Entertainment

The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film 

Ranker Characters
Updated April 23, 2020 665 votes 134 voters 3.8k views

Whether you were a straight-A student or spent more time in the principal's office, chances are you had a memorable teacher. And if you didn't have one in your own life, you almost certainly did through the movies. The greatest teacher characters in film inspired their students – and sometimes intimidated them. These fictional teachers made audiences laugh, cry, and maybe even learn.

Read through this list of the best teacher characters in film, and you'll notice a wide range of scholastic specialties. The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as seen in the Harry Potter films, boasted one of the most magically gifted faculties around. Professors Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape both appear on this list. Less magical, but no less inspiring, is Robin Williams's role as John Keating from Dead Poets Society. The iconic actor appears on this list again, as Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting.

Some teachers are most memorable as strict disciplinarians. Take Terence Fletcher, the temperamental music teacher from 2014's Whiplash. He's the kind of teacher most students would be happy to avoid.

Now it's your turn to determine who makes the honor roll. Vote up your favorite fictional teachers, and add any characters that are missing. And if you like these characters, be sure to check out our list of inspirational teacher movies.

list ordered by
1
John Keating is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society
2
Sean Maguire is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting
3
Professor Severus Snape ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
Alan Rickman in Harry Potter Universe
4
Dewey Finn is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
Jack Black in School of Rock
5
Professor Albus Dumbledo... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
6
Indiana Jones is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
7
Yoda is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
8
Mr. Kesuke Miyagi is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
Pat Morita in The Karate Kid
9
Ms. Norbury is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
Tina Fey in Mean Girls
10
Mr. Vargas is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
RobLein added Mr. Vargas Vincent Schiavelli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High
11
Remus Lupin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
BuddSizemore added David Thewlis in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
12
Terence Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
J.K. Simmons in Whiplash
13
Detective John Kimble is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop
14
Obi-Wan Kenobi is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
starwarssuperfan added
15
Mr. Hand is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
Ray Walston in Fast Times at Ridgemont High
16
Melvin B. Tolson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
Melvin B. Tolson Denzel Washington in The Great Debaters
17
Professor Dave Jennings ... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
Donald Sutherland in National Lampoon's Animal House
18
Mark Thackeray is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
RobLein added Sidney Poitier in To Sir
19
Louanne Johnson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
tk91si added Louanne Johnson Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds
20
John Nash is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
John Nash Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind
21
Glenn Holland is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
Richard Dreyfuss in Mr. Holland's Opus
22
Annie Sullivan is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
23
Bill Rago is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
clash1977 added Bill Rago Danny DeVito in Renaissance Man
24
Coach Norman Dale is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
RobLein added Coach Norman Dale Gene Hackman in Hoosiers
25
Coach Calhoun is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Teacher Characters in Film
RobLein added Sid Caesar in Grease 2