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  • Warning: Spoilers
    One of the things that this film does so well is point out how people make ethnic jokes totally unaware that some of the people around them may be of the same ethnicity. This gives the central character the opportunity to get a good look at what type of person that they really are and how to react to it. Story takes place in the 1950's and is about David Greene (Brendan Fraser) who is Jewish and from Scranton and and he gets a scholarship to a good prep school in the New England area and he decides not to tell anyone about his being Jewish. He's recruited to be the new quarterback on the football team and once he arrives he meets some of his new dorm buddies. His roommate is Chris Reece (Chris O'Donnell) and the person he is replacing at quarterback is Charlie Dillon (Matt Damon) who likes to tell people that he is going steady with the beautiful Sally Wheeler (Amy Locane). David does well in his studies and becomes a star on the team and gets along with everyone but once he meets Sally sparks fly.

    *****SPOILER ALERT*****

    Both David and Sally like each other instantly and soon Charlie discovers what is going on and becomes furious. Charlie looks at David as the person who took not only his position on the team but also the guy who took his girl. Then he overhears from a former alumni that David is Jewish and he uses this to try and get even. David now has to hear ugly racist jokes and find Nazi slogans tacked up in his room but he also loses Sally who could never date a Jew. While taking a final in one of his classes he notices Charlie cheating and later the teacher finds the cheat notes on the floor and he tells the students that they must find the culprit themselves or they all flunk. David tells Charlie to tell the truth but he uses this to tell everyone that it was in fact David who cheated.

    This film is directed by Robert Mandel and the screenplay is written by Dick Wolf who bases this story on his own exploits as a young man in prep school. We have all seen films dealing with racism before and while this doesn't have anything to say that you haven't heard before it does do a splendid job of pointing out how racism can exist even when it's meant as a harmless joke or gesture. But things do get ugly in this film after David's true identity is revealed and here he learns that some of the people he thought were friends are really just bigots. Another good thing that this film brings to a familiar story is a cast of young actors that breath freshness into their roles. Fraser is particularly good in the lead role and while he has been blasted by some for some of the films he has made he does pop up in a good role every so often and this was his first really impressive performance. Damon also gives a good performance and his character really becomes a disgusting jerk later in the film but this also marks the first film that Damon and Ben Affleck appear in together. This is a well made film with a poignant script that in it's own low key manner is quite effective in what it wants to say and the performances by these young and talented actors are all impressive.
  • It's a line the headmaster of the school asks the star quarterback David Greene when he catches him praying at church after curfew but praying in observance of the Jewish new year. Greene's reply to the Headmaster of this Christian Prep Academy is..."mine or yours". This is the essence of the storyline. A Christian Prep Academy in New England is tired of mediocrity in football and losing to their arch rival so they compromise their admission standards by recruiting a brilliant student athlete from Pa. The problem isn't that David Greene doesn't measure up academically, it is that he is Jewish.

    Soon after coming to school Greene realizes his classmates disdain and ridicule for Jews. They scorn them and make stereotype remarks that bother Greene but he is determined to fit in. Eventually his classmates and friends discover his secret and this is as far as I go. See the movie and see how David and his friends handle the situation.

    Fine performances are put in by Brendan Fraser, as David Greene. You'll be astonished at the youthful talent in the movie as really good performances are put in by Matt Damon, his real life buddy Ben Affleck, Chris O'Donnell, and all the others. I really enjoyed the story, the time setting, and the substance of the message.
  • I see this movie every once and a while on USA or TNT, I never watch all of it, but a few days ago I finally did and it was absolutely wonderful. It makes you wanna watch it again. Though some parts were slightly disturbing, the movie was still excellent. "School Ties" is set in the late 50s early 60s i do believe and a jewish kid goes to a basic prep school, all white, all Christian. He is a successful football player and makes many friends and is quite popular. But has to keep his religion in secret in fear of mockery and torment of his fellow classmates. Starring this wonderful cast, Brendan Fraser in his first major role, Matt Damon & Ben Affleck back when they were young and innocent. Before they had Oscar nominations starring in low-budget dramas. This movie is excellent, I give "School Ties" 10/10!
  • I've read the first 30 comments about this movie. Not once did anyone comment on the reasons why Greene (Fraser) never mentioned his religion -- the casual "joking" and "common knowledge" comments heard in the bathroom. Is it any less a matter of prejudice to use the phrase "I jewed him down" than it would be to use the term "kike"? Is telling a derogatory joke about homosexuals any more offensive than calling us "fag"? This is the only movie I can think of right off-hand other than "The Laramie Project" that makes the point that casual speech can be used as a form of maintaining prejudice. For this reason alone, "School Ties" is an important film. As a survivor of a 1964 prep school much like the one in the movie, I can tell you that the scenes and attitudes are accurately presented. I found the characters to be a little one-sided, yes. It's rare to meet any person who is as totally focused and determined as the Greene presented here. Nor is any prejudiced person or group normally so totally open in expression as the "good old boys" we see in this production. But, that's the most impressive way to show the public just how bad it is to be bigoted or to be the target of bigotry. For the production and acting values I'd give this film 6 on a scale of 10. For the "pre-star" status performances of Fraser, O'Donell, Damon, and, yes, even Affleck, I'd give it a 7.5 on a scale of 10. For the message I'd give it 9.5 on that same scale. "School Ties" is a movie that can be enjoyed by anyone who sees it. For "star followers", it has a cool four New Idols in "pre-star" roles to add to their tape collections. For the activists in the world it is a stark and dramatic example of how prevalent unrecognised bigotry is in our society.
  • Great drama with even greater performances from the relatively young and unknown cast. Especially Brendan Fraser's acting is really intense. One of his first roles, and in my opinion his best. He was not yet as famous as he is now ( after, for example, a film as 'the Mummy' ), but I think that his acting never had the intensity and credibility of that part.(In fact, I was shocked when I discovered that it was in fact Fraser in the horrible " George of the jungle' ! How could a fine actor like him accept such a terrible role ? ) Also Matt Damon (also an unknown actor at that time )and the other young actors are great. A terrific, subtle drama !

    9 out of 10 !
  • A brilliant 'coming-of-age' style film, in the tradition of "Dead Poet's Society". Starring a bevy of familiar faces during their up-and-coming phase: Matt Damon, Brendan Fraser, Chris O'Donnell, Cole Hauser and Amy Locane, this brilliant flick explores the challenges of a young, Jewish hopeful, David Greene (Fraser) who hides his religion from a group of bigots upon entering a prestigious preparatory school. Unaware of his identity, the students welcome him into the fold, until a prejudiced student (Damon) discloses his identity after discovering a romantic friendship developing between his own girlfriend (Amy Locane) and Greene. When one of the students cheats on his final exam - and Greene is accused - the class is requested to deliberate on a verdict, forcing them to choose between their own personal prejudices and the struggle to be impartial. Brilliantly acted and directed. Add this one to your collection!
  • What is it about Jews that so many people hate them? From as far back as the Old Testament, to the weekly ramblings of Pat Buchanan and the fanatical Iranian president, Jews just can't seem to catch a break. What is it they've done that's so bad? They murdered Jesus, did they? And the Romans had nothing to do with that?

    Anyway, this is a better film than I expected. Not only does it give us an interesting protagonist, but it allows us to feel like the outsider he is when he arrives at the elite prep school. Regardless of their religion, few people ever get a chance to attend such a ritzy school. Brendan Fraser plays David Green, a working-class Jewish kid who gets a football scholarship to St. Matthews for his senior year. The school is filled with smart and athletic young men destined for Ivy League schools and eventual seats at the head table of our society. The other boys David quickly befriends are played by a who's who of young acting talent just before they became huge stars. Chris O'Donnell, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck are all on display. Matt Damon's Charlie Dillion character is a real jerk. All the guys crack little Jewish jokes here and there, but once Damon learns the new kid's secret. He cranks the Anti-semitism level to really ugly levels.

    Luckily for these guys, David Green knows that he has a great chance of getting into Harvard if he just ignores their jokes as long as they don't find out he's a Jew. Green is a tough kid who's had to fight for everything he has, and he could easily beat the snot out of any of them. Once the secret is out, the boys he thought were his new friends suddenly become either indifferent to him, or his enemies. The new girlfriend from a nearby school who adored him also turns her back once she learns his religion. The film could have stopped there and just been a pro-tolerance kind of exercise, but luckily there are other things going on. One of the boys is caught cheating, but the faculty doesn't know who. Unless the boy comes forward, the entire history class will be flunked for breaking the honor code. Green becomes a suspect because he initially hid his religious identity. Will he to take a fall for the guy who cheated?? The film is thoughtful and has interesting characters where it could have just given us closed-minded bigots. Even though we know these guys are ant-Semites, we at least see them as real people with complex problems and motivations of their own. The film boasts some beautiful and realistic locations in most scenes. There are some subplots not fully motivated or fleshed out. What exactly happens to the boy who bolts from his French exam? What became of him after his nervous breakdown? And why did this film feel the need to recylce a gag from the movie Real Genius about putting an intellectual's car inside his dorm room?? Still a very good movie that might make you think twice about cracking ethnic jokes around people you don't know that well. 8 of 10 stars.

    The Hound.
  • I liked this movie the first time I watched it,which is probably why I have watched it twice since then.Seeing future stars in a small time movie was a bonus but it was the story that appealed to me.Anti-Semitism was once the "in-thing",just as lynching African Americans was once accepted and condoned.It's a sad and shameful part of our history,a part that we'd like to forget but we most definitely shouldn't...because if we do we just might repeat ourselves,and nobody wants to do they?

    I think "School Ties" gets the point across.Sure the script has its flaws,but which script doesn't?The story is an important one.Each time we watch it we"ll remember and that's a good thing,'cause we just might forget and that would be dangerous.
  • Every fine Eastern school has some old traditions. When selecting a college or University which will eventually become your Alma Matter, it become doubly prestigious. Therein, too are the seeds of bigotry, racism and often as not antisemitism. This story written by Dick Wolf and directed by Robert Mandel is a fine addition to so many others which bring out the often buried hatred of classmates whom we so often considered our most steadfast friends. This then is the story of David Greene (Brendan Fraser) who selected as his best friend Charlie Dillon (Matt Damon). Together they strive to make their way through the school year. However, even though they share the hardships and principals of the rigors of the school, theirs is also a tenuous friendship based on wealth and social standing. Both of which are prerequisites for social acceptance. When Dillion's envy of his best friend gets the better of him, he uses any means to right what he believes to be his share of the school popularity. Chris O'Donnell, Ben Affleck and Kevin Tighe round out the cast. The movie is exceptional for exposing what many schools lack the courage to do. Further, the combination of it's cast insure this will become a Classic, for the young actors. ****
  • I just watched School Ties recently and I was quite impressed with it. The acting was excellent as 4 previously unknown actors made their big breaks, Brendan Fraser (pre-George Of The Jungle) is awesome as Jewish boy David Green. Chris O'Donnell (pre-Vertical Limit) plays the role of Reece with good convictions and Ben Affleck & Matt Damon (pre-Good Will Hunting) are great. Matt plays the role of jealous bigot Charlie with good character and conviction. It's just a shame that Ben Affleck didn't have much of a speaking role. For those of you who are fans of Fraser, Affleck, Damon & O'Donnell, this movie is worth checking out 8 out of 10 in my books
  • juniortragedy-29 September 2000
    I am a huge fan of Fraser, and I own most of his movies. I have always enjoyed School Ties, although I never really appreciated it until I spent my first week in college. Feeling completely different and alone, I put the video in my TV/VCR combo and hermitted for two hours. I may not of faced the harshness that Greene felt, and I was not the victim of some anti-ethnic group, but I was pressured into doing a lot of stuff that I didn't feel comfortable doing, just like Fraser's character. They way he handled it made me realize that I shouldn't give in to anyone....I love you Brendan, you are my hero. Even if it was just a role.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Brendan Fraser, Matt Dillon, Chris O'Donnell and Amy Locane star in this 1992 drama. This takes place in the 1950's and Fraser (The Mummy) plays David, a young man who gets into a religious Prep School, St. Matthews on a football scholarship. He tries keeping his Jewish religion a secret when he befriends and blends in with his classmates. Soon, he's unable to when they learn his secret. Dillon (The Bourne Identity) plays Charlie, David's new pal who eventually exposes his secret, O'Donnell (Batman Forever) plays David's roommate, Chris and Locane (Airheads) plays Sally, a girl David finds romance with. Ben Affleck, Cole Hauser, Anthony Rapp and Randall Batinkoff also appear. This is a pretty good film with a good cast and Maurice Jarre's score is great as usual. I recommend this.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    One in ten thousand films concerning discrimination against Jewish people that did not end tragically. Unfortunately it is also about one in ten thousand films of the sort that is not based directly on actual events. The question then becomes is it better to have an unlikely story that ends happily or a truthful one that ends tragically, it is up to the individual viewer to decide. Personally I love a great victory story, the oppressed gaining ground over the regime which oppresses it, no matter how unlikely. It presents a sobering message cloaked in the guise a coming of age story filled with the up and coming actors of the time, making it all the more accessible to various audiences and thereby spreading the message of equality further than other related films due to the seriousness of the subject matter. There were plenty of great zingers and the spot on acting of the main cast makes many scenes of the film memorable.
  • I watched this movie on video last night. First of all I want to say this... I find it absolutely irrelevant who played the characters in the movie, all the actors did ok (nothing special). Please don't write your reviews based on Damon or Fraser or the co... they're not what is important about the film. The film should make people realise what a disgusting, resentful quality anti-semitism is, and how much jewish kids have had to suffer not just in the 50s, but over a massive period of history. But I'm not going to go into a history lecture.

    This movie touched me as this is a very familiar topic for me. Being born part Jewish in Russia I am well aware of the blunt, dumb prejudices that surround Jewish youth throughout school years, university admittance and army years. Fraser's character was lucky, he was physically strong... Let me tell you there are very few things in this life worse than being a victim of all these prejudices.

    The story line is nothing special but one characteristic of it is important and truthful - Fraser's drive to succeed. Oh sure very few Jewish kids became football stars, most of them had to be become successful through books and study, but the point is, surrounded by prejudice, ignorance and hatred, that's the only choice Jews ever had... they had to strive to be the best or they had no hope of surviving with any dignity. Hence, David Green's drive to go to Harvard had nothing in common with that of his classmates. They wanted the high-life and were pushed by their proud, arrogant parents; David saw Harvard as a way to simply survive.

    Some users have commented that there are more important issues in the world than this 'minor' bigotry case. Look, does that mean every movie should be about East Timorese getting slaughtered just because it's the most important issue of the time? This movie tries to show us how dumb, ignorant and blind anti-semitism is... and believe me there have been, there are and there will be millions of Jewish kids who would relate all too well to this movie. So please, instead of talking about the 'big' actors or sub-par story-line, think about the theme and make sure you're never the one immersed in stupid ignorance.
  • This movie was really touching and very important to me, it's the story of a Jewish boy who goes to a private High School, and has to hide his identity to be accepted. It was really shocking to see how they treated Jewish people back then, I'm also Jewish, and I would hate to be in David's position, to have to hide my identity to fit in. When i heard Brendan Fraser played David, I wasn't very sure about how the movie was going to be, but i was surprised to see what a good actor he is, he pulls it off really well. Matt Damon also gives a great performance, as a guy who is jealous of David and uses the information of him being Jewish to get back. Chris O'Donnell plays David's roomate, and the only guy who stands by him till the end. With the cast, the script, and the valuable message this movie gives about religion and acceptance, makes a movie that shines like no other has. 9.5/10(for the lack of success)
  • "School Ties", written by Dick Wolf and Darryl Ponicsan from Wolf's story, seems as if it must be a remake of something (possibly with Sal Mineo or James MacArthur in the lead). Athletic, handsome young man in the mid-1950s, the son of a blue-collar railroad worker in Pennsylvania, receives a scholarship to play football at prestigious boys' prep school in Boston. He's Jewish but keeps his religion under-wraps, and for good reason: the other lads swap anti-Semitic gossip in the locker room (right before the Senior Mixer!) and another boy confidentially tells our hero that one must go along with the curriculum if he wants to succeed. This is the kind of movie that might have been extended from a short; the first hour's set-up is practically irrelevant. The screenwriters lazily stack the deck against Brendan Fraser's well-meaning protagonist, even giving prejudiced-pal Matt Damon a reason to expose the Jew: he stole his girl! The '50s atmosphere is laid on thickly, what with an opening rumble between the ducktails and the bikers in an alley; we aren't even spared the proverbial prank on the snooty French teacher (who caused a student to have the same classroom breakdown that Natalie Wood suffered in "Splendor in the Grass"). It's a ridiculous picture, only notable now for the array of young talent in the cast. ** from ****
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Spoilers herein.

    This is a disaster of a film, but it doesn't seem so. It has a few young actors that later went on to undeserving celebrity, so instantly has some interest IT doesn't deserve.

    But the curious thing is how superficially it deals with antisemitism.

    The first sin in my mind is when a film preaches against something and then engages in that very same thing. It approaches antisemitism as a matter of stereotyping: but does so by trotting out every stereotype in the book (except the gay guy, unless the French teacher counts). It even reaches to bikers in an early scene. No one here is a person: EVERYONE is a stereotype.

    Never mind, it keeps on telling us, these guys are privileged creeps and our Brendon is a good guy, see? But Brendon IS a hired gun, brought in only because he was a jock. He DOES inexcusably deny himself. He DOES break enough school rules to get him tossed if he weren't a favored athlete. He DOES fall `in love' with a girl based on similarly superficial criteria to that being criticized here. (Gosh, is she a bad actress!)

    This is the level of social insight we might expect from a high schooler, not a weighty film.

    Its all a muddle. The reason we still have prejudice in our society is because -- like here -- we fail to examine it directly. Here it seems oddly conflated with racism.

    `Gentleman's Agreement' was a similarly heavihanded, preachy diatribe of no artistic or entertainment value. But it was a whole lot more intelligent and complex in its vision of what antisemitism is.
  • David Green (Brendan Fraser) is a star quarterback from working class Scranton, Pennsylvania in the 50's. He's Jewish and gets into fights for that. He gets a scholarship to an exclusive prep school for the senior year aiming to get into Harvard. His coach suggests keeping his Jewish heritage a secret. He is befriended by nice roommate Chris Reece (Chris O'Donnell), Charlie Dillon (Matt Damon) who wants to be the quarterback, Jack Connors (Cole Hauser) and others. After winning a big game, he falls for Sally Wheeler (Amy Locane) whom Dillon also likes. Dillon is embarrassed on the field. He discovers Green's Jewish heritage and unleashes anti-semantic feelings among the students.

    Something bugged me throughout this movie. They're supposed to be high school seniors but everybody looks like they're twentysomethings. It's standard Hollywood operating procedure and I won't nick it too much. It's very earnest in its portrayal of racism. O'Donnell is the one who has to play the middle. It's all very standard but then there is a great "Twelve Angry Men" section. I really like that scene. It allows the characters to have deep interactions. It's a great scene and makes this standard movie something better.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I think this film, in regards to antisemitism, is second only to Gregory Peck's "Gentleman's Agreement". The setting is very different here -- a prep school, but the message is similar.

    Aside from the topic itself, the cast is interesting to watch -- Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck -- all very, very early in their film careers.

    The story is rather simple -- a very WASPish prep school with a losing football team, but a demanding alumni group with deep pockets, recruits a gifted high school quarterback (Fraser). There's just one problem -- he's Jewish, but that can be kept a secret. After he steals the spotlight and the girl from the former primary quarterback (Damon), the secret does what most secrets do -- it slips out. And suddenly the star quarterback who was just one of the guys now isn't one of the guys at all. Then there's a cheating scandal, and it's all dumped on the Jewish guy...after all, cheating is the kind of things that "dirty Jews" do. Right? But, as you might expect, it's Damon who maneuvers the situation. And how will it all end? The (then) young actors do amazing jobs here, although Affleck has one of the smaller roles. Fraser and Damon are terrific, as is the girl friend -- Amy Locane.

    The one criticism I have is of the scene where in about 30 minutes they dismantle are car and reassemble it in an "evil" house father's room. No, just not least in that amount of time.

    But aside from that frivolity, if you like serious movies, this is a very good one!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Robert Mandel's "School Ties" stars Brendan Fraser as David Greene, a working-class Jew who earns a football scholarship to an exclusive Massachusetts school. As its 1955, and anti-Semitism is rife, Greene must hide his Jewish identity in order to avoid persecution.

    Much of "School Ties" watches as Greene struggles to keep a lid on his temper when his privileged, WASP classmates indulge in anti-Semitic remarks. This aspect of the film is handled well. What's bizarre, though, is the way Mandel ignores Greene's working-class roots. For Mandel, class bias is inconsequential, is a nonexistent prejudice. In reality, in the Ivy Legues, such things would have been as big a, if not bigger, stigma.

    "School Ties" co-stars a young Chris O'Donnell and a younger Ben Affleck. A pre-fame Matt Damon steals the show; he plays a spoilt kid who explodes into unbridled, fascistic hate. Though contrived in parts, the film is fun, engrossing and beautifully shot, offering glimpses of Pennsylvanian industrial estates and the leafy grooming-houses of upmarket Massachusetts.

    7.9/10 – Worth one viewing. See "The Paper Chase".
  • It was well written, inspiring, revealing, and a reminder that we are still in 2013 only 60 years away from a time of great hatred and prejudice in America. Generations of bigotry are still yet to be undone. We need to create dialog and not make assumptions about any segment of society or pass judgement simply because they are different.

    The film begins painting a picture, setting the stage, identifying the key players, there was inciting action, and the pacing was excellent. Moment by moment I was gently lead from one scene to the next, often with great suspense. In the end my own prejudices were re-examined and I began to think not just about anti antisemitism, but other forms of hate speech and discriminatory language that I might not even be aware of.

    I also feel that the writers accurately portrayed their point of view with sensitivity and shared a beautiful story with the world . I'd highly recommend.
  • This is an excellent film. There are very few if any American films that deal with anti-semitism in a school environment let alone a prep school. David Greene is a working class Jew in the 1950's who gets a football scholarship to a New England Harvard feeder school. They need a quarterback. While in a working class environment David can deal with anti-semitism by fighting on a one to one basis. Early in the film we see him battle against a rival gang leader who makes anti-semitic comments. In this film the working class kids fight hard but a least fight fairly. However, at the prep school the anti-semitism is more subtle and he overhears a casual anti-semitic comment. When his classmates later turn on him led by the jealous racist Charlie Dillon he is unable to fight back against the pack. He becomes the outsider-the stranger subject to all indignities. The redeeming character in this film is Chris Reece who after some soul searching finally comes to David's aid. This was a brave film to make and Bredan Fraser is wonderful as David Greene.
  • The performance of Mr. Fraser is incredible he plays his role with a passion and precision I have seldom seen in other actors short of the Jack Nicholson's and Robert De Nero's of the world. It is a story of teenage troubles with "fitting in" and the search for identity mixed with the horrors of prejudice. The film does not get bogged down in useless scenes and dialog to dive home its point. It is an "issue" movie that is subtle enough that you may not even realize it was an "issue" movie until after it is over. The story line never slows down there is always something going on that is both attention grabbing and pertinent to the plots development. Without the use of blatant sex and violence this film showcases the talent of three rising young stars (Chris O'Donnell and Matt Damon also star) as actors, not the big box office stars or teen heartthrobs, that they all went on to become. This is a well written, beautifully directed and phenomenally acted film that anyone can enjoy and relate too.
  • This movie really shows the acting talents of these actors. Brenden Fraser is wonderful. Matt Damon really makes you hate him but yet makes you feel sorry for him in some strange way. I own this movie and will recommend it to anyone and everyone.
  • p3r326 May 1999
    If you haven't seen this movie yet, GO DO IT! Rented it on the suggestion of a friend, loved it so much I went out and bought it. It's a heart-touching movie, sad and yet triumphant. (Although I agree with Mr. Fraser about the wince he does at the end.. he should have let the other kid just have it.)

    Wonderful movie, two thumbs up from me. Go rent it. Lots of major actors back when they were young and relatively unknown, but still very, very good.
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