectively), while Fox is in Sidney Poitier's.

The film used the punk look and image that was becoming part of popular culture in the early 1980s. The theme song, "I Am the Future", was performed by Alice Cooper. The film also features a performance by Canadian punk band Teenage Head.


Andrew Norris is the new music teacher at a troubled inner city school. As he arrives on his first day, he meets fellow teacher Terry Corrigan, who is carrying a gun. When Andrew asks about the firearm, Terry assures him he will learn why the protection is necessary. When they enter the school, Andrew is shocked to see everyone scanned by metal detectors and frisked. He spots a student with a knife, but the security guards let the kid go because they are so overworked.

The halls of the school are covered with graffiti. Andrew learns he is expected to patrol the halls as a security guard during his off periods. In his first class, a group of five disruptive students are roughhousing and causing trouble. The leader of the gang is Peter Stegman, the only member of the group who is actually registered in that class. They all eventually walk out, and Andrew discovers the rest of the students actually want to learn, especially Arthur, who plays the trumpet, and Deneen, who plays the clarinet.

As Andrew gets to know the school and the area, he decides that he wants to put together an orchestra with his more advanced students. Peter's gang sells drugs, run a strip club, and cause all kinds of mayhem. They follow Andrew home and taunt him one night.

At school, Andrew is confronted with more and more evidence of Peter's crimes. The two grow increasingly at odds. Eventually, after Peter killed Terry's animals in his lab, Andrew and Peter wind up in a bathroom alone together. Peter throws himself into a mirror and beats himself, claiming that Andrew attacked him. Trying to clear things up, Andrew visits Peter's mother at home. Frustrated when Peter still plays the victim and his mother will not hear Andrew out, he hotwires Peter's car and drives it into a wall. During lunch, the gang starts a "food fight" and forces their friend Vinnie to stab Arthur, which he does so and causes him to be sent to a hospital. Vinnie is arrested and held in a youth detention center. Terry is driven insane after the incident with the animals in his lab and is killed after crashing his car when trying to kill Peter and the others.

Andrew's orchestra is about to give its first concert. As his wife Diane gets ready at home, Peter's gang breaks into the house and gang rapes her. One of them takes a Polaroid of her being raped and has it delivered to Andrew on the podium, just as he is about to start the concert. Horrified by the photo, he runs off the podium in pursuit of Peter's gang. Andrew and the gang chase each other through the school. Andrew kills them off one by one, and finally confronts Peter on the roof. Their last scuffle ends with Peter falling through a skylight and getting strangled to death in the ropes above the stage. His corpse falls into full view of the audience. Andrew is never charged because the police could not find a witness to the crime.



The film premiered on August 20, 1982 in the United States.[2]


When originally released in the United Kingdom, the theatrical version received four minutes and fourteen seconds of cuts from the British Board of Film Classification, and was refused a video certificate four years later. It was finally passed fully uncut in 2005.[1]


Upon original release, the film was banned in several countries due to its lewd content.[3] On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a rating of 74% based on 19 reviews, with a weighted average of 6.32/10.[4]

Home media

Scream Factory released the film in a Collector's Edition Blu-ray on April 14, 2015.


Comedy writer/producer Tom Scharpling has noted that Class of 1984 is one of his favorite films. Scharpling would often reference the film on his weekly call in radio program The Best Show on WFMU.[5][6]


The film spawned two sci-fi-themed sequels that were loosely based on the original: Class of 1999 (1990) and the direct-to-video follow-up Class of 1999 II: The Substitute (1994), the first of which was also directed by Lester and like its predecessor, was also released via Vestron Video, while the latter was released by Vidmark Entertainment. Lionsgate released Class of 1999 on DVD September 16, 2008. The sequel films have been released on DVD in other territories, such as Korea, Italy and Australia.


  1. "CLASS OF 1984 (18) (!)". British Board of Film Classification. January 22, 1983. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  2. Class of 1984 - Release Info
  3. article: "Class of 1984"
  4. "Class of 1984". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  5. Recidivism page: "The Belt Brigade."
  6. Recidivism page: "Philly Boy Paul."
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