Desperate Lives is a 1982 American made-for-television drama film about drug use in a high school. The film has a very strong anti-drug message.

Desperate Lives
Desperate LivesDVD.jpg
DVD cover
Written byLew Hunter
Directed byRobert Michael Lewis
StarringTom Atkins
Diane Ladd
Doug McKeon
Helen Hunt
Diana Scarwid
Music byBruce Broughton
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)Arthur Fellows
Terry Keegan
Producer(s)Lew Hunter
Production location(s)William S. Hart High School in Newhall, Santa Clarita, California
CinematographyJoseph Biroc
Editor(s)Les Green
Running time96 minutes
Production company(s)Fellows-Keegan Company
Lorimar Television
Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original networkCBS
Picture formatColor (Metrocolor)
Audio formatMono
Original releaseMarch 3, 1982

Plot summaryEdit

The Cameron family seems, on the surface, to be the perfect family, but things are not as they seem. Their two teenage children, Scott and Sandy, fall in with the wrong crowds at their high school and eventually become involved with drug experimentation. Sandy, after ingesting angel dust made by her boyfriend in the school's chemistry lab, jumps through a glass window of the school (purposely cutting her arms with the cut glass in the process) and is subsequently paralyzed from the fall.

A caring idealistic guidance counselor, Eileen Phillips, sees the problem that is going on in the school and, after other tragic incidents involving two other students (one of which involves Scott and his girlfriend smoking drugs and crashing their car off a cliff) and when no one else on the staff is willing to do anything about it, takes the steps to deal with and confront the problem. The aftermath of this tragedy makes Scott and Sandy's parents realize that even their "perfect" kids can be affected by drugs, especially after Scott has a violent reaction and goes into the hospital.

At a school assembly, Eileen Phillips storms in and confronts the students about the increasing drug use, sending a message to the crowd about the effects of what the drug problem is doing to the kids and the tragedies that resulted because of it.


Production NotesEdit

Home mediaEdit

Desperate Lives was released on DVD on April 21, 2010.

External linksEdit