This 1975 ComingOfAge film has been described as "The Black ''AmericanGraffiti''." As TheOtherWiki puts it, the story explores the adventures and relationships of Leroy "Preach" Jackson (Glynn Turman) and Richard "Cochise" Morris (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs), two black high school students at Edwin J. Cooley High School whose carefree lives take a turn for the worse through several twists of fate.

Set in 1964 Chicago, the film features an all-Creator/{{Motown}} soundtrack, including the original version of "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday", which was later CoveredUp by Music/BoyzIIMen on their debut album ''Cooleyhighharmony''.

A TV series was planned, which actually ended up being retooled into the nearly-unrecognizable ''Series/WhatsHappening''.
!!This movie provides of examples of the following tropes:

* AnachronismStew: Several of the songs used in the film were released after the period in which it is supposedly set.
* AuthorAvatar: Preach wants to go to Hollywood and become a screenwriter.
* ChaseScene
* UsefulNotes/{{Chicago}}
* ComingOfAgeStory
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler:Cochise gets beaten to death, and the epilogue reveals that several other characters died early and violent deaths.]]
* HighSchool
* HollywoodNerd: Preach wears NerdGlasses and is teased for writing poetry. On the other hand, the glasses are the only nerdy looking thing about him, and he is not exactly hurting in the romance department.
* LibationForTheDead: Early in the movie, Preach jokingly pours out wine ToAbsentFriends, and is scolded for wasting it. [[spoiler: At the end, the trope is played seriously as he pours it over Cochise's grave]].
* NerdGlasses: This is how you know Preach is the "smart one" of the group.
* NothingButHits: And how!
* NWordPrivileges
* PresentDayPast: A lot of the clothing, hair, and cars in this movie look more like 1975 than 1964.
* RandomEventsPlot
* SternTeacher: Mr. Mason.
* TheSixties: When it takes place (but you often can't tell because of all the PresentDayPast).
* TheSeventies: When it was made.
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue: Played completely straight, just like in ''AmericanGraffiti''. This was probably before this trope became a stock parody.
* WildTeenParty