Dead Poets Society is a 1989 drama film directed by Peter Weir and starring Robin Williams. Set in 1959 at the fictional Welton Academy, it tells the story of a group of students who are inspired by their teacher John Keating to break away from the conventional teachings of the school.
The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
If you’re looking for movies like Dead Poets Society, check out our list of the best Teacher inspiring student movies.
1. Freedom Writers (2007)
The book’s content, as well as the film adaptation of Freedom Writers, is quite positive with interesting characters and ethical messages. Erin Gruwell, a young white instructor, is idealistic but strong-willed in this true story.
The teacher has a difficult time with her diverse freshman class of Hispanics, blacks, Asiatics, and one white student. Students from other races are not interested in discussing Homer or even proper grammar while the white guy simply wants to go. And Ms. Gruwell breaks through with a remark about racism after she earns a position in their minds.
She gets her students to keep a diary by earning their confidence. They mentioned tough traumas they’d endured, as well as witnessing the death of one of their pals.
2. Good Will Hunting (1997)
This film is about a 20-year-old math genius named Will Hunting. He works as a janitor at MIT but could be doing so much more with his life. When he solves a difficult math equation, his talents are discovered by one of the professors.
While struggling with personal demons, Will is introduced to therapy by Skylar, his girlfriend. She encourages him to see a therapist, Sean Maguire, who himself is struggling with the death of his wife.
Through their sessions together, Will begins to open up and deal with his past trauma. He also starts to form a bond with Skylar and Sean which helps him start to turn his life around.
3. Stand and Deliver (1988)
This is another true story, this time about a math teacher named Jaime Escalante. He’s working in a tough area of Los Angeles and is determined to make a difference.
He sets high expectations for his students and works hard to help them meet those expectations. Many of the kids come from difficult backgrounds and have a hard time believing in themselves.
But with Mr. Escalante’s help, they not only learn math, but also learn to believe in themselves. They go on to pass the AP Calculus exam, despite being told it was impossible.
4. To Sir, With Love (1967)
This film is set in London and follows a young teacher named Mark Thackeray. He’s fresh out of college and is eager to start his career.
But when he arrives at his first job, he quickly realizes that it’s not going to be easy. The students are unruly and disrespectful. They don’t want to learn and they don’t think he can teach them anything.
But Mr. Thackeray is determined to prove them wrong. He works hard to connect with the students and show them that he cares. And slowly but surely, they start to respond.
5. The Breakfast Club (1985)
This classic film follows a group of teenagers who are stuck in detention on a Saturday morning. They come from different backgrounds and have different views on life.
But as they spend the day together, they start to open up and connect with each other. They learn that they have more in common than they thought and that they can be friends despite their differences.
6. The Class (2008)
This film is set in France and follows a group of students in an inner-city school. The teacher, Francois Begaudeau, is trying to connect with his students and help them succeed.
But it’s not easy. The students come from difficult backgrounds and have a lot of anger and resentment. They don’t think that Mr. Begaudeau can understand their problems.
But he persists, and slowly but surely, he starts to get through to them. He helps them see that they have the potential to succeed in life if they just believe in themselves.
7. Finding Forrester (2000)
This film is about a young writer named Jamal Wallace. He’s a talented student but he doesn’t think that he has what it takes to be a writer.
But when he meets an accomplished author named William Forrester, he starts to believe in himself. Mr. Forrester helps him see that he has the potential to be a great writer.
And with his help, Jamal starts to grow and develop as a writer. He eventually goes on to win a prestigious writing award and prove that he is indeed a talented writer.
Stand and Deliver, To Sir, With Love, The Breakfast Club, The Class, Finding Forrester are all movies like Dead Poets Society in that they depict teachers who change the lives of their students. These movies show that teachers can make a difference in the lives of their students, no matter how difficult the circumstances may be. If you’re looking for movies that will inspire you, these are definitely worth watching.
What other movies like Dead Poets Society would you recommend? Let us know in the comments!