Your Favorite Movie Teacher

The school year will be nearing an end soon and each of us has had a teacher at some point in our academic careers that have made a lasting impression on us. Let’s take a look back at a few movies that pay homage to our favorite kinds of teachers. Which one would have been your favorite?


Mr. Keating, Dead Poet’s Society

Eccentric and passionate, Mr. Keating would tell you to go after your dreams even if all the world were standing against you. He has an uncanny way of relating poetry, an otherwise dry medium to most of us, to our major milestones in life, big and small.

Best quote: “Language was developed for one endeavor, and that is … to woo women!”



Mr. Holland, Mr. Holland’s Opus

You wouldn’t want to have Mr. Holland as your teacher during the earlier part of his career, as it takes him many years to grow into his role and find his niche as a music appreciation teacher. But if, and only if, you actually showed any semblance of appreciation for music, he will go out of his way to expand your mind and your heart to appreciating all forms of music.

Best quote: Vice principal Wolters: “If I’m forced to choose between Mozart and reading and writing and long division, I choose long division.”

 Glen Holland: “Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want, Gene. Sooner or later, these kids aren’t going to have anything to read or write about.”

(By the way, if I can recommend two movies for you to watch from this list, I couldn’t recommend Dead Poets and Mr. Holland enough.)



Mr. “Schneebly”, School of Rock

Sure, he isn’t qualified to be a teacher, he’s not even qualified for the subbing job he’s posing for. But he sure knows his material – as long as it’s rock ‘n’ roll. But underneath his crazy, quirky exterior, there’s a real talent for making his passion contagious to even the most reluctant students. After all, in the end, isn’t that what makes the best teachers?

Best quote: “I pledge allegiance… to the band… of Mr. Schneebly… and will not fight him… for creative control… and will defer to him on all issues related to the musical direction of the band.”


dangerous minds

Ms. Johnson, Dangerous Minds

She’s tricked into teaching a more unruly class than she signed up for, but she rises up to the challenge in this teacher movie that’s not for the faint of heart.

Best quote: “There are no victims in this classroom.”



Mr. Escalante, Stand and Deliver

His students are likely to drop out. Most success stories like this are because the teacher is teaching poetry, writing, music, you know something that sparks the imagination and brings enjoyment to life. However, how could someone do that with calculous, of all subjects?

Best quote: “You have math in your blood.”



Mrs. Gruwell, Freedom Writers

Another teacher up against the odds with a classroom full of would-be drop-outs, Her subject is writing and she successfully teaches her students about tolerance and the danger and stupidity of gangs and organized crime, linking them to the most notorious gang in history – the Nazis.

Best quote: “I’m a teacher. It doesn’t matter what color I am.”


Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

38 thoughts on “Your Favorite Movie Teacher

  1. Dead Poet’s Society is one of my all time favs. It illustrates the power of the teacher and the wide range of emotion we feel when students make decisions. However, I feel I must also mention Kindergarten Cop here. Arnold’s character shows how challenging the job is in a delightful way–I know teaching isn’t the core of that movie, but it is an integral part.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am finishing up the final revisions and editing my book, but I could not resist responding to this post. Let me preface this by saying my favorite actual teacher from high school would be a lot different from my movie teacher picks. My favorite high school teacher is a tie between 2 English teachers with completely different styles one of whom allowed us to pick a Stephen King book for our optional book in Honors English.

    As far as movies…LOL Well, Mr. Hand from Fast Times at Ridgemont High because his character was funny and a good representation of some of the more conservative and obnoxious teachers we had like one particular Coach that taught history.

    I can’t pick just one though:

    Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher…I’m sorry her character was kind of inappropriate but it was funny.

    And….I can’t remember the actresses name or the character’s name, but the teacher in Mean Girls because she didn’t put up with the clique nonsense.


  3. There’s a film with Danny Divito as a teacher that is priceless. Can’t think of the title at the moment. Sorry. As for real life teachers, I had three college teachers, the toughest on the staff, who encouraged me to become a teacher, too, and who made me work way beyond my capacity to reach new plateaus, Thank you to all teachers who demand the best.


    1. Are you referring to the film where he is teaching in the armed forces? I believe that is called Renaissance Men or something similar. Mark Wahlberg is in it too.


  4. What a great list! Mr. Keating is at the top of my list. I also love the elements of Snow White/Mary Margaret in the show Once Upon a Time. She is only shown as a teacher a few times but is so wise and caring.


  5. You might add Forrester in the movie by that title (lead role by Sean Connery). Not actually a teacher per se, but definitely one in the role he plays in the supporting actor’s life!


  6. ‘Goodbye, Mr Chips’ (1939) with Robert Donat and Greer Garson. I cry, uncontrollably, when watching this movie.

    ‘To Sir with Love’ (1967) with Sidney Poitier. An inspirational movie for teachers.


  7. I loved Mr Hand in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Hard to argue with Dead Poet’s Society and Keating though. However, Gilderoy Lockhart in the Harry Potter movie played by Kenneth Branagh was brilliant. So vain and self-centered. Loved the portrayal. Okay, might be stretching the teacher part here, but I’m a fiction writer so I’m allowed.


  8. Reblogged this on The Controlled Kaleidoscope and commented:
    Dearest Readers,

    I have seen most of these movies and love them, especially the first two; however, I would recommend Mr. Holland’s Opus before The Dead Poet’s Society. I really love this blog post because it shows how much this blogger loves these movies, which I do too (never seen Stand and Deliver though). I love to read and listen to people who are passionate about their subject and this blogger, though short and to the point, definitely is. I hope you enjoy this quick blog post as much as I did.



  9. 🙂 thank you for this post and thanks also to the comments here, because now I have a good list of teacher movies 🙂 teachers who have heart are awesome wherever they are in the world. I’ve seen only two from the above, Stand and Deliver and Dead Poets’ Society, and they’re unforgettable, plus the one that has Julia Roberts as an art teacher in the 50’s (Mona Lisa Smile). A movie about Confucius (by Chow Yun Fat) going all over China-then accompanied by his many students is also inspiring 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: