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Top 10 Inspirational Teacher Movies

Sharilee obtained a degree in secondary English education from the University of Calgary. She has taught in Canada for 10 years.

Teacher Movies Are Inspiring

The teacher movie genre is so inspiring! Most of these movies are a version of the following scenario: An educator 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 value. Usually, the teacher is transformed in the process, as well. Everyone who watches can gain inspiration. Sure, sometimes, teacher movies can be a bit hokey, but at least they focus on the positive!

In most of these movies, teaching makes a difference in everyone's life. And that is why teachers teach, isn't it? Deep down, every teacher hopes to make a difference in some way.

If you're looking for a feel-good flick, check out one of these top 10 teacher movies. You are sure to be inspired!

1. Dead Poets Society

Production Year: 1989
Starring: Robin Williams and 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. That's why I show this film every year to at least one of my English classes.

Robin Williams stars as Professor Keating, a rebellious teacher 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 and there is an exceptional cast and powerful directing. The lighting and 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, but it does ring authentically in the portrayals of the boys, parents, and teachers. Where it seems unrealistic, though, is the way Mr. Keating is idealized. The line between the "good teacher" and the "bad teacher" seems a bit over-drawn and dramatic.

Awards: At the Academy Awards, it won Best Screenplay and was nominated for Best Picture. Williams was nominated for Best Actor and Peter Weir earned a nod for Best Director. See the full list of accolades for the movie.

"Freedom Writers" movie poster

"Freedom Writers" movie poster

2. Freedom Writers

Production Year: 2007
Starring: Hilary Swank and 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 high school students. Needless to say, they are not immediately receptive, and this young idealist gets very frustrated. One 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. She gives them journals to write their stories and they begin to share their lives with her through print, and it is a very powerful experience.

As in many movies in this genre, 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 and writers and find themselves in the process. This is a very powerful, well-produced movie, with excellent acting and film work. 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 use writing to change their lives. She has also published several books on the same subject. The students in the movie were all based on real-life students in Gruwell's class.

Awards: Nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

Theatre release poster for "Precious"

Theatre release poster for "Precious"

3. Precious

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

To anyone that has not seen this movie, I recommend that you do. If you have kids, though, keep in mind that Precious is full of disturbing scenes and vulgar language.

Gabourey Sidibe stars as Claireece "Precious" Jones, a big girl who believes she is dumb and worthless because she is told that every day by her 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." 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, the student. 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 under the nurturing wings of the teacher and classmates, she transforms her experience, and this 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 in the scene.

Real Life Factor: The film is adapted from the novel Push by Sapphire and is not based on a real story. However, it is very realistic, employing authentic-sounding dialogue and refusing to "clean up" the horror of abuse.

Awards: At the Oscars, Mo'Nique won Best Supporting Actress and the film won Best Screenplay Writing. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Directing, and Best Editing; Sidibe was nominated for Best Actress. Directors Guild of America: nominated for Best Directing. See the full list of accolades and awards here.

Matt Damon and Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting

Matt Damon and Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting

4. Good Will Hunting

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

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

Matt plays Will Hunting, a lonely genius who works as a caretaker at a university and whose remarkable math talent is "discovered" by math professor Gerald Lambeau (Robin Williams). After an unfortunate incident with the law, Hunting 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 movies in this genre, this student does not learn that he is smart. Instead, this character already knows he is 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 story, but instead comes straight from Matt Damon's and Ben Affleck's imaginations.

Awards: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck won for Best Screenplay written directly for screen; Robin Williams won for Best Supporting Actor; Matt Damon nominated for Best Actor. See full list of accolades and awards.

5. The Class

Production Year: 2008
Starring: Francois Begaudeau

The Class is a different kind of teacher movie: The whole thing 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.

Based on the semi-autobiographical novel written by Francois Begaudeau, a teacher who plays himself in the film, the story is very realistic. The style is low-key and it has the feel of a low-budget documentary, with acting that 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 semi-autobiographical book written by the teacher. What makes it even more real is that the teacher plays himself in the movie.

Awards: Oscars: Won Best Foreign Language Film. Cannes Festival: Won Golden Palm Award. Plus many more....

Karate Kid Movie Poster

Karate Kid Movie Poster

6. Karate Kid

Production Year: 2010
Starring: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan

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

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

Mr. Han has his own demons, too, and in one disturbing scene, Parker comes to his mentor's home to find Han's beloved car completely smashed. Parker reaches out to Han, and we find 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.

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

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 learning, 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 is also 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.

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

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 entertains them with sarcastic jabs. 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 film is based on the true story of Jaime Escalante and has a very authentic feel.

Awards: 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.

Morgan Freeman as Joe Clark in Lean on Me.

Morgan Freeman as Joe Clark in Lean on Me.

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 guy 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 the 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 his students believe in themselves through developing discipline. He also stands up to the bad guys, the drug dealers, 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.

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.

Meryl Strep in Music of the Heart

Meryl Strep in 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. She has a teaching degree but her teaching experience is almost nil, so when 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 facing her own personal heartbreak over her husband's affair. She keeps going, though, motivated largely by watching her students persevere in their own lives.

Music of the Heart is a low-key movie. The protagonist, Demetras, 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: Based on a real 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.

Awards: Academy Awards: Streep nominated for Best Actress; nominated for Best Original Song. Golden Globe Awards: Streep nominated for Best Actress.


Mohsen on September 14, 2020:

How about detachment?

Patricia on June 05, 2020:

Conrack is at the top of my list of teacher movies. This is the.real life story of the author, Pat Conroy,who wrote the book of his story The Water is Wide. As a newly graduated teacher in the 1970s, the only teaching job he can get is on the Gulla Island. This African American community is known as maintaning their cultural and linguistic strengths. In this movie everyone learns.

Deborah on May 04, 2020:

To Sir with Love and Blackboard Jungle

roberto on June 10, 2019:

when this list is updated again i would consider Coach Carter and Here Comes the Boom as great teacher movies as well

neha on January 23, 2019:

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

sana on January 13, 2019:

detachment is wide better than all of them !

Samari on May 13, 2018:

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

priya on March 03, 2018:

add ron clark (starring mattew perry) too.

it is based on a true story.

i just don't understand how you could forget that

ERica on February 17, 2018:

Dangerous Minds too.

Das C K on December 16, 2017:

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

Cecilia on May 29, 2017:

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.

Afaq Mayo on April 22, 2017:

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.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on March 06, 2017:

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!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on March 06, 2017:

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!

Daniel on February 18, 2017:

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.

Izza Cassandra on February 12, 2017:

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

Sue on October 16, 2016:

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.

Saurabh Mehta on August 30, 2016:

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

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 08, 2015:

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!

Joe Williams-Nelson from Missouri on March 30, 2015:

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.

greeneyedblondie on March 03, 2015:

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

Simon from NSW, Australia on February 28, 2015:

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

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on February 24, 2015:

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

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on August 12, 2013:

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!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on August 12, 2013:

@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 on July 21, 2013:

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

Carlo Giovannetti from Puerto Rico on July 14, 2013:

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.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on April 28, 2013:

@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!

dylan on April 26, 2013:

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.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on March 10, 2013:

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

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on March 10, 2013:

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!


Vishal on February 15, 2013:

What about october sky?

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on December 08, 2012:

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.

hd on December 07, 2012:

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

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on October 23, 2012:

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!

Lybrah on October 11, 2012:

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.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on October 01, 2012:

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!

Jean-Francois Joanisse from Canada on October 01, 2012:

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....

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 30, 2012:

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!

Jean-Francois Joanisse from Canada on September 27, 2012:

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.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on August 13, 2012:

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!

Melanie Chisnall from Cape Town, South Africa on August 11, 2012:

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".

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on August 05, 2012:

@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!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on August 05, 2012:

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

healthylife2 on August 04, 2012:

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

Danson Wachira from Nairobi, Kenya on August 04, 2012:

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.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on May 15, 2012:

@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!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on May 15, 2012:

@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!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on May 15, 2012:

@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 from IL on May 15, 2012:

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 on May 15, 2012:

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!

KDuBarry03 on May 15, 2012:

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!

Yvonne Spence from UK on May 15, 2012:

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 from Manitoba, Canada on May 15, 2012:

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!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on May 15, 2012:

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

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on March 27, 2012:

@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.

Arthur on March 26, 2012:

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.

elyne on March 24, 2012:

I love dangerous mind...

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on November 24, 2011:

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

Kenneth Brown from United States on November 24, 2011:

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

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on November 11, 2011:

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.

Vanessa Martinez from Vancouver, WA on November 11, 2011:

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.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on November 05, 2011:

@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 on November 04, 2011:

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

MrDJK on September 30, 2011:

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 from Encino, California on September 18, 2011:

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

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 11, 2011:

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 from Pacific NorthWest on September 11, 2011:

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.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on September 08, 2011:

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

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on August 28, 2011:

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.

Arun on August 28, 2011:

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.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on August 11, 2011:

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!

Husky1970 on August 09, 2011:

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.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on July 21, 2011:

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 from Scotland on July 21, 2011:

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.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on July 15, 2011:

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 on July 13, 2011:

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!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on June 06, 2011:

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!

rachelw on June 03, 2011:

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.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on March 02, 2011:

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

kantahu on March 02, 2011:

i love lean on me, remind me with my principal

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on February 03, 2011:

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

UltimateMovieRankings from Virginia on February 03, 2011:

Mr. Holland's one of my favorites.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on January 28, 2011:

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 from Bismarck, ND on January 27, 2011:

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!

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on January 23, 2011:

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 on January 21, 2011:

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,


Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on January 13, 2011:

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 from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA on January 13, 2011:

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

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on January 12, 2011:

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!

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on January 12, 2011:

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

Awesome hub!!!

KristenGrace from Philadelphia, PA on January 12, 2011:

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.

Larry Conners from Northern Arizona on January 12, 2011:

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 from NY on January 12, 2011:

Outstanding list for Top Ten Inspirational Teacher Movies

My favorite is the Karate Kid.

Sharilee Swaity (author) from Canada on January 11, 2011:

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

arthurchappell from Manchester, England on January 11, 2011:

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.