While thousands of education films have been made, these movies rise above the rest, earning the top spots as the 10 best movies about education. Hollywood has been going back to school for decades. The classroom is a tried and true location for storytelling, particularly those tug-at-the-heartstring tales of a struggling kid guided by a sensitive teacher.
- "To Sir With Love" Sidney Poitier starred in this groundbreaking film about a young black schoolteacher confronted with social and racial issues while teaching a classroom of cynical inner city students. In addition to being one of the ten best movies about education, it also features one of the greatest theme songs, Lulu's "To Sir With Love," Billboard's top pop single of 1967.
- "Good Will Hunting" Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's Academy Award winning screenplay, starring the young pair alongside Robin Williams, used the education of a mathematical genius for the backdrop to the story of discovery. Boston townie and janitor, Will Hunting, agreed to attend MIT to avoid a jail sentence, and in the process solved the problem he had been running from all his life.
- "Dead Poet's Society" Another Robin Williams' classic. This time he played a teacher, John Keating, at the Welton Academy, a prep school that taught four principles—tradition, honor, discipline, and excellence. Keating insisted on adding nonconformity to that list, although the school board disagreed. A great one of the movies about education in carpe diem, "O Captain! My Captain!"
- "School Of Rock" Jack Black's Dewey Finn (aka Ned Schneebly), a failed musician posing as an educator, taught his students the ins-and-outs of rock history and formed a band with them. Along the way they all learned lessons about setting goals, dreaming dreams, and finding their way in life. Hands down the best of the movies about education in rock and roll ever.
- "Music of the Heart" Ask anyone to name a Meryl Streep movie and you'll most likely hear "Kramer vs. Kramer," "Sophie's Choice," or "Julie and Julia" You may not get too many people remembering "Music of the Heart" But remind them of her stunning, Oscar-nominated performance as Roberta Guaspari the violin teacher who opened the hearts and minds of students in New York City's public school system, and they will light up. Wes Craven's only foray into non-horror films told the true story of the education of the kids from East Harlem who played at Carnegie Hall.
- "The Breakfast Club" Technically this John Hughes movie was not one of the movies about education. It was about detention. But this group of misfit teens learned more about themselves during the two hours trapped in the library than they did the rest of their four-years in high school.
- "Stand and Deliver" In another inner city tale of will triumphing over stereotypes, Edward James Olmos, played Jaime Escalante, a math teacher who gave his students an education in calculus and taught them a big life lesson along the way—rise above society's low expectations to prove you were are of success.
- "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" There's no arguing that the Harry Potter series is the best glimpse into magic education ever. Sure, they may be the only movies about education in the wizarding world, but that's not the point. From year one at Hogwarts, Harry was faced with the biggest lesson of all—learning to conquer Voldemort. He prevailed. Gold star for Potter.
- "The Paper Chase" This movie is a coming of age story wrapped up in the tale of the education of a young lawyer trying to impress his insanely demanding contracts professor in an effort to gain his respect, get good grades, and continue dating his daughter. This was John Houseman's first leading role in a film, making his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor even more impressive.
- "Goodbye Mr. Chips" The 1969 musical adaptation of the beloved James Hilton novel and 1939 film has three things its predecessors did not: Peter O'Toole, Petula Clark, and singing. The movie (music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and arrangements by John Williams–yes the "Star Wars" guy), got lost in the shuffle of the musical heyday of the ’60s, but O'Toole stood out garnering an Oscar nod for his charming portrayal of Headmaster Arthur Chipping.
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