From 'Mean Girls' to 'Dead Poets Society': 15 movie teachers we love

/ Source: TODAY

Through humor, tenacity and unorthodox methods, the most beloved teachers in film often remind audiences how real-life educators bring out the best in children and young adults.

They also, on occasion, know how to rock out on guitar.

TODAY.com did its homework and submits this report on 15 of the most celebrated mentors — some of whom are based on teachers in real life — appearing in films dating back to 1984.

Robin Williams as John Keating in "Dead Poets Society"

"O Captain! My Captain!" Keating inspired his students to "seize the day," and imparted other life lessons that have become even more poignant since Williams passed away in 2014.

Tina Fey as Ms. Norbury in "Mean Girls"

The best teachers motivate their students to do better. Although Norbury admits that being this kind of "pusher" can backfire, she eventually reaches Cady (Lindsay Lohan) and her classmates.

Jack Black as Dewey Finn in "School of Rock"

For kids about to rock, he salutes you.

Alan Rickman as Professor Severus Snape in the "Harry Potter" films

The complicated Hogwarts headmaster often clashed with Harry, but despite their differences, the young wizard eventually would pay tribute to Snape in multiple ways.

Embeth Davidtz as Miss Honey in "Matilda"

You have to admire any teacher who sticks up for the title character, especially when the process involves taking on the bully of a headmistress, Miss Trunchbull.

Richard Dreyfuss as Glenn Holland in "Mr. Holland's Opus"

Holland was flawed, but his enthusiasm for music and inspired generations of his students.

Pat Morita as Miyagi in the original "The Karate Kid" and its sequels

After the release of this film, millions of kids mulled the profundity of "wax on, wax off" and practiced Miyagi's "crane" in the event Billy Zabka's character ever jumped off the screen to "sweep the leg."

Arnold Schwarzenegger as Detective John Kimble in "Kindergarten Cop"

Remember, it's not a tumor. At all.

Edward James Olmos as Jaime Escalante in "Stand and Deliver"

Based on a true story, "Stand and Deliver" chronicles calculus teacher Jaime Escalante and his achievements at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles.

David Hyde Pierce as Henry Newman in "Wet Hot American Summer"

In addition to winning the heart of Camp Firewood's director Beth (Janeane Garofalo), he and the nerdiest campers prevented a piece of Skylab from ripping through a cabin that's hosting the camp talent show. Maybe.

Michelle Pfeiffer as LouAnne Johnson in "Dangerous Minds"

Based on an autobiography penned by LouAnne Johnson, Pfeiffer's character is a retired Marine who finds a way to reach gifted yet underachieving inner-city students.

Ben Stein as the economics teacher in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"

Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in the "Indiana Jones" series

Everyone who's cool loves Indiana Jones. Perhaps some of his students love him more than others.

Hillary Swank as Erin Gruwell in "Freedom Writers"

Also based on a true story, Swank plays a teacher who connects with students at a recently reintegrated school through the power of the written word.

Patrick Stewart as Charles "Professor X" Xavier in (most of) the "X-Men" movies

In addition to being the leader of the mutants who intend to save humanity, he instructs his pupils how to hone their powers — and use them for the right reasons — at his Xavier Institute for Higher Learning.

For a slideshow of more of the best, and a few of the worst, teachers in movies, click here.

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