Why Law And Order Creator Dick Wolf Thinks Now Is The Time For School Ties To Get Rereleased

Dick Wolf is easily one of modern television's most prolific producers, if not the most prolific. His impact on network television can't be understated thanks to his work on the "Law & Order" franchise and "Miami Vice." What many may forget is that he's also had his hand in the film industry, writing the scripts for films such as "Masquerade" and "No Man's Land."

However, if there is one film of his that is worth talking about today, it's "School Ties." Starring a who's who of future acting stars, it centers around the conflicts surrounding a Jewish teenager in 1959 that starts attending a fancy prep school seemingly consisting of Anglo-Saxon bullies. David (Brendan Fraser) is, for a time, caught between two worlds — one where he needs to hide his Jewish faith and heritage, and another where he doesn't. Unfortunately, those worlds end up colliding in ways he could have never anticipated. Wolf co-wrote the script with Darryl Ponicsan and based it on his own experiences growing up. In a 2017 oral history with Entertainment Weekly, he lamented that not much has changed in American society from back when "School Ties" was released, and how it was possibly more important than ever before.

"This country today is at a point that I never believed in my lifetime we'd see again," Wolf told the website. "Antisemitism is rampant. It's not even hidden. 'School Ties' was deliberately dated when it was made, but it hasn't aged."

A staggering look at an all-too-familiar type of bigotry

"School Ties" holds up today as one of the most uncompromising and disturbing looks at antisemitism in seemingly accepting environments. After all, the promises of friendship and brotherhood that are promised among the students of St. Matthews almost instantly break down once they reveal their true white supremacist nature. This is a struggle for many minorities who don't fit the white, Christian societal standard, and it's one that shouldn't be a struggle for anyone, particularly Jewish people.

"I sat on the board of a number of schools, and there was a quiet problem with antisemitism," producer Stanley Jaffe told Entertainment Weekly. "David Greene doesn't tell people he's Jewish, nor should he have had to. That's why I wanted to do 'School Ties.'"

Unfortunately, that same quiet hatred is still prevalent in 2023, perhaps even more so. Public figures such as Kanye West and Kyrie Irving have platformed antisemitic rhetoric to their legions of fans. Twitter and its current owner Elon Musk have been sued in Germany for their inaction to review massive amounts of hate speech targeted at Jewish people. Admitted nazis have passed around propaganda proudly declaring their hatred for another solely based on their religious beliefs, and if that isn't an indicator of something horrifically wrong with how we treat others, then what is? This is ultimately why Wolf wants to eventually re-release "School Ties," and it's why you should give it another watch sometime soon.

"The thing that's amazing is how the country is completely different than it was 50 years ago, 60 years ago," Wolf told Entertainment Weekly. "But one inch below the surface is the same horrific crap, and that's what this movie shows. I'd love it if they rereleased it."