Movies with Inspiring Teachers

Everyone can remember a teacher who made a real difference in their life. Here are some movies that celebrate those amazing people who challenge, motivate, and inspire our kids. From tales of perseverance and grit like Akeelah and the Bee and Dead Poets Society to silly comedies like School of Rock, the adults in these movies support their students no matter what. By demonstrating positive messages and acting as role models, the coaches, principals, and teachers here can instill strong character strengths like teamwork and curiosity in kids both on-screen and off. For more stories about school, check out our list of Best High School Movies and Back-to-School Books.

Akeelah and the Bee Poster Image
MOVIE

Akeelah and the Bee

age 8+

Inspiring drama about a champion speller; OK for tweens.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2006)
See full review
McFarland, USA Poster Image
MOVIE

McFarland, USA

age 10+

Poignant story about Latino runners a winner for families.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)
See full review
Mr. Holland's Opus Poster Image
MOVIE

Mr. Holland's Opus

age 10+

'90s drama about inspiring teacher has some cursing.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1997)
See full review
River City Drumbeat Poster Image
MOVIE

River City Drumbeat

age 10+

Uplifting, heartfelt docu about life-changing drum corps.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2020)
See full review
October Sky Poster Image
MOVIE

October Sky

age 10+

Inspiring tale for older tweens and up.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1999)
See full review
Music of the Heart Poster Image
MOVIE

Music of the Heart

age 10+

Touching story about a determined teacher has mature themes.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1999)
See full review
Remember the Titans Poster Image
MOVIE

Remember the Titans

age 10+

Inspiring football drama brings history to life.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2000)
See full review
School of Rock Poster Image
MOVIE

School of Rock

age 11+

Standout Jack Black in nerds-become-cool comedy.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2003)
See full review
The Karate Kid Poster Image
MOVIE

The Karate Kid

age 11+

'80s classic is still fun for families with older tweens.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1984)
See full review
Dead Poets Society Poster Image
MOVIE

Dead Poets Society

age 13+

Inspiring, intense story of a teacher and his students.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1989)
See full review
The Great Debaters Poster Image
MOVIE

The Great Debaters

age 13+

Inspiring true story confronts racism head-on.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2007)
See full review
Freedom Writers Poster Image
MOVIE

Freedom Writers

age 13+

True story of inspirational teacher; language, violence.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2007)
See full review
Hard Lessons (The George McKenna Story) Poster Image
MOVIE

Hard Lessons (The George McKenna Story)

age 13+

Uplifting biopic has some violence, strong language.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1986)
See full review
Stand and Deliver Poster Image
MOVIE

Stand and Deliver

age 13+

Math teacher inspires in powerful fact-based drama.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1988)
See full review
To Sir, with Love Poster Image
MOVIE

To Sir, with Love

age 13+

Sidney Poitier at his best; teens and up.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1967)
See full review
Coach Carter Poster Image
MOVIE

Coach Carter

age 14+

Engaging film with a terrific message.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2005)
See full review
Good Will Hunting Poster Image
MOVIE

Good Will Hunting

age 15+

Moving story of brilliant, troubled youth for older teens.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1999)
See full review
The Grizzlies Poster Image
MOVIE

The Grizzlies

age 15+

Powerful Canadian sports drama promotes understanding.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2021)
See full review
The Edge of Seventeen Poster Image
MOVIE

The Edge of Seventeen

age 16+

Excellent acting in poignant, mature coming-of-age story.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2016)
See full review
The Kindergarten Teacher Poster Image
MOVIE

The Kindergarten Teacher

age 16+

Poignant drama of teacher and gifted child; language, nudity

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2018)
See full review