School Ties Wiki[edit | edit source]
School Ties is a 1992 drama film starring Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, Chris O' Donnell, Randall Batinkoff, Cole Hauser, Ben Affleck, Anthony Rape, Andrew Lowery, Amy Locane, and Peter Donat. The film follows a young, working class man, David Greene, from Scranton, Pennsylvania, who is approached by an elite preparatory school to for the school's football team as their quarterback. Greene is Jewish, and quickly finds that Jews are the subject of prejudice among his new peers. He subsequently hides his background from his new friends, and things quickly turn sour when the truth is found out.
Plot[edit | edit source]
It is the Fall of 1955 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. High school senior David Greene, son of a white collar factory worker drives to the local cafe to say goodbye to his friends. He will soon be moving to Massachusetts to attend St. Matthew's Preparatory school, having been offered an alumni scholarship to play as the football quarterback. While in the cafe, he and his friends are approached by rival Kocus and his motorcycle gang, who utter antisemitic slurs at Greene. The two quickly engage in a fight, with Greene emerging as the winner.
Shortly afterwards, Greene picks up his father at the local factory. His father shows concern with Greene having been in a fight, and tells him that he should learn to "walk away" from said confrontations. The two drive to the bus station and meet his siblings, and Greene says goodbye to them. He then boards the bus and begins the long ride, looking out the window at the countryside.
Upon arrival, he is driven to the school grounds by coach McDevitt. Greene is amazed by the grandeur of the campus, asking "This is a high school?" to which the coach replies, "Yea, this is your high school!" Coach McDevitt advises Greene that the students of the school are of a decidedly upper class background, differing from their blue collar roots. He cautions that Greene shouldn't "...tell them any more than they need to know." and sends him off into the dormitory.
Greene settles into his room, and meets his new roommate, Chris Reese, followed by "the big men on campus" Rip Van Kelt (the head prefect), Jack Connors, "Mack" McGivern (equipment manager and class clown), and Charles "Charlie" Dillon (the most upper class student in the school). Dillion quickly shows some signs of jealousy, telling Greene he's the "very first ringer St. Matt's has ever hired", however, the two shake hands and the beginnings of a friendship is made. The other boys ask how he got his black eye, to which Greene tells them he had been in a fight (he had told the coach it instead was caused by an accident). They respond with intrigue.
David walks off to chapel with his new friends and hymns are sung. Greene, presumably having never attended a Christian gathering prior to the events of the film, appears as if he has stepped into a new world. The school's headmaster, Dr. Bartram addresses the new class and leads the opening prayer.
Later that night, the boys are in Dillon's dorm room, listening to "Smoky Joe's Cafe" by The Robbins, with Greene appearing to fit in with his new peer group. Greene, however, quickly notices that the boys have a partiality towards telling anti Jewish jokes, with McGivern saying he bought his new stereo from a friend and that "He wanted forty bucks but I Jewed him down to thirty!" Greene appears offended, but keeps his reactions to himself. Soon, a man who appears to be a faculty member steps in and asks who owns the record playing, and finds out it belongs to McGivern. The two quickly grow an apparent dislike for each other. The man introduces himself as Mr. Cleary, explaining he is the new housemaster. Cleary instructs the students to turn off the record and that "We're not going to bring the jungle into my house.", showing the prejudice against African American music popular at the time. Greene makes monkey noises while Cleary's back is turned and the boys burst out laughing as soon as he shuts the door behind him. With the boys impressed by his gutsy move, Greene solidifies his acceptance among his new group of friends. Before lights out, Greene hides his Star of David necklace, indicating he has chosen not to reveal his background to his new peers.
The next morning, the group come into the class building from the rain and sit down in their new French class. They expected to see Mr. Renard, however, they are mortified to find out that their new French teacher is in fact, Mr. Cleary, who refers to them as "my musical upstairs neighbors." Cleary begins the lesson entirely in advanced French and calls on McGivern, explaining he must reply only in French. He continues to cruelly belittle him for his every mistake. The class knows they are going to have a long semester.
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