->''Joe Clark is a bad man. And we mean that in the best possible way, as in "don't fuck with him." When Paterson, New Jersey's Eastside High School found itself on the brink of being taken over by the state due to piss poor test scores, Clark was brought on board as principal to right the sinking ship.''
-->-- From [[http://www.cracked.com/article_16478_7-movies-based-true-story-that-are-complete-bullshit.html#ixzz1ZCmUuCWF this]] ''Website/{{Cracked}}'' article.

''Lean On Me'' is a movie VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory about a tough new school principal who brings a new level of order to an otherwise chaotic school.

----
!! Tropes:

* AllOfThem: The mayor's aide delivers this line when a horde of unhappy students march on City Hall while the school board is meeting to [[spoiler:vote Mr. Clark out as principal, after he's already been jailed for violating local fire safety laws]].
-->''(The students are all in the town square outside, chanting "Free Mr. Clark!")''
-->'''Mayor's Aide:''' It appears Mr. Clark's students have assembled outside in an exercise of their First Amendment rights.
-->'''Mayor:''' How many?
-->'''Mayor's Aide:''' It looks like...all of them.
* BadToTheBone: The movie's present-day sequence opens with a memorable shot of Eastside High having long slid into decay, with GunsNRoses' "Welcome to the Jungle" blasting as delinquents throng the halls. This was one of the first times that song was used in the movies.
* DarkerAndEdgier: In comparison to most movies about inspirational educators. [[spoiler:A teacher gets brutally beaten in front of a crowded lunch room in the very first scene. Things do eventually improve, though.]]
* DispenseWithThePleasantries: At a teachers' meeting, Clark makes abundantly clear that flattery isn't going to work on him.
-->'''Mr. O'Malley:''' We want to welcome Mr. Clark to Eastside; we've heard so much about you; and tell you what we have done in anticipation of your arrival. Mrs. Levias, your other vice principal, and I, have appointed an executive committee to oversee certain areas where we have noted a need for improvement, and Mr. Zirella, for example...
-->'''Joe:''' You may sit down, Mr. O'Malley.
* EngineeredPublicConfession: Played straight, but by the antagonists in an effort to get Mr. Clark fired.
* GoodIsNotNice: It ''[[ExaggeratedTrope really]]'' isn't.
-->'''Joe:''' I cried "my God, why has thou forsaken me?" and the Lord said "Joe, you're no damn good. No, I mean this! More than you realize, you're no earthly good at all unless you take this opportunity and do whatever you have to." And he didn't say "Joe, be polite".
* InformedPoverty: How are the kids able to afford all those colorful clothes? (Of course, this is a problem with way too many '80s movies to mention.)
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: While Clark tends to be a DrillSergeantNasty to everyone, including the teachers working for him, he does have their best interests in his heart and really does care for those in need.
* LargeHam: Joe Clark, as portrayed by MorganFreeman.
-->'''Joe:''' You've tried it your way for years, and your students can't even get past the minimum basic skills test. [[NoIndoorVoice THAT MEANS THEY CAN HARDLY READ!]]
* ListingTheFormsOfDegenerates: Joe Clark does this a few times:
-->I've got thugs, drug dealers, and deviants of all kinds trying to get into my school.
** Or...
-->I want the name of every hoodlum, drug dealer, and miscreant who's done nothing but take this place apart on my desk by noon today.
* NonGivingUpSchoolGuy: Joe Clark takes drastic measures to keep students in school and to keep undesirables out of school.
* NWordPrivileges: Joe Clark at a meeting calling himself the HNIC, and another black person at the meeting clarifying afterwards to a white colleague that it stands for "head [[PrecisionFStrike nigga]] in charge."
* PrecisionFStrike: See above.
* RapeAsComedy: Borderline. In the opening, "Welcome to the Jungle" sequence, a boy grabs a girl's shirt and rips it off, leaving her in her bra. He doesn't do anything to her after that, but it's still uncomfortable to watch. But what's "funny" about it is that the girl is more [[NakedFreakOut embarrassed]] than truly terrified.
* SaveOurStudents
* ShootTheDog: Many of Joe Clark's actions have some arguable moral ambiguity to them, from chaining and locking school doors (in violation of fire safety rules) on being told that someone from inside the school let an expelled student into the building, to firing a teacher for picking up trash during the school song for which everyone was told not to move.
* StuffedIntoALocker: Sams, at the beginning of the movie. Then, to drive home how bad things have gotten at East Side High over the last 20 years, Sams is yelling urgently to be let out, yet a janitor walking down the empty hallway (the school day had just ended) completely ignores him.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: This is how Dr. Napier convinces Joe to take the job of principal at Eastside High:
-->'''Napier:''' The truth is that for all your talk and all your "Crazy Joe" routine, what have you ever done? Nothing! You're nothing but an insignificant man! It's like you were never born! Your life hasn't made one bit of difference! [[SubvertedTrope And neither has mine!]] Want to take that to the grave?
** Clark later gives several of these himself. It's a significant part of his management style.
* VerbThis: Just after Mrs. Berrett and the fire chief spring their EngineeredPublicConfession on Mr. Clark and he's being taken away in handcuffs by the police with some of his students (including Sams) looking on:
-->'''Clark:''' Mrs. Berrett, if you think you can--
-->'''Berrett:''' ''SHUT UP!'' You're ''finished!'' The school board is going to hear this at seven o'clock, and we are gonna vote your black ass out.
-->'''Sams:''' ''*grabs his crotch*'' '''YO, BITCH! VOTE ON THIS!'''
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: The movie definitely takes some liberties with the truth: Clark was a very tough disciplinarian who really did clean up Eastside High, and he really did [[http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,966577-1,00.html use a bullhorn]] and [[http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19880201,00.html brandish a baseball bat]], and he was a controversial figure for these reasons, but the movie otherwise makes up a lot of stuff. Despite the improvements Clark made, he did not succeed in getting substantial improvements in test scores, although his supporters say he would have if he had been kept in office longer.
* WhatTheHellHero: The teachers get sick of Clark's belittling of them and extending his Jerkass attitude towards them and let him know it. Not that he really cares, at least initially. Then Mrs. Levias tears into him about it...
* YourLittleDismissiveDiminutive:
-->'''Mrs. Elliott:''' I would love to stay and chat, Mr. Clark, but I've a concert in New York in two weeks and I would like to be prepared.
-->'''Joe Clark:''' What?
-->'''Mrs. Elliott:''' Prepare. You do know what prepare means, don't you? It means ready, capable and up to your job.
-->'''Joe Clark:''' What concert, Mrs. Elliott?
-->'''Mrs. Elliott:''' The one at Lincoln Center. We do one every year.
-->'''Joe Clark:''' Until now. As of this moment, your little concert is cancelled.