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Film / Class of 1984

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Class of 1984 is a 1982 action-thriller movie about a newly hired music teacher at a troubled inner-city school, where students have to pass through a metal detector due to problems with gangs, drugs and violence.

It received a thematic sequel in 1990, Class of 1999.

This film provides examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: This film was made in 1982.
  • The Alcoholic: Terry Corrigan is completely disillusioned and drinks to compensate. His drinking only worsens when he starts reluctantly teaming up with Andy. After Stegman and his gang get revenge by slaughtering and displaying every animal in his biology lab, Terry is inconsolable and his drinking becomes rampant.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Fallon gets his right arm cut off before with a circular saw before being placed back-first on it.
  • And Starring: And Roddy McDowall as Corrigan.
  • Arc Words: "I am the future"
  • Asshole Victim: All members of the gang die violent and well-deserved deaths.
  • Ax-Crazy: Stegman is a brutal sadistic neo-Nazi who beats up rival gangs and isn't above raping women.
    • Also, after Terry's "teaching by .45 automatic" class is stopped by Andy, Terry, drunken and crazy, attempts to run over Stegman and the rest of the gang with his car. Sadly, it ends poorly for Terry.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Mr. Norris is the only teacher reaching out to the students and willing to better things up. But push him through the Rage Breaking Point at your own risk...
    • Also, Terry after the gang targets him by slaughtering the animals in his biology lab. His drinking spirals, culminating in Terry forcing Stegman's class at gunpoint.
  • Big Bad: Stegman, the leader of the gang plaguing the school.
  • Big Damn Heroes: After kidnapping Andy's wife, the laid-back music teacher slaughters every male member of Stegman's gang, then Stegman himself.
  • Bittersweet Ending: All the gang are dead and Andy gets away with the killings because there were no witnesses. He and his wife still have to put up with the trauma of the events, not to mention every student in the school seeing Stegman die by hanging, and the likable Terry didn't survive to see Stegman's end.
  • The Brute: Barnyard is built like a truck and the most physical (and dumb) member of the gang.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': One kid buys drugs off the gang and takes a sniff. Five minutes later he climbs the flag pole and falls to his death.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Inverted. We see Terry carries a gun in his briefcase in the very first scene. It reappears in a darkly humorous scene where he brings it to class and holds students at gunpoint to force them to answer questions.
    • Throughout the entire movie, the only thing that the indifferent authorities are willing to go on is eyewitness testimony; since Stegman's gang intimidates anyone who could possibly say a thing, this apparently makes taking action or charging them nearly impossible, though they still all have long rap sheets of confirmed offenses. At the end, this same reliance on witnesses also means that Norris avoids prosecution, despite the overwhelming physical evidence he would've left behind for the forensic team, even in a pre-DNA testing era.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Literally. Terry Corrigan carries a loaded Colt .45 in his briefcase. After Stegman and his gang drive him to the breaking point, he uses it to teach a biology class where it would be lethal for the students if they get one of his questions wrong.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Early in the film, Deneen mentions that she can play many music instruments as well as conduct. In the end, she steps in when Andy runs off to find his wife.
  • Clothing Damage: Diane as she is being abducted. Andy's clothing also becomes more untidy and unraveled as he fights off the gang.
  • Cool Teacher: Mr. Norris is this to his music class, since he's the only teacher in the school that actually cares.
  • Deadly Graduation: A youngster eager to join the gang is ordered to kill a witness.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Patsy, Stegman's girlfriend, checks out the coke-head applicant, and watches Fallon put her through 'tryouts'. She also seems to greatly enjoy watching the gangrape.
  • Dirty Coward: Stegman and his gang can talk tough when they've got weapons and numbers on their victims but they all to a one freeze in terror when Terry brandishes a gun at him, so shocked they answer questions in his class. In the end Patsy gives up Stegman's location out of fear of Andy's wrath and Stegman himself tries pleading for his life before trying to stab Andy to death.
  • Disney Villain Death: Complete with the failed "give me your hand" trick. Stegman falls to his death through the window of the school auditorium after being punched by Norris after trying said trick.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After one too many taunts from the gang, Andy finally snaps and goes berserk on the gang members.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: After Stegman is too scared or unable to answer Terry's biology question, Terry cocks the hammer of the .45 he's holding preparing to shoot Stegman.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The gang beating up another rival gang.
  • Exploitation Film: Classic The '80s style.
  • Fanservice Extra: One girl at the club flashes her breasts. Also, a girl trying to get a job working for Stegman goes completely nude. For the other side, the shirtless band member on stage.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Stegman's home life consists of a deceased father (that Peter himself might have possibly killed in the past) and a mother that continues to shelter and make excuses for him as a misunderstood genius, in spite of his long rap sheet of delinquency, beating and rape charges. Rather than humanize him, this gives his sadism an even more loathsome quality, showing that he's an intelligent young man with genuine promise who hurts people for the sheer thrill of it, and squanders his gifts by using them as excuses; he only demonstrates his talent for piano when he tries to force Norris into admitting him to his music class, then complains to the principal that he, "the best pianist in this school", was kept out because Andy has a personal vendetta against him. Best summed up by this exchange:
    Andy: You know the amazing thing? I think Stegman's actually a brilliant kid.
    Terry: [dismissive] So was the Marquis de Sade.
  • From Bad to Worse: The battle between Andy and Stegman gets more and more brutal as the film goes on.
    • Terry's life also spirals once he reluctantly quits hiding in the background, to the point where his lab animals get slaughtered, his alcoholism worsens, he becomes mentally unstable and ends his teaching career by threatening Stegman and his gang to answer questions with a gun. Then he dies trying to kill Stegman.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Being soft is not an option in such a hellhole. Mr. Norris is fully willing to kill each member of the gang after seeing how irredeemable they all are.
  • Gun Struggle: A brief one when Andy disarms Terry.
  • Hidden Depths: Stegman is quite the talented piano player.
  • Hope Spot: Andy defuses the hostage situation between Terry and Stegman and the rest of the class he's holding at gunpoint and Terry seems to pull himself together and leave, indicating that while Terry's teaching career is most certainly over, and he's probably facing jail time, he might be able to save himself. Then in the very next scene we see him drinking and stalking Stegman and his gang in his car before he attempts to run them over. Unfortunately, he didn't think the gambit through and he pays for it with his life after accidentally crashing.
    • After Terry's death, Andy's wife, who said she would stand by him as long as he stayed at the school changes her mind and elects to stay with her mother until after the baby is born. She doesn't leave soon enough to avoid being attacked by Stegman and his gang.
  • Hostage Situation: After being driven to drink and insanity by Stegman and his gang, Terry Corrigan holds the entire class at gunpoint and asks them biology questions. Terry seems poised to shoot anyone that answers incorrectly, but Andy disarms him before he can actually kill anyone.
    • At the end, Stegman's gang takes Andy's wife hostage in order to try to get Andy alone to kill him.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Played with. Any stops Terry from shooting Stegman in the head. As a result, Terry goes completely insane and dies trying to kill Stegman with his car later, and Stegman takes advantage of Andy being away from home a few days later to corner Andy's wife, where he and the rest of his male cohorts gang rape her.
    • Terry attempts to kill Stegman hitting his with his car. Granted, he is already insane at that point, still, it ends poorly for him.
    • Stegman's final plan assumes Andy won't show the photo of his kidnapped wife to an auditorium full of people, including authorities.
  • Inner City School: One that's full of delinquent teens and dangerous gangs. They do however have a good music program.
  • Karma Houdini: Averted with the gang who all die brutal deaths. But Andy gets away with killing them although he is a sympathetic version of this trope.
  • Kick the Dog: Because Terry helped Andy save two kids from the gang, they punish him by killing all the animals in his classroom and putting them on display.
  • Kill It with Fire: How Drugstore dies.
  • The Lancer: Terry Corrigan is a very reluctant one to Andy Norris. Considering his eventual fate in the film, he wasn't entirely wrong being hesitant, no matter how morally right it was.
  • Large Ham: While Mc Dowall's performance is really understated and chilling throughout most of the film, he really lets loose in the scene where he's trying to run over Stegman, cackling and shrieking maniacally.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Stegman spends the whole film running rampant because he's a minor and there are no witnesses to his crimes so he's almost never arrested. After Andy kills him, as well as most of the rest of his gang, Andy isn't prosecuted and gets away with killing all of them completely, because...The police couldn't find any witnesses to Stegman's murder.
  • Made of Explodium: After Terry's car flips over in the crash, the underside is quickly engulfed in flames, and the entire car explodes.
  • Mama Bear: Stegman's mother certainly flies into a rage when Andy supposedly assaults him. Too bad she's so clueless.
  • Meaningful Name: The main character is called Norris. Ring any bells?
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Andy and Terry intervene when Stegman is attempting to maim and possibly kill Arthur and Deneen. Terry loses his animals, probably his teaching career after he holds Stegman's class at gunpoint, and eventually his life when he tries to kill Stegman and fails. Andy loses his car, and his wife is gang raped by Stegman and his gang. They attempt to murder Andy as well.
  • Noose Catch: The fate of Peter Stegman: falling through a skylight and getting strangled to death in the ropes above the stage.
  • Only Sane Man: Terry believes himself to be one, telling Andy to keep his head down and go through the motions. Ironically, the moment he becomes Andy's lancer, he gets a target on his back and things go horribly for him.
  • Papa Wolf: Andy gets this way towards his students. His crusade is started when one of them dies from a drug overdose.
  • Police Are Useless: Mostly played straight. Its lampshaded that they can't do anything as long as the offenders are minors.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Stegman and the rest of his gang. They're vocal Neo-Nazis.
  • The Quincy Punk: Probably the best example of this trope. The gang all have classic punk looks and are portrayed as violent and sadistic because of it.
  • Rage Breaking Point: When Andy discovers that his wife has been kidnapped and raped, he goes ballistic and kills each member of the gang.
    • Terry has one after the gang slaughters and displays the animals in his biology lab, to the point where he attempts to run Stegman down with his car. Sadly, he fails.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Stegman and his gang rape Andy's pregnant wife. This ends up being the last straw for Andy.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Andy's course of action after seeing the photo of his wife being raped.
    • Terry attempts one after Andy prevents him from shooting Stegman by trying to run him over with his car, but he crashes and burns instead.
  • Sadist: Stegman proves to be one when he is really pure evil by raping Andrew Norris' wife and slaughtering Terry Corrigan's biology animals and putting them on display, making Terry lose his sanity as a result.
    • After Terry's car flips and explodes, a number of the gang members crow around the wreck, even warming their hands on it like the explosion that killed Terry is nothing more than a campfire.
    Stegman: Life... is pain. Pain... is everything. You... you will learn!
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Arthur's friend trips out on the PCP Stegman's gang gives him and he climbs the top of the flagpole before falling to his death.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Terry Corrigan, Andy's only real ally at the school, dies at the beginning of the third act in an attempt to take out Stegman, driving home the point that Andy's not safe either, and neither is his wife.
  • Scarf Of Ass Kicking: Drugstore wears one in the climax.
  • Sore Loser: Terry considers himself to be one, calling himself a failure as a teacher.
  • Teenage Wasteland: The school and the town are well on their way to becoming this. Stegman himself runs a miniature club version of this, as a drug dealer and pimp who recruits various young girls and boys to earn him money.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Played with. Only the gang members are actually that sadistic. Even though there are other troubled kids in the school, Mr. Norris makes a point to stress that there are good kids there; the principal eventually agrees saying, "it's just the bad ones command all our attention".
  • Title by Year: Released in 1982, about a school, so it's implied that 1984 is either the graduation year or the year it's occurring in.
  • Tranquil Fury: Terry display all of this when he finally faces down Stegman with his .45 to ask him what an amphibian is.
    Terry Corrigan: Mr. Stegman. What is an amphibian? You should know...We had such a..Wonderful display..Hanging on our wall...You don't know? That's too baad...You....Do not pass....
    Andy Norris: We're going to have to work with him Terry.
    Terry Corrigan: Oh, but Andrew that's going to take an awful lot of work....And this would be so much EASIER.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Andy literally saves Stegman from taking a bullet to the head. Instead of backing off from the feud, it only intensifies between the pair to the point where Stegman and his gang rape Andy's wife and take her hostage.
  • Useless Security Camera: If the whole school is monitored, why didn't it register who killed Terry's animals?
  • Villainous Friendship: Barnyard screams Drugstore's real name ("Joshua") when he thinks he's in trouble and is driven into a mad fury to avenge him after he's mortally wounded by Andy.
  • Wicked Cultured: Stegman, who can play piano very well.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Andy kills all the male members of the gang personally, expect for Barnyard, who gets accidentally killed by Patsy. Lucky for him, Patsy inadvertently gets herself killed by crashing a car..
  • Would Hit a Girl: Stegman cuts Andy's wife with a knife.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Stegman slams his head off of a mirror and a sink and then wipes his blood onto Mr. Norris' hand to get him suspended.


Video Example(s):


Peter Stegman's Death

After Norris and Stegman's fight results in Norris throwing Stegman into the glass roof, Stegman is left hanging on to a rope for dear life, he tries to convince Norris to pull him up, but when Norris grabs Stegman's right hand and Stegman pulls out a switchblade to kill him, Norris punches him down into the orchestral room, when the rope wraps around his neck and hangs him, giving the whole school a horrifying sight to see.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / NooseCatch

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