R. P. M.

R. P. M.
Directed by Stanley Kramer
Written by Erich Segal
Starring Anthony Quinn
Music by Perry Botkin Jr.
Barry De Vorzon
Melanie Safka
Cinematography Michel Hugo
Edited by William A. Lyon
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • September 16, 1970 (1970-09-16)
Running time
92 minutes
Country United States
Language English

R. P. M. is a 1970 drama film directed by Stanley Kramer, written by Erich Segal and starring Anthony Quinn and Ann-Margret.[1] As the film's poster notes, the title is an acronym for Revolutions Per Minute.

An unrelated action film, also called RPM, was released in 1997.


Set against the political turmoil of the 1960s, radical student activists occupy a university's administration building with a list of 12 demands. Unable to resolve the situation, President Tyler (John Zaremba) resigns, so the Board of Trustees considers a student-made shortlist of recommended professors to take over the job of university president. The board finalizes the choice of Professor F.W.J. "Paco" Perez (Anthony Quinn), despite his radical beliefs, given his close past relationship with students.

After midnight, Perez, along with his sociology graduate student girlfriend Rhoda (Ann-Margret), is awakened by a phone call by Dean George Cooper (Don Keefer), requesting a meeting. Perez is appointed "acting president" of the college campus. Later that morning, Perez arrives to the campus on a motorcycle. Attempting to negotiate with the activists, Perez reads their demands, which include 20 inner-city scholarships, a college reinvestment program, no military research on campus, and an African American on the all-white Board of Trustees. Perez disagrees with three of the 12 demands, including the students' right to hire and fire the faculty.

Perez tells the activists he will deliver on the first nine demands. A brief conflict between the leader, Roositer (Gary Lockwood), and Steve Dempsey (Paul Winfield) leads to the eighth demand changed to the hiring of a black admissions officer. Perez nominates Dempsey for the position, which the young black activist accepts. Perez serves as mediator between the faculty and the unwavering student body over the unresolved three demands, while being berated at home by Rhoda for his hypocrisy.

Perez notifies the faculty of an audio-recorded message that Roositer will destroy the school's computer hardware if the demands are not met. With no options left, Perez sends in a squadron of police officers led by Police Chief Henry J. Thatcher (Graham Jarvis). Thatcher orders the activists to evacuate the facility in three minutes, but they refuse to comply. The officers invade the building, releasing tear gas, and violently arrest several students. At the police station, Perez sees that Rhoda also has been arrested.

Perez meets with the faculty in the administration building, now back under their control. He signs a bail grantee, defending the outcome of the rebellion. Upon leaving the building, Perez walks through the crowd and is loudly booed by the activists.



The soundtrack album for the movie was released in the USA and Canada in 1970 on Bell Records (BELL 1203). The songs were written by Barry De Vorzon and Perry Botkin, Jr. except "We Don’t Know Where We’re Goin’ " which they wrote with Melanie. Melanie sang two tracks on the album: "We Don’t Know Where We’re Goin’ " and "Stop! I Don’t Wanna Hear It Any More".[2]


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