Freedom Writers: A group of at-risk high school students are inspired to live their dreams beyond high school, by a teacher while learning the value of hard work and tolerance along the way.
Goodwill Hunting: Will Hunting is a genius, but he doesn’t care to spend time in school. Instead, he hangs out with his friends and works as a janitor at MIT. However, he is discovered when he solves a difficult math problem. He eventually studies mathematics, while seeing a therapist in an attempt to get beyond some of his issues.
Theory of Everything: An inspirational film for students not to be missed, especially for physics enthusiasts, is The Theory of Everything, about the troubled life of Stephen Hawking, a famous physicist and astrophysicist; it is the adaptation for cinema of the biography of the scientist written by his ex-wife Jane Wilde Hawking. Of the young Stephen – played by a very good Eddie Redmayne, who has even won the Oscar as Best Actor – not only the brilliant academic career is told, but also the love for his family and the disease that will progressively force him onto a wheelchair.
A Beautiful Mind: John Nash, a brilliant but asocial mathematical genius, finds himself in pain when he encounters a cruel disorder. He ultimately overcomes his struggles and emerges free of any trauma.
Gifted Hands –The Ben Carson Story: Aspiring physicians will love this movie based on the real story of Benjamin Carson’s life, the greatest neurosurgeon in history, famous for separating Siamese twins. The film explores Ben’s childhood and adolescence, somewhat mediocre and very prone to rage until the time of redemption: thanks to a great commitment he succeeds in overcoming difficulties at school until he becomes the neurosurgery head physician at John Hopkins, one of the most prestigious hospitals in the world.
Dead Poets Society: This classic film about a teacher who encourages his students at a boarding school to break out of the status quo has inspired English students (and others) for years.
Precious: This movie, based on a book, is about an obese and illiterate girl living in Harlem. Her family is dysfunctional, and Precious has been abused physically, mentally and sexually. However, she is inspired by a teacher in an alternative high school, and fights to improve her life — and the lives of her children.
Mona Lisa Smile: Among the best inspiring movies for students (but also teachers) is also the story of a professor of Californian art history who is hired by the prestigious Wellesley female College. Here, however, she realizes that girls are educated to become perfect wives and mothers; so, she decides to offer them an alternative point of view, antagonizing the other teachers and students themselves.
The Emperor’s Club: It is the story of a professor of a famous American college who, in addition to teaching ancient history, seeks to shape the character of the future ruling class. Up until the spoiled and unconcerned son a senator joins the class, however the professor will be able to get him involved and to make him participate in a history competition.
School of Rock: In School of Rock, the protagonist, Dewey Finn, is a musician who dreams of becoming a rock idol but finds himself as a substitute teacher in an elementary school. Initially lazy and unenthusiastic, he gets excited by the idea of setting up a rock band with school kids and taking part in a rock bands competition, obviously hiding it from the strict school principal.
To Sir, With Love: In 1967, this movie was groundbreaking, sharing the story of a black man with training as an engineer who teaches white students in London.
The Breakfast Club: These kids in Saturday detention are all defined by stereotypes. However, by getting to know each other, they are able to move beyond their own cliques and get to know each other. It’s an interesting look at the interplay between students in the education system.
Dangerous Minds: Based on the story of LouAnne Johnson, a former U.S. Marine, Dangerous Minds tells the story of a teacher trying to encourage teens from East Palo Alto, California, to take school seriously. This movie features unorthodox teaching methods, and changes to the curriculum designed to help the teacher connect with students.
Educating Rita: This working class girl inspires her jaded professor to re-connect with his passion for teaching, while exploring issues of class in society.
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