Motivational back-to-school movies for students

A family movie night might be just the ticket to get your child excited and motivated for the 2019-20 school year.

Movies can provide many opportunities to talk about the upcoming school year, especially when talking about any anxieties your child may have about going back to school.

Nancy Friedman, co-founder of, says the best way to get “kids thinking and talking about the issues they raise is to ask questions. How would you feel in that situation? Why do you think the character acted the way he/she did? What might you have done differently?”

Here are 10 movies to check out with your child as they head back to school.

Akeelah and the Bee
Akeelah is an 11-year old girl from Los Angeles with a knack for spelling. Her passion for words leads her to join multiple spelling bees. A visiting English professor, Dr. Larabee, mentors Akeelah along the way. Although Akeelah’s mother attempts to discourage her from participating in these contents, the support of Dr. Larabee and her community drives her to succeed despite the odds.

School of Rock
Dewey Finn, a washed up guitarist, impersonates his roommate as a substitute teacher at a local prep school in order to make ends meet. After discovering the musical talents of his students, he starts a classroom band under the guise of a class project in order to enter the local Battle of the Bands. Albeit far from his intentions, Dewey discovers he has quite a knack for teaching.

The Breakfast Club
Five students from different backgrounds end up together for a detention. The students open up to each other and the movie shows that students can find friendship in the most unexpected ways. Regarded as an evergreen teen cult movie, it is a must watch for every student.

Freedom Writers
This inspirational movie based on a young teacher who inspires her troublesome class to pursue studies even after high school. She has to contend with at-risk students who are divided among themselves, opposing teachers, struggling marriage and money shortage. Students who watch this movie are bound to see their teachers in a new light.

Dead Poets Society
John Keating (Robin Williams) is English teacher who introduces his boys to a new, free-thinking mindset through the power of poetry. Throughout the film, he encourages them to “make their lives extraordinary.” He creates a lasting impact in the hearts of his students.

Legally Blonde
This movie is the story of Elle Woods; a sorority girl who goes to Harvard Law School and breaks stereotypes. She shakes off the typical “dumb blonde” image and gains the respect of her fellow students, teachers and finally, her official peers.

Based on the life of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, Rudy dreams of playing football at the University of Notre Dame despite his father, teachers, neighbors and almost everyone he knows telling him he doesn’t have the skills required to make it to Notre Dame. But after years of hardship, the underdog becomes triumphant.

The Internship
The Internship is about Billy and Nick, two middle-aged salesmen, who lost their jobs due to the arrival of digital age. Billy and Nick manage a second chance when they intern with Google and prove their worth.

Karate Kid
When teenager Daniel LaRusso moves with his mom to Los Angeles from New Jersey, Daniel runs into the town bullies who harass and beat him on multiple occasions. Fortunately, the apartment maintenance man, Mr. Miyagi, steps in and wards off these bullies with his skill in karate. Mr. Miyagi teaches Daniel the art of karate, but does so through unconventional means.

Napoleon Dynamite
Napoleon Dynamite proves there’s room for everyone in high school. Although Napoleon is eccentric, he’s able to help his friend Pedro, a transfer student from Mexico, secure the title of class president. Even the strange Napoleon Dynamite has friends, and not just any friends, but fun and forgiving ones. Napoleon helps Pedro prevail against a popular girl and score a big win for the outsiders at Preston High School.

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