11 Memorable Teachers From Movies


I wish all my teachers were as interesting as the ones I see in movies.  The best I had were my first grade teacher, Mr. Hafner, who would drive any student that could complete a math quiz in less than two minutes  – and still get all the answers right – to Arby’s for lunch (nowadays that gets you fired) and Professor Diver, my law school torts professor who could explain the law through hysterical yet relevant hypotheticals.  Aside from those two, my teachers were bland and nothing like the hilarious, Draconian, or smoking hot teachers that we see in the movies.  Here are 11 teachers in movies that I thought were particularly memorable:

Mr. Garrison – South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut


In the South Park movie, Mr. Garrison is a man, but fans of the show know that he’s been a woman at times, too.  Mr. Garrison loves men, openly discusses sex with his students, and most of the time can be found with Mr. Hat on his right hand.  South Park wouldn’t be the same without the guidance of Mr. Garrison, and even Satan himself is a huge fan of Mr. Hat.

Professor Terguson – Back to School


Professor Terguson teaches Contemporary American History at Grand Lakes University and the fact that he’s a Vietnam vet makes him love Thornton Melon’s description of President Truman as a “pussy wimp.”  Kinison is a scene-stealer in this role, launching his trademark tirades at his students throughout the film.  Say it!  Say it!!!!

Mr. Hand – Fast Times at Ridgemont High


The archnemesis of Jeff Spicoli, Mr. Hand is a strict disciplinarian who teaches American History at Ridgemont High.  Even though he can be a total dick at times (like when he gives away Spicoli’s pizza to the rest of the class), Mr. Hand does care about his students, and even informs Spicoli that he’ll probably let him squeak by.  By the end of the movie, Mr. Hand is convinced that everyone is on dope.

Professor Charles Kingsfield – The Paper Chase


Kingsfield is the intimidating contract professor at Harvard Law School in The Paper Chase.  You’ve probably heard many of lines quoted or parodied, especially “You come in here with a skull full of mush; and if you survive, you’ll leave thinking like a lawyer.”  Law school isn’t a fraction as difficult as it’s made out to be in The Paper Chase, but nevertheless, having a professor like Kingsfield has got to be hella stressful.

Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. – Indiana Jones Movies


When he isn’t running away from giant boulders, dining on chilled monkey brains, or sipping from the Holy Grail, Indiana Jones makes money by teaching archaeology.  He seems to be a big hit with his students, especially the female ones, but even his biggest admirerers would never dream about the types of adventures Dr. Jones finds himself in when he’s out of the classroom.

Trevor Garfield – 187


It seems that trouble finds Mr. Garfield, usually in the form of unruly, thuggish students who relish scaring him and making him miserable.  After he’s had enough, though, Mr. Garfield fights back, refusing to back down to the gangsters that try to intimidate him.  I like Trevor Garfield because unlike a lot of other teachers in generic movies about reaching out and making a positive difference in students’ lives, he treats some of his students like the scum they really are.

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  1. Joe Clark from “Lean on Me”, Morgan Freeman. Great teacher, lots of love for his students, high expectations for the teachers. He can be an ass at times, but he has a solid concern for the students.

  2. Big ups to Louis Stevens from Only The Strong. The fact that only two people saw this movie (the director that approved the final cut and myself) is irrevelant. Mr. Stevens taught sub-standard Capoeira to inner city youth. Ba-na-na-wa!

  3. What about Mr Chips? or Mark Thackery (the amazing Sidney Poitier) from To Sir With Love – While I agree with many your list – to omit these guys pretty much invalidates your list for me…

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