Review: Class of 1984

Blu-ray & DVD: Class of 1984 (1982)

When idealistic music teacher Andrew Norris (Perry King) moves to a rough inner city high school with thoughts of educating and inspiring a new classroom full of dedicated students, his initial enthusiasm is tempered when faced with the schools violent, drug dealing gang who insist on following their leader Peter Stegman (Timothy Van Patten) everywhere…including into his music class.

Not daunted by the resistance of the gang to participate in anything meaningful, Norris tries to prepare his class for an upcoming gala performance in front of the whole school.

Norris’s pregnant wife Dianne (Merrie Lynn Ross) eventually is the target for the wrath of the gang when they tire of being constantly targeted by him in an effort to get them suspended.

As tempers flare on both sides of the academic system, lives are put in danger and violence escalates to a point where there is no turning back.

An early movie by a fresh faced Michael J. Fox as Arthur; the class ‘goody two shoes’ who soon learns that you can’t avoid confrontation when faced with an ever mounting series of run-ins with a gang set on riling you, Class of 1984 holds a mirror up to an education system that has given up power and control to its student base, and unfortunately still reflects brightly in todays society too.

Timothy Van Patten is superb as as the manipulative and mentally unstable gang leader Peter Stegman, and his confrontations with Norris are riveting.

Violent and uncompromising, Class of 1984 can be an uncomfortable watch at times, but only because director/screenplay writer Mark L. Lester crafts the scenes in a way that makes you empathetic to the characters hounded by violence, while making the gang members truly despicable and unlikeable.

A superb set of special features also accompanies this release of a classic movie from 101 Films.

Brand New Extras

  • Life is Pain: An interview with writer Tom Holland
  • Limited edition booklet: Includes ‘Future Retro: The Punk Culture and 1980’s SciFi’ by Scott Harrison and ‘Pain is Everything’: An interview with director Mark L. Lester

Additional Extras

  • Commentary with director Mark L. Lester
  • Do What You Love – A career retrospective of Perry King
  • History Repeats Itself – An interview with director Mark Lester and composer Lalo Schifrin
  • Blood and Blackboards – Interviews with cast and crew
  • Girls Next Door – Interviews with actors Erin Noble and Lisa Langlois
  • Trailer and TV spots
  • Stills gallery

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Review by Dave (co-host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by 101 Films.