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The Best Movies For and About Teachers, Ranked 

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Updated September 24, 2019 3.2k votes 731 voters 63.3k views 54 items

List Rules Movies featuring teachers only

A list of the best teacher movies. These are films that focus on teachers, teaching, and the conflicts our educators often go through when trying to teach. We believe we've thought of them all, but if your favorite teacher films aren't on here, please feel free to add them to the list of the best teacher films. This teacher movie list includes all genres, although teacher movies tend to always lean toward "inspirational".

All types of schools are also included such as elementary, high school, preparatory, public schools, and colleges/universities. Best of all, a number of these films are based on real teachers. So if you're looking for inspiration and have respect for education, these teacher films are the ones for you.

What are the best teacher movies? Take a look here and see for yourself. There are some great selections on this list like School of Rock, Bad Teacher and Mr. Holland's Opus.
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Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke, Lara Flynn Boyle

Released: 1989

Directed by: Peter Weir

Dead Poets Society is a 1989 American drama film written by Tom Schulman, directed by Peter Weir and starring Robin Williams. Set at the conservative and aristocratic Welton Academy in the ...more

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#36 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #112 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
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Morgan Freeman, Tony Todd, Regina Taylor

Released: 1989

Directed by: John G. Avildsen

Lean on Me is a 1989 dramatized biographical film written by Michael Schiffer, directed by John G. Avildsen and starring Morgan Freeman. Lean on Me is loosely based on the story of Joe Louis ...more

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#21 of 721 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #78 of 182 The Best Coming of Age Movies

3
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Andy Garcia, Edward James Olmos, Lou Diamond Phillips

Released: 1988

Directed by: Ramón Menéndez

Stand and Deliver is a 1988 American drama film based on the true story of high school math teacher Jaime Escalante. Edward James Olmos portrayed Escalante in the film and received a nomination ...more

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#26 of 55 The Best Movies Ever to Come Out in March #132 of 294 The Best Teen Movies of All Time

4
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Sarah Silverman, Jack Black, Miranda Cosgrove

Released: 2003

Directed by: Richard Linklater

School of Rock is a 2003 American comedy film directed by Richard Linklater, written by Mike White, and starring Jack Black. The main plot follows struggling rock singer and guitarist, Dewey ...more

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#157 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #107 of 1,199 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time Every Song in School of Rock, Ranked by Singability

5
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Alicia Witt, William H. Macy, Terrence Howard

Released: 1995

Mr. Holland's Opus is a 1995 American drama film directed by Stephen Herek, produced by Ted Field, Robert W. Cort, and Michael Nolin, and written by Patrick Sheane Duncan. It stars Richard ...more

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#11 of 206 The Best Movies About Music #88 of 263 Movies That Should Be Made Into Broadway Musicals

6
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Carly Kiel added Sidney Poitier, Lulu, Patricia Routledge

Released: 1967

Directed by: James Clavell

To Sir, with Love is a 1967 British drama film, starring Sidney Poitier, that deals with social and racial issues in an inner-city school. James Clavell directed and wrote the film's screenplay, ...more

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#475 of 721 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #53 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time

7
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Michelle Pfeiffer, Andy Garcia, Paula Garcés

Released: 1995

Directed by: John N. Smith

Dangerous Minds is a 1995 American drama film directed by John N. Smith, and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. It is based on the autobiography My Posse Don't Do Homework by retired ...more

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#675 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #190 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books

8
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Arnold Schwarzenegger, Odette Annable, Angela Bassett

Released: 1990

Directed by: Ivan Reitman

Kindergarten Cop is a 1990 American comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as John Kimble, a tough police detective, who must go undercover and pose as a ...more

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#371 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #141 of 1,199 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #28 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies

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Channing Tatum, Samuel L. Jackson, Ashanti

Released: 2005

Directed by: Thomas Carter

Coach Carter is a 2005 American biographical sports drama film directed by Thomas Carter. It is based on a true story of Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter portrayed by Samuel L. ...more

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#29 of 721 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #53 of 181 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made #10 of 54 The 30+ Greatest Sports Drama Movies of All Time

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Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Jurnee Smollett

Released: 2007

Directed by: Denzel Washington

The Great Debaters is a 2007 American biopic period drama film directed by and starring Denzel Washington and produced by Oprah Winfrey and her production company, Harpo Productions. It is based ...more

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#19 of 40 Great Historical Black Movies Based On True Stories #8 of 33 The Most Inspirational Black Movies

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Jennifer Love Hewitt, Lauryn Hill, Maggie Smith

Released: 1993

Directed by: Bill Duke

Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit is a 1993 American comedy film loosely based on the life of Crenshaw High School choir instructor Iris Stevenson, and starring Whoopi Goldberg. Directed by Bill ...more

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#592 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #275 of 344 Movies with the Best Soundtracks

12
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AndrewW.Curley added Hilary Swank, Patrick Dempsey, Imelda Staunton

Released: 2007

Directed by: Richard LaGravenese

Freedom Writers is a 2007 drama film starring Hilary Swank, Scott Glenn, Imelda Staunton and Patrick Dempsey. It is based on the book The Freedom Writers Diary by teacher Erin Gruwell who wrote ...more

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#43 of 82 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books #51 of 92 The Best Hood Movies

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Lon Harris added Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Paula Patton

Released: 2009

Directed by: Lee Daniels

Released: 2009 Precious is a 2009 American drama film, directed and co-produced by Lee Daniels. Precious is an adaptation by Geoffrey S. Fletcher of the 1996 novel Push by Sapphire. The film stars Gabourey ...more

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#87 of 721 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #18 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Againlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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Carly Kiel added Ryan Gosling, Denis O'Hare, Anthony Mackie

Released: 2006

Directed by: Ryan Fleck

Half Nelson is a 2006 American drama film directed by Ryan Fleck, written by Fleck and Anna Boden. The film stars Ryan Gosling, Shareeka Epps and Anthony Mackie. It was scored by Juno ...more

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#20 of 45 20+ Great Drama Movies About Drugs and Addiction #7 of 26 The Best Ryan Gosling Movieslisted on Movies Set in Brooklyn

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algirdas-preisogolavicius added Matthew Perry, Ernie Hudson, Brandon Mychal Smith

Released: 2006

Directed by: Randa Haines

The Ron Clark Story is a 2006 television film starring Matthew Perry, that premiered on TNT on Sunday, August 13, 2006. Based on the real-life educator Ron Clark, it centers on a white teacher ...more
16
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Antonio Banderas, Jenna Dewan, Alfre Woodard

Released: 2006

Directed by: Liz Friedlander

Take the Lead is a 2006 musical drama film starring Antonio Banderas, Rob Brown, Alfre Woodard, Dante Basco, Elijah Kelley, Marcus T. Paulk, Jenna Dewan, Lauren Collins and also features former ...more

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#26 of 98 The Best Dance Movies Ever Made #13 of 21 The Best Movies Like Step Up

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Mark Wahlberg, Danny DeVito, Stacey Dash

Released: 1994

Directed by: Penny Marshall

Released: 1994 Renaissance Man is a 1994 American comedy film directed by Penny Marshall, and stars Danny DeVito, Gregory Hines, James Remar, Cliff Robertson and Mark Wahlberg in his film debut. In Australia, ...more

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#691 of 1,199 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #183 of 391 The Best Movies Directed by Women

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The Principal is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies For and About Teachers, Ranked
Bootsdad added Jim Belushi, Louis Gossett, Jr.

Released: 1987

Directed by: Christopher Cain

The Principal is a 1987 crime thriller action film starring James Belushi and Louis Gossett, Jr. It was written by Frank Deese and directed by Christopher Cain. It was filmed in Oakland, ...more
19
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but chickens double d added Elisabeth Shue, Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita

Released: 1984

Directed by: John G. Avildsen

The Karate Kid is a 1984 American martial arts romantic drama film directed by John G. Avildsen and written by Robert Mark Kamen, starring Ralph Macchio, who was 22 years old during principal ...more

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#33 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #22 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #104 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

20
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but chickens double d added Gene Hackman, Dennis Hopper, Barbara Hershey

Released: 1986

Directed by: David Anspaugh

Hoosiers is a 1986 sports film directed by David Anspaugh. A coach with a checkered past (Gene Hackman) and a local drunk (Dennis Hopper) train a small town high school basketball team to become ...more

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#647 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #167 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

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algirdas-preisogolavicius added Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Keke Palmer

Released: 2006

Directed by: Doug Atchison

Akeelah and the Bee is a 2006 American drama film written and directed by Doug Atchison. It tells the story of Akeelah Anderson, an 11-year-old girl who participates in the Scripps National ...more

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#468 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #16 of 33 The Most Inspirational Black Movies

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Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling, Denzel Washington

Released: 2000

Directed by: Boaz Yakin

Remember the Titans is a 2000 American sports drama film produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Boaz Yakin. The screenplay, written by Gregory Allen Howard, is based on the true story of ...more

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#88 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #802 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

23
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Kevin Kline, Patrick Dempsey, Jesse Eisenberg

Released: 2002

Directed by: Michael Hoffman

The Emperor's Club is a 2002 American drama film directed by Michael Hoffman and stars Kevin Kline. It tells the story of a prep school teacher and his students at a fictional boys' prep school, ...more
24
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bojanthebest added Tom Berenger, Marc Anthony, Luis Guzmán

Released: 1996

Directed by: Robert Mandel

The Substitute is a 1996 American action-crime-thriller film directed by Robert Mandel and starring Tom Berenger, Ernie Hudson, Marc Anthony, William Forsythe, Raymond Cruz and Luis
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Maggie Gyllenhaal, Parker Sevak, Anna Baryshnikov

Released: 2018

Directed by: Sara Colangelo

The Kindergarten Teacher is a 2018 American drama film directed by Sara Colangelo, based on the 2014 Israeli film. A kindergarten teacher (Maggie Gyllenhaal) in New York becomes obsessed with ...more