BySam Plank, writer at
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Sam Plank

Ice Cube, the guy who likes to Ride Along with Xander Cage and his other Boyz n the Hood down 21 Jump Street to the Barbershop every Friday, will be challenging another teacher to an after-school fight in his next movie, . In it, a teacher named Campbell, played by Charlie Day, gets Ice Cube's Strickland fired, so Strickland challenges him to a fist fight to settle the score.

Two grown men acting like children and fighting? How can you go wrong with that?

There's a long line of movies with some pretty epic high school fights, and director Richie Keen hopes to see his upcoming flick become just as memorable as these 11 movies with a punch (or stab, kick, or leg sweep).

Warning: some pretty NSFW or kids language below.

1. Karate Kid (1984)

Karate Kid – Columbia Pictures
Karate Kid – Columbia Pictures
  • Starring: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita, & Elisabeth Shue
  • Fact 1: Pat Morita grabbed a supporting actor Academy Award nomination for his role as Mr. Miyagi.
  • Fact 2: Charlie Sheen and Sean Penn both had a chance at the role of Daniel LaRusso. Think of how different the movie would have been!

Let's start this party with one of the most obvious choices. The minute Daniel LaRusso sets foot on that beach, his life is nothing but trouble. Johnny Lawrence and his gang of Cobra Kai karate students harass Daniel at school, on the soccer field, at a high school dance (which Daniel kind of deserved), and pretty much everywhere else. Most of the really good fighting takes place at the karate tournament, but Daniel gets in a pretty good punch in this clip:

2. The Principal (1987)

The Principal [Credit: TriStar Pictures]
The Principal [Credit: TriStar Pictures]
  • Starring: Jim Belushi, Louis Gossett Jr. & Rae Dawn Chong
  • Fact 1: Jim Belushi reprised his role as Principal Rick Latimer in the sci-fi movie Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe, a movie in which the only reason someone might watch is to see a Jim Belushi cameo.
  • Fact 2: Victor Duncan, played by Michael Wright (Omar White from Oz), scared the absolute snot out of me as a child.

This is one of those '80s movies that I just can't watch enough. It wasn't this huge blockbuster, or full of famous movie stars, so it must have been Jim Belushi, plain and simple. Between The Principal and K-9, he will always be one of the best actors of that decade, in my book. I mean, one of the best fights in the movie is between him, the principal, and Victor Duncan:

3. Three O'Clock High (1987)

Three O'Clock High [Credit: Universal Pictures]
Three O'Clock High [Credit: Universal Pictures]
  • Starring: Casey Siemaszko, Anne Ryan, Richard Tyson & Jeffrey Tambor
  • Fact 1: This is the directorial debut of Phil Joanou, who in 2012 also directed Thomas Jane and Ron Perlman in The Punisher: Dirty Laundry, probably the best thing since...Thomas Jane in The Punisher.
  • Fact 2: The upcoming Fist Fight is considered a loose remake of Three O'Clock High. A very loose remake, I'm thinking.

The '80s were chock-full of great movies, and so many of them involved high schools and the hormonal teens wandering their halls. Where you have raging hormones surrounded by high school walls, you're bound to have fights, and Three O'Clock High had a doozy. It was a classic David & Goliath match-up, and...well, I won't spoil it for you. Unless you read that part of the Bible already.

4. Never Back Down (2008)

Never Back Down [Credit: Summit Entertainment]
Never Back Down [Credit: Summit Entertainment]
  • Starring: Sean Faris, Djimon Hounsou, Amber Heard & Cam Gigandet
  • Fact 1: That's right, Cam Gigandet, as in this guy from Twilight:
Twilight [Credit: Summit Entertainment]
Twilight [Credit: Summit Entertainment]
  • Fact 2: This is one of those rare movies that is...wait for it...actually available to watch on Hulu!

Like The Substitute (see number 8 below), this pretty awesome movie spawned two sequels that feature an almost entirely new cast. Ryan beat up Jake, Baja and Ryan broke up, Jake and Baja hooked up, Jake beat up Ryan, Jake and Ryan became buddies, and Jake and Baja....well we never get to find out what happened to them. Thanks a lot, Michael Jai White.

5. Sky High (2005)

Sky High [Credit: Disney]
Sky High [Credit: Disney]
  • Starring: Kurt Russell, Kelly Preston, Michael Angarano & Danielle Panabaker
  • Fact 1: In a movie about nothing but superheroes, who plays the principal? None other than Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter, of course!
  • Fact 2: Sky High 2 is in the works!

Sky High, while not your typical high school fight movie, has plenty of fights, and is set in a high school like any other...except with superheroes. With Principal Powers, the villain Royal Pain, the Strongholds, the sidekick All-American Boy, this movie is one big, awesome, superstereotype. Watch Killer Frost go Poison Ivy on Penny the Multiplying Cheerleader, a scene that's almost as cool as watching her freeze Draco Malfoy in The Flash:

6. The Faculty (1998)

The Faculty [Credit: Dimension Films]
The Faculty [Credit: Dimension Films]
  • Starring: Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Josh Hartnett, Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, Piper Laurie, Robert Patrick, Usher Raymond, Jon Stewart & Elijah Wood
  • Fact 1: Looking at that list of names above, it's obvious this movie was a springboard for a few young actors. It was The Fast & Furious' Jordana Brewster's first movie, Josh Hartnett's second after Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, and it was Usher's first movie, a list that eventually included She's All That, Texas Rangers, and Scary Movie 5.
  • Fact 2: Jon Stewart's character is a teacher named Professor Edward Furlong. Now, only if Stewart's last name was actually Connor...

The Faculty took something that so many of us wondered in high school, and made it a reality: was that one really weird teacher really an alien? Sorry, I guess that was also Men In Black. But you were able to see Josh Hartnett rip the blade off the paper cutter thing and chop Jon Stewart up:

7. Dangerous Minds (1995)

Dangerous Minds [Credit: Hollywood Pictures]
Dangerous Minds [Credit: Hollywood Pictures]
  • Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer & Courtney B. Vance
  • Fact 1: The movie is based on the autobiography of retired U.S. Marine LouAnne Johnson, My Posse Don't Do Homework
  • Fact 2: This movie is responsible for Weird Al's song Amish Paradise. Shame on you, Michelle Pfeiffer.

After the movie, Annie Potts took up the ex-Marine/teacher mantle in the short-lived Dangerous Minds television series, and dealt with street gangs, abusive boyfriends (her student's, not her own), trips to Alcatraz, and drug dealers. If you ever need any advice on how to diffuse a potential brawl in your high school, watch this, and then don't even think about trying it.

8. The Substitute (1996)

The Substitute [Credit: Dinamo Entertainment]
The Substitute [Credit: Dinamo Entertainment]
  • Starring: Tom Berenger & Ernie Hudson
  • Fact 1: In one scene, Tom Berenger's character, Jonathan Shale, tells the class (who could care less) about his experiences in Vietnam. Tom played Sgt. Barnes in Platoon just 10 years before The Substitute came out...coincidence?
  • Fact 2: Like any mildly successful film about an ex-mercenary who becomes a substitute school teacher, three direct-to-DVD sequels came after, starring Treat Williams.

After his lady friend, a teacher at a gang-ridden school, gets attacked, Jonathan Shale goes undercover as her sub to find who did it, and in the process decides to clean the school up. Pretty much every gangster cliché is present in this movie, but any flick about an ex-mercenary kicking a bunch of teenage chumps' asses is great no matter what.

9. 21 Jump Street (2012)

21 Jump Street [Credit: Columbia Pictures]
21 Jump Street [Credit: Columbia Pictures]
  • Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, & Ice Cube
  • Fact 1: The remake of the TV show has an awesome cameo by the stars of the original show themselves, Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise.
  • Fact 2: The 23 Jump Street and Men In Black crossover really was a thing, and with a title! MIB 23 looks like it has officially died, but we can dream, right?

This remake of the late '80s/early '90s show has what might be one of the funniest scenes you'll ever see that involves high schoolers (well, 20-something cops posing as high schoolers) doing drugs...which is something that really isn't too funny. So, here's a beer party fight and stabbing scene involving high schoolers instead:

10. Carrie (1976)

Carrie [Credit: Red Bank Films]
Carrie [Credit: Red Bank Films]
  • Starring: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, & Amy Irving
  • Fact 1: This was John Travolta's first movie role!
  • Fact 2: Want to see the part in the 1999 sequel where Brad from Home Improvement shaves his head, acts like a complete jerk, and gets his junk shot off with a spear gun? Watch this, and thank me later.

Featuring one of the most one-sided fights in the history of high school fights, Carrie is not only 's first novel, it's also his first novel to get turned into a movie. He was so new to the book-to-movie scene, that the trailer below actually spells his name Steven. They're all gonna laugh at you, trailer editor guy!

11. Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

Rebel Without A Cause [Credit: Warner Bros.]
Rebel Without A Cause [Credit: Warner Bros.]
  • Starring: James Dean & Natalie Wood
  • Fact 1: The car that James Dean died in, a Porsche 550 Spyder named “Little Bastard,” was reportedly cursed: anyone who owned it or drove a car with the Porsche's engine in it would experience very bad, fatal luck.
  • Fact 2: Dean is the only actor to ever receive two posthumous Best Actor Academy Award Nominations. One for 1955's East of Eden, and one for 1956's Giant.

James Dean's Jim Stark was getting mad about being called “chicken” long before Marty McFly made it cool. In fact, Rebel Without A Cause set a lot of precedent for movies, being one of the first to address teen angst the way it does. The fighting was tame, involving a lot of smack-talking, and in this scene, a “crazy game” involving knives, where you just jab the other guy a little. No sticking allowed.

Need more fighting? Read on:

Did I get your favorite high school fight movie in here? If not, tell me all about it in the comments!


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