The Ron Clark Story

Movie review by
Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media
The Ron Clark Story Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Teacher's true story is uplifting but predicable.
  • NR
  • 2006
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 13 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The kids disobey Mr. Clark, vandalize his classroom, bully other kids, gamble, and bet on when Clark will quit. But the students eventually learn to treat Clark and themselves differently. They learn to believe in their academic abilities and to dream big.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ron Clark is inspiring, if not a little too sappy for his own good. It's Dangerous Minds without the grit, but all the do-gooder intentions.


Tay gets into two fistfights and is beaten by his foster father. Tay's foster father also speaks abusively about him. Mr. Clark shakes a student's desk with the student in it.


Ron kisses Marissa even though she has a boyfriend.


Some cursing, including "bastards," "damn," "hell," "dumbass," and "bitch."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that in this made-for-TV movie, Clark's students have difficult family lives. One child is in foster care and gets abused by his foster parent. Another child is the de-facto mom to her younger siblings, as her mother works two jobs. The children have bigger problems than not knowing grammar, and their problems may disturb more sensitive kids or kids who have been in similar situations. Clark also has a crush on a woman who has a boyfriend and kisses her.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bylove4holiness March 2, 2017

Excellent! Teaches the values of RESPECT, HARD WORK, MATURITY, and SELF-WORTH!

This movie is perfect for 5th grade and up, in my opinion. It's topic is an inner-city class with a naive but determined teacher. Mr. Clark is played by... Continue reading
Adult Written bykodiak11 January 6, 2014

Worth watching

Some language, but there is a positive message and positive role models.
Teen, 13 years old Written byImaRealCool_Rate_er October 11, 2019

Ron Clark A True Story

The movie follow a teacher named Ron Clark who moves in to a new school trying to prepare a rowdy group of kids to get the a good score on a standardized test... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old October 11, 2019

its a great underdog story

i think you should watch this movie because its about struggling kids that get great tests scores but it is if u noo watch dis ur mum gae

What's the story?

Matthew Perry plays a young, idealistic teacher determined to go where he can make the biggest difference. So he moves from rural Virginia to New York City. There, he waits tables while he searches for a school that will have him. He finds one in Inner Harlem Elementary School, where the remedial students have driven away six teachers in one year with their sheer rudeness and bullying. But Clark is determined to stay and raise these low-achieving students' test scores above grade level. Can he gain the students' trust enough to get them to listen? Can he weather their brutal hazing? And can he remain true to himself and his students in the process?

Is it any good?

Like a truly great teacher, THE RON CLARK STORY is geeky. It's earnest. It's an unabashed do-gooder. Most especially, The Ron Clark Story is not cool. It's the cinematic equivalent of a dorky middle-aged guy rapping about the U.S. presidents to a too-cool-for-school group of inner city tweens. And because it's so pure in its motivations, it's also a sweetly moving film.

While the story is affecting, it's also completely predictable. Viewers get the hayseed-in-the-big-city montage, where Clark innocently smiles and says hi to jaded New Yorkers. We get the one-dimensionally bad-boy and bad-girl students who must be won over, and we get the amusing and inspiring stunts Clark pulls to win his students' trust and get them to, finally, learn. It's nothing you haven't seen before… But that certainly doesn't mean it isn't an enjoyable film. Like good teachers, we can always use movies about effective education.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Clark's rules and whether or not they follow them at home.

  • Do you treat each other with respect?

  • Do you speak to each other in kind ways?

  • The movie may also inspire kids and parents to talk about their favorite teachers and what they liked about them.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

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