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Rock 'n' Roll High School is a 1979 musical comedy film produced by Roger Corman, directed by Allan Arkush, and starring P. J. Soles, Vince Van Patten, and Clint Howard.[2] The film featured the punk rock group the Ramones.


The movie is 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 for education. Their leader, Riff Randell (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 band, 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 a quite literal explosive finale.



Roger Corman, Executive Producer of the film, was looking to produce a modern teen film similar to the ones he made in his early career during the 1960s, with the focus on current music of the time. The initial title Disco High was selected for a story idea from Allan Arkush and Joe Dante. A script was developed by Richard Whitley, Russ Dvonch, and Joseph McBride. During this time, the film went through several different title changes including Heavy Metal Kids and Girl's Gym. Arkush directed the majority of the film, but Dante also helped when Arkush was suffering from exhaustion.[3]

Corman originally wanted Cheap Trick or Todd Rundgren to play the band, but due to a conflict of schedules, he was forced to find an alternative.[4] The Ramones were suggested by Paul Bartel, one of the actors in the film.

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.[5]

The film was shot on the campus of the defunct Mount Carmel High School in South Central Los Angeles, that had been closed in 1976. The actual demolition of the school was used in the end of the film; The explosion of the school was so great that many on the set were scared away by the blast and, temporarily, would not return. Another location was at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, California. The American football uniforms and cheerleading outfits were those from MCHS.Script error: No such module "Unsubst".


The film was originally released to theaters on August 24, 1979.

Home media

Rock 'n' Roll High School was originally released on VHS by Warner Home Video in 1983, and was later released on VHS in 1996 by New Horizons Home Video (Template:OCLC). One year later, in 1997, it was released on DVD by Lumivision.[3] A second DVD release occurred in 1999 from Slingshot.[3] Shortly after Joey Ramone's death in 2001, a third DVD release came out from New Concorde.[3] The movie was released on DVD again in 2005 by Buena Vista Home Entertainment (ISBN 9780788863424 Template:OCLC). DVDs were released in the PAL format by Umbrella Entertainment in 2003 (Template:OCLC) and again in 2007 (Template:OCLC).

The film is a part of Shout! Factory's Roger Corman Cult Classics series, reissued on DVD in May 2010.[6] Shout! Factory released the film with exclusive content on Blu-ray on May 11, 2010.


A soundtrack album was released around the same time, but included only a limited number of songs from the film. The two main Ramones songs in the film—the title song and "I Want You Around"—were recorded by Ed Stasium but remixed by Phil Spector for the soundtrack album. The original Ed Stasium mixes were not issued until the 1988 compilation album Ramones Mania and the 1999 compilation album Hey! Ho! Let's Go: The Anthology, respectively.

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Other songs appearing in the film include:

As well as the following songs by the Ramones:


Rock 'n' Roll High School received generally positive reviews and has a 79% rating at Rotten Tomatoes based onreviews from 24 film critics.[7] Rock 'n' Roll High School did well enough that Arkush and Whitley followed it up with a sequel, Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever in 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.[8][9]


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External links

Template:Ramones Template:Allan Arkush

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