William Arthur Ward said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” It’s the same with movies—especially movies about inspiring teachers. With the release of Here Comes the Boom — about a teacher who takes to the mixed martial arts octagon in hopes of raising enough money to save his school’s music program — what better time to take a look at inspiring teachers of the silver screen.
All of these titles and more great collections are available to rent at Blockbuster On Demand.
Stand and Deliver
Based on the true story of a math teacher in East L.A. who turns around the lives of his troubled students by teaching them calculus. In 2011, the Library of Congress declared this movie “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and it has been preserved in the National Film Registry. Edward James Olmos and a young Lou Diamond Phillips in prime acting form.
Lean on Me
Another film based on a true story, Joe Clark is a strict principal who practices tough-love at a decaying school in Patterson, NJ. He uses unorthodox methods and lights a fire under his teachers and students to fight a state takeover of the school by improving test scores. One of Morgan Freeman’s finest roles, and that’s saying something.
Mad Hot Ballroom
This documentary follows the lives of several children in three New York City public schools as teachers push them to perfect their dancing—and along the way learn a lot about themselves.
Spencer Tracy plays Father Edward J. Flanagan, who attempts to rehabilitate a group of tough delinquents with a death row prisoner’s story.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
This movie might not spring to mind as one about how important teachers are, but never underestimate Mr. Hand! There’s no doubt he finally got through to Jeff Spicoli in the end.
With the help of a dedicated teacher (Hilary Swank), the students of Woodrow Wilson High School learn tolerance and aspire to higher education.
Take the Lead
Not all learning is numbers and words. In this based-on-a-true-story tale, Antonio Banderas leads a group of troubled students to the promised land through dance.
The History Boys
Based on the award-winning play, two eccentric teachers take over a group of unruly boys who hope to get into Cambridge or Oxford. A slice of British private school existence.