The True Attitude of Punk Rock Music
By Anonymous


Rock and Roll High School was directed by Allan Arkush and released in 1979. This film depicts the punk rock era of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s in the United States. Some of the bands that were influential during this time period were The Ramones, The Clash, and The Sex Pistols. The story of this film follows a group of high school students who rebel against their school authorities with the help of the punk band The Ramones.

Rock and Roll High School highlights the time period of the punk rock movement in America. Although this film presents a lighthearted picture, it is still able to showcase how America youth felt towards authority figures and how they rebelled against those figures of authority. By featuring the punk band The Ramones, Rock and Roll High School has a great deal of validity because The Ramones were the key band in America’s punk rock movement. By featuring The Ramones playing some of their songs, the film shows why they were seen as a band that the youth of America rallied around when they were rebelling against figures of authority.

The music in Rock and Roll High School helps to create some of the energy that fuels the high school students while they are rebelling. Most of the songs that are featured are punk rock songs. There is, however, other music that is not punk rock in this film. By including non- punk songs, the film conveyed the distinction between punk music and conventional pop music of the time. The distinction between the two types of music also helps to clarify what punk music is all about. Whenever there is any chaos going on in the film, a punk rock song was being played in the background. On the other hand, whenever there are adults, the soundtrack featured non-punk, top forty songs in the background. This design helps to demonstrate that punk rock music is for the youth and is not intended for adults or people in positions of authority.

Rock and Roll High School does an excellent job of portraying punk rock music and what it is all about. When looking at other films about punk rock music like That Darn Punk (2001), it is apparent that Rock and Roll High School did the best job of any film about punk rock music. By allowing the majority of the songs on the soundtrack to be of the punk rock genre, it helps to understand why the students in the film are choosing this genre of music to express their rebellion against their school. Furthermore, since the majority of the songs in Rock and Roll High School are punk rock songs, it helps to create a high energy feel in the film which makes the audience want to root for the students in their attempt to overtake the school from their teachers.

The actors in this film do a good job of portraying the punk rock attitude of doing whatever you want that The Ramones helped pioneer. For example, because of The Ramones, the students stood up to their teachers when the teachers prohibited anyone from attending The Ramones concert. Throughout this film, the students are constantly going against their teachers and parents and not doing what is expected of them from society. By doing this, it shows that the students had the punk rock attitude of doing whatever they want and did not always listen to authority figures.

In closing, the punk rock movement of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s was a high energy time when the youth of America rebelled against an American society which was extremely conservative. Other films about punk rock music like Sid and Nancy (1986) and Another State of Mind (1984) fail to capture the attitude of punk rock music as well as Rock and Roll High School does. There is no better film than Rock and Roll High School that illustrates how the youth of America acted at this time period and how the music of punk rock helped them rebel against anyone or anything that stood in their way. Rock and Roll High School is a good film to view in order to gain a better understanding of the punk rock movement and what it is all about.