Chocolate War (1988): Directing Debut of Actor Keith Gordon

The independently produced Chocolate War marked the directorial debut of Keith Gordon, better known as an actor (Dressed to Kill)

Adapted from the novel by Robert Cormier, I Am the Cheese, it is effective both as a particular story and political allegory.

Mitchell-Smith plays Jerry, a new enrollee at the exclusive Catholic prep school St. Trinity. He attempts to fit in by joining the football team, but gets into conflict with Brother Leon (John Glover), a ruthless academician striving for a promotion to headmaster.  He is also at odds with The Vigils, an underground student gang that wields scary power within the school.

The abusive Leon attempts to talk as many students as possible into selling chocolates for the school fundraiser, but the Vigil leader Archie (Wally Ward) makes Jerry publicly refuse to sell any for ten days, as one of the annual ‘hazing’ rituals the Vigils dole out to freshmen.

Jerry agrees, which turns him into a rebel hero among his fellow students, but he then extends his refusal beyond the week-and-a-half limit imposed by Archie, which puts him head-to-head with both Leon and the Vigils.

Running time: 95 minutes.

Directed by Keith Gordon

Released: November 18, 1988

DVD: April 17, 2007