Top 10 Movies About Academic Life

Top 10 Movies About Academic Life
Top 10 Movies About Academic Life
Academic life is a topic well worth exploring in novels and film, as it lends itself to a never-ending analysis of social dynamics, obsession, talent, infrastructure, educational trends, and even satire. These 10 movies address all of those themes by celebrating academic life as its own genre and indulging all types of students and teachers.

School Ties: School Ties is a classic coming-of-age and academic film from 1992 starring Brendan Fraser, Chris O’Donnell, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, all before they were A-list celebrities. In the movie, a Jewish football star named David Greene gets a scholarship to a preppy boarding school in Massachusetts, where he confronts bigotry at many different levels. Other themes from the film include cheating and loyalty, the notion of honor and legacy, acceptance and integrity, and scenes of the beautiful prep school, school dances and football games will make even proud public school graduates wonder what it’s like to experience life on the inside.

The Paper Chase: This iconic movie about law school follows the stories of Hart, a first-year law student at Harvard, and his fearsome Professor Charles Kingsfield. It’s an inspirational film, based on the book by the same name, for anyone fighting to achieve their dreams.

Good Will Hunting: Good Will Hunting is a moving film about a former foster kid with an IQ that rivals the most brilliant students and professors at MIT. Hunting, played by Matt Damon, grapples with his passion for learning and understanding while fearing that he is betraying his blue-collar roots in south Boston. Robin Williams plays the professor and counselor who helps Hunting reconcile his dueling futures.

Mona Lisa Smile: Julia Roberts stars as a bohemian art history professor from California who heads to Wellesley in 1953, to change the world and liberate her female students from living an empty, uninspiring existence. What she doesn’t realize, however, is that despite the puritanical alumni association and strict social rules, not all of the girls feel oppressed. Julia Stiles, Kirsten Dunst, Ginnifer Goodwin and Maggie Gyllenhaal play her students in this attractively filmed tribute to the beginning of the feminist movement in the U.S.
The Great Debaters: The Great Debaters is a 2007 film starring Denzel Washington about a group of black college students who fight racial discrimination in order to become respected debaters. The film is based on a true story, and Denzel plays the Wiley College debate coach who inspires his students to fight Jim Crow laws and 1930s-era racism for the sake of academic and social equality.
A Beautiful Mind: The Academy Award-winning film A Beautiful Mind stars Russell Crowe as real-life mathematician and economist John Forbes Nash, a Nobel Laureate and paranoid schizophrenic. The film features gorgeous views of Princeton University and gives viewers a glimpse into the culture of elite academic research. Jennifer Connelly co-stars as Nash’s wife.

Dead Poets Society: This 1989 film about a boys’ prep school has become a classic academic film for romantics and literature enthusiasts. Robert Sean Leonard and Ethan Hawke star as boys inspired by their new English teacher, played by Norman Lloyd. Lloyd challenges Leonard, Hawke and the other students to learn by experiencing, an idea that helps the boys realize their creative potential but also forces them to face difficult, sometimes tragic, consequences.
Proof: The 2005 film version of David Auburn’s play stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins and Jake Gyllenhaal. Hopkins plays Robert, a brilliant math professor who recently passed away but appears to his daughter Catherine, a young woman struggling with her purpose in life. Through various dialogues between Robert and Catherine, the audience learns about the nature of obsession, genius, mental illness, and potential.
With Honors: This 1994 film starring Joe Pesci and Brendan Fraser follows the story of Monty Kessler, whose thesis is nearly destroyed when his only remaining copy falls into the hands of a mysterious library squatter.
Wonder Boys: Wonder Boys, starring Michael Douglas, Katie Holmes, Robert Downey Jr. and Francis McDormand is a dark comedy about a washed-up literature professor and novelist, his secret affair with the Chancellor, his oddball relationship with friend and author Terry Crabtree and a troubled young student played by Tobey Maguire, and his unorthodox living situation with student Hannah Green. The film acknowledges and parodies several stereotypes of academic life and was called ""the most accurate movie about campus life that I can remember," by Roger Ebert.
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