This week sees the release of superb, Palme D'Or-winning French drama The Class.
It’s a study of students from a tough Parisian neighbourhood, with a top teacher who’s played by real-life educator Francois Begaudeau.
Begaudeau wrote a book about his experiences and he and director Laurent Cantet recruited actual students to play the kids in the film.
With that and Hamlet 2 arriving in cinemas, we got to thinking about the best blackboard wranglers out there in movie land.
Some are based in reality. Others are pure fantasy. We want them all in our school right now...
The Film: Blackboard Jungle (1955)
The Teacher: Richard Dadier (Glenn Ford)
The Subject: English
Best Line: “Yeah, I've been beaten up, but I'm not beaten. I'm not beaten, and I'm not quittin.'”
Why We Wish They'd Taught Us: Because he has experience dealing with the thugs and hoodies that are overrunning every school these days.
He stood up to the most annoying git in his class (Vic Morrow’s Artie West), even when he started receiving death threats against his family.
So much for emotional stress leave and filing for compensation – he’d deal with the situation head on.[page-break]
The Film: School Of Rock (2003)
The Teacher: Dewey Finn (Jack Black)
The Subject: Music
Best Line: “I have been touched by your kids... and I'm pretty sure that I've touched them.”
Why We Wish They'd Taught Us: Finn might only have taken the gig to make money on the side, but he grew into the role.
His freewheeling approach to teaching strikes us as far more useful than the boring, paperwork-heavy nonsense being spewed at kids.
Plus, who wouldn’t want to have music lessons where you actually get to rock out?
The Film: Lean On Me (1989)
The Teacher: Joe Clark (Morgan Freeman)
The Subject: Headmaster
Best Line: “You think you can run this school? If you could, then I wouldn't be here, would I? No one talks at my meetings. NO ONE! You take out your pencils and write. I want the names... of every hoodlum, drug dealer, and miscreant who's done nothing but take this place apart on my desk by noon today.”
Why We Wish They'd Taught Us: The real-life Joe Clark is alive and well, so unlike most of the other characters, he could actually teach.
He might have been the headmaster, but he was inspirational and always ready with the tough love. How tough? Try chucking out 300 trouble-making students in one day.
And In the movie, Morgan Freeman plays him. Who wouldn’t listen in a class led by Morgan Freeman?[page-break]
The Film: Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban (2004)
The Teacher: Remus Lupin (David Thewlis)
The Subject: Defence Against The Dark Arts
Best Line: “I'm very impressed. That suggests that what you fear most of all... is fear itself. This is very wise.”
Why We Wish They'd Taught Us: He teaches magic. He’s also a werewolf. Can your teacher boast those credentials? Didn’t think so.
While we’d be worried about discipline during the full moon, and the possibility of shedding, he’s a heroic type who would inspire the class.
The Film: Dead Poets Society (1989)
The Teacher: John Keating (Robin Williams)
The Subject: English
Best Line: “Excrement! That's what I think of Mr. J. Evans Pritchard! We're not laying pipe! We're talking about poetry. How can you describe poetry like American Bandstand? ‘I like Byron, I give him a 42 but I can't dance to it!’”
Why We Wish They'd Taught Us: What is it about English teachers that seems to make them particularly inspirational?
Keating blows the doors off the staid public school he teaches at, even at the cost of his job.
Plus, you’d probably get a Robin Williams stand-up performance out of it. Decide for yourself if that’s good or bad.[page-break]
The Film: Sky High (2005)
The Teacher: Coach Boomer (Bruce Campbell)
The Subject: P.E.
Best Line: “Sidekick!” (He says it a lot to students who don't make the hero grade).
Why We Wish They'd Taught Us: Boomer might be bombastic (literally – he can shatter glass with his super-powered voice) he earns a spot on the list by also being Bruce Campbell.
Okay, more evidence – he takes no crap and sorts out the men from the sidekicks. And he’s always good for a laugh.
Plus if the class turns rowdy, he’ll always be heard.
The Film: Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The Teacher: Yoda (Frank Oz)
The Subject: Jedi mastery
Best Line: “Do... Or do not. There is no try.”
Why We Wish They'd Taught Us: It’s Yoda – hands down the coolest teacher in the galaxy, even if he is a bit of a muppet at times.
But he can lift an X-Wing fighter from a swamp WITH HIS MIND. Are you seriously telling us you wouldn’t want to learn that?
Midichlorians or no, he rules.
Liked This? Then see:
- 7 Movie Teachers Who Could Fix Britain
- 6 Films Better Than The Books They’re Based On
- The 10 Worst Sequels Of The '80s
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