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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.

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Akeelah and the Bee Movie Poster: Akeelah stands at a microphone in a pink shirt, with various other characters' faces above her
MOVIE

Akeelah and the Bee

age 8+

Inspiring drama about a young spelling champ has swearing.

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

McFarland, USA

age 10+

Poignant story about Latino runners a winner for families.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)
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)
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)
October Sky Poster Image
MOVIE

October Sky

age 10+

Inspiring tale for older tweens and up.

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

Remember the Titans

age 10+

Inspiring football drama brings history to life.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2000)
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)
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)
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)
The Great Debaters Poster Image
MOVIE

The Great Debaters

age 13+

Inspiring true story confronts racism head-on.

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

Freedom Writers

age 13+

True story of inspirational teacher; language, violence.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2007)
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)
Radical Movie Poster: Eugenio Derbez squats, his back turned to the viewer, in front of his 6th grade students
MOVIE

Radical

age 13+

Moving drama has positive messages, violence, language.

In Theaters (Release Year: 2023)
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)
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)
Coach Carter Poster Image
MOVIE

Coach Carter

age 14+

Engaging film with a terrific message.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2005)
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)
The Grizzlies Poster Image
MOVIE

The Grizzlies

age 15+

Powerful Canadian sports drama promotes understanding.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2021)
The Substitute: Lucio in the classroom.
MOVIE

The Substitute

age 15+

Some violence, language in devoted-teacher drama.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2023)