by Tuna

An urban school is being sued by the parents of a kid who graduated without the ability to read or write. The board, administration and teachers union are trying their best to keep the teachers from giving honest testimony. Nick Nolte plays one of the few teachers who still care. He finds himself face-to-face with a former student, in the person of JoBeth Williams, who worshiped him, and is now the attorney for the parents.

Teachers is an Arthur Hiller comedy that tries to tackle serious subjects through humor.  Some have criticized the film for mixing lowbrow humor with serious issues, but that's one of the things I particularly like about it. This is a serious and memorable indictment of our high schools that is possibly more true now then it was in 1984, and it makes all of its points clearly, but entertains in the process. In that respect, the tone reminds me very much of Hiller's classic, Hospital, starring George C. Scott. 

Hiller assembled a killer cast here, including Nick Nolte, Ralph Macchio, Laura Dern, JoBeth Williams, Judd Hirsch, Lee Grant, Morgan Freeman and Crispin Glover. Macchio and Dern are particularly convincing as students.

I enjoy every minute of this film. 


Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:



  • JoBeth Williams - breasts
  • Julia Jennings - breasts


2 Roger Ebert (of 4 stars)




Box Office Mojo. It grossed a solid $27 million in 1984, among the top ten R-rated films of the year. It opened in the #1 slot and held it for three weeks.



5.6 IMDB summary (of 10)



* Two versions of the film: a full screen (full frame) version and a widescreen anamorphic.

* Alternate French and Spanish dubbing.