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The Most Powerful Movie Teachers And Mentors

January 19, 2021 480 votes 65 voters 1.0k views16 items

List RulesVote up the teachers and mentors who left a powerful impression.

The best movie mentors are typically wise, mysterious, and moments away from perishing, yet can still kick incredible amounts of butt. Whether it's Yoda stepping in to confront Count Dooku or Professor McGonagall finally deciding enough is enough, when these characters enter the fray, everyone stops and pays attention. Not only are they great teachers, but they've also still got it. 

The best movie mentors are also interesting, quirky characters. In other words, the audience is thinking about them after the film. The lessons they teach are often the only reason the hero achieves victory. So at the end of the day, aren't teachers the real heroes? 

  • Professor X
    Photo: X-Men / 20th Century Fox

    What He Taught: Professor Xavier gathered mutants from all over the world and trained them to control their powers.

    Teaching Style: The older Professor X was a kind and loving teacher - the grandpa anyone would want. He led the school, but also taught classes himself. Throughout his life, young or old, regardless of the timeline, he believed in pushing pupils past their self-imposed limits. He was never afraid of any of them, and always trusted them to make the right decisions. 

    Greatest Lesson: The X-Men films focused on two versions of Professor X, a younger version played by James McAvoy and an older one played by Patrick Stewart. The greatest lesson Professor X gave was possibly the one his older self gave to his younger. He reminded himself that a person is not lost just because they stumble. He told himself to never give up hope, and even though pain was frightening, it would make him stronger. This pep talk allowed the professor to come into his own and lead countless other mutants throughout his life. 

    Grading Style: The professor would be hard on his students, but the key difference between his teaching and that of other private institutions is that it would be impossible to flunk out. No matter what, the professor would never give up hope in his students. 

    Powerful teacher?
  • Yoda
    Photo: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith / 20th Century Fox

    What He Taught: He trained countless Jedi in the ways of the Force. 

    Teaching Style: In the days of the Republic, Yoda was a loving elder who trained the younglings of the Jedi Temple. Later, after Yoda spent years in hiding, Luke Skywalker had a much different experience as his pupil. Yoda, by The Empire Strikes Back, had seemingly lost his mind. He acted in silly ways, and divided his time between imparting nuggets of wisdom to Luke and trying to swipe snacks from R2-D2. 

    Greatest Lesson: In The Last Jedi, Yoda returned as a Force ghost to help guide the few remaining Jedi in the galaxy. He appeared to Luke Skywalker in his time of need and convinced him he needed to look past his sacred Jedi texts and focus on training Rey. He reminded Luke that he can't be afraid of failure, because ultimately it's the greatest teacher. 

    Grading Style: No grades for pre-K, just a loss of juice box privileges if they can't manage to help Jedi Knights find the missing planets they're searching for

    Powerful teacher?
  • Professor Albus Dumbledore
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban / Warner Bros. Pictures

    What He Taught: All forms of magic as the headmaster of Hogwarts. 

    Teaching Style: For a man of his position and stature, Albus Dumbledore was known to be gentle and kind, if a bit quirky. In one film scene, while looking at a mirror with the power to show the viewer whatever they want, he says that he sees a pair of socks, and jokes, "One can never have too many socks." This moment encapsulates Dumbledore. He was a man with a lot on his mind who still took time to mentor and joke with his students, even in the middle of a fight against Voldemort. He was also stern, and as a mentor and teacher to Harry Potter, he let the young wizard figure out a lot on his own without always providing the answers. 

    Greatest Lesson: It's difficult to nail down Dumbledore's greatest lesson, but one of his most impactful took place when Harry expressed concern about his similarities to Voldemort. Dumbledore reminded him that "it is our choices... that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." 

    Grading Style: No grades are final. If a student is willing to put in the work to learn the material, he would be more than willing to help in any way possible. As he said in the films, "Help will always be given at Hogwarts... to those who deserve it." 

    Powerful teacher?
  • 4


    Photo: The Sword and the Stone / Buena Vista Distribution

    What He Taught: He tutored a boy named Arthur in all manner of studies, including reading and writing, magic, and snippets of futuristic wisdom. 

    Teaching Style: Merlin's teaching style can best be described as erratic. He was so much smarter than everyone around him that it was hard for him to dumb down his knowledge for others to understand. After he started explaining futuristic concepts to Arthur, his talking owl took over the day-to-day tutoring and helped the boy learn his ABCs. 

    Greatest Lesson: After Arthur accidentally broke a squirrel's heart, Merlin had to have a conversation with the boy about love. He explained that, in its own way, love was the greatest force on Earth

    Grading Style: He would explain all of the different possible ways people will grade in the future, then forget to actually do any grading.

    Powerful teacher?