Rock 'N' Roll High School


1h 33m 1979

Brief Synopsis

A high-school hellcat will stop at nothing to meet her favorite band-The Ramones.

Film Details

Also Known As
Rock and Roll High School
MPAA Rating
Genre
Musical
Comedy
Music
Teens
Release Date
1979

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 33m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1, 1.85 : 1

Synopsis

High school student Riff Randell's attempts to meet the rock group the Ramones are constantly blocked by the school principal Evelyn Togar. Ms. Togar believes that rock and roll music is determental to teenagers, so much so that she conducts lab experiments on rats to prove her theory. Riff keeps trying to outsmart her zealous principal, which eventually leads to the students taking over the school and the Ramones being made honorary students.

Crew

Jane Alsobrook

Music

Allan Arkush

From Story

Allan Arkush

Story By

Chuck Berry

Song

Chuck Berry

Song Performer

Kent Beyda

Assistant Editor

Larry Bock

Editor

Rob Bottin

Puppets Design

Michael Bruce

Song

Jack Buehler

Costumes

Gerald Casale

Song

Ann Chatterton

Stunts

Alice Cooper

Song Performer

Alice Cooper

Song

Roger Corman

Executive Producer

Dean Cundey

Other

Dean Cundey

Director Of Photography

Joe Dante

Story By

Joe Dante

From Story

Frank Demarco

Special Effects

Russ Dvonch

Screenplay

Brian Eno

Song

Brian Eno

Song Performer

Debbie Evans

Stunts

Bent Fabricius-bjerre

Song

Bent Fabricius-bjerre

Song Performer

Michael Finnell

Producer

Bobby Freeman

Song

Roger George

Special Effects

Jack Gill

Stunts

Peter Green

Song

Siana Lee Hale

Choreographer

John Hateley

Stunts

Mark Helfrich

Assistant Editor

D Higgs

Song

Terry Hunter

Production Coordinator

Kay Kimler

Stunts

Danny Kirwan

Song

Cub Koda

Song

Marie Kordus

Art Director

Glover Levy

Song

Nick Lowe

Song Performer

Nick Lowe

Song

Michael Lutz

Song

J A Markovitch

Sound

Joseph Mcbride

Screenplay

Paul Mccartney

Song

Michael C Moore

Sound

Mark Mothersbaugh

Song

Gerald T Olson

Assistant Director

Paul Mccartney And Wings

Song Performer

Linda Pearl

Set Decorator

Mark Radcliffe

Production Manager

Dee Dee Ramone

Other

Joey Ramone

Other

Johnny Ramone

Other

Marky Ramone

Other

Lou Reed

Song

Jeanne Rosenberg

Script Supervisor

Todd Rundgren

Song Performer

Todd Rundgren

Song

Caren Singer

Assistant Director

Ed Stasium

Music

Ritchie Valens

Song

Gail Werbin

Editor

Richard Whitley

Screenplay

Gigi Williams

Hair

Gigi Williams

Makeup

Film Details

Also Known As
Rock and Roll High School
MPAA Rating
Genre
Musical
Comedy
Music
Teens
Release Date
1979

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 33m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1, 1.85 : 1

Articles

Rock 'n Roll High School


There was a time in the 1970s when film distributors were able to test-market their more offbeat offerings as "Midnight Movies" for adventurous moviegoers. Sometimes these developed into cult phenomenas like El Topo (1971), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), or Eraserhead (1976). Sometimes they failed to find any audience at all like Pelvis (aka All Dressed Up in Rubber with No Place to Go, 1977) or Elevator Girls in Bondage (1972).

Arriving at the tail end of the Midnight Movie craze, Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979) fell somewhere between these two extremes and, while only a modest success at the box office, has since developed a small but fervent following. Scripted by Richard Whitley, Joe Dante, former Variety critic Joseph McBride, and Russ Dvonch (of the National Lampoon), Rock 'n' Roll High School is a fast-and-loose parody of high school life with plenty of anti-establishment posturing and a cheerfully anarchic sense of humor. To this day, the film remains one of the more inspired offerings from New World Pictures, which was founded by low-budget cult director Roger Corman.

Set in Vince Lombardi High, an institution with the lowest academic standing in California, Rock 'n' Roll High School pits cheerleader Riff Randell (P.J. Soles) and her fellow students against the new principal, the insufferable Miss Togar (Mary Woronov), and her evil henchmen. A showdown between the two factions, sparked by rock 'n' roll - specifically the music of the Ramones - leads to a widespread riot on the campus. This is probably the only American film in existence where an educational institution is completely trashed by the end and no one is punished.

Although both Cheap Trick and Todd Rundgren were originally considered as the showcase musical act in the film, the Ramones were always the first choice of director Allan Arkush. And more than anything else, Rock 'n' Roll High School serves as an excellent showcase for this band, who were the total antithesis of pretty boy rock star pinups. Thanks to this film, the Ramones, who were not that well known outside of the New York punk rock scene, were exposed to a legion of new fans who fell in love with their hard-driving three-chord speed rock and their grungy sense of fashion - torn blue jeans, black leather jackets, dark sunglasses. Their first onscreen appearance in Rock 'n' Roll High School is particularly memorable and sets the appropriate tone for the rest of the film: The band is being driven down the street in a convertible while eating Kentucky Fried Chicken and flinging pieces of it at their fans on the sidewalk. During the climatic concert sequence, the group's songs are accompanied by subtitles on the screen so you can sing along with the deranged lyrics.

In an interview with Lloyd Sacks of The New York Times, director Arkush recalls working with the Ramones on Rock 'n' Roll High School: "There was a lot of give and take as to how the Ramones were going to be presented. I was particularly concerned with whether they were going to be comfortable coming off as dumb as their songs imply they are. But they said that was fine....The concert sequence (filmed at the Roxy in Los Angeles) took twenty hours to shoot, but they never complained, even though they had to play the same six songs over and over again. The crew didn't know who the Ramones were when we started. But at the end, everyone was singing 'Pinhead.' The band members even incorporated some of their own ideas into the film: Dee Dee Ramone, a compulsive shower taker, suggested the fantasy sequence where he turns up in Riff Randell's bathtub playing bass guitar. And the late Joey Ramone came up with the onscreen gimmick of having health food force-fed into his mouth after a concert."

Ramones fans were delighted with the soundtrack, which included some of their favorite tunes - "Teenage Lobotomy," "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," "Blitzkrieg Bop," and the title song, which was written specifically for this film. The soundtrack also includes musical selections from such '70s rock acts as Alice Cooper ("School's Out"), Devo ("Come Back Jonee"), and Brownsville Station ("Smoking in the Boy's Room"). But even if you aren't a fan of these groups, there are plenty of other things to enjoy in Rock 'n' Roll High School: P. J. Sole's energetic portrayal of the Ramones number-one fan, the campy performances of Mary Woronov and Paul Bartel, who would later team up for another cult comedy, Eating Raoul (1982), and Allan Arkush's crazy-quilt direction, which perfectly integrates musical numbers with sight gags about exploding laboratory mice. It should come as no surprise that Arkush's main inspiration for Rock 'n' Roll High School was The Girl Can't Help It (1956), a seminal rock 'n' roll film that inserted rock acts from the period (Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Little Richard, etc.) into a satire of the recording industry.

Producer: Roger Corman, Michael Finnell
Director: Allan Arkush
Screenplay: Joe Dante, Russ Dvonch, Joseph McBride, Richard Whitley
Art Direction: Marie Kordus
Cinematography: Dean Cundey
Costume Design: Jack Buehler
Film Editing: Larry Bock, Gail Werbin
Original Music: The Ramones
Principal Cast: P.J. Soles (Riff Randell), Vincent Van Patten (Tom Roberts), Clint Howard (Eaglebauer), Dey Young (Kate Rambeau), Mary Woronov (Evelyn Togar).
C-93m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Jeff Stafford

Rock 'n Roll High School

Rock 'n Roll High School

There was a time in the 1970s when film distributors were able to test-market their more offbeat offerings as "Midnight Movies" for adventurous moviegoers. Sometimes these developed into cult phenomenas like El Topo (1971), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), or Eraserhead (1976). Sometimes they failed to find any audience at all like Pelvis (aka All Dressed Up in Rubber with No Place to Go, 1977) or Elevator Girls in Bondage (1972). Arriving at the tail end of the Midnight Movie craze, Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979) fell somewhere between these two extremes and, while only a modest success at the box office, has since developed a small but fervent following. Scripted by Richard Whitley, Joe Dante, former Variety critic Joseph McBride, and Russ Dvonch (of the National Lampoon), Rock 'n' Roll High School is a fast-and-loose parody of high school life with plenty of anti-establishment posturing and a cheerfully anarchic sense of humor. To this day, the film remains one of the more inspired offerings from New World Pictures, which was founded by low-budget cult director Roger Corman. Set in Vince Lombardi High, an institution with the lowest academic standing in California, Rock 'n' Roll High School pits cheerleader Riff Randell (P.J. Soles) and her fellow students against the new principal, the insufferable Miss Togar (Mary Woronov), and her evil henchmen. A showdown between the two factions, sparked by rock 'n' roll - specifically the music of the Ramones - leads to a widespread riot on the campus. This is probably the only American film in existence where an educational institution is completely trashed by the end and no one is punished. Although both Cheap Trick and Todd Rundgren were originally considered as the showcase musical act in the film, the Ramones were always the first choice of director Allan Arkush. And more than anything else, Rock 'n' Roll High School serves as an excellent showcase for this band, who were the total antithesis of pretty boy rock star pinups. Thanks to this film, the Ramones, who were not that well known outside of the New York punk rock scene, were exposed to a legion of new fans who fell in love with their hard-driving three-chord speed rock and their grungy sense of fashion - torn blue jeans, black leather jackets, dark sunglasses. Their first onscreen appearance in Rock 'n' Roll High School is particularly memorable and sets the appropriate tone for the rest of the film: The band is being driven down the street in a convertible while eating Kentucky Fried Chicken and flinging pieces of it at their fans on the sidewalk. During the climatic concert sequence, the group's songs are accompanied by subtitles on the screen so you can sing along with the deranged lyrics. In an interview with Lloyd Sacks of The New York Times, director Arkush recalls working with the Ramones on Rock 'n' Roll High School: "There was a lot of give and take as to how the Ramones were going to be presented. I was particularly concerned with whether they were going to be comfortable coming off as dumb as their songs imply they are. But they said that was fine....The concert sequence (filmed at the Roxy in Los Angeles) took twenty hours to shoot, but they never complained, even though they had to play the same six songs over and over again. The crew didn't know who the Ramones were when we started. But at the end, everyone was singing 'Pinhead.' The band members even incorporated some of their own ideas into the film: Dee Dee Ramone, a compulsive shower taker, suggested the fantasy sequence where he turns up in Riff Randell's bathtub playing bass guitar. And the late Joey Ramone came up with the onscreen gimmick of having health food force-fed into his mouth after a concert." Ramones fans were delighted with the soundtrack, which included some of their favorite tunes - "Teenage Lobotomy," "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," "Blitzkrieg Bop," and the title song, which was written specifically for this film. The soundtrack also includes musical selections from such '70s rock acts as Alice Cooper ("School's Out"), Devo ("Come Back Jonee"), and Brownsville Station ("Smoking in the Boy's Room"). But even if you aren't a fan of these groups, there are plenty of other things to enjoy in Rock 'n' Roll High School: P. J. Sole's energetic portrayal of the Ramones number-one fan, the campy performances of Mary Woronov and Paul Bartel, who would later team up for another cult comedy, Eating Raoul (1982), and Allan Arkush's crazy-quilt direction, which perfectly integrates musical numbers with sight gags about exploding laboratory mice. It should come as no surprise that Arkush's main inspiration for Rock 'n' Roll High School was The Girl Can't Help It (1956), a seminal rock 'n' roll film that inserted rock acts from the period (Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Little Richard, etc.) into a satire of the recording industry. Producer: Roger Corman, Michael Finnell Director: Allan Arkush Screenplay: Joe Dante, Russ Dvonch, Joseph McBride, Richard Whitley Art Direction: Marie Kordus Cinematography: Dean Cundey Costume Design: Jack Buehler Film Editing: Larry Bock, Gail Werbin Original Music: The Ramones Principal Cast: P.J. Soles (Riff Randell), Vincent Van Patten (Tom Roberts), Clint Howard (Eaglebauer), Dey Young (Kate Rambeau), Mary Woronov (Evelyn Togar). C-93m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Jeff Stafford

Rock 'n' Roll High School


There was a time in the 1970s when film distributors were able to test-market their more offbeat offerings as "Midnight Movies" for adventurous moviegoers. Sometimes these developed into cult phenomenas like El Topo (1971), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), or Eraserhead (1976). Sometimes they failed to find any audience at all like Pelvis (aka All Dressed Up in Rubber with No Place to Go, 1977) or Elevator Girls in Bondage (1972).

Arriving at the tail end of the Midnight Movie craze, Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979) fell somewhere between these two extremes and, while only a modest success at the box office, has since developed a small but fervent following. Scripted by Richard Whitley, Joe Dante, former Variety critic Joseph McBride, and Russ Dvonch (of the National Lampoon), Rock 'n' Roll High School is a fast-and-loose parody of high school life with plenty of anti-establishment posturing and a cheerfully anarchic sense of humor. To this day, the film remains one of the more inspired offerings from New World Pictures, which was founded by low-budget cult director Roger Corman.

Set in Vince Lombardi High, an institution with the lowest academic standing in California, Rock 'n' Roll High School pits cheerleader Riff Randell (P.J. Soles) and her fellow students against the new principal, the insufferable Miss Togar (Mary Woronov), and her evil henchmen. A showdown between the two factions, sparked by rock 'n' roll - specifically the music of the Ramones - leads to a widespread riot on the campus. This is probably the only American film in existence where an educational institution is completely trashed by the end and no one is punished.

Although both Cheap Trick and Todd Rundgren were originally considered as the showcase musical act in the film, the Ramones were always the first choice of director Allan Arkush. And more than anything else, Rock 'n' Roll High School serves as an excellent showcase for this band, who were the total antithesis of pretty boy rock star pinups. Thanks to this film, the Ramones, who were not that well known outside of the New York punk rock scene, were exposed to a legion of new fans who fell in love with their hard-driving three-chord speed rock and their grungy sense of fashion - torn blue jeans, black leather jackets, dark sunglasses. Their first onscreen appearance in Rock 'n' Roll High School is particularly memorable and sets the appropriate tone for the rest of the film: The band is being driven down the street in a convertible while eating Kentucky Fried Chicken and flinging pieces of it at their fans on the sidewalk. During the climatic concert sequence, the group's songs are accompanied by subtitles on the screen so you can sing along with the deranged lyrics.

In an interview with Lloyd Sacks of The New York Times, director Arkush recalls working with the Ramones on Rock 'n' Roll High School: "There was a lot of give and take as to how the Ramones were going to be presented. I was particularly concerned with whether they were going to be comfortable coming off as dumb as their songs imply they are. But they said that was fine....The concert sequence (filmed at the Roxy in Los Angeles) took twenty hours to shoot, but they never complained, even though they had to play the same six songs over and over again. The crew didn't know who the Ramones were when we started. But at the end, everyone was singing 'Pinhead.' The band members even incorporated some of their own ideas into the film: Dee Dee Ramone, a compulsive shower taker, suggested the fantasy sequence where he turns up in Riff Randell's bathtub playing bass guitar. And the late Joey Ramone came up with the onscreen gimmick of having health food force-fed into his mouth after a concert."

Ramones fans were delighted with the soundtrack, which included some of their favorite tunes - "Teenage Lobotomy," "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," "Blitzkrieg Bop," and the title song, which was written specifically for this film. The soundtrack also includes musical selections from such '70s rock acts as Alice Cooper ("School's Out"), Devo ("Come Back Jonee"), and Brownsville Station ("Smoking in the Boy's Room"). But even if you aren't a fan of these groups, there are plenty of other things to enjoy in Rock 'n' Roll High School: P. J. Sole's energetic portrayal of the Ramones number-one fan, the campy performances of Mary Woronov and Paul Bartel, who would later team up for another cult comedy, Eating Raoul (1982), and Allan Arkush's crazy-quilt direction, which perfectly integrates musical numbers with sight gags about exploding laboratory mice. It should come as no surprise that Arkush's main inspiration for Rock 'n' Roll High School was The Girl Can't Help It (1956), a seminal rock 'n' roll film that inserted rock acts from the period (Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Little Richard, etc.) into a satire of the recording industry.

Producer: Roger Corman, Michael Finnell
Director: Allan Arkush
Screenplay: Joe Dante, Russ Dvonch, Joseph McBride, Richard Whitley
Art Direction: Marie Kordus
Cinematography: Dean Cundey
Costume Design: Jack Buehler
Film Editing: Larry Bock, Gail Werbin
Original Music: The Ramones
Cast: P.J. Soles (Riff Randell), Vincent Van Patten (Tom Roberts), Clint Howard (Eaglebauer), Dey Young (Kate Rambeau), Mary Woronov (Evelyn Togar).
C-93m.

by Jeff Stafford

Rock 'n' Roll High School

There was a time in the 1970s when film distributors were able to test-market their more offbeat offerings as "Midnight Movies" for adventurous moviegoers. Sometimes these developed into cult phenomenas like El Topo (1971), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), or Eraserhead (1976). Sometimes they failed to find any audience at all like Pelvis (aka All Dressed Up in Rubber with No Place to Go, 1977) or Elevator Girls in Bondage (1972). Arriving at the tail end of the Midnight Movie craze, Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979) fell somewhere between these two extremes and, while only a modest success at the box office, has since developed a small but fervent following. Scripted by Richard Whitley, Joe Dante, former Variety critic Joseph McBride, and Russ Dvonch (of the National Lampoon), Rock 'n' Roll High School is a fast-and-loose parody of high school life with plenty of anti-establishment posturing and a cheerfully anarchic sense of humor. To this day, the film remains one of the more inspired offerings from New World Pictures, which was founded by low-budget cult director Roger Corman. Set in Vince Lombardi High, an institution with the lowest academic standing in California, Rock 'n' Roll High School pits cheerleader Riff Randell (P.J. Soles) and her fellow students against the new principal, the insufferable Miss Togar (Mary Woronov), and her evil henchmen. A showdown between the two factions, sparked by rock 'n' roll - specifically the music of the Ramones - leads to a widespread riot on the campus. This is probably the only American film in existence where an educational institution is completely trashed by the end and no one is punished. Although both Cheap Trick and Todd Rundgren were originally considered as the showcase musical act in the film, the Ramones were always the first choice of director Allan Arkush. And more than anything else, Rock 'n' Roll High School serves as an excellent showcase for this band, who were the total antithesis of pretty boy rock star pinups. Thanks to this film, the Ramones, who were not that well known outside of the New York punk rock scene, were exposed to a legion of new fans who fell in love with their hard-driving three-chord speed rock and their grungy sense of fashion - torn blue jeans, black leather jackets, dark sunglasses. Their first onscreen appearance in Rock 'n' Roll High School is particularly memorable and sets the appropriate tone for the rest of the film: The band is being driven down the street in a convertible while eating Kentucky Fried Chicken and flinging pieces of it at their fans on the sidewalk. During the climatic concert sequence, the group's songs are accompanied by subtitles on the screen so you can sing along with the deranged lyrics. In an interview with Lloyd Sacks of The New York Times, director Arkush recalls working with the Ramones on Rock 'n' Roll High School: "There was a lot of give and take as to how the Ramones were going to be presented. I was particularly concerned with whether they were going to be comfortable coming off as dumb as their songs imply they are. But they said that was fine....The concert sequence (filmed at the Roxy in Los Angeles) took twenty hours to shoot, but they never complained, even though they had to play the same six songs over and over again. The crew didn't know who the Ramones were when we started. But at the end, everyone was singing 'Pinhead.' The band members even incorporated some of their own ideas into the film: Dee Dee Ramone, a compulsive shower taker, suggested the fantasy sequence where he turns up in Riff Randell's bathtub playing bass guitar. And the late Joey Ramone came up with the onscreen gimmick of having health food force-fed into his mouth after a concert." Ramones fans were delighted with the soundtrack, which included some of their favorite tunes - "Teenage Lobotomy," "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," "Blitzkrieg Bop," and the title song, which was written specifically for this film. The soundtrack also includes musical selections from such '70s rock acts as Alice Cooper ("School's Out"), Devo ("Come Back Jonee"), and Brownsville Station ("Smoking in the Boy's Room"). But even if you aren't a fan of these groups, there are plenty of other things to enjoy in Rock 'n' Roll High School: P. J. Sole's energetic portrayal of the Ramones number-one fan, the campy performances of Mary Woronov and Paul Bartel, who would later team up for another cult comedy, Eating Raoul (1982), and Allan Arkush's crazy-quilt direction, which perfectly integrates musical numbers with sight gags about exploding laboratory mice. It should come as no surprise that Arkush's main inspiration for Rock 'n' Roll High School was The Girl Can't Help It (1956), a seminal rock 'n' roll film that inserted rock acts from the period (Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Little Richard, etc.) into a satire of the recording industry. Producer: Roger Corman, Michael Finnell Director: Allan Arkush Screenplay: Joe Dante, Russ Dvonch, Joseph McBride, Richard Whitley Art Direction: Marie Kordus Cinematography: Dean Cundey Costume Design: Jack Buehler Film Editing: Larry Bock, Gail Werbin Original Music: The Ramones Cast: P.J. Soles (Riff Randell), Vincent Van Patten (Tom Roberts), Clint Howard (Eaglebauer), Dey Young (Kate Rambeau), Mary Woronov (Evelyn Togar). C-93m. by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

Look at your algebra book, it looks like it's never even been opened!
- Kate
I only use it on special equations
- Riff
Do your parents KNOW you're Ramones?
- Miss Togar
The only thing I'll ever lay is a rug!
- Tom Roberts
Those Ramones are peculiar.
- Miss Togar
They're ugly. Ugly, ugly people.
- Police Chief Klein
Tom Roberts is so boring his brother is an only child.
- Riff Randell

Trivia

During The Ramones' concert sequence at The Roxy near the end of the film, Darby Crash, late singer of seminal Los Angeles punk band The Germs, can be seen in the front row.

Roger Corman's original title for the film was "Disco High" until Allan Arkush heard The Ramones and decided to use them in his movie.

Filmed at the same school as the movie Rock Around the Clock (1956).

The romantic theme song heard under the credits, "Did We Meet Somewhere Before?" is sung by Paul McCartney and Wings. McCartney wrote it as the theme to Heaven Can Wait (1978), but Warren Beatty decided not to use it. Allan Arkush, the Ramones' manager, then swung a deal whereby he was able to use the song for only $500 provided McCartney did not receive screen credit.

The building blown up in the ending is the condemned Mount Carmel High School in the Watts section of Los Angeles. The explosion was five times bigger than it was supposed to be and since the filming was at 3AM a lot of frightened neighborhood residents charged out of their homes not knowing what had happened.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States September 1996

Released in United States Spring April 25, 1979

Released in United States Spring April 25, 1979

Released in United States September 1996 (Shown in New York City (American Museum of the Moving Image) as part of program "Corman's Children" September 7-28, 1996.)