Teachers (film)

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Teachers (movie poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Arthur Hiller
Produced by Art Levinson
Aaron Russo
Irwin Russo
Written by W. R. McKinney
Cinematography David M. Walsh
Edited by Don Zimmerman
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • October 5, 1984 (1984-10-05)
Running time
106 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $27,774,237 (USA)[1]

Teachers is a 1984 American satirical comedy-drama film starring Nick Nolte, JoBeth Williams, Ralph Macchio, and Judd Hirsch, written by W. R. McKinney and directed by Arthur Hiller. The movie was shot in Columbus, Ohio, mostly at the former Central High School.


On a typical Monday morning at John F. Kennedy High School in the inner city of Columbus, Ohio, there is conflict between teachers, a student with a stab wound, and a talk of an upcoming lawsuit. Vice Principal Roger Rubell, Principal Eugene Horn, and lawyer Lisa Hammond, who is in charge of taking depositions for the Calvin case, are debating in which a recent graduate is suing the school for granting him a diploma despite his illiteracy.

Alex Jurel is a veteran Social Studies teacher who takes his job lightly, despite being one of the most popular teachers in school because of his ability to identify and connect with the students. Jurel has been worn down by years of being in-between the rowdy students and the demands of the administration. He is assigned to temporarily take over the duties of the school psychologist, and meets a young man named Eddie Pilikian, to whom he becomes a mentor. During this time, a romance also develops between Jurel and Hammond, his former student.

Superintendent Donna Burke and school lawyer Al Lewis are attempting to avoid bad publicity associated with the Calvin lawsuit. To prove this, they try to figure out which teachers will potentially damage the school's reputation in their depositions.

Herbert Gower, a wandering mental institution outpatient, mistaken for a substitute teacher and put in charge of a U.S. History class, whose brilliant history mind makes it fun, educational, and engaging; gym teacher Mr. Troy’s sexual relationship with one of Jurel's students, Diane Warren that ends with Jurel taking her to an abortion clinic, and the death of Eddie Pilikian’s best friend Danny Reese, a schizophrenic and kleptomaniac student who is shot and killed by the police after he draws a gun from his locker during a drug search.

The administration recognizes the threat Jurel poses to their social standing and forces him to resign before his deposition. After harsh criticism from Lisa, as well as her streaking down the school hallway naked (an allusion to Jurel's earlier accusation that she was unable to walk down the school halls 'naked' and see its true troubles), he finally stands up to Burke and Rubell, reminding them that the school exists for the students and not for the administration and protecting their jobs. He also threatens to sue and petition that should he be fired. He proudly walks back into the school, with loud cheers from the school's students and Lisa looking on proudly.


Critical response[edit]

The film opened to mixed reviews, with reviewers feeling it lacked the incisive touch of Paddy Chayefsky's satires (he had previously written Hiller's other dark satire, The Hospital).[2][3][4] It holds a rating of 62% on review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes based on 13 reviews.[5]


Soundtrack album by various artists
Released 1984
Genre Rock
Label Capitol Records
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[6]
  1. "Teacher, Teacher" - 38 Special
  2. "One Foot Back in Your Door" - Roman Holliday
  3. "Edge of a Dream" - Joe Cocker
  4. "Interstate Love Affair" - Night Ranger
  5. "Foolin' Around" - Freddie Mercury
  6. "Cheap Sunglasses" - ZZ Top
  7. "Understanding" - Bob Seger
  8. "I Can't Stop the Fire" - Eric Martin & Friends
  9. "In the Jungle (Concrete Jungle)" - The Motels
  10. "(I'm the) Teacher" - Ian Hunter

The theme song by 38 Special was released as a single and reached No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Understanding by Bob Seger reached No. 17.


  1. ^ Teachers (1984) - Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ Kehr, Dave (2010-02-17). "Teachers". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2016-12-29. 
  3. ^ Variety Staff (1983-12-31). "Teachers". Variety. Retrieved 2016-12-29. 
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger (1984-01-01). "Teachers Movie Review & Film Summary (1984)". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved 2016-12-29. 
  5. ^ "Teachers". Rotten Tomatoes. 
  6. ^ Stone, Doug. "Teachers Original Soundtrack". AllMusic. 

External links[edit]