Rock 'n' Roll High School

Rock 'n' Roll High School

Infobox Film
name = Rock 'n' Roll High School
caption = original movie poster for "Rock 'n' Roll High School"
producer = Michael Finnell
director = Allan Arkush
writer = Richard Whitley
Russ Dvonch
Joseph McBride (screenplay)
Allan Arkush
Joe Dante (story)
starring = P. J. Soles
Dey Young
Vince Van Patten
Clint Howard
Mary Woronov |The Ramones cinematography = Dean Cundey
editing = Larry Bock
Gail Werbin
distributor = Buena Vista Home Entertainment
released = August 24, 1979
runtime = 93 min.
country = United States
language = English
budget = $300,000 (estimated)
amg_id = A41770
followed_by = "Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever"
imdb_id = 0079813

"Rock 'n' Roll High School" is a 1979 musical comedy film produced by Roger Corman, directed by Allan Arkush, and featuring The Ramones.

The film starred P. J. Soles, Vince Van Patten, and Clint Howard. Darby Crash and Lorna Doom of The Germs also played extras in this film. It is marketed with the tagline "Will your school be next?"

Plot synopsis

Set in 1980, Vince Lombardi High School keeps losing principals to nervous breakdowns because of the students' love of rock 'n' roll and their disregard of education. Their leader, Riff Randall (P.J. Soles), is the biggest Ramones fan at Vince Lombardi High School. She waits in line for three days to get tickets to see The Ramones, hoping to meet Joey Ramone so she can give him a song she wrote for the band, "Rock N' Roll High School".

When Principal Togar (Mary Woronov) takes her ticket away, Riff and her best friend, Kate Rambeau (Dey Young) have to find another way to meet their heroes, by winning a radio contest. When Miss Togar and a group of parents attempt to burn a pile of rock records, the students take over the high school, joined by the Ramones, who are made honorary students. When the police are summoned and demand that the students evacuate the building, they do so, which leads to an explosive finale. [cite web
first = Rick
last = Gregory
url =
title = Plot Summary for Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979)
publisher = Internet Movie Database
accessdate = 2007-01-15


*P. J. Soles: Riff Randell
*Vince Van Patten: Tom Roberts
*Clint Howard: Eaglebauer
*Dey Young: Kate Rambeau
*Mary Woronov: Miss Evelyn Togar
*Paul Bartel: Mr. McGree
*Dick Miller: Police Chief
*Don Steele: Screamin' Steve Stevens
*Alix Elias: Coach Steroid
*Kc Ramone:Extra


*Bent Fabric - "Alley Cat"
*Chuck Berry - "School Days"
*Brownsville Station - "Smokin' In the Boys Room"
*Alice Cooper - "School's Out"
*Devo - ""
*Eddie and the Hot Rods - "Teenage Depression"
*Fleetwood Mac - "Albatross"
*Fleetwood Mac - "Jigsaw Puzzle Blues"
*Nick Lowe - "So It Goes"
*Paul McCartney - "Did We Meet Somewhere Before?"
*MC5 - "High School"
*The Paley Brothers - "C'mon Let's Go"
*The Paley Brothers - "You're the Best"
*Todd Rundgren - "A Dream Goes on Forever"
*The Velvet Underground - "Rock & Roll"
*Brian Eno - "Spirits Drifting"
*Brian Eno - "Alternative 3"
*Brian Eno - "M386"
*Brian Eno - "Energy Fools the Magician"
*Ramones - "Blitzkrieg Bop"
*Ramones - "I Just Wanna Have Something to Do"
*Ramones - "I Wanna Be Sedated"
*Ramones - "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend"
*Ramones - "I Want You Around"
*Ramones - "Pinhead"
*Ramones - "Questioningly"
*Ramones - "Rock 'n' Roll High School"
*Ramones - "She's the One"
*Ramones - "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker"
*Ramones - "Teenage Lobotomy"
*Ramones - "California Sun"
*Ramones - "Do You Wanna Dance?"

Production and Success

Executive Producer Corman wanted a latter-day version of his "wild teen" films of the 50s and 60s, and felt that the best way to adapt to the 70s would be to center the plot on the popular music of the day. The production "Disco High" began, based upon a story by Allan Arkush and Joe Dante. In September of 1977 Richard Whitley and Russ Dvonch, both fresh out of film school, went to Corman's offices, hoping to find work. As luck would have it, Arkush and Dante happened to be in the lobby and were nice enough to look at their student films. They liked their films enough to give them the script, then called "Girl's Gym" by Joseph McBride. Whitley and Dvonch were told to take any section and rewrite it as a test. Whitley and Dvonch passed the test and were hired to write the screenplay which became "Rock 'n' Roll High School".cite news
title = Classic Corman Film, Examined
url =
month = July
year = 2001
accessdate = 2007-01-15
publisher = ArtsEditor

Arkush, who would go on to direct the film, tells all about the film's evolution on the DVD's commentary track, along with Whitley and producer Michael Finnell. The trio tries to maintain an anecdotal train of thought, but they tend to get distracted when certain elements pop up on the screen. This makes for an interruption in their stories, but it also tends to bring light to otherwise obscure trivia. For example, one of the film's more memorable sequences, the "paper plane" scene, was partially directed by the Zucker Brothers, who would go on to direct, of all things, "Airplane!" (1980). It also reveals that Dante, who helped write the story, got the chance to direct a few of the film's sequences while Arkush was out of commission with exhaustion.

The genesis for the plot was a favorite story told to the film's original writer by his father, Raymond E. McBride of the "Milwaukee Journal", who staged a walkout from his Superior (Wis.) Central High school in the 1920s. "Rock 'n' Roll High School" did so well that Arkush and Whitley followed it up with a sequel, "Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever" (1991).

On July 31, 2008, it was announced that actor/writer Alex Winter had been hired to script a remake of the film for Howard Stern's production company. [cite news| last= Drees| first= Rich| title= Stern Picks Writer For ROCK AND ROLL HIGH SCHOOL Redo| publisher= FilmBuffOnLine| date= 2008-07-31| url=| accessdate= 2008-07-31]


External links

* [ Classic Corman film examined]
* [ song lyrics]
* [ Mutant Monster Beach Party]
* [ Remembrance of Joey Ramone, including information about song lyrics]
* [ Interview with P.J. Soles]

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