Stand and Deliver (1988)

PG | 106 mins | Drama, Biography | 11 March 1988

Director:

Ramon Menendez

Producer:

Tom Musca

Cinematographer:

Tom Richmond

Production Designer:

Milo

Production Company:

Eastside Productions
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HISTORY

In the opening scene of the film, in which “Jaime Escalante” reports for his first day of work as a teacher at Garfield High School, a title card reads: “Based on a true story.” In the closing scene, the following written statements are superimposed over an image of Escalante walking down the school’s hallway: “In 1982 Garfield H.S. had 18 students pass the A.P. Calculus Exam”; “In 1983 Garfield H.S. had 31 students pass the A.P. Calculus Exam”; “In 1984 Garfield H.S. had 63 students pass the A.P. Calculus Exam”; “In 1985 Garfield H.S. had 77 students pass the A.P. Calculus Exam”; “In 1986 Garfield H.S. had 78 students pass the A.P. Calculus Exam”; “In 1987 Garfield H.S. had 87 students pass the A.P. Calculus Exam.”
       End credits include the following statements: “This film was made possible by grants from Arco, The National Science Foundation, The Ford Foundation and produced in association with American Playhouse® and KCET, Los Angeles, with funds from Public Television Stations, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies”; “This film would not have been possible without the cooperation of the following: Garfield High School, East Los Angeles; The Los Angeles Unified School District; The East Los Angeles Gang Violence Reduction Center; The Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey”; “Special Thanks: The Escalante Family; Larry Bershon; Phylis Geller; Henry Gradillas; Henry Ramos; Elizabeth Martin; Caren A. Grown; Al Galvadon; Ben Saiz; The LaVoy Johnson Family; Steve Ostro; KMEX; KALI; the Garfield A.P. Class of 1982 and the people of East Los Angeles”; “Promotional consideration supplied by Pepsi-Cola Company”; and, “Dedicated to the memory of: Chantica ... More Less

In the opening scene of the film, in which “Jaime Escalante” reports for his first day of work as a teacher at Garfield High School, a title card reads: “Based on a true story.” In the closing scene, the following written statements are superimposed over an image of Escalante walking down the school’s hallway: “In 1982 Garfield H.S. had 18 students pass the A.P. Calculus Exam”; “In 1983 Garfield H.S. had 31 students pass the A.P. Calculus Exam”; “In 1984 Garfield H.S. had 63 students pass the A.P. Calculus Exam”; “In 1985 Garfield H.S. had 77 students pass the A.P. Calculus Exam”; “In 1986 Garfield H.S. had 78 students pass the A.P. Calculus Exam”; “In 1987 Garfield H.S. had 87 students pass the A.P. Calculus Exam.”
       End credits include the following statements: “This film was made possible by grants from Arco, The National Science Foundation, The Ford Foundation and produced in association with American Playhouse® and KCET, Los Angeles, with funds from Public Television Stations, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies”; “This film would not have been possible without the cooperation of the following: Garfield High School, East Los Angeles; The Los Angeles Unified School District; The East Los Angeles Gang Violence Reduction Center; The Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey”; “Special Thanks: The Escalante Family; Larry Bershon; Phylis Geller; Henry Gradillas; Henry Ramos; Elizabeth Martin; Caren A. Grown; Al Galvadon; Ben Saiz; The LaVoy Johnson Family; Steve Ostro; KMEX; KALI; the Garfield A.P. Class of 1982 and the people of East Los Angeles”; “Promotional consideration supplied by Pepsi-Cola Company”; and, “Dedicated to the memory of: Chantica Camejo, 1971-1987; Martin Olvera, 1964-1987.”
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, writer Tom Musca spent time observing Jaime Escalante teaching at Garfield High School in preparation for writing the script.
       The film was originally titled Walking on Water, as noted in several contemporary sources, including the 12 Feb 1988 HR review, and screened under that title at the Mill Valley Film Festival in Oct 1987. According to a 17 Mar 1988 HR “Hollywood Report” column, Warner Bros. changed the title to Stand and Deliver after acquiring distribution rights, also adding the song “Stand and Deliver” by Mr. Mister to end credits.
       Writer-director Ramon Menendez first became interested in Jaime Escalante’s story after reading an LAT article about the controversial re-testing of Escalante’s calculus students. Menendez gave the article to his writing partner and fellow graduate of UCLA Film School, Tom Musca. After convincing Escalante to option the rights to his story for one dollar, Menendez and Musca took the project to independent producers and television networks for financing. After several rejections, they received development money from American Playhouse at PBS, which provided $500,000 in partial funding in exchange for PBS licensing rights, as noted in a 27 Nov 1987 LA Weekly article. Other financiers included the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Arco, the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Atlantic Richfield, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
       As stated in production notes, actor Edward James Olmos first met Escalante at a NAACP awards ceremony where Olmos was honored for humanitarian work in the arts and Escalante was honored for education. Years later, Olmos’s lawyer sent him a newspaper clipping about Escalante, suggesting that the story would make a good film. Before Olmos had time to consider developing the project himself, Menendez and Musca reached out to him to star. Olmos, who was living in Miami, FL, and working as a series regular on Miami Vice (NBC, 16 Sep 1984--26 Jul 1989) at the time, prepared for the role by studying videotapes of Escalante in the classroom and speaking to him over the phone regularly. According to a 14 Mar 1988 Newsweek article, the actor gained forty pounds, had his hair cosmetically thinned and, six weeks before principal photography began, he came to Los Angeles to shadow Escalante for eighteen hours a day and live in his home, as stated in a 9 Mar 1988 LAHExam article. Olmos also requested that Escalante be present on set at all times, as he planned to mirror his subject as exactly as possible. In reference to the script, Escalante claimed the film was ninety-percent accurate, as noted in the 24 Mar 1988 Christian Science Monitor, with only small details changed and some characters composited.
       For the role of “Angel,” Olmos suggested actor Lou Diamond Phillips after working with him on Miami Vice. Menendez and Musca watched an advance copy of La Bamba (1987), in which Phillips played Latino singer Ritchie Valens, before casting him. In preparation for his role, Phillips was aided by production assistant Daniel Villareal, an East Los Angeles native who showed him around the inner city and relayed stories from his high school days. When Menendez took notice of Villareal on set, the P.A. was cast as Angel’s gang-leader friend, “Chuco.”
       Principal photography began 1 Apr 1987, as noted in 28 Apr 1987 HR production charts. The six-week non-union shoot took place primarily in East Los Angeles, where Garfield High School stood in for itself. The production budget was $1.35 million, according to a 19 Jun 1988 LAT news brief.
       After screening at the Mill Valley Film Festival, the film garnered attention from several major studios, including Columbia Pictures, Universal Pictures, Paramount, Fox, and Disney. According to the 27 Nov 1987 LA Weekly, filmmakers made an agreement with Warner Bros. based on the studio’s genuine interest in the project and such previous “long-shot successes,” such as 1981’s Chariots of Fire and 1984’s The Killing Fields. Although the 19 Jun 1988 LAT stated that Warner Bros. acquired worldwide distribution rights for $3.5 million, other contemporary sources, including the 17 Feb 1988 Var review, cited the figure as $5 million. As of mid-Jun 1988, LAT reported that promotional costs had amounted to $6.5 million
       A benefit premiere was held 26 Feb 1988 at Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, CA, with proceeds going toward the Jaime Escalante Calculus Program and Garfield High School Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, according to a 25 Feb 1988 DV news item. When the film opened 11 Mar 1988 in Los Angeles on only thirty screens, it grossed $411,884, taking in an impressive per screen average of $13,729, as stated in the 17 Mar 1988 HR. One week later, Stand and Deliver was released on twenty-nine screens in New York City, and on 1 Apr 1988, the release expanded to 362 screens in Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA; Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma. According to HR, a wider release would take place 15 Apr 1988, on 750 screens across the U.S.
       Critical reception was largely positive. Calling it a “gutty little underdog film,” HR singled out the performances by Olmos, Phillips, and Will Gotay, who played “Pancho.” Olmos was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture Drama, and Lou Diamond Phillips was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture. As announced in the 27 Mar 1989 LAT, the film won six out of ten Independent Spirit Awards, including: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Male Lead (Olmos), Best Supporting Male (Phillips), and Best Supporting Female (Rosana De Soto).
       Due to the popularity of Stand and Deliver, Garfield High School officials claimed Escalante’s class suffered a “worrisome drop” in test scores in 1988, as Escalante was overextended with promoting the film and classroom visits from high-profile figures including then Vice President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, according to a 22 Feb 1990 LAT article. Over time, Escalante butted heads with the school over his increasingly “oversubscribed” calculus classes and jealousy from other teachers, as noted in the teacher’s 1 Apr 2010 NYT obituary, and eventually left in 1991, taking another high school teaching position in Sacramento, CA.
       A 28 Mar 1989 HR news brief reported that on 15 Mar 1989, the film aired on Los Angeles public television station KCET during a pledge drive and became the station’s “highest-rated pledge special and…second highest-rated program in station history,” to that time. The broadcast helped raise $162,562 for KCET and earned a 10.3 Nielsen rating.
       Citing “breach of contract and conspiracy regarding his contract,” actor James Victor, who played “Ana’s father,” sued the film’s producers for $3 million and sought an injunction against theatrical release, as noted in a 9 Mar 1988 HR news brief. Although Victor claimed the producers owed him “front-end credits,” a Superior Court judge refused to hear his case and denied the injunction request.


Academic Network: University of Pittsburgh; student: Rachel DeSoto ; Advisor: Lucy Fischer. SBC (6/15/12). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Christian Science Monitor
24 Mar 1988.
---
Daily Variety
16 Feb 1988
p. 3, 10.
Daily Variety
25 Feb 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Apr 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Feb 1988
p. 3, 9.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Mar 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 Mar 1989.
---
KCET Magazine
Mar 1989
p. 18, 20-21.
LA Weekly
27 Nov 1987.
---
LAHExam
9 Mar 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 Mar 1988
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
19 Jun 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
27 Mar 1989.
---
Los Angeles Times
22 Feb 1990
Section A, p. 1, 22.
New York Times
18 Mar 1988
p. 14.
New York Times
1 Apr 2010
Section A, p. 19.
Newsweek
14 Mar 1988
p. 62.
Variety
17 Apr 1988
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
An American Playhouse® Theatrical Film
A Menendez/Musca & Olmos Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
Addl 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Wrt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Addl cam op
Gaffer
Best boy elec
Key grip
Best boy grip
Still photog
Still photog
Laboratory
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Apprentice
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Prop asst
Set dressing supv
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
Const crew
COSTUMES
Cost des
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus eng
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Supv sd ed
ADR ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Sd eff ed
Foley ed
Asst sd ed
Apprentice
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Post-prod facilities
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles and opt eff
MAKEUP
Make-up/Hair supv
Make-up/Hair stylist
Mr. Olmos' hair des
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Casting
Prod coord/Accountant
Asst coord
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Casting assoc
Casting assoc
Extra casting
Assistant
Scr supv
Unit pub
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Craft services
Post-prod supv
Transportation coord
Honeywagon driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Project consultant
Catering
STAND INS
Stunt coord
SOURCES
MUSIC
"I Want You," composed by Keith Clark, performed by Zander Schloss & Keith Clark
"Pocho Jarocho," composed and performed by Marcos Loya
"Cada Quien Por Su Camino," composed by Raquel Perez, performed by Raquel Perez & Mariachi Califas
+
MUSIC
"I Want You," composed by Keith Clark, performed by Zander Schloss & Keith Clark
"Pocho Jarocho," composed and performed by Marcos Loya
"Cada Quien Por Su Camino," composed by Raquel Perez, performed by Raquel Perez & Mariachi Califas
"Contrabando Del Paso," performed by Marcos Loya & Jacinto Guevara.
+
SONGS
"Stand And Deliver," written by Richard Page, Steve George and John Lang, performed by Mr. Mister, courtesy of RCA Records
"El Lay," lyrics by W. Herrón & Gronk, performed by Los Illegals, courtesy of A&M Records
"Secret Society," lyrics by Willie Herrón, music by W. Herrón & M. Valdez, performed by Los Illegals, courtesy of A&M Records
+
SONGS
"Stand And Deliver," written by Richard Page, Steve George and John Lang, performed by Mr. Mister, courtesy of RCA Records
"El Lay," lyrics by W. Herrón & Gronk, performed by Los Illegals, courtesy of A&M Records
"Secret Society," lyrics by Willie Herrón, music by W. Herrón & M. Valdez, performed by Los Illegals, courtesy of A&M Records
"Vamonos Pál Norte," lyrics & music by Marcos Loya, performed by Marcos Loya, Raquel Perez & Jacinto Guevara
"Wake Up John," lyrics & music by W. Herrón, performed by Los Illegals, courtesy of A&M Records
"Psycho Cha-Cha," lyrics & music by W. Herrón, performed by Los Illegals.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Walking on Water
Release Date:
11 March 1988
Premiere Information:
Premiere screening in Los Angeles: 26 February 1988 at Mann's Chinese Theater
Los Angeles opening: 11 March 1988
New York opening: 18 March 1988
Production Date:
began 1 April 1987 in Los Angeles, CA
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers, Inc.
Copyright Date:
22 March 1988
Copyright Number:
PA364602
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Prints
Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
106
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28919
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At James A. Garfield High School in Los Angeles, California, Jaime Escalante arrives for his first day teaching computer science. However, a jaded administrator named Raquel Ortega informs him that the school never received funding for computers, and Jaime is re-assigned to teach math. His students are rowdy, and some only speak Spanish. Jaime struggles to gain control of the class. After school, he discovers his car has been broken into and the stereo stolen. Taking out the trash at home, Jaime runs into his neighbor, Joe, and surprises him with the news that he quit his high-paying, corporate job to become a teacher. One day in class, Jaime dresses up in a chef’s hat and cuts up apples to demonstrate percentages, disarming the students with his gruff demeanor and witty asides. Two gang members, Chuco and Angel, interrupt the lesson as they arrive late. Jaime asks Chuco to stay after class, but Angel returns with more gang members to intimidate him. Outside school, Jaime sees Chuco engaging in a brawl and stops Angel from joining. At the next class, Jaime forces Angel to answer a simple math question, and Angel begins to participate along with the other students. At an administrative meeting, Principal Joe Goodell announces that Garfield is at risk of being put on probation for poor academics. Jaime clashes with Raquel Ortega when he argues that students will rise to the level of expectation presented by their teachers. Back in class, Jaime passes out a quiz, and Angel leaves with Chuco. Later, Angel admits he wants to study, but he cannot be seen by his fellow gang members carrying books. In turn, Jaime gives Angel three ... +


At James A. Garfield High School in Los Angeles, California, Jaime Escalante arrives for his first day teaching computer science. However, a jaded administrator named Raquel Ortega informs him that the school never received funding for computers, and Jaime is re-assigned to teach math. His students are rowdy, and some only speak Spanish. Jaime struggles to gain control of the class. After school, he discovers his car has been broken into and the stereo stolen. Taking out the trash at home, Jaime runs into his neighbor, Joe, and surprises him with the news that he quit his high-paying, corporate job to become a teacher. One day in class, Jaime dresses up in a chef’s hat and cuts up apples to demonstrate percentages, disarming the students with his gruff demeanor and witty asides. Two gang members, Chuco and Angel, interrupt the lesson as they arrive late. Jaime asks Chuco to stay after class, but Angel returns with more gang members to intimidate him. Outside school, Jaime sees Chuco engaging in a brawl and stops Angel from joining. At the next class, Jaime forces Angel to answer a simple math question, and Angel begins to participate along with the other students. At an administrative meeting, Principal Joe Goodell announces that Garfield is at risk of being put on probation for poor academics. Jaime clashes with Raquel Ortega when he argues that students will rise to the level of expectation presented by their teachers. Back in class, Jaime passes out a quiz, and Angel leaves with Chuco. Later, Angel admits he wants to study, but he cannot be seen by his fellow gang members carrying books. In turn, Jaime gives Angel three math books so that he can keep them at home and school. When a hard-working, soft-spoken student named Ana Delgado reveals that she must quit school to work at her father’s restaurant, Jaime takes his wife, Fabiola, there for dinner. After the meal, Jaime confronts Mr. Delgado, who is proud of his business and wants his family members to work there. However, Delgado eventually changes his mind, and Ana is allowed to return to school. The class takes a field trip to the computer company where Jaime’s neighbor Joe works, and Jaime is surprised to learn that Joe’s teenaged daughter studies calculus. At the next administrative meeting, Jaime announces that he wants to teach calculus so his students can take the Advanced Placement examination and earn college credit. Although Goodell is in favor of the idea, Ortega feels strongly that the students will fail and lose confidence in themselves. With Goodell’s support, Jaime teaches math over summer break so his students will be ready for calculus in the fall. Although he must teach in the school locker room with no air conditioning, the students suffer through the heat. At the start of the next school year, Jaime passes out waivers for his students’ parents to sign, allowing them to come to school one hour early on weekdays and attend on weekends. The students have a hard time conforming to the demanding schedule, and one day, Angel shows up late after taking his ailing grandmother to a doctor. Jaime, who is also exhausted, refuses to listen to Angel’s excuse and orders him to leave. At home, Fabiola complains about all the extra work Jaime has taken on, informing their two sons that their father has agreed to teach night classes for no pay. Angel shows up at the front door with his grandmother, hoping that Jaime will forgive him, and Jaime ushers the older woman in while accusing Angel of being manipulative. At one of his night classes, Jaime teaches English to Spanish-speaking adults but walks out of class when he begins to feel ill. Outside, he topples over from a heart attack. While Jaime convalesces, his students have a substitute teacher, Mr. Schloss, who knows nothing about calculus. Although the doctor orders Jaime to avoid job-related activity for a month, he returns to Garfield early, helping the class prepare for the Advanced Placement examination. After taking the test, the students celebrate by going to the beach. Sometime later, test results reveal that all eighteen students passed the exam, meaning Garfield had more students pass than any other high school. Joe Goodell congratulates the class by making a special announcement, and the students present Jaime with a plaque. Soon afterward, Jaime learns his students are being investigated for cheating. Dr. Ramirez and Dr. Pearson of the Educational Testing Service question the class, but no one admits to breaking any rules. Jaime finds a fake letter of resignation someone slipped inside his schoolbooks and discovers his car has been stolen from the school parking lot. After walking home, he laments to Fabiola that the students have lost confidence. Angel appears outside, and Jaime is heartened to see that Angel stole his car only to fix it up. Jaime confronts Pearson and Martinez, who suggest that his students re-take the test. Jaime contends that the students were targeted because of race and socioeconomic status, but Pearson claims there were uncannily similar mistakes made on multiple tests. Even though Jaime does not want to comply, he encourages the students to re-test and helps them study with only one day’s notice before the exam. When the new tests are scored, Jaime and the students are redeemed by another set of excellent scores, with all eighteen students passing a second time. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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