50 Informative Movies for Teachers and Students

50 Informative Movies for Teachers and Students

Share:

twitter
facebook
reddit
pinterest
link

Whether you’re a teacher trying to switch things up in your lesson plan or a student looking for a fun way to get into a research topic, you have to admit that movies can be useful tools for class, too. And while many filmmakers set out to entertain us or express themselves through cinema, just as many also seek to educate or bring a little-known subject to light—be it through documentaries or through stories inspired by real situations. So we at agoodmovietowatch have compiled a varied selection of little-known but highly-rated movies that we think could teach you something new and keep you engaged in the process.

50. Land and Freedom (1995)

7.0

Country

France, Germany, Italy

Director

Ken Loach

Actors

Eoin McCarthy, Francesc Orella, Frédéric Pierrot, Ian Hart

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Instructive, Thought-provoking

Stereotypically made to look like one-note villains in many other films, the kinds of characters who lead Land and Freedom are rightfully depicted as people acting out of a desire for something constructive and good. Through director Ken Loach’s trademark approach to no-frills storytelling, the complex ideologies motivating each of these factions against the common enemy (and against each other) are laid out with crystal clarity. In fact, the most exciting confrontations in the film aren’t the skirmishes between the fascists and the revolutionary militias, but the debates held between allies, as they figure out the next best steps forward for every liberated person involved.

49. Pavarotti (2019)

7.0

Country

United Kingdom, United States of America, USA UK France Italy

Director

Ron Howard

Actors

Andrea Griminelli, Angela Gheorghiu, Bono, José Carreras

A biopic is only as big as the personality at its center, and what a personality Pavarotti had. The Opera singer that crossed into the mainstream from his humble upbringings in Modena, Italy, exuded happiness and had a great outlook on life. And even as the attention he would eventually attract takes its tole, he’s able to maintain his positivity and his dedication to his art. This documentary on his life and his work will be even more interesting to you if like me you didn’t know who Pavarotti was, or the impact he’s had.

48. Becoming Astrid (2018)

7.1

Country

Denmark, Germany, Sweden

Director

Female director, Pernille Fischer Christensen

Actors

Alba August, Björn Gustafsson, Henrik Rafaelsen, Magnus Krepper

Moods

Inspiring, Lovely, True-story-based

This Swedish movie is the story of Astrid Lindgren, one of the most translated children book writers of all time. Her work of over 100 books includes Pippi Longstocking and The Brothers Lionheart.

Away from the quiet existence of the characters she would later create, Astrid had a turbulent life. Her troubles start when she falls for the editor of the paper she worked at when she was young, a man 30 years her senior. This results in an unwanted pregnancy and Astrid is pushed to immigrate.

47. Zappa (2020)

7.2

Country

United States of America

Director

Alex Winter

Actors

David Harrington, Frank Zappa, Gail Zappa, Ian Underwood

Moods

Instructive, Thought-provoking

Frank Zappa’s creative scope could barely be defined –  a mix of rock, composition, design, and in his early days even filmmaking.  This documentary does its best to summarize the un-summarizable, starting with Zappa’s last time playing guitar and going back to early details like an infatuation with explosives as a kid. 

Zappa’s overwhelmingly full life is focused on the documentary in the study of his incredible work ethic and unique creative philosophy. Far from the drugged hippie perception he was often met with, Zappa was hard-working, business-aware, and didn’t take drugs.

The manifestations of his exceptional intellect and unique character are abundant in a film that will please his fans and send anyone new to him into a deep Wikipedia rabbit hole.

46. The African Doctor

7.2

Country

Belgium, France

Director

Julien Rambaldi

Actors

Aissa Maiga, Bayron Lebli, Bernard Eylenbosch, Bwanga Pilipili

Moods

Feel-Good, Funny, Grown-up Comedy

In this French movie based on a true story, a med-school graduate from Congo is offered a job as the doctor to the president of Zaire. He refuses and chooses instead to move to a small town in France in hopes of getting French citizenship and securing a better future for his children.

The story, which starts in 1975, is set in a village where people had never seen a Black person. To that, Seyolo, the doctor, says: “so what? Now they will.”

The culture clash is both villagers-to-new-arrivals and the other way. Seyolo tells his family that he was hired in a village “north of Paris”, but all they hear is “Paris”, only to be shocked by the state of the rainy and muddy countryside village.

45. Last Breath (2019)

7.2

Country

Belgium, Sweden, UK

Director

Alex Parkinson, Richard da Costa

Actors

Alex Parkinson, Chris Lemons, Duncan Allcock, Kjetil Ove Alvestad

Moods

Inspiring, Sunday

An 80-minute documentary about a diver who gets stranded in the deep sea with 5 minutes of oxygen left, while the nearest rescue team was 30 minutes away. This type of diving in the depths of the sea, as someone explains, is like “going into space but underwater”.

The documentary uses genuine footage from the dive as well as interviews of people who were present. Still, some parts of this incredible story can’t be explained. And if like me you’re not familiar with diving, everything will have more appeal. The vessel they use is quite impressive, the duration of its dive is obscene (28 days!), and lastly: the divers inhale helium (and speak with a funny voice) the whole time they are down there.

44. Midnight Traveler (2019)

7.3

Country

Canada, Qatar, UK

Director

Hassan Fazili

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Emotional

Hassan Fazili and Nargis Fazili are two filmmakers who, faced with death threats, escape their home in Afghanistan and start a journey to Europe that millions of others have taken over the past few years. But unlike most others, the Fazilis filmed everything on their way.

The result is not only a portrayal of the dangers they go through but it’s also about less obvious and possibly more common aspects of the refugee experience. It’s about the wait in refugee centers (that can last many years), the anticipation and also what it means to do all of this with children. Because watch out for the little Fazilis, who travel with their parents, for they will steal your heart.

43. Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words (2015)

7.3

Country

Denmark, Finland, France

Director

Stig Björkman

Actors

Alan Marshal, Alberto Sordi, Aldo Fabrizi, Alfred Hitchcock

Moods

Instructive

A wonderful homage to the woman, actress, and mother based largely on her own archives and interviews with her four children. Bergman was an avid photographer, filmographer and letter writer. What emerges is a loving portrait of an adventurous, driven, complex, and loving woman. Not to be missed.

42. Topsy-Turvy (1999)

7.4

Country

United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Mike Leigh

Actors

Akemi Otani, Alison Steadman, Allan Corduner, Andy Serkis

Moods

Funny, Grown-up Comedy, Lighthearted

If you’re a fan of musical theater of any kind, Topsy-Turvy pays tribute to that notoriously tricky art form with a stunning attention to detail and a dedication to telling its story without any unnecessary drama whatsoever. It’s hard not to get swept up in the humor, entertainment, and simple joy found in the writing process and in rehearsals of entire scenes. Come for the Oscar-winning costumes and makeup, stay for the wonderfully old-timey musical numbers, the brilliantly grounded performance from Jim Broadbent, and the sense of satisfaction of just watching everything finally come together to thunderous applause.

41. The Grizzlies (2020)

7.4

Country

Canada

Director

Female director, Miranda de Pencier

Actors

Anna Lambe, Ben Schnetzer, Booboo Stewart, Brad Fraser

Moods

Easy, Emotional, Feel-Good

This uplifting Canadian sports drama is based on a true story set in the remote Nunavut town of Kugluktuk. The small community has the highest teen suicide rate in North America, as it suffers from intergenerational trauma, and the resulting alcohol and drug abuse. A new young history teacher who is sent by the government is shocked by the state of the school and the lives of the teenagers. He realizes that he can’t engage the kids with history, and turns to his passion for Lacrosse to try to ignite change.

The teacher and director of the movie are both white, which, added to the story, raise red flags about white savior tropes. But thanks to First Nation producers who made sure the kids had time to develop their characters, The Grizzlies narrowly misses disaster. Instead, it gives a voice to communities that are rarely heard from. 

agmtw
eu

© 2022 agoodmovietowatch, all rights reserved.

We are home to the best film and TV on popular streaming services. Supported only by readers like you and by public grants.