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John Simkin

Top Ten Films on Education

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Peter Bradshaw has picked the top ten best films on education.

1. Mädchen in Uniform (Leontine Sagan, 1931) Classic German movie, set in Prussian all-girls' boarding establishment, where a girl forms a passionate crush on one of her teachers.

2. Zéro de Conduite (Jean Vigo, 1933) Vigo's brilliant comedy about a revolution at a boarding school.

3. The Belles of St Trinians (Frank Launder, 1954) A genial staple of English innocence, starring Alastair Sim, Joyce Grenfell and George Cole.

4. If... (Lindsay Anderson, 1968) Surreal and subversive, Anderson's satire of ghastly public school life is an image of England's fading pomp.

5. Kes (Ken Loach, 1969) At a tough 60s comprehensive, Billy Casper's life is transformed when he discovers a wild kestrel.

6. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Amy Heckerling, 1982) There are almost too many high school comedies to nominate individually, but Heckerling, who went on to direct Clueless, and John Hughes, who made The Breakfast Club, almost invented the genre that gave teenagers an on-screen identity.

7. Election (Alexander Payne, 1999) Midlife crisis comedy, as a conscientious teacher becomes obsessed with an ambitious pupil: the Animal Farm of American politics in the Clinton/Lewinsky era.

8. The Clay Bird (Tareque Masud, 2002) Superb Bangladeshi movie about a young boy in late-60s East Pakistan, sent to a madrassah, or Islamic boarding school.

9. Etre et Avoir (Nicolas Philibert, 2002) Gentle and beautiful documentary about a year in the life of a French infant school.

10. Elephant (Gus Van Sant, 2003) Eerie, weightless nightmare recreating the Columbine killings - a Cannes Palme d'Or winner in 2003.

http://education.guardian.co.uk/egweekly/s...1154102,00.html

Any other suggestions?

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The CCF (Combined Cadet Force) day in “If” reminded me very much of the field days we had at my posh grammar school in Kent in the 1950s. We didn't kill the padre but I did manage to hit a prefect in the backside with a piece of wadding from a blank cartridge fired at close quarters from a 303 Lee Enfield. He was an absolute pig and thoroughly deserved it. "If" was frighteningly close to reality...

I vote for "Goodbye Mr Chips" (the Robert Donat version), "Dead Poets Society", "The Scent of a Woman" and "The Guinea Pig".

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Guest Andrew Moore

I tried to add my suggestions yesterday, but could not add a reply - now Andy has fixed that.

I was going to suggest both Goodbye Mr. Chips and Dead Poets Society (which, though corny, helped make a difference to the way I worked). And White Squall, which, though about a storm at sea, is set on a vessel that also is a school.

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Guest Andrew Moore

And what about The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie? Matilda? Picnic at Hanging Rock? And the corny To Sir, with Love (with Lulu singing the title song, and, if I recall aright, acting in the film)....

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Dead Poets Society, Scent Of A Woman and the 1990 film adaptation of W. Golding's novel, Lord Of The Flies.

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Educating Rita

Not a feature film and hardly "about" education, but from the BBC production of John le Carre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the scenes in which teacher and former Circus officer Jim Prideux interacts with the young boys at his prep school.

Bit of a stretch here, too: Jeremiah Johnson.

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