All Time Classics: Rock and Roll High School 1979

Note*** This review previously appeared on my other site,but I thought it looked much better on this one.

Rock ‘N’ Roll High School.


Cast: P.J. SolesMary Woronov

Writers: Richard WhitleyRuss DvonchJoseph McBride(Screenplay)
Allan Arkush, Joe Dante (Story)

Directors Allan ArkushJoe Dante (Uncredited)

A newly hired principal wants to destroy rock music exclusively and control its youth.  Yet a few students decide to fight back in this great comedy from producer Roger Corman.  I thought this would be a movie where I loved the soundtrack, but hated the movie, and I’m glad to say that wasn’t the case at all with this flick.   I won’t lie and say this had groundbreaking performances from its cast or that it should be hailed as one of the best motion pictures of all time.  But I will say that it very much entertained me the whole way through.

Many of the characters were the typical high school stereotype but I never found any of them to be annoying.  P.J. Soles of “Halloween” fame is great as Riff Randell.  A girl who really loves rock music and the bands, but I wouldn’t call her merely a groupie.  She obviously wants to do more than just sleep with them. She wants to be a songwriter  The character of Tom Roberts(Vincent Van Patten) may be a jock in this, but he’s actually the shy virgin character usually reserved for the nerdy persona in other stories.   Principal Togar(Mary Woronov) and the two evil hall monitors were the only few characters I didn’t like, but they were the bad guys.  I wasn’t suppose to fully like them either.

The soundtrack of this is great and features a lot of great songs by punk legends. The Ramones.  The band themselves have a pretty fun cameo and get to play a lot of great songs, but there is one moment when the movie stops following any story and just becomes a concert film.  If you are a fan of 70’s music this won’t be an issue for you, but for many others it could be.  I also want to add that this movie is rated PG but if it got released today it would be PG-13 because of all the sexual innuendo. but it never goes too far over the top, and it remains extremely harmless and innocent. This movie celebrates teenage culture better than most because no one here is fully emo or a complete douchebag either. They are just kids looking out for some fun

I have only seen a few Roger Corman productions, and I have honestly loved them all.  They may not have big budgets, but they don’t need them.  They are able to bring out a product that is fun and entertaining.  That is the only thing I care about when watching a movie.  I don’t care what they use or don’t use to achieve that. “Rock and Roll HighSchool” belongs in the same category as “American Graffiti“, “Dazed and Confused” and “Can’t Hardly Wait“.  It represented a certain time period and it showed that while tastes in things like clothes and music may have changed.  The average desire of a teenager hasn’t.


About The Vern

I love movies and I enjoy writing about them too. They both go pretty much hand in hand with each other and it's fun to discover new classics. I co host the podcasts The Film Pasture, ScreenTrax, and soon Cinema Recall. While also contributing reviews and articles to other great sites when I can.
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6 Responses to All Time Classics: Rock and Roll High School 1979

  1. Lindsey says:

    I’ve always had a soft spot for this film (and just about any film that goes from having a tiny plot to having no plot at all and just showcasing great music). P.J. Soles is awesome, too. Love her in this film, Halloween and Carrie.

    • The Vern says:

      Thank you Lindsey. Yeah Miss Soles in this flick was great. She was both pretty and someone I could have just a great time hanging out with. I would have loved to be her friend while I was in High School.

  2. ninvoid99 says:

    Easily one of the best rock films ever. I just love the music in that film. Great cast, not afraid to be a bit cheesy or off-the-wall. Plus, the Ramones!

  3. Becki Jolly says:

    I love Dazed and Confused and American Graffiti, so I’ll give this a look. Thanks for another awesome review Vern! Hope you’re doing well. Just back from the slopes of Colorado!

    • The Vern says:

      Thank you for visiting Becki. I’m anxious to hear what you think. Glad you had fun in Colorado. I’ve only skied once, but need to do it again soon.

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