Glenn Ford is Richard Dadier, a teacher who won’t back down from a challenge. He is challenged by the faculty and the students, but he sees this job as more than a paycheck. This is his golden opportunity.
Sidney Poitier is Gregory Miller, a student who is mixed up in a classroom of trouble-makers. The whole school has a discipline problem. It takes guts to stand up for what you know is right and decent. The students who believe they can do the right thing are able to learn from a teacher who believes in them.
Also in the classroom is Jamie Farr (credited as Jameel Farah) in his debut Hollywood film. His role as Santini made him stand out among the other boys in the class. He later became famous for his role as Max Klinger in M*A*S*H*.
This story was based on a novel by Evan Hunter. After the success of this movie, Hunter went on to write more novels, some screenplays, and TV episodes for shows like Mike Hammer in the 1950s and Colombo in the 1990s.
One of the four Academy Award nominations for Blackboard Jungle went to Richard Brooks for the screenplay. The other three nominations were for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration in a Black and White, Best Cinematography in a Black and White, and Best Film Editing.