Quiz yourself on these famous teachers on film


By: Olivia Cantor

6 Min Quiz

Image: Lucasfilm

About This Quiz

Films have depicted many types of teachers over the decades. There's the testy grade school marms, the strange high school instructors, the intriguing college or university professors -- and more. Think you can get an A grade in this quiz about teachers on film? Then let's start shading the correct answers, shall we?

This adventurous hat-and-whip carrying professor of archaeology sometimes ends up learning more about the mysteries of the world in his adventures outside the classroom. Who is he?

Indiana Jones is one dapper professor who's geeky-looking inside the classroom. But once outside, he's as hunky as ever!


In "Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief," Percy got the surprise of his life when his dear teacher, Mr. Brunner, turned out to be one of these Greek mythology creatures named Chiron. What kind of creature was he?

Mr. Brunner appears like a person with a disability, riding a wheelchair with a blanket covering his legs. But lo and behold, those are the legs of a horse, since he's really a centaur in disguise.


Football great Michael Oher's life story was told in "The Blind Side," so his coaches and teachers were brought to life there, too. Which Academy Award winner played Miss Sue, his dedicated tutor, in this biopic?

Kathy Bates played Big Mike Oher's dedicated tutor, Miss Sue. She tried to approach Mike's learning disabilities with dedication and by varying her teaching styles.


In "A Beautiful Mind," Russell Crowe played the real-life mathematics professor who was having some form of paranoid mental breakdown. What's his name?

John Nash is an award-winning mathematician. His theories are now being taught worldwide, especially in the field of economics.


In "Whiplash," Terence Fletcher is the sometimes abusive mentor who sternly teaches jazz student Andrew Neiman to be his best. What instrument does Andrew play?

Andrew wanted to follow the footsteps of great jazz drummers. But his teacher, Terence, sometimes crossed the line between stern mentoring and abuse.


Almost nun-turned-nanny Maria Von Trapp could also be seen as a teacher who taught the Von Trapp kids a thing or two about singing and enjoying life. In which film can their lessons be heard?

"The Sound of Music" was yet another biopic about a governess-nanny-turned tutor to privileged sheltered kids. This seems to be a running theme among teacher-themed Hollywood films.


"Dead Poets Society" was memorable for John Keating, an English teacher who taught the students in an all-boys school more of what they needed to learn outside the classroom. What literary form did Keating encourage the boys to write?

Mr. Keating taught the sheltered high school preppy boys a thing or two about poetry. He taught them how to appreciate it, read it, understand it, and also write it, to a certain extent.


In "Mona Lisa Smile," this Hollywood A-lister played Katherine Ann Watson, a liberated college instructor who finds herself at odds with the college's conservative reputation and students. Who is this teacher?

Julia Roberts gave life to the very openminded college instructor named Katherine Ann Watson. But she can only inspire her conservative students so much, since most of them are eyeing marriage after graduation, and not having a career.


In "The King and I," the King of Siam hired a British teacher to teach his kids some modern lessons. What is the name of their governess-tutor?

Anna Leonowens was the real-life governess and tutor of the kids of Siam's King Mongkut. Today, we know Siam as Thailand, and Anna has left a good legacy in education.


LouAnne Johnson is the real-life ex-US Marine who ended up teaching a bunch of high school misfits who got the raw end of life's deal. Which Hollywood A-lister played her in Dangerous Minds?

Michelle Pfeiffer played inner city teacher LouAnne Johnson. This film had other angles that were totally cut out of the final film, such as having a lover for the teacher. Test audiences reportedly didn't like that subplot.


In "Kindergarten Cop," big burly Detective John Kimble goes undercover as a teacher in-charge of a roomful of little tykes. Which Hollywood action hero is this unlikely teacher?

Arnold Schwarzenegger was such an unusual figure in this cop comedy. Imagine putting him in a teacher role for tots! But hey, that's Hollywood...


In "School of Rock," Dewey Finn is an ambitious but not-so-talented guitarist who poses as a high school music teacher to make ends meet. Who played him?

Jack Black plays up the comedy well in this film as a faux substitute teacher. Yes, pun intended, for he rocks here!


The Harry Potter series is full of mysterious teachers, such as this dark-haired potions master in charge of the House of Slytherin. Who is he?

Severus Snape is a mean-looking professor who seems to always be waiting for Harry Potter to commit blunders. Of course, towards the end of the film series, his intentions are not that dark, as revealed.


The institution, named Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, is actually a safe space for children who are finding out they are mutants. Which of the X-Men founded it and served as its headmaster?

Professor X used his family's huge mansion-like estate and turned it into a safe space for mutants. It's a cool school!


In "Mean Girls," Ms. Sharon Norbury is the calculus teacher who always encouraged Cady not to be a mean girl, and coached the Mathletes in a math competition. Which comedian played her?

Tina Fey played the memorable Ms. Sharon Norbury. She actually wrote the film's screenplay, by the way.


In the original "Karate Kid," Daniel Larusso could always rely on the handyman who later taught him the fine art of martial arts. What is the name of his sensei?

Mr. Miyagi is perhaps one of the most memorable teacher-mentor-trainer characters in pop culture. His antics of teaching karate are definitely unforgettable!


The Hogwarts's headmaster's casting in the Harry Potter films had to be done twice, since the original actor who played him passed away in between the films. Which character is this?

Albus Dumbledore is the gentle and old wizard who also served as a good teacher to students. However, his conscience always bothered him whenever it came to one particular student -- Tom Riddle.


In "Top Gun," even the best US Naval Aviator, macho man Maverick, had to undergo some schooling under a tough female teacher named Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood, played by Kelly McGillis. Who played Maverick?

One of Tom Cruise's early breakout films is "Top Gun," which was about a special school for US Naval pilots. His character's sexism was initially thwarted by a female instructor.


In "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," it was the English teacher, Mr. Anderson, who said "We accept the love we think we deserve." Who played him?

Paul Rudd as Mr. Anderson gave the teen protagonist, Charlie, the most memorable quotes in the film. That's just as accurate in the novel, so it's a good adaptation.


After posing as the nun named Sister Mary Clarence, lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier dons the habit again to pose as a nun who teaches a music class to high school kids. Which film is this?

"Sister Act 2" saw Sister Mary Clarence becoming a music teacher to a bunch of talented but uninspired kids. One of these kids was a teenage Lauryn Hill.


In "The Empire Strikes Back," this Jedi Master-in-hiding was forced out of his cave when the young Luke Skywalker begged and bugged him to teach him the ways of the Force. Who is this diminutive but sage master?

Yoda was quietly hiding in retreat when Luke Skywalker found him and asked him for training. But he never completed it, since he had to run and rescue his friends from Darth Vader's capture.


In "Good Will Hunting," the unschooled genius of Will Hunting gets two college professors to help him: one is the psychology professor Sean Maguire, the other is Professor Gerald Lambeau, who teaches what subject?

Professor Lambeau is always baffled whenever his mathematical problems were solved overnight by an unlikely math genius. Those problems are meant for graduate students, after all.


In "Back to the Future," Marty McFly always runs into the high school principal or his relatives, both in his parents's and grandparents's past! What's the name of this disciplinarian?

Mr. Strickland is a bald-headed principal who seemed like he and his relatives didn't have much hair. At least that's what Marty observed during his time travels.


The actress who played Lydia, the dance teacher in the '80s film, "Fame," is actually an accomplished dancer-choreographer in real life. Who played her?

Dancer-choreographer Debbie Allen is actress Phylicia Rashad's sister. She also had stints on "The Cosby Show," where Rashad played Mrs. Huxtable.


In "Legally Blonde," Holland Taylor played the stern Prof. Stromwell, who, at first, intimidated freshman student, Elle Woods. But they later became fast friends. What was this professor teaching?

Prof. Stromwell was Elle's first law school professor, where she was baptized by fire, so to speak. Their Socratic method of putting students on the spot didn't work well with Elle at first.


In the '90s film, "Mr. Holland's Opus," the titular character, Glenn Holland, is a teacher of what subject?

"Mr. Holland's Opus" is about a music teacher's quest to create his own grand musical composition. But, of course, he has to attend to teaching music in between.


In this film, young professional, Drew Barrymore, who plays the geeky Josie Geller, goes undercover in a high school, only to fall in love with her English teacher, Sam Coulson. Which film is this?

"Never Been Kissed" was a funny film about a newspaper copy editor who was assigned to go undercover in a typical high school. But her own high school geek persona soon resurfaces, so that poses some trouble...


In "Bad Teacher," Elizabeth Halsey is a not-so-great teacher of middle school kids who wanted to get out of her teaching gig by marrying her fiancé, but gets dumped in the process. Which actress played her?

Cameron Diaz was definitely the bad teacher in this film. Her demeanor suits the part!


In "Stand and Deliver," the '80s biopic of real-life teacher, Jaime Escalante, focuses on how he taught his below-average-academic students to pass advanced calculus exams. Most of his students were of what racial background?

Jaime Escalante is a real-life, award-winning math teacher who was also inspirational in teaching hispanic kids how to excel. His biopic also showed how racial discrimination played out in the school life of his students.


No teacher quiz is complete without mentioning Sidney Poitier's classic '60s role as Mark Thackeray, the London teacher who tried to make adults out of the pranksters in his high school classroom. What's the name of this film?

"To Sir, With Love" was a story about teachers and racial tensions in London. To have this storyline in the late '60s was indeed a challenge, and an achievement.


In the musical, "Grease," Coach Calhoun tried to help tough guy Danny Zuko become a bona fide high school athlete. What sport did he finally end up teaching the greaser?

Danny Zuko later earned his sports jacket via track and field. When you're a good driver, perhaps you also become a good runner.


In "The Rookie," Dennis Quaid played Jim Morris, a high school science teacher and coach who gets egged on by his teen students to try out for the major leagues again. What sport did Jim play?

Jim Morris is actually a real person, and this is a biopic of his struggles.


In "The Miracle Worker," the dedicated teacher, Anne Sullivan, handled the most challenging student she ever had: Helen Keller. What were Keller's disabilities that made it difficult to teach her?

Anne Sullivan was indeed a miracle worker for a student who was both blind and deaf. But her persistence is legendary, and so is the inspiring life of her student, Hellen Keller.


In "Pay It Forward," the kid with the kind heart, Trevor, gets challenged by a social studies class project given by his teacher Eugene Simonet. Haley Joel Osment played Trevor. Who played Eugene?

Kevin Spacey played the teacher who inspired Trevor to create his "Pay It Forward" project in school. The title has now become part of mainstream language because of this film.


Jeff Bridges plays the The Giver who teaches a young graduate student to become the next Receiver. What is he giving and what is his student receiving in this novel-turned-film titled "The Giver"?

"The Giver" teaches The Receiver how to handle memory. This means memory of things that he never knew growing up, because they were censored by society's leaders.


Explore More Quizzes

About Zoo

Our goal at Zoo.com is to keep you entertained in this crazy life we all live.

We want you to look inward and explore new and interesting things about yourself. We want you to look outward and marvel at the world around you. We want you to laugh at past memories that helped shape the person you’ve become. We want to dream with you about all your future holds. Our hope is our quizzes and articles inspire you to do just that.

Life is a zoo! Embrace it on Zoo.com.