Sylvia Barrett is a rookie teacher with a can-do attitude at New York's inner city Calvin Coolidge High. Crowded classes, broken windows, lack of chalk and books are a few of the problems facing Sylvia, yet she carries on ... more »- even as a promising student drops out, another sleeps through class, a girl with a crush on a male teacher gets suicidal, and a bright but troublesome student misunderstands Sylvia's reaching out.« less
""Up the Down Staircase" is a wonderful film. It portrays Coolidge High School in New York City, and an idealistic teacher who discovers the harsh realities found in the urban schools in America. Even though it was made in 1967, it still holds true 35 years later. It is a story of courage and triumph. The star is Sandy Dennis, a superb actress whose performance is flawless as the teacher. It also features Eileen Heckart, Ruth White, Jean Stapleton, and Sorrell Booke. This film is a classic masterpeice, and is highly recommended."
Excellent, highly recommended film!
Jennifer E. Williams | Fort Worth, TX | 08/07/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I watched this film for the very first time today and it is incredible. Sandy Dennis was brilliant as a young, idealistic school teacher who is slowly worn down, and ultimately rejuvenated, by her experiences working at an inner-city school. The film has disturbing scenes, happy scenes, sad scenes, and even some funny scenes. Most of all this film is real...it touches your heart and, to anyone who has ever been a teacher or attended a public school, the experiences Sandy Dennis's character has with the school nurse and secretary are hilariously realistic. EXCELLENT FILM!!!!"
'THERE IS NO FRIGATE . . .' HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Operaman! | Chicago, IL United States | 08/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of my favorite movies. As an innercity public high school student, I remember the snooty kids visiting us from an all-white suburban camelot academy mentioning that it reminded them of "Up the Down Staircase". The late Sandy Dennis' performance as idealistic English teacher Miss Barrett was one of the most undervalued and underrated, and I thought it criminal that she didn't rate at least an Oscar nomination. A wonderful supporting cast, including a pre-Edith Bunker Jean Stapleton and Eileen Heckert, and the students being played by real high school kids makes this special. I think you might be surprised how relatively mild these "delinquents" act in comparison with the kids today. At least no kids were packing heat back then!
Great this is coming to DVD."
Sandy Dennis at her best...
sandydennis | 02/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sandy Dennis in her role as high school teacher Sylvia Barrett is truly magnificent!!! She outshines every other actor or actress in the movie. She does not overact - instead, she strikes one by her flawless presentation of an initially overtaxed teacher who develops towards an inspiring person, not only for her pupils, but also for those who watch the film with the intention to become a teacher her- or himself, as I do. What I appreciate especially about Up the down staircase is that with a minimum of special effects or dramatic events, a realistic portrayal of school life is achieved - from the teacher's as well as from the pupil's point of view. Dennis herself ranks among the most underrated Hollywood actresses, but like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, the film Up the down staircase stands as one of her masterpieces and prove that back in 1992, when she died of ovarian cancer, America lost one of its most gifted and unique actresses."
Highly recommend this movie to new teachers
sandydennis | 08/09/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was just on Turner Classic Movies, and it is indeed a classic. If you are a new teacher or think they are the reason for the decline in education in America, then watch this movie. Filmed in 1967, but with modern themes which apply today, this movie is about teachers and kids and how they learn about each other. You'll find Jean Stapleton who played Edith, wife of "Archie Bunker", Sorrell Booke who played Boss Hogg on "Dukes of Hazzard" and the lead character Sandy Dennis, who played Gwen, the wife, on the original "Out of Towners." Very well acted. If you've ever been to an inner-city school like I went to for a while, you'll like this movie's portrayal of the students as they learn about thier new teacher and themselves. Also, if you're like me, you'll find a kind of poetic statement which the movie makes without intentionally doing so. As the movie was filmed in 1967, the turbulent years of 1968 and 1969 lay ahead for these kids in this movie, and the hardships they are enduring now will pale in comparison to what they face in the near future. They will need a teacher like the one portrayed in the movie, and only you, the viewer, will know that."