Top Ten Inspirational Teacher Movies

Updated on January 29, 2019
prairieprincess profile image

Sharilee obtained a degree in secondary English education from the University of Calgary. She has taught in Canada for ten years.

Teacher Movies Are Inspiring

The teacher movie genre is so inspiring! Most teacher movies are a version of the following scenario:the teacher believes in a group of students, who don't believe in themselves. Then, through tough love and encouragement, the students start to believe they have some value. Usually the teacher is transformed in the process, as well.

Everyone who watches can gain great inspiration from a movie about teachers and students. Sure, sometimes, teacher movies can be a bit hokey but at least they focus on the positive!

In most cases, the teacher has made a difference in the lives of his students. And that is why teachers teach, isn't it? Deep down, every teacher hopes to make a difference in some way, in the lives of his students.

If you're looking for a feel-good flick to stick in the DVD player tonight, check out one of these top ten teacher movies. You are sure to be inspired!

Top Ten Teacher Movies

1. Dead Poets Society

Production Year: 1989
Starring: Robin Williams/Ethan Hawke

Dead Poets Society is probably the most famous teacher movie of all time. An English teacher's dream, it is full of metaphors, inspiring quotes and literary allusions. It is for this reason that I showed this film every year to at least one of my English classes.

Robin Williams stars as a rebellious teacher, Professor Keating, who goes back to his Alma Mater to shake things up. On his first day, he has the boys tear up the syllabus, and does his own thing from that day forward. The script is brilliantly written, with an exceptional cast, and powerful directing. The lighting, the camera work all blend towards a masterful piece of art.

I love this movie: it grabs at your heart and never lets go. It has its flaws (a teacher that pushes and pushes beyond what reasonably be considered appropriate) but it's still a beautiful package, and wonderfully inspiring.

Real Life Factor: The film is not based on a true story. The film does ring authentic in many ways, with the character portrayals of the boys, parents, and teachers. Where it seems unrealistic, though, is the way Mr. Keating seems to be idealized. The line between the "good teacher" and the "bad teacher" seems a bit over-drawn and dramatic.

Academy Awards: Won for Best ScreenWriting, Robin Williams nominated for Best Actor, Peter Weir nominated for Best Director, Nominated for Best Picture

Plus many more accolades for the movie, Dead Poets Society....

Freedom Writers

Freedom Writers Movie Poster
Freedom Writers Movie Poster | Source

Available On Amazon

2. Freedom Writers

Production Year: 2007
Starring: Hilary Swank/Patrick Dempsey

I showed the movie, Freedom Writers , to my alternative English class, and they absolutely loved it! They related to the students, and fell in love with the teacher, Erin Gruwell, played by Hilary Swank.

Gruwell, a high achiever who has never failed at anything in her life, goes to the inner city of Los Angeles, to share her love of literature with a group of at-risk teenagers.Needless to say, they are not immediately receptive, and this young idealist gets very frustrated.

One magical day, she breaks through with a comment about racism. From there, she starts to get places with them. Relating the Holocaust and its horrors to their everyday gang-ridden lives, she helps her students make connections. Giving them journals to write their stories, they begin to share their lives with her, through print, and is a very powerful experience.

Like many teacher movies, Gruwell is strongly opposed by other teachers, but she just becomes more determined to provide a good program. We cheer her and her students as they learn to become readers, writers and find themselves in the process. This is a very powerful, well produced movie, with excellent acting and filmwork. Teenagers appreciate it, too.

Real Life Factor: Based on a true story, Erin Gruwell has now moved on to form a foundation called the Freedom Writers, which helps educators and students, to use writing to change their lives. She has also published several books on the same subjects. The students in the movie were all based on real life students in Gruwell's class.

Image Awards: Nominated for Best Picture

Review of the Movie, Precious


Theatre Release Poster for movie, Precious
Theatre Release Poster for movie, Precious | Source

3. Precious

Production Year: 2009
Starring: Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique,

To anyone that has not seen this movie, I recommend that you do. If you have kids, though, make sure they are either at a sleepover, or fast asleep in a far room, because Precious is full of disturbing scenes and vulgar language. Gabourey Sibibe stars as Claireece Precious Jones, a big girl who believes she is dumb and worthless, because she is told that everyday by a violent, abusive mother.

Precious finds her hope and redemption through the power of education. Almost completely illiterate at the start, she starts going to school at an alternative program called, "Each One Teach One," and begins to learn. The teacher, Ms. Rain, played by Paula Patton, teaches quietly and consistently, and the group of young women, begin to wake up their minds and hearts. Through the power of reading and writing, the girls find healing and growth.

This is a powerful movie. in which the teacher plays a supporting role to the protagonist, who is the student. Clarece Precious. is an unlikely heroine: she moves through life like a shadow, just trying not to get hit or yelled at. She has been abused in every imaginable way, and is at first too traumatized to learn, or retain anything

But from all of this, she rises up. In the safe environment of the classroom, and the under the nurturing wings of the teacher and classmates, she becomes a person, and in that is her triumph. This is a different kind of teacher movie, but it fits the category nonetheless. Powerful production, with absolutely authentic acting that puts you right at the scene.

Real Life Factor: The film is adapted from the novel, Push, by author, Sapphire, and is not based on a real life story. However, it is very realistic, using street slang and refusing to "clean up" the horror of abuse.

Academy Awards: Mo'Nique Won for Best Supporting Actress, Picture Won for Best Screenplay Writing, Nominated for Best Picture, Best Directing, Best Editing, Gabourey Sidibe nominated for Best Actress

Directors Guild of America: Nominated for Best Directing

Precious has won many other awards To see more, go here.

Good Will Hunting Clip

Good Will Hunting

Matt Damon and Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting
Matt Damon and Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting

Good Will Hunting

4. Good Will Hunting

Production Year: 1999
Starring: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Robin Williams

The movie that made Matt Damon and Ben Affleck household names, Good Will Hunting was written by the two main actors. I loved this movie!

Matt plays Will Hunting, a lonely genius who works as a caretaker at the university, whose remarkable math talent is "discovered" by math professor, Gerald Lambeau. After an unfortunate incident with the law, Will is forced into therapy and math lessons. A battle of wills ensues, as Hunting wants to stick to his old familiar life and his teacher wants him to take the opportunities his talents afford him.

As far as teacher movies go, this one has a different setup. Unlike many teacher movies, the student does not find out he's smart, thanks to a dedicated teacher. Instead, he already knows he is very intelligent, but doesn't want the superstar life that goes along with his genius. Instead, he finds comfort in the familiar bars and construction sites of his friends, and is afraid to go ahead and live up to his potential.

Psychological insight, stellar acting, and excellent production make this an entertaining and passionate watch.

Real Life Factor: This is not based on any real life story, but instead comes straight from Matt Damon's and Ben Affleck's imaginations.

Academy Awards: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck won for Best Screeplay written directly for screen, Robin Williams won for Best Supporting Actor, Matt Damon nominated for Best Actor

Plus many more awards ...

The Class Movie

The Class Movie

5. The Class

Production Year: 2008
Starring: Francois Begaudeau

This is a different kind of teacher movie: all of it takes place inside the school, and we never see the students in other settings, like at home or on the street. This gives a documentary feel to the film: we are observing this one environment, and do not have much visual variety.

Based on a semi-biographical novel, written by Francois Begaudeau, who is the teacher in the movie, playing himself, the movie is very realistic. The style is low-key. Although it has the feel of a low-budget documentary movie, with acting that just feels like ordinary people being themselves, this movie's strength is its restraint. There's no hero rushing in to save the kids, no big transformations. This movie comes across a very real, and is interesting to watch for that reason.

Real Life Factor: The movie seems very realistic and does not push for drama. It is based on the book written by the teacher in the movie. What makes it even more real is that the teacher plays himself.

Oscars: Won Best Foreign Language Film

Cannes Festival: Won Golden Palm Award

Plus many more ...

Karate Kid

Karate Kid Movie Poster
Karate Kid Movie Poster

6. Karate Kid

Production Year: 2010
Starring: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan

This is not the usual teacher movie. There is no formal classroom: learning is done in the teacher's home, and the student is learning karate, rather than reading, writing or math. But make no mistake: this is definitely a teacher movie, and is definitely inspiring!

The first thing the teacher, Mr Han, played by Jackie Chan, teaches his student, Dre Parker, played by Jaden Smith, is discipline. Noting that his Mom is always asking him to hang up his coat, he has his student do nothing but hang up his coat for weeks on end. He is teaching him discipline and obedience, and it turns out later than hanging a coat is actually preparation for one of the karate moves.

Mr. Chan has his own demons, too, and in one disturbing scene, Dre comes to his mentor's home to find his beloved car completely smashed. Jaden reaches out to him, and we found out the beloved teacher has lessons to learn, too. Through their teacher-student relationship, both find healing and discover their inner confidence.

Real Life Factor: This is not based on a true story, but it could be. The fighting is real, done by the master Jackie Chan, and the characters are rounded. Even one of the bad guys learn a lesson, and I won't spoil it by telling you which one.

Teen Choice Awards: Nominated for Best Summer Movie, Jaden Smith nominated for Best Summer Movie Star

Finding Forrester

Movie Poster for Finding Forrester
Movie Poster for Finding Forrester

7. Finding Forrester

Production Year: 2000
Starring: Sean Connery, Rob Brown

I am classifying Finding Forrester as a teacher movie, even though the learning does not take place primarily in the classroom, and the teacher is not a trained educator, but a writer. This is a story about students, and of transformation and redemption through the power of writing and reading.

Rob Brown plays Jamal, a young African-American male who has won a scholarship to a prestigious prep school. He's got the brains to go, but he also is a fantastic basketball player. When he meets up with Mr. Forrester, an eccentric old man who lives alone as a hermit, he finds a surprisingly kindred spirit. The two develop a relationship that benefits both of them, as the teacher eventually learns from his student..

Real-Life Factor: This is not a true story, but the author, Mr. Forrester, has many similarities to real life author, J.D. Salinger, who also hid from the world in his last days.

Young Artist Awards: Rob Brown won for Best Young Actor in a Feature Film, Nominated for Best Dramatic Film

Stand And Deliver Movie

Edward James Olmos as Jaimie Escalante in the movie, Stand and Deliver.
Edward James Olmos as Jaimie Escalante in the movie, Stand and Deliver.

8. Stand and Deliver

Production Year: 1988
Starring: Edward James Olmos

Stand and Deliver is the true story of math teacher, Mr. Escalante, who takes a bunch of math failures and turns them into math geniuses, one day at a time. Jaimie Escalante doesn't look very tough: he's half bald, and wears baggy pants, but he knows how to get through to the teenagers in his class.

He uses math problems they can relate to (i.e. How many girlfriends does Juan have?) and gives sarcastic jabs to his learners. This teacher is one cool cat. Rather than law and order, he uses humour and charm to wedge his way into their brains, and eventually their hearts.

This movie is so inspiring because Mr. Escalante is just a normal guy, who happens to be a heck of a teacher. He takes complex material, and breaks it down in a way that learners can understand. Never giving up, Mr. Escalante keeps hammering away until they get it. And when the students start to "get it," it changes their lives.

Real Life Factor: This is based on a real life story, and has a very authentic feel.

Oscars: Edward James Olmos nominated for Best Actor

Golden Globes: Edward James Olmos nominated for Best Actor, Lou Diamond Phillips nominated for Best Supporting Actor

Lean On Me

Morgan Freeman as Joe Clark in Lean on Me.
Morgan Freeman as Joe Clark in Lean on Me. | Source

9. Lean On Me

Production Year: 1989
Starring: Morgan Freeman

I found the movie, Lean on Me , very inspiring and moving. Joe Clark, played by Morgan Freeman, is a strong confident leader who's not afraid to stand up to anyone. This tough guys enters one of the roughest schools in New York City, with the lowest test scores in the State, and does some major clean up! We watch a school being transformed as he pushes for higher standards and accountability.

The movie is so touching because of the immense courage that Joe Clark shows. He uses tough love and is determined to set the bar higher. He is determined to make them believe in themselves through developing discipline. He also stands up to the bad guys, the drug dealers, making him a true hero, while still showing compassion for the more vulnerable students.

Real Life Factor: This movie is based on a true story. Morgan Freeman spent time with Joe Clark so that he could copy his mannerisms and speech.

Image Awards: Won Best Picture, Morgan Freeman won Best Actor

Young Artist Awards: Won Jackie Koogan Award, Nominated Best Drama Picture, Nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress

Music of the Heart

Meryl Strep in Music of the Heart
Meryl Strep in Music of the Heart

Collectors Edition -- Music of the Heart

10. Music of the Heart

Production Year: 1999
Starring: Meryl Streep, Aidan Quinn

This lovely little movie stars Meryl Streep as Roberta Guaspari Demetras, an abandoned wife who takes a job teaching out of desperation when her husband leaves her. She has a teaching degree, but her teaching experience is almost nil, and the first time she goes in to talk to the principal, she is turned down. The tries again, however, and the next time the principal gives her a chance.

Mrs. Demetras faces an uphill battle putting her class together, dealing with teachers who don't take her seriously, and her own personal heartbreak over her husband's affair. She keeps going, though, motivated largely by watching her own students persevere in their own lives.

Music of the Heart is a low-key movie. The protagonist, Demetres, starts off looking like a dowdy housewife. Her interactions with the students are warm but firm. The acting is subtle and impressive, the directing steady and the lighting dark. This is the kind of movie you could enjoy watching on a Sunday afternoon: not super-exciting but gently satisfying. Meryl Streep's acting, is, of course, superb.

Real Life Factor: Slightly based on a real life school, the story rings very true because of its subtlety. We can relate to this middle-aged woman trying to start her life over, because she is so ordinary.

Academy Awards: Meryl Streep nominated for Best Actress, Nominated for Best Original Song

Golden Globe Awards: Meryl Streep nominated for Best Actress

Which of these movies is your favourite?

See results


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    • profile image


      3 weeks ago

      Up the down staircase is also a good one! How a young teacher brings out the best in "undisciplined students".

    • profile image


      4 weeks ago

      detachment is wide better than all of them !

    • profile image


      9 months ago

      The Triumph Ron Clark story - just saw it for the first time, only if 10 percent of all teachers in USA and UK are anything like this guy, then the world will be a better place.

      The Courts and Police forces will be less busy

    • profile image


      11 months ago

      add ron clark (starring mattew perry) too.

      it is based on a true story.

      i just don't understand how you could forget that

    • profile image


      12 months ago

      Dangerous Minds too.

    • profile image

      Das C K 

      14 months ago

      Why "To sir, with love" is not listed here?

    • profile image


      20 months ago

      Hello teachers! Can't wait to run the list. I've seen some of the movies but put a big curiosity on the rest. Thank you for charging us up by showing the list. It will encourage and do motivate us as teachers and our lovely students.

    • profile image

      Afaq Mayo 

      22 months ago

      I am not a teacher but i like, the influential character of teachers on society, transforming and nurturing the young brains. The journey to extraordinary from ordinary is incomplete without a teacher who inspires.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      23 months ago from Canada

      Hi Izza, thanks so much for the suggestion. I have actually watched that movie, too, and I agree it is a good one. Take care!

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      23 months ago from Canada

      Daniel, Stand By Me is definitely one of my favourites, too. Thanks so much for the comment. I think as teachers, we can use as much encouragement as possible. Take care!

    • profile image


      24 months ago

      I am a teacher, and i really enjoy watching the movies under this premise.. Stand by me and One Eight Seven (1997) are my favs.

    • profile image

      Izza Cassandra 

      2 years ago

      Hi Ma'am. Please try watching Mona Lisa Smile. It's also great. Somewhat like Dead poet's Society minus suicide. :)

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Could anyone help with the title of a movie shown on evening of 8th October 16 where a failed singer/pop star takes up a teaching post in a school and meets a stumbling block from one girls mother . The teacher has a sister who speaks up for her.

    • profile image

      Saurabh Mehta 

      2 years ago

      Nice list but i may suggest "October Sky" one of my all time favorite movie.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great list of teacher inspiring movies. There's a bunch of them that was done on the Hallmark channel over the year and based on true stories. There was one teacher movie with Michelle Pfeiffer as a teacher--I don't remember the name of that movie at the moment. Voted up!

    • MovieCoachJoe profile image

      Joe Williams-Nelson 

      3 years ago from Missouri

      Please add "To Sir With Love" to your list and remove "Good Will Hunting" as it highlights the relationships between a person and their therapist. Also, I would include "Dangerous Minds" before "The Karate Kid." Other than that, it is a good list.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Here Comes The Boom I think it's called is a good one too.

    • Siclone profile image


      3 years ago from NSW, Australia

      Totally agree with Dead Poets Society being number 1. Great movie. Nice hub.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I haven't yet watched Freedom Writers so this is now at the top of my list. Love all these movies.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Hey MovieReviews, I am so glad you approve of the list. There are many teacher movies out there to choose from. Have a great night!

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      5 years ago from Canada

      @Thief12, I completely agree with you about Dead Poets Society, and am looking forward to reading your hub about it. Thanks so much for your comment and have a great night!

    • moviesreviews profile image

      Cacey Taylor 

      5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Such a great list of teacher movies. So hard to pick a favorite I must say.

    • Thief12 profile image

      Carlo Giovannetti 

      5 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Good hub. Good Will Hunting would be my favorite of the bunch, but I also like Dead Poets Society (I have a hub about it!), Stand and Deliver, and Lean on Me. Freedom Writers was also good.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      5 years ago from Canada

      @Dylan, that sounds like an interesting movie. I had not actually heard of this one, and will try to find it, and watch it. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Beyond the blackboard is also another great teaching movie. It focuses on a fresh out of school teacher whose first position is in a school with no name at a homeless shelter.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Hawaii .... so nice to make your acquaintance! I look forward to reading and sharing more of your hubs, too. Thanks for the comment!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      I loved "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" and "To Sir, With Love" as well. You've made stellar choices here and presented this wonderful information in a delightful and reader-friendly fashion. Great job of researching! Thank you so much for sharing. I look forward to the mutual sharing of our work in the weeks to come.

      Blessings and aloha from SE Washington state!


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      What about october sky?

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Maybe you are thinking of Mr. Holland's Opus? In that movie, the high school music teacher falls in love with the female lead of the play he is producing.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      do you know any movie in which a teacher fell in love with his/her teacher? Thanks.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Lybrah, I hear you! Yes, you are so right. The struggle at the beginning was very realistic and typical of high schools. Thanks for the comment and have a great night!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I was very pleasantly surprised by Freedom Writers. One thing that I find interesting and plausible is that they show Hillary Swank's character really struggling with the students in the beginning--like when the security guard had to escort some of them in. I've been there, girl.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Sleeper, I love your comment! My mistake ... I meant to say that I am in the "minority," at least judging by the other comments I have received about that particular movie. That's okay, though. We can agree to disagree on that one. Have a wonderful night!

    • jfdaysleeper profile image

      Jean-Francois Joanisse 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Indeed you are in the majority. But that doesn't make the film any better in my mind hehe...

      I've yet to see a sensei come up and tell the world you can learn Kung Fu by picking up and hanging your jacket....

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Sleeper, "The Class" is a great movie, if you like teacher movies. I really liked Karate Kid, the remake, but I think I may be in the majority, ha ha!

    • jfdaysleeper profile image

      Jean-Francois Joanisse 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Great list of films. I still haven't seen The Class...this made me want to see it.

      Dead Poet's Society is my all time favorite for such a category. Glad to see it at number one. But Karate Kid? As much as I am a fan of the original, I just don't see the appeal of the remake.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Melchi, I have heard so many recommendations for "Dangerous Minds," and I still haven't seen it. That is one I definitely need to check out. I am glad I could introduce you to some new ones, too. Have a great day!

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      There are quite a few movies on this list that I haven't seen before - I really enjoy watching these types of movies. My favourite is "Dangerous Minds" and "To Sir with Love".

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      6 years ago from Canada

      @Healthy, I think the inspirational impact of these kinds of movies resonate with anyone that wants to make a difference. I appreciate you coming by and commenting. Have an excellent day!

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      6 years ago from Canada

      @dwchira, you are so right that audiovisual materials are very effective. Thanks for stopping by!

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 

      6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I'm not a teacher but really enjoy teaching inspirational movies. I've seen all of these except two and will check those out.

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 

      6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Audio-visual media are very effective in teaching especially because they improve the cognitive capability of a learner. I enjoyed Dead Poets Society video and this is a plus article. Voted up, useful and shared.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      6 years ago from Canada

      @Mythicalstorm, that's awesome that you are going to be a teacher. It sounds like you have been drawn to teacher movies without even realizing it! Yes, these movies really do make you feel hope when you watch them. Thanks for the great comment!

      @MsLofton, I am so glad I was able to introduce you to some new movie ideas. I haven't seen the ones that you mention but I have heard from other comments that those are both great choices. Have a wonderful night!

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      6 years ago from Canada

      @Melvoy, yes, the Michelle Pfeiffer movie I think you are referring to is called "Dangerous Minds." I haven't seen it yet but some people mentioned it in the comments.

      I am glad I gave you some more ideas for viewing. Thanks so much for the comment. Take care!

      @Barry, I agree. There are many similarities between the two movies. Both are true stories and both them faced a lot of opposition from the old school thinking. My students absolutely adored the movie, "Freedom Writers." I think they saw themselves in it. Thanks for a great comment and take care!

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      6 years ago from Canada

      @Sunshine, I loved that movie, too! There was such wisdom in that film, wasn't there? Thanks for the great comment.

      @Suelynn, it's so nice to meet a former teacher! I am glad to hear that you approve of the list and have seen most of these. Thank you so much for your kind words. Have a wonderful evening!

    • MsLofton profile image


      6 years ago from IL

      I absolutely love finding forester and lean on me. Good will hunting was good too. This is a great list, I am going to definitely watch some of these movies on here, that I haven't seen. I also think "To Sir with love" and "Dangerous Minds" are good teacher moves.

    • mythicalstorm273 profile image


      6 years ago

      I am going to be a teacher so I found this of particular interest. I have watched or at least heard of most of these which surprised me because I do not watch a lot of movies. They are all great movies from what I know about them and from the ones I have seen. I love feel good movies as well. Great hub!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It was definitely a big toss up between Freedom Writers and Lean on Me. All of these movies were amazingly done, the actors definitely portrayed the characters well enough to make the stories very realistic for the audience to reflect on, and (not to mention) very inspiring books as well. Thank you for sharing!

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      I’ve actually only seen Dead Poet Society out of all of these, so you have given me plenty of ideas for what to watch next time I get a chance. I did intend to go see Precious, but somehow it never happened. I remember years ago seeing a film with Michelle Pfeiffer in it that had a similar theme to Freedom Writers.

      Thanks for all these suggestions.

    • Suelynn profile image


      6 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Outstanding hub, prairieprincess! I have seen most of the movies and found your comments to have great insight. I was a teacher too, and have always been interested in movies which inspire, uplift and make a difference in a person's life! BRAVO! Voted across the board. :)

      Arthurchappell - I have seen both of those and agree wholeheartedly!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      The Karate Kid is my favorite!! I learned a lot from that movie!:)

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      6 years ago from Canada

      @Elyne, I have not seen Dangerous Minds yet. It does sound like an interesting movie. Thanks for stopping by.

      @Arthur, I am so glad you enjoyed the article and I hope you are able to check some of these that you have not seen yet. Take care.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you for a great read. I will definitely checkout some of the movies mentioned. Mr. Holland's Opus and To Sir, with Love are great movies as well.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love dangerous mind...

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      7 years ago from Canada

      KB, so nice to meet you! If you like a good inspirational film, these are some ideas for you! Have a great day!

    • KBEvolve profile image

      Kenneth Brown 

      7 years ago from United States

      Great list. There are a few here that I haven't seen yet. I may have to rectify that.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      7 years ago from Canada

      VMW, thanks for stopping by. At the time I wrote this hub, I had not actually seen this movie but have seen it since. I agree that it is an incredible, powerful movie. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! Take care.

      Oh, and I see from your profile that you specialize in film studies, so I especially appreciate your feedback.

    • vmartinezwilson profile image

      Vanessa Martinez Wilson 

      7 years ago from Vancouver, WA

      This is a pretty good list, but I have to say you missed my favorite teacher movie: To Sir, With Love starring the legendary Sidney Poitier.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      7 years ago from Canada

      @MrDJK, sorry for taking so long to respond. I thought I had already answered this comment! I have not seen the Ron Clark Story but that sounds like a good one, too. "The Principal" is one I haven't heard of it yet, but thanks for the suggestion. And "The Great Debaters" is new to me, too. I will have to check these out and maybe I should do either an addition to this hub or another supplementary hub! You've given me great ideas. Thanks for adding this great comment!

      @Sidds, there are some great movies here that I think you will enjoy. Thanks for reading and commenting -- I do appreciate it so much!

    • sidds123450 profile image


      7 years ago

      Looks like a great list, though I have watched only two Good Will Hunting and Karate Kid, looking forward to see others.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great list, thanks.

      If I may mention a few of my favourite movies in the teacher genre.

      -The Ron Clark Story, 2006? Based on the true story of Ron Clark.

      -The Principle, 80's film starring James Belushi. I don't believe this is based on a true story, but it follows the same pattern as Dangerous Minds and Lean on me.

      I also managed to grab a copy of the great debaters, I guess you could call it a teacher movie, definitely worth the time.


    • ambrking profile image


      7 years ago from Encino, California

      I love the list. My favorite is lean on me, I think it is a great movie.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Steff, I am glad you loved the list! I saw the Class in the theatre with my husband and was amazed because it did seem so realistic and not idealistic at all. I love your metaphor of calling a teacher movie a coaching session. So true! Have a wonderful day.

    • steffsings profile image


      7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      I love the list!!! Several of my all time fav's noted here too! Movies are a wonderful source for inspiration. Its like a 1-2hour coaching session. One you listed I am not familiar with 'Class Production Year', I love foreign films so I'll take a look. Hopefully this will be one I can add to my bag of fav's too.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Glen, there are some great views here. Thanks for the great comment!

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Arun, thanks for the comment. I know a lot of people feel the way you do. I loved the remake! But for the true Karate Kid fan like yourself, I can understand. Take care.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Karate Kid of 2010 !!

      How did it get into this list. It destroyed the Original movie.

      If anyone wants to see what the original 'Karate Kid' is, see the one produced in 1984.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Husky, thank you so much. I haven't seen that new one yet and I appreciate hearing your review. I might not bother with it, from the sounds of it. Take care!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Awesome hub. A great list of teacher movies. Certainly some of my favorite movies of all time are on that list. How about "To Sir With Love" from the 60's with Sidney Portier. Maybe I'm dating myself here. I loved your recaps and especially the Goosebump Factor and Real Life Factor. It's about time for another good teacher movie. Certainly "Bad Teacher" does not fit into this category. It is a bad movie!!!!!!!! Embarrassing even to have the word "teacher" in the title. Thanks for bringing attention to our noble profession with this hub, prarieprincess.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Joanne, I'm glad it gave you some ideas. I have heard of the two you mentioned but did not include them because I have not seen them myself. I would especially like to get a hold of Mr. Holland's Opus. I have heard such good things about it. Thanks for dropping by!

    • Joanne McFadyen profile image

      Joanne McFadyen 

      7 years ago from Scotland

      I am going to have to get a hold of the ones I've not seen now! The best that were missed are Mr Holland's Opus and Educating Rita, in my opinion.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Bingo, thank you so much! It was fun doing all the research for these movies. DPS is one of my favourites, too. Take care!

    • _thats_a_bingo profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a great article! I really hope my articles can be as good as this one is one day!

      Dead Poets Society is one of my all-time favorite movies, by the way!

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Rachel, I agree with your point. I don't think it's healthy for teachers to have to sacrifice everything in their life for their profession. Freedom Writers had this fatal flaw, and though I enjoyed the movie, this bothered me in the film. Thanks for the great comment and take care!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I know this comment is coming very late, but I don't like teacher-movies in which the teacher sacrifices everything: marriage, financial stability, other relationships, free time, etc for students. A more realistic look at education could portray a teacher making a difference without giving up everything else in life.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Kantahu, that's awesome that you had a principal like him! I'm sure he kept the school in line. Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i love lean on me, remind me with my principal

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Cogerson, I haven't seen that one, but I would love to! It sounds very moving. Take care.

    • Cogerson profile image


      8 years ago from Virginia

      Mr. Holland's one of my favorites.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Cari Jean, thank you so much for your comment! Yes, Precious is a very powerful movie, but just be careful to watch it without any kids around. It's very disturbing, because of the rawness of it. Take care!

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 

      8 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      YAYY for Karate Kid - one of my favorites! I also love Stand and Deliver - we actually watched that in high school and love that you included Freedom Writers - one of my faves as well. I have yet to see Precious but do want to see it. Great hub!

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Laura, thank you for stopping by! I agree, those are great movies. And I think you'll enjoy the other ones, too. Take care!

    • LaurieDawn profile image


      8 years ago

      I think my favorite is Lean on Me, but I also loved Finding Forrester and Good Will Hunting. Great movies! Some of them I haven't seen but now you have given me reasons to find the rest and look them up to watch. Great reviews!

      Blessings and hugs,


    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Hi Dave. Thank you for your comment! I know what you mean: it is great to watch when injustice is righted. "Lean on Me" is that kind of movie, where the principal, Joe Clark, is vindicated after spending time in jail. Take care!

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 

      8 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      I especially like the teacher movies where the teacher is vindicated for some wrong doing that could cost them everything.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Rpaulis, thank you. I loved Karate Kid, too!

      Larry, thank you so much for the kind comment. Yes, the Emperors Club is a good one, too! I really need to get a hold of that Mr. Chips movie. Sounds like a good one.

      Kristen, I have heard of Dangerous Minds, but don't think I've ever seen it. If it's like Freedom Writers, I'm sure it would be good. Nice to hear from a teacher on this list!

      Kashmir, thank you so much! Take care!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      8 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi prairieprincess all good movies in your top ten list,I like Stand and Deliver and Dead Poets Society.

      Awesome hub!!!

    • KristenGrace profile image


      8 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Wonderful collection of movies. I also remember Dangerous Minds from when I was a kid, similar to Freedom Writers but not a true story... although, many parts certainly relate to real life.

    • maven101 profile image


      8 years ago from Northern Arizona

      Great list...I loved the Dead Poets Society and Mr Forester...I agree with Arthur, Goodbye, Mr Chips ( the original British film ) should be on this list, as should The Emperors Club, my personal favorite...

      I loved your intelligent and concise encapsulations of each film, both interesting and informative...Thank you for this treat...Larry

    • rpalulis profile image


      8 years ago from NY

      Outstanding list for Top Ten Inspirational Teacher Movies

      My favorite is the Karate Kid.

    • prairieprincess profile imageAUTHOR

      Sharilee Swaity 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for your comment, arthur! I haven't seen those two, but will check them out. Take care!

    • arthurchappell profile image


      8 years ago from Manchester, England

      Some good choices - I love the Dead Poets Society - other great Teacher movies - The Original version of Goodye Mr Chips is an essential, (not the musical remake version), To Sir With Love, with Sidney Potier also worth a look.


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