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Top 11 Must-Watch Teacher Movies That Are Really Inspiring Like Dead Poets Society

Updated on June 14, 2017
Sam Dreiberg profile image

A young software engineer passionate about being a writer, sharing thoughts, and spreading knowledge.

Dead Poets Society is a 1989 American drama film directed by Peter Weir, written by Tom Schulman, and starring Robin Williams. Set in 1959 at the fictional elite conservative Vermont boarding school Welton Academy, it tells the story of an English teacher who inspires his students through his teaching of poetry.

The film received critical acclaim and was a box office success. It won the BAFTA Award for Best Film, and César Award and David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Film. Schulman received an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for his work

The worldwide box office was reported as $235,860,116, which includes domestic grosses of $95,860,116. The film's global receipts were the fifth-highest for 1989, and the highest for dramas. Dead Poets Society won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay (Tom Schulman). Robin Williams received his second Best Actor in a Leading Role nomination and it has since been widely recognized as one of the actor/comedian's best roles. The film's line "Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary." was voted as the 95th greatest movie quote by the American Film Institute.

Below is the list of 10 must watch Teacher Movies that are really Inspiring!!

To Sir, With Love (1967)

DIRECTOR:

James Clavell

WRITER:

E.R. Braithwaite, James Clavell

STARS:

Sidney Poitier, Judy Geeson, Christian Roberts

PLOT SUMMARY:

After searching unsuccessfully for work as an engineer, Mark Thackeray accepts a teaching position at a rough, East End London high school. His colleagues warn him about the impossible brutes he will encounter there, but still he enters his classroom unprepared for their horrible defiance. A classic portrayal of teen angst, where these impoverished, battered kids, who have turned out badly, are determined to brutalize everyone around them. The teachers let them dance between classes to vent some of their aggressive energy, but they all treat the classroom as though it were an unsupervised sandbox. With transcendent dignity, Thackary tames them and teaches them self-respect. As sentimental as the plot may be, the kids' transition is touching, and Poitier is as cool and classy as ever.


Stand and Deliver (1988)

DIRECTOR:

Ramón Menéndez

WRITER:

Ramón Menéndez, Tom Musca

STARS:

Edward James Olmos, Estelle Harris, Mark Phelan

PLOT SUMMARY:

Biopic of high school teacher Jaime Escalante whose approach to teaching inspired his students and colleagues. He gave up a job as an engineer to take a job at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles. The school is on the verge of being decertified by the school district due to poor academic results and Escalante's philosophy is that students will respond to expectations and those at the school are so low that they perform poorly. After several years of success he decides he wants to teach them calculus, driving his students as hard as he can. He also drives himself into having a mild heart attack. Working with the students and also their parents, many of whom think schooling is a waste of time, 18 of them eventually pass the Advanced Placement calculus exam, giving them college credit. The Educational Testing Service finds a number of anomalies in the scores and suspect they have cheated, leading to a crisis. When the students re-write the exam and pass - again with high marks - they and Escalante are exonerated of any wrongdoing and their marks are re-instated.

Freedom Writers (2007)

DIRECTOR:

Richard LaGravenese

WRITER:

Richard LaGravenese (screenplay), Freedom Writers

STARS:

Hilary Swank, Imelda Staunton, Patrick Dempsey

PLOT SUMMARY:

It's 1994 in Long Beach, California. Idealistic Erin Gruwell is just starting her first teaching job, that as freshman and sophomore English teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School, which, two years earlier, implemented a voluntary integration program. For many of the existing teachers, the integration has ruined the school, whose previously stellar academic standing has been replaced with many students who will be lucky to graduate or even be literate. Despite choosing the school on purpose because of its integration program, Erin is unprepared for the nature of her classroom, whose students live by generations of strict moral codes of protecting their own at all cost. Many are in gangs and almost all know somebody that has been killed by gang violence. The Latinos hate the Cambodians who hate the blacks and so on. The only person the students hate more is Ms. Gruwell. It isn't until Erin holds an unsanctioned discussion about a recent drive-by shooting death that she fully begins to understand what she's up against.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969)

DIRECTOR:

Ronald Neame

WRITER:

Muriel Spark, Jay Presson Allen, Jay Presson Allen

STARS:

Maggie Smith, Gordon Jackson, Robert Stephens

PLOT SUMMARY:

Jean Brodie is a dedicated if eccentric teach at an all-girls school in Edinburgh in the 1930s. She has little time for the approved curriculum and rather teaches "her girls" her own romanticized, fantasist view of history, the arts and the world in general. She is a strong supporter of Mussolini and with the onset of the Spanish Civil War, Franco. She pushes her girls to excel in what she perceives to be their strengths: Monica will act in plays; Mary McGregor will overcome her stutter and make them all proud; Jenny will be painted many times and will be a great lover; and Sandy will use her intellect and and insight and be a great spy. Sandy realizes the dangerous game Miss Brodie is playing and after one of the other girls is killed, sets out to stop her.

The Great Debaters (2007)

DIRECTOR:

Denzel Washington

WRITER:

Robert Eisele, Robert Eisele, Jeffrey Porro

STARS:

Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Kimberly Elise

PLOT SUMMARY:

Marshall, Texas, described by James Farmer, Jr. as "the last city to surrender after the Civil War," is home to Wiley College, where, in 1935-36, inspired by the Harlem Renaissance and his clandestine work as a union organizer, Professor Melvin Tolson coaches the debate team to a nearly-undefeated season that sees the first debate between U.S. students from white and Negro colleges and ends with an invitation to face Harvard University's national champions. The team of four, which includes a female student and a very young James Farmer, is tested in a crucible heated by Jim Crow, sexism, a lynch mob, an arrest and near riot, a love affair, jealousy, and a national radio audience.

Lean on Me (1989)

DIRECTOR:

John G. Avildsen

WRITER:

Michael Schiffer

STARS:

Morgan Freeman, Beverly Todd, Robert Guillaume

PLOT SUMMARY:

When a school in Paterson, New Jersey, has less-than-average basic skills test scores, it faces the possibility of being taken over by the state. So the mayor asks the school superintendent for help, and he suggests that they appoint the controversial Joe Clark as the school principal. Clark begrudgingly agrees. And when he arrives, he shakes things up by reassigning teachers and calling all of them incompetent. And it isn't long before a lot of people want him out, but at the same time, he gains the respect of some of the teachers and the students.

One Eight Seven (1997)

DIRECTOR:

Kevin Reynolds

WRITER:

Scott Yagemann

STARS:

Samuel L. Jackson, John Heard, Kelly Rowan

PLOT SUMMARY:

Trevor Garfield is a teacher in a New York City high school. After a student almost kills him in the hallway Garrfield relocates to Los Angeles, but the trouble starts again when he becomes a substitute to a class containing a tag crew by the name of K.O.S. Their murderous leader, Benny, tells Garfield that there will be no mutual respect between them. The tension mounts when a fellow teacher, Ellen Henry, confides that Benny has threatened her life. After Benny murders a rival tagger in cold blood and goes AWOL, Benny's tag partner, Cesar, takes over as class antagonist. Garfield is forced to play by the rules of the street in a pyrrhic contest between victim and victimizer.

Detachment (2011)

DIRECTOR:

Tony Kaye

WRITER:

Carl Lund

STARS:

Adrien Brody, Christina Hendricks, Marcia Gay Harden

PLOT SUMMARY:

Detachment is a chronicle of three weeks in the lives of several high school teachers, administrators and students through the eyes of a substitute teacher named Henry Barthes. Henry roams from school to school, imparting modes of knowledge, but never staying long enough to form any semblance of sentient attachment. A perfect profession for one seeking to hide out in the open. One day Henry arrives at his next assignment. Upon his entry into this particular school, a secret world of emotion is awakened within him by three women. A girl named Meredith in his first period. A fellow teacher Ms. Madison, and a street hooker named Erica, whom Henry has personally granted brief shelter from the streets. Each one of these women, like Henry, are in a life and death struggle to find beauty in a seemingly vicious and loveless world.

Precious (2009)

DIRECTOR:

Lee Daniels

WRITER:

Geoffrey Fletcher, Sapphire

STARS:

Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton

PLOT SUMMARY:

It's Harlem 1987. Sixteen year old Claireece Jones - who goes by her middle name Precious - is an illiterate, overweight black girl. She is pregnant with her second child, both children fathered by her biological father, who has continually raped her since she was a child, but who she doesn't see otherwise. Her infant daughter, Mongo - such named since she has Down Syndrome - lives with Precious' grandmother. Precious lives with her mother Mary, who abuses Precious both physically and emotionally. Mary does nothing but smoke, watch television and collect welfare through fraud (as she doesn't ever look for a job) and believes that education does nothing for Precious, who she would rather also collect welfare if only to bring money into the household. To escape her life, Precious often daydreams of herself in glamorous situations. Because of her current pregnancy, Precious' principal transfers her into an alternative school. In dealing with the school's sympathetic teacher Miss Blu Rain, Precious begins to believe that she can have a future by learning how to read and write. Despite some devastating news from her mother following the birth of her child, Precious also begins to believe she can escape the grips of her abusive mother, who, up to this point, was Precious' only real support.

The Class (2008)

DIRECTOR:

Laurent Cantet

WRITER:

Laurent Cantet, Robin Campillo, François Bégaudeau, François Bégaudeau

STARS:

François Bégaudeau, Agame Malembo-Emene,Angélica Sancio

PLOT SUMMARY:

Teacher François Marin and his colleagues are preparing for another school year teaching at a racially mixed inner city high school in Paris. The teachers talk to each other about their prospective students, both the good and the bad. The teachers collectively want to inspire their students, but each teacher is an individual who will do things in his or her own way to achieve the results they desire. They also have differing viewpoints on the students themselves, and how best to praise and discipline them. The administration of the school tries to be as fair as possible, which includes having student representatives sit on the student evaluation committee. Marin's class this year of fourteen and fifteen year olds is no different than previous years, although the names and faces have changed. Marin tries to get through to his students, sometimes with success and sometimes resulting in utter failure. Even Marin has his breaking point, which may result in him doing things he would probably admit to himself are wrong. But after all is said and done, there is next year and another group of students.

Music of the Heart(1999)

DIRECTOR:

Wes Craven

WRITER:

Pamela Gray

STARS:

Meryl Streep, Cloris Leachman, Henry Dinhofer

PLOT SUMMARY:

The true story of a young teacher who fights against the board of education in her bid to teach underprivileged kids in a Harlem school the beauty of music through the violin. In her struggle she loses everything as the system comes down on her with all their might but her determination for the kids happiness helps her to battle back with wonderfully inspirational results.

Which of these inspirational teacher movies would you like to see next?

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    • Sam Dreiberg profile image
      Author

      Sam Dreiberg 5 months ago from India

      Yes.. I have seen Emperor's Club. It's another great teacher movie. It would be certainly in my top 20 or may even be top 15.

    • Al Greenbaum profile image

      Al Greenbaum 5 months ago from Europe

      Have you seen Emperor's Club ?

      DPS is one of my favourite films.