Higher Learning

January 11th, 1995


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Still of Ice Cube, Omar Epps and Busta Rhymes in Higher Learning

People from all different walks of life, encounter racial tension, rape, responsibility, and the meaning of an education on a university campus.

Release Year: 1995

Rating: 6.3/10 (9,685 voted)

Critic's Score: 54/100

Director: John Singleton

Stars: Omar Epps, Kristy Swanson, Michael Rapaport

Youngsters from different countries, races, and social background are forced to integrate when they all enroll in Columbus University. They all have their own problems, such as finance, harrassment, personal safety, and self doubt. Additionally, campus life seems to be causing a problem for everyone: racism. Students, already under pressure to perform in the classroom, on the track, or in front of their friends, are strained to the breaking point by prejudice, inexperience, and misunderstanding.

Omar Epps - Malik Williams
Kristy Swanson - Kristen Connor
Michael Rapaport - Remy
Jennifer Connelly - Taryn
Ice Cube - Fudge
Jason Wiles - Wayne
Tyra Banks - Deja
Cole Hauser - Scott Moss
Laurence Fishburne - Professor Maurice Phipps
Bradford English - Officer Bradley
Regina King - Monet
Busta Rhymes - Dreads (as Busta Rhymez)
Jay R. Ferguson - Billy (as Jay Ferguson)
Andrew Bryniarski - Knocko
Trevor St. John - James

Taglines: Question The Knowledge

Release Date: 11 January 1995

Filming Locations: Los Angeles, California, USA

Gross: $38,290,723 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

John Singleton wanted Sidney Poitier to play professor Maurice Phipps. He was not available. Singleton's second choice for Professor Phipps was Samuel L. Jackson; the studio preferred Laurence Fishburne, who had worked successfully with Singleton in Boys in the Hood (1991).

Continuity: When Remy confronts Malik, by the statue, about Malik's black panther shirt and calls him a coon. Malik makes threats and Remy runs off. In the next scene Malik confronts Remy at his dorm room Malik states that Remy has been good about not saying anything to him.

Professor Phipps: Without struggle, there is no progress. (quoting Frederick Douglas)

User Review

Am I insane or . . .

Rating: 6/10

Maybe I'm crazy, but the exact things that everyone seems to find wrong with the movie are the things that I think makes it good. Like everyone was saying that all of the white characters are bad and all of the black characters are good, when that is apparently not the case. Why does Remy become a skinhead? Because the black guys in his dorm rejected, humiliated, and belittled him. In a way they drove him to it. Who's to blame here? In no way does Singleton let the black characters off the hook here. Many of them are portrayed as violent and irrational. Omar Epps's character is good example of where Singleton points out another dangerous attitude that has nothing to do with white people. The character thought the world owed him a break because he was black and underprivileged and the teacher is the one to call him on it. Or as someone in a another post pointed out, sorry to quote you, "Black self-pity," which the film does not excuse, but rather addresses with the same skepticism as it does the more generic issues everyone else seems to be concentrating on (racism, neo-naziism, date rape, lesbian cults.) So ask yourself, did this film genuinely leave you with the impression that it glorifies the behvoir of certain characters based on their race? Or is it maybe just that since the director is black you have a preconceived notion that he will be partial to the black characters?

So where a lot of people seem to think the message is black=good white=evil, I see it as It doesn't matter who's wrong and who's right because we need to put our differences aside and get along (almost equally clichee, I know, but still a different message entirely) Signed, white dude