Up the Down Staircase



Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 78% · 41 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 68%
IMDb Rating 7.3/10 10 2353 2.4K

Plot summary

Sylvia, a novice schoolteacher, is hired to teach English in a high school, but she’s met with an apathetic faculty, a delinquent student body and an administration that drowns its staff in paperwork. The following days go from bad to worse as Sylvia struggles to reach her most troubled students.

July 18, 2023 at 06:56 AM


Robert Mulligan

Top cast

Bud Cort as Student
Florence Stanley as Ella Friedenberg
Frances Sternhagen as Charlotte Wolf
Jean Stapleton as Sadie Finch
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1.11 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 3 min
P/S ...
2.06 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 3 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Sylviastel 10 / 10

Every Teacher Should See This Movie!

I felt that I was watching reality even forty years later. I too aspired to be an English teacher like Sylvia Barrett. Sandy Dennis was a terrific actress and this film shows her ability and wide range. The cast features well known and familiar faces. Sylvia endures a stark reality of the urban teaching world. Schools in the poorest sections of New York City are still under funded. The Calvin Coolidge High School appears more like a prison than a school. The atmosphere reminds me of going to the unemployment office where its grim and depressing. How can anybody believe learning is going on? Of course not, schools are supposed to prepare our students for the future but are terribly let down. Today's students believe technology will solve everything. We can't teach how to think as teachers. This film should be shown to all aspiring teachers about the reality of urban school teaching.

Reviewed by SnoopyStyle 8 / 10

good movie overshadowed by icon

Sylvia Barrett (Sandy Dennis) is a new English teacher at the rundown Calvin Coolidge High School. She is a fish out of water and even goes up the down staircase on her first day. She struggles in the overcrowded classes without much supplies or any help. Sylvia struggles against the bureaucracy, overwhelming odds, and indifference.

Sandy Dennis is great and it's got the grittiness of a tough school. It came out around the same time as "To Sir, With Love" with Sidney Poitier and is generally overshadowed by it. It has neither the iconic song nor an iconic star. It is a good modern school drama that fits into the standard formula. This may have set the formula itself and it gets the chaotic classroom right. The scene that sold me is Mr. Barringer unwittingly critiquing Alice's love letter. It's an amazing scene. This is all very good.

Reviewed by preppy-3 9 / 10

Well-done comedy drama

Sandy Dennis plays a young teacher who is assigned to an inner city school in NYC in the early 1960s. You see here deal with tons of red tape at the school and students who don't care.

Based on a 1964 book written by an actual NYC teacher. The tone of the film (and book) is light but it doesn't ignore the problems the students have. It offers no solutions but brings up some interesting questions. Shot at an actual NYC high school during the summer break which helps lead realism to the movie. All the acting is excellent.

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