Undefended: Teachers

School is back in session. FilmFisher is a site for educators and students, and though few of our writers currently fit into either of these categories, this month we went for an academic theme and picked our favorite cinematic teachers.

William Connor Devlin

  1. Drug addict Dan Dunne (Ryan Gosling) from Half Nelson (2006)
  2. Professor and werewolf Remus Lupin (David Thewlis) from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
  3. The Ancient One (Tilda Swindon) from Doctor Strange (2016)
  4. Dewey Finn (Jack Black) from School of Rock (2003)
  5. Entomologist and chimpanzee owner Professor John McGregor (Donald Pleasance) from Phenomena (1985)

teachers - dan dunne

Sean Johnson

  1. Gusteau (decidedly not an egalitarian), Ratatouille
  2. Dan Dunne, Half Nelson
  3. Albus Dumbledore (not because either performance is remarkable, but because, as he is written, Dumbledore is constantly preparing his pupils to be their own masters), Harry Potter series
  4. Fagin, Oliver!
  5. Patrick Verona, 10 Things I Hate About You (sorry-not-sorry)

Timothy Lawrence

  1. Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio (1940)
  2. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness in Star Wars, 1977)*
  3. Father (Brad Pitt) and Mother (Jessica Chastain) from The Tree of Life (2011)
  4. Tonto (Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger, 2013)
  5. Heptapods in Arrival (2016)

*We all know that I also love Ewan McGregor’s rendition of the character – but for the most part, he’s one sorry teacher.

teachers - tree of life

Robert Heckert

  1. William of Baskerville: The Name of the Rose (Sean Connery, 1986)
  2. Tyler Durden: Fight Club (Brad Pitt, 1999)
  3. Vito Corleone: The Godfather (Marlon Brando, 1972)
  4. Yoda: The Empire Strikes Back (Frank Oz, 1980)
  5. Lee: Enter the Dragon (Bruce Lee, 1973)

Robert Brown

I hope the examples are so similar and specific you won’t mind me listing double. 5 Common Teacher Archetypes:

  1. The Gifted “Chosen One” Student Turned Novice Teacher of an Unlikely Resistance: Jack Black’s Po (Kung Fu Panda 3, 2016), and Daniel Radcliffe’s Harry Potter (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 2007)
  2. The Truly Awful Principal with Cruel and Unusual Punishments for Students Who Use Magic: Pam Ferris’s Trunchbull (Matilda, 1996), and Imelda Staunton’s Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 2007)
  3. The Hapless, Lanky, and Paranoid Disney Cartoon Teacher Who Should Not Be Teaching: Lou Romano’s Bernie Kropp (The Incredibles, 2004), and Ichabod Crane (The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, 1949)
  4. The Morally Ambiguous, Rough-Around-the-Edges Teacher (Complete with Peg Leg and Artificial Eye) Who Mentors the Protagonist Under False Pretenses: Brian Murray’s John Silver (Treasure Planet, 2002), and Brendan Gleeson’s Mad-Eye Moody (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2005)
  5. The Whimsical Professor (with an Affinity for Magical Furniture) Played by Jim Broadbent: Professor Digory Kirke (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, 2005), and Professor Horace Slughorn (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 2009)

Honorable Mention: The Inspiring Teacher: Laura Dern’s Miss Riley (October Sky, 1999)

teachers - slughorn

Joel Bourgeois

  1. Qui-Gon Jinn, Liam Neeson (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace)
  2. Dr. Jones Sr., Sean Connery (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)
  3. Aidan, Mick Lally (The Secret of Kells)
  4. Belle, Paige O’Hara (Beauty and the Beast)
  5. The Black Monolith(s) (2001: A Space Odyssey)

Tom Upjohn

  1. “Man” – The Road
  2. Dr. Philip Zimbardo – The Stanford Prison Experiment
  3. Dr. P – School for Scoundrels
  4. Ferreira – Silence
  5. John Keating – Dead Poets Society

teachers - neesons

Timothy Lawrence

A graduate of the Torrey Honors Institute at BIOLA University, Timothy Lawrence teaches great books through Emmaus Classical Academy in Southern California. He writes essays and fiction and counts the Coen Brothers and George Lucas among his personal heroes.

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