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For the unrelated, real-life high school in Detroit, Michiganmarker, see 'Cooley High School.

Cooley High is a 1975 feature film produced and released by American International Pictures and written by Eric Monte (co-creator of Good Times). The film, set in 1964 Chicago, Illinoismarker, stars Glynn Turman and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, and featuring a soundtrack made up primarily of 1960s Motown hits.

The film is considered a classic of black cinema, and its soundtrack features a new Motown recording, G.C. Cameron's hit single "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday". That song was covered in 1991 by Motown act Boyz II Men on the group's first LP, named Cooleyhighharmony, which was made in honor of this film.

Cooley High is frequently compared favorably to the 1973 George Lucas film American Graffiti and the The Big Chill. ABC had planned a television adaptation of Cooley High, but the pilot was poorly received, and ABC had Monte retool the show. As a result, Monte created the TV show What's Happening!!, which was loosely based on Cooley High and ran from 1976 to 1979.

Monte based the film on his experiences from attending the real-life Cooley Vocational High School (which is no longer standing) that served students from the Cabrini-Greenmarker public housing projects in Chicagomarker. While the film was set in and around Cabrini-Green, it was primarily filmed at another Chicago-area housing project. Monte has said that he wrote the film to dispel myths about growing up in the projects: "I grew up in the Cabrini-Green housing project and I had one of the best times of my life, the most fun you can have while inhaling and exhaling".

This movie ranked #23 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Best High School Movies.


The story explores the adventures and relationships of Leroy "Preach" Jackson and Richard "Cochise" Morris, two black high school students at Edwin J. Cooley High School whose carefree lives take a turn for the worse through several twists of fate.



  1. Mitchell, John L. " Plotting His Next Big Break." Los Angeles Times. Friday April 14, 2006. A-1. Retrieved on February 11, 2009.
  2. " The 50 Best High School Movies." Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on February 11, 2009.

External links

Filming locations included:

Burr Oak Cemetery(for the final scene of Cochise's funeral and burial)

Mohawk Street(for when Cochise shows up to Preach's house)

Cabrini-Green housing projects

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