Best teachers in films

In life, there are good teachers and bad ones. The same goes for the movies. After all, there’s no comparison between Robert Donat’s exquisite Mr Chips and Paul Gleason’s boorish Mr Vernon, the principal, and Saturday detention setter, in the Breakfast Club.

But who is the most inspirational teacher you've seen on the big screen, and which teachers from the movies would you actually like your children to be taught by? Here’s the School Gate top 15.

1) Charles (Mr Chips) Chipping in Goodbye Mr Chips
The original, and the best. Robert Donat’s Oscar-winning performance (he beat Clark Gable for Gone With The Wind) portrays a teacher who learns so much through teaching generations of boys. As the years pass, they become his family.

2) Glenn Holland (Richard Dreyfuss) in Mr Holland’s Opus.
Somehow even thirty years of band practice doesn’t detract from the truly special teacher Mr Holland turns out to be. We still get a tear in our eye during this one.
Watch his first band practice.

3) Mark Thackeray (Sidney Poitier) in To Sir with Love
This teacher makes a different not just in the classroom but to his pupils’ personal lives too. A brilliant performance by Sidney Poitier.
Watch this emotional clip, as Sir is serenaded (by Lulu, no less).

4) Remus Lupin (David Thewlis) in Harry Potter
Yes, he does turn out to be a werewolf, which is not always the biggest plus point when it comes to the classroom, but this defence of the dark arts teacher is brave and brilliant.
Watch this Lupin tribute.

5) Annie Sullivan (Anne Bancroft) in The Miracle Worker
Sometimes tough love works.
Watch the final scene when Helen speaks and understands. It's remarkable.

6) Louanne Johnson (Michelle Pfeiffer) in Dangerous Minds
This English teacher takes on a tough inner-city school and proves a huge success.
Watch a clip.

7) Dewey Finn (Jack Black) in School of Rock
He may not actually be a proper teacher, but the kids wouldn't complain. And lessons would be so much fun.
Watch a clip.

8) John Keating (Robin Williams) in Dead Poet’s Society
Yes, Robin Williams can be incredibly annoying, but in this Oscar-nominated performance as an out of the ordinary English teacher, he’s also incredibly inspiring – except to the school’s staff, who sack him!
Watch a clip.

9) Jaime Escalante (Edward James Olmos) in Stand and Deliver
Now this is teaching. Jaime Escalante aims high and gets his apparently hopeless bunch of students to understand maths for the first time.
Watch the "What's calculus?" clip.

10) Richard Dadier (Glenn Ford) in the Blackboard Jungle
The magnificent Glenn Ford plays yet another English teacher. This one finds his ideals challenged when he joins a rough school. Eventually he earns the respect of the juvenile delinquents he's supposed to be teaching. A great film with excellent performances (including a young Sidney Poitier).
Watch a clip of Ford meeting Poitier

11) Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams) in Rushmore
Williams is a delightful first-grade teacher, and an insightful friend too. It's easy to see why anyone would have a crush on her...
Watch an uncomfortable dinner date.

12) Yoda (Frank Oz) in the Star Wars films.
The greatest teacher of all time? Possibly. Decide you if is he.
Watch a clip of some Yoda fight scenes.

13) John Kimble (Arnold Schwarzenneger) in Kindergarten Kop
You're right, this shouldn't work, but somehow Arnie's performance as an undercover cop working in a pre-school does. Perhaps it's the kids and the way Arnie interacts with them, while showing his softer, comedic side.
Watch a clip from the film.

14) Professor Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard) in Good Will Hunting
Lambeau goes beyond the call of duty to help Will (Matt Damon) discover his fantastic mathematic ability.
Watch a clip.

15) Paul Verrall (William Holden) in Born Yesterday
The magnificent Holden is the journalist brought into tutor dumb blonde Judy Holliday. They get on so well, that Holliday turns out not to be quite so dumb after all.
Watch a clip.

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