Rock 'n' Roll High School

Rock 'n' Roll High School is a 1979 American musical comedy film directed by Allan Arkush, produced by Michael Finnell, and starring P. J. Soles, Vince Van Patten, Clint Howard, and Dey Young.[3] The film featured the punk rock group The Ramones.

Rock 'n' Roll High School
Rock 'n' Roll High SchoolPoster
Original film poster by William Stout[1]
Directed byAllan Arkush
Produced byMichael Finnell
Screenplay byRichard Whitley
Russ Dvonch
Joseph McBride
Story byAllan Arkush
Joe Dante
StarringP. J. Soles
Vince Van Patten
Clint Howard
Dey Young
The Ramones
CinematographyDean Cundey
Edited byLarry Bock
Gail Werbin
Distributed byNew World Pictures
Release date
  • August 24, 1979
Running time
93 min.
CountryUnited States


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. The leader of the students, Riff Randell (P. J. Soles), is the biggest Ramones fan at 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, joined by the Ramones (who are made honorary students) overthrow the teachers and hall monitors to take over the high school, with Miss Togar asking the musicians "Do your parents know you're Ramones?"[4] When the police are summoned and demand that the students evacuate the building, they do so, but then the students and the Ramones burn down the school as a final act of youthful rebellion.



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.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7]

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.


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 (OCLC 36127344). One year later, in 1997, it was released on DVD by Lumivision.[5] A second DVD release occurred in 1999 from Slingshot.[5] Shortly after Joey Ramone's death in 2001, a third DVD release came out from New Concorde.[5] The movie was released on DVD again in 2005 by Buena Vista Home Entertainment (ISBN 9780788863424 OCLC 62756806). DVDs were released in the PAL format by Umbrella Entertainment in 2003 (OCLC 223658430) and again in 2007 (OCLC 368008921).

The film is a part of Shout! Factory's Roger Corman Cult Classics series, reissued on DVD in May 2010.[8] Shout! Factory released the film with exclusive content on Blu-ray on May 11, 2010.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideB[9]

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.

Side One
1."Rock 'n' Roll High School" (Phil Spector remix)RamonesRamones2:20
2."I Want You Around" (Phil Spector remix)RamonesRamones3:04
3."Come On Let's Go" (Cover of Ritchie Valens, 1959)Ritchie ValensThe Paley Brothers and Ramones2:14
4."Ramones Medley: Blitzkrieg Bop / Teenage Lobotomy / California Sun / Pinhead / She's the One" (recorded live at The Roxy, Los Angeles)Ramones, Henry Glover, Morris LevyRamones11:04
5."So It Goes" (from Pure Pop for Now People, 1978)LoweNick Lowe2:31
6."Energy Fools the Magician" (from Before and After Science, 1977)EnoBrian Eno2:05
Side Two
7."Rock 'n' Roll High School"RamonesP.J. Soles2:12
8."Come Back Jonee" (from Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, 1978)Gerald V. Casale, Mark MothersbaughDevo3:47
9."Teenage Depression" (from Teenage Depression, 1976)Dave HiggsEddie and the Hot Rods2:57
10."Smokin' In the Boys Room" (from Yeah!, 1973)Cub Koda, Michael LutzBrownsville Station2:57
11."School Days" (single, 1957)BerryChuck Berry2:44
12."A Dream Goes on Forever" (from Todd, 1974)RundgrenTodd Rundgren3:26
13."School's Out" (from School's Out, 1972)Alice Cooper, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, Neal SmithAlice Cooper2:24

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 an 80% rating at Rotten Tomatoes based onreviews from 24 film critics.[10] 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.[11][12]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Koetting, Christopher T. (2009). Mind Warp!: The Fantastic True Story of Roger Corman's New World Pictures (illustrated ed.). Bristol, England, UK: Hemlock Books. p. 165. ISBN 9780955777417. OCLC 707141398. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
  3. ^ G., Rob; C., Mike (September 2004). "P.J. Soles interview - Halloween, Carrie, Stripes". Icons Of Retrieved September 29, 2012.
  4. ^ "Rock 'n' Roll High School Quotes". Stands4 LLC. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
  5. ^ a b c d Sherman, Craig (July 2001). "Take Three: classic Corman film, examined". ArtsEditor. Retrieved January 15, 2007.
  6. ^ Stafford, Jeff. "Rock'n'Roll High School". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  7. ^ Holmstrom, John (2001). "Remembering Joey Ramone". Punk. New York City, New York, USA: Ged Dunn. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
  8. ^ Barton, Steve (April 30, 2010). "Shout! Factory Offers Glimpse of New Roger Corman DVDs and Blu-rays". Dread Central. Beyond, Dread Central Media. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: R". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 12, 2019 – via
  10. ^ "Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
  11. ^ Drees, Rich (July 31, 2008). "Stern Picks Writer For ROCK AND ROLL HIGH SCHOOL Redo". FilmBuffOnline. Retrieved July 31, 2008.
  12. ^ Fleming, Michael (July 30, 2008). Gray, Timothy M., ed. "Stern sets 'Rock 'n' Roll' remake". Variety. Los Angeles, California, USA: Reed Business Information. ISSN 0042-2738. OCLC 806428356. Retrieved September 29, 2012.

External links

All the Stuff (And More) Volume Two

All the Stuff (And More) Volume 2 is a compilation album by the Ramones. It includes their third and fourth albums, Rocket to Russia and Road to Ruin, excluding the song "Go Mental," plus bonus tracks. Some versions of the album do include "Go Mental" in its rightful place as track 24, after "I Wanna Be Sedated" and before "Questioningly," for a total of 30 tracks.

As with its companion volume All the Stuff (And More!) Volume 1, the disc includes a number of bonus tracks of varying origins: "Slug" and "Yea Yea" were early demos; "I Want You Around" is a demo version of a song included in the film Rock 'n' Roll High School; and "I Don't Want to Live This Life (Anymore)" was first issued as the b-side of the UK single "Crummy Stuff" in 1986.

Allan Arkush

Allan Arkush (born April 30, 1948 in Jersey City, New Jersey) is an American film director and television director and frequent collaborator of Joe Dante.

Arkush grew up in Fort Lee, New Jersey. He got his start in the industry working in the trailer department for Roger Corman. He later went on to direct the Corman-produced films Hollywood Boulevard, Deathsport, and Rock 'n' Roll High School. Arkush also contributes commentary to the web series Trailers From Hell.

Awake in a Dream (album)

Awake in a Dream is the debut album of American hard rock band Eleven, released in 1991 on Morgan Creek Records. Singles from the album include "Break the Spell" (which was featured in the film Freejack) and "Rainbow's End", which had a music video released. A promotional EP titled Vowel Movement was also released, featuring alternate mixes of four songs on the album. The album is named for a line in the song "Learning to Be".

"You Are Mine" was heard in the 1991 sequel film Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever.

The album is rated 2.70 / 5.0 stars from 44 ratings on the Rate Your Music website.

Delta Carbona L.P.

Delta Carbona L.P. is a Fairfield, New Jersey-based American company which specializes in the production of stain-removal products. It was created in 1994 when its predecessor, the Carbona Products Company, was purchased by a German stain-removal corporation, Delta Pronatura.

Prior to this, the company had been producing Carbona Cleaning Fluid, a relatively popular cleaning product consisting of carbon tetrachloride and notable for its mention in the Ramones song "Carbona Not Glue". The song was soon dropped from its original album, Leave Home, and it has been suggested that this was due to the Carbona company's objections to the association of the product with substance abuse. In the concert scene of Roger Corman's 1979 film Rock 'n' Roll High School, an unidentified concertgoer can clearly be heard calling out, "who's got the Carbona?" It is also used and later referred to in the 1995 film The Basketball Diaries.

Detroit Rock City (film)

Detroit Rock City is a 1999 American comedy film directed by Adam Rifkin and written by Carl V. Dupré. It tells of four teenage boys in a Kiss tribute band who try to see their idols in concert in Detroit in 1978. Comparable to Rock 'n' Roll High School, Dazed and Confused, The Stöned Age, and I Wanna Hold Your Hand, it tells a coming-of-age story through a filter of 1970s music and culture in the United States. It ultimately took its title from the Kiss song of the same title.

The film was shot at Cedarbrae Collegiate Institute in Scarborough, Toronto and other Ontario locations including Copps Coliseum in Hamilton.

I Just Want to Have Something to Do

"I Just Want to Have Something to Do" is a song credited to the Ramones but was written by Joey Ramone and was released as the opening song of the band's 1978 album Road to Ruin. It was also released on several of the band's compilation albums. It was also used in the film Rock 'n' Roll High School.

Allmusic critic Donald A. Guarisco described "I Just Want to Have Something to Do" as "one of the best expressions of frustrated desire to ever grace the world of pop music." The song is taken at midtempo, slower than the typical Ramones song. The lyrics describe the singer's need to connect with the listener, and themes include ambivalence and anomie. Authors Scott Schinder and Andy Schwartz comment on the surprising rhyme of Second Avenue with chicken vindaloo. Ramones biographer Everett True calls this rhyme "evocative." Music professor Robert Pattison suggests that this lyric was too much "fun," as opposed to "joyous," to be respectable enough to be included in a freshman anthology, but he nonetheless considers it a "rock classic."Guarisco considers the music to effectively evoke the frustration described in the lyrics by using "twisted, ascending note patterns" in the verses to create a "yearning feel." He also states that the music in the refrain enhances the yearning effect with its "sense of swing." True states that the song evokes a sense of "pent-up energy" through "shards of guitar and feedback" which "riccochet past your ear." Guarisco also praises Joey Ramone's lead vocal for the way his snarling and pleading build to an angry peak in the refrain."I Just Want to Have Something to Do" was included on several Ramones compilation albums, including Hey! Ho! Let's Go: The Anthology in 1999 and Greatest Hits in 2006.

Marky Ramone

Marc Steven Bell (born July 15, 1952) is an American musician best known by his stage name Marky Ramone. He is best known for being the drummer of the punk rock band the Ramones, from May 1978 until February 1983, and August 1987 until August 1996. He has also played in other notable bands, Dust, Estus, Richard Hell and the Voidoids and Misfits.

Marky Ramone's tenure with the Ramones lasted 15 years. He is the only living member inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the only living member to receive the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2015 Marky released his autobiography Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone.He lives in Brooklyn Heights with his wife, Marion Flynn.

Michael Finnell

Michael Finnell is a film producer active from the 1970s to the present. He has produced several horror-comedy films, particularly with director Joe Dante. Finnell worked for American producer Roger Corman before emerging as a producer in his own right.

His first films were Avalanche (1978) and Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979), with Corman. One of the first without Corman was the movie Airplane!, in which he was listed in the end credits as "generally in charge of a lot of things". Working with Dante, Finnell then produced the modest hit The Howling in 1981 and the blockbuster Gremlins in 1984. Dante and special effects designer Chris Walas have said Finnell's producing style was influenced by Corman. Namely, Finnell was very concerned about budgeting and wanted to make sure even cheap purchases contributed to the final film. The anecdote Walas told was of Finnell engaging in long phone calls over the purchase of a kitchen knife to be used in Gremlins.Finnell continued to produce several of Dante's films, including Explorers (1985), The 'Burbs (1989), Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), Matinee (1993) and Small Soldiers (1998). Without Dante, Finnell's films include Milk Money (1994) and Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999). For one of his films produced without Dante, Newsies, Finnell was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Picture.

P. J. Soles

Pamela Jayne Soles (née Hardon; born July 17, 1950) is a German-born American actress. She made her film debut in 1976 as Norma Watson in Brian De Palma's Carrie (1976) before portraying Lynda van der Klok in John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) and Riff Randell in Allan Arkush's Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979).

She has since appeared in a variety of films including Breaking Away (1979), Private Benjamin (1980), Stripes (1981), Sweet Dreams (1985), Jawbreaker (1999), and The Devil's Rejects (2005).

Paul Bartel

Paul Bartel (August 6, 1938 – May 13, 2000) was an American actor, writer and director. Bartel was perhaps most known for his 1982 hit black comedy Eating Raoul, which he wrote, starred in and directed.

Bartel appeared in over 90 movies and TV episodes, including such titles as Eat My Dust (1976), Hollywood Boulevard, Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979), Get Crazy (1983) and Amazon Women on the Moon (1987). He frequently co-starred with friend and former Warhol girl Mary Woronov; the pair appeared in 17 films together, often as husband-and-wife.

Bartel also directed 11 low-budget films, many of which he also acted in or wrote. His started in 1968 with the short The Secret Cinema, a paranoid delusional fantasy of self-referential cinema. He graduated to features in 1972 with the horror-comedy Private Parts. He would go on to direct such cult films as Death Race 2000 (1975), Eating Raoul (1982), Lust in the Dust (1985) and Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills (1989).

Ramones Mania

Ramones Mania is a compilation album by the American punk rock band the Ramones. It was released on May 31, 1988 through Sire Records and consists of 30 Ramones songs, including some single versions ("Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," "Needles & Pins" and "Howling at the Moon"), a single B–side ("Indian Giver") and one previously unreleased song (the film version of "Rock 'n' Roll High School").

The album contains a booklet with a short history of the Ramones, including the release dates of all their albums. Their best-selling album, it was the only certified Gold in the United States, until their debut album went Gold in 2014.Ramones Mania was re-released on multi-colored vinyl for Record Store Day in 2010. A sequel was released in Japan in 2000. A tribute album titled Ramones Maniacs was released in 2001; it featured turn-of-the-century punk bands covering every song from Mania in the same order.

Rock 'n' Roll High School (disambiguation)

Rock 'n' Roll High School is a 1979 American musical comedy film. It can also refer to:

"Rock 'n' Roll High School (song)", a song by American punk rock group the Ramones

Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever, a 1991 musical comedy film and sequel to the 1979 film Rock 'n' Roll High School

Rock 'n' Roll Highschool, studio album by the band Teddybears STHLM

Rock 'n' Roll High School (song)

"Rock 'n' Roll High School" is a song by American punk rock group the Ramones, from the soundtrack album Rock 'n' Roll High School. The single did not chart in the U.S. but peaked at number 67 on the UK Singles Chart.There are three versions of the song. The first was recorded in early 1979 by Ed Stasium and was intended for the Rock 'n' Roll High School soundtrack. This version opens with an extended drum beat first, with Joey eventually singing the opening line, "Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock 'n' Roll High School." This is also the version they usually performed live. This version was not issued until the 1988 compilation album Ramones Mania.

The second version is a slight remix of the Ed Stasium version by producer Phil Spector, who would go on to produce The Ramones' next album, End of the Century. This version features Spector's Wall of Sound mixing technique and was the version featured on the Rock 'n' Roll High School soundtrack album and accompanying 7" single.

The third version is a complete re-recording by Phil Spector for the End of the Century album. This version opens with a long, sustained guitar chord and has a slightly different arrangement. This version was also featured in the music video for the song.

In the music video, drummer Marky Ramone, dressed in drag, plays the role of the female teacher. Also three of the band members girlfriends/wives can be seen; Dee Dee's first wife Vera Boldis, Johnny's then-girlfriend Roxy and Joey's then-girlfriend (who later became involved with and married bandmate Johnny), Linda Ramone. The only time the Spector-produced version was played was on The Sha Na Na Show, where the band mimed the song.

The Ramones performed the song on the BBC2 television show The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1980.The song was featured on the soundtrack for Tony Hawk's Underground 2

Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song as a bonus track for their 2007 video game of the same name.

The movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days used this song on the soundtrack.

Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever

Rock 'n' Roll High School Forever is a 1991 musical comedy film and sequel to the 1979 film Rock 'n' Roll High School. The film stars Corey Feldman, Mary Woronov, and Sarah Buxton.

So It Goes (song)

"So It Goes" is a song written and recorded by Nick Lowe in 1976. The single was Nick Lowe’s solo debut following his departure from Brinsley Schwarz, and was the first single released on Stiff Records.Following the demise of the band Brinsley Schwarz, Lowe had formed the ad hoc band Spick Ace & the Blue Sharks with Martin Stone of The Pink Fairies and members of Dr. Feelgood. Contractual difficulties prevented their recordings being released and despite manager Jake Riviera's efforts record companies were not interested in signing Lowe as a solo artist.In the summer of 1976, Riviera borrowed £400 from Dr. Feelgood's Lee Brilleaux and rock photographer Keith Morris and along with former Brinsley Schwarz manager Dave Robinson formed Stiff Records. Stiff gave Lowe £45 to record two songs and accompanied only by drummer Steve Goulding of The Rumour recorded “So It Goes” and the B-side, “Heart of the City”. The single was released on 14 August 1976 with the catalogue number Stiff BUY1. The single was marketed through specialist shops and by mail order. Although it failed to chart, it more than recouped its investment and helped kick-start a new generation of DIY independent labels.The record has the following messages in the run out grooves: "Earthlings Awake" and "Three Chord Trick Yeh".

The single was voted the fifth-best single of the year according to the New Musical Express critics poll.The song is featured in the 1979 film Rock 'n' Roll High School (with the Ramones), and the 2009 film Adventureland.

Teenage Depression (album)

Teenage Depression is the debut studio album by English rock band Eddie and the Hot Rods. The album was mixed by Jonz:A and R Howard Thomson and produced by Ed Hollis and Vic Maile. It reached number 43 on the UK Albums Chart.The album's title track reached number 35 on the UK Singles Chart and was featured in the 1979 film Rock 'n' Roll High School. The album contains three cover songs, The Who's "The Kids Are Alright", Joe Tex's "Show Me", and Sam Cooke's "Shake".

Teenage Depression has been cited as a "missing link" between pub rock and punk rock, owing to its fast and hard-hitting R&B sound showing the attitude of a punk band. In 2000, a reissue was released with 12 additional tracks.

Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles?

Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles is an album by the alternative rock band Local H. It was released on April 6, 2004 on Studio E Records. On July 16, 2007 it received an Australian release doubled with Alive '05. "Hey Rita" and "California Songs" have become staples at many of Local H's live performances.

The album title references P.J. Soles, an American actress, known for her roles in John Carpenter's 1978 horror film Halloween, the 1979 musical comedy Rock N Roll High School, and Ivan Reitman's 1981 comedy Stripes.

Studio albums
Live albums
Tribute albums
Associated personnel
Related articles
Films directed by Allan Arkush

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