Stand and Deliver
|Stand and Deliver|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ramón Menéndez|
|Produced by||Tom Musca|
|Music by||Craig Safan|
|Edited by||Nancy Richardson|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Box office||$13.9 million|
Stand and Deliver is a 1988 American drama film based on the true story of high school math teacher Jaime Escalante. For portraying Escalante, Edward James Olmos was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor at the 61st Academy Awards. The film was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2011.
Jaime Escalante becomes a math teacher at James A. Garfield High School in East Los Angeles. The school is full of Hispanic students from working-class families who are far below their grade level in terms of academic skills and also have a lot of social problems. Escalante seeks to change the school culture to help the students excel in academics. He soon realizes the untapped potential of his class and sets a goal of having the students taking AP Calculus by their senior year. Escalante instructs his class under the philosophy of ganas, roughly translating to "desire" or "motivation."
The students begin taking summer classes in advanced mathematics with Escalante, who must withstand the cynicism of the other faculty, who feel that the students are not capable of this. As they struggle with the lower expectations that they face in society, Escalante works hard to teach and encourage them, and they pass the AP Calculus exam.
To the dismay of both Escalante and the students, the Educational Testing Service questions the success of the students, insisting there is too much overlap in their errors and suggesting the students cheated. Escalante defends his students and feels that the allegations are based more on racial and economic perceptions. He offers to have the students retake the test months later, and the students all succeed in passing the test again, despite only a day to prepare, which ends all concerns of cheating.
- Edward James Olmos as Jaime Escalante
- Estelle Harris as Secretary
- Virginia Paris as Racquel Ortega
- Will Gotay as Pancho
- Ingrid Oliu as Lupe
- Carmen Argenziano as Molina
- Rosanna DeSoto as Fabiola Escalante
- Vanessa Marquez as Ana Delgado
- Lou Diamond Phillips as Angel Guzman
- Lydia Nicole as Rafaela Fuentes
- James Victor as Ana's Father
- Andy García as Ramirez
Ten of the students signed waivers to allow the College Board to show their exam parts to Jay Mathews, the author of Escalante: The Best Teacher in America. Mathews found that nine of them had made "identical silly mistakes" on free response question 6. Mathews heard from two of the students that during the exam, a piece of paper had been passed around with that flawed solution. Twelve students, including the nine with the identical mistakes, retook the exam, and most of them received the top 4 and 5 scores. In 1987, 27% of all Mexican Americans who scored 3 or higher on the AP Calculus exam were students at Garfield High. Mathews wrote in the Los Angeles Times that the Ana Delgado character "was the only teenage character in the film based on a real person" and that her name had been changed.
Escalante first began teaching at Garfield High School in 1974 and taught his first AP Calculus course in 1978 with a group of 14 students. Only five students remained in the course at the end of the year, only two of whom passed the AP Calculus exam. Reason stated, "Unlike the students in the movie, the real Garfield students required years of solid preparation before they could take calculus. So Escalante established a program at East Los Angeles College where students could take those classes in intensive seven-week summer sessions. Escalante and [principal Henry] Gradillas were also instrumental in getting the feeder schools to offer algebra in the eighth and ninth grades.
Escalante himself described the film as "90% truth, 10% drama." He stated that several points were left out of the film. He pointed out that no student who did not know multiplication tables or fractions was ever taught calculus in a single year. Also, he suffered inflammation of the gall bladder, not a heart attack.
|Academy Awards||Best Actor||Edward James Olmos||Nominated|||
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama|||
|Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture||Lou Diamond Phillips|
|Independent Spirit Awards||Best Feature||Tom Musca||Won|||
|Best Director||Ramón Menéndez|
|Best Male Lead||Edward James Olmos|
|Best Supporting Male||Lou Diamond Phillips|
|Best Supporting Female||Rosanna De Soto|
|Best Screenplay||Ramón Menéndez|
|Best Cinematography||Tom Richmond||Nominated|
In December 2011, Stand and Deliver was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. The Registry said the film was "one of the most popular of a new wave of narrative feature films produced in the 1980s by Latino filmmakers" and that it "celebrates in a direct, approachable, and impactful way, values of self-betterment through hard work and power through knowledge."
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
In popular culture
The subplot of "Eek, a Penis!", a 2008 episode of South Park, is a send-up of Stand and Deliver. Cartman assumes the role corresponding to that of Jaime Escalante, but unlike in the film, which depicted the students falsely accused of cheating, the episode parodies this in a reference to the 2007 National Football League videotaping controversy. As Cartman coaches the students to cheat on an achievement test, several students raise objections to his morally questionable methods. Cartman points out that New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was caught red-handed, and no one cared. Cartman tells the students that America does not mind a cheater, as long as he cheats his way to the top. He also instructs the students, if caught, to employ a version of the defense used by Belichick: "I misinterpreted the rules."
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