“Class of 1984 came about because of my love for Blackboard Jungle,” said director Mark Lester.
In fact, the two films share a lot in common. Take a peek below!
Both begin with a text introduction.
Blackboard Jungle and Class of 1984 both begin with text introducing the story. In Blackboard, however, it's made very clear that “the scenes and incidents depicted here are fictional” and compliments the current state of education, despite concerns about the potential of juvenile delinquency.
But by the time 1984 came out things weren’t as bright. Its introduction states, "Unfortunately, this film is based on true events.”
A new teacher joins the school and butts heads with the main villain.
Richard Dadier (Glenn Ford) and Andrew Norris (Perry King) are both new teachers who find themselves at odds with the leader of a gang – Artie West (Vic Morrow) and Peter Stegman (Tim Van Patten) respectively. The tension between them rises throughout both films until they clash in a final conflict, which includes some assistance from other gang members.
The pregnant wives get involved…
Anne Dadier (Anne Francis) and Diane Norris (Merrie Lynn Ross) are both pregnant and both become targets of the gang. In Anne’s case, she receives harassing letters which eventually cause so much anxiety that it threatens her pregnancy. In Diane’s case, the gang breaks into her home, attacks her, and then kidnaps her.
There’s an alley fight.
An alley fight breaks out in both films, though they begin differently. In Blackboard Jungle, our hero teacher is simply walking with another faculty member. In Class of 1984, our protagonist stops to help students who are being threatened. In either case, the gangs take a swipe at their teachers.
Two teachers lose what they love most.
Joshua Edwards (Richard Kiley) and Terry Corrigan (Roddy McDowall) both share their hobbies with their students – Edwards’ record collection and Corrigan’s pet rabbits. However, the gangs torment each teacher by destroying them. It’s particularly brutal in Class of 1984.