To Sir, with Love (1967)
We acknowledge that To Sir, with Love lays the schmaltz on thick, yet we can’t help but be charmed by the film’s warmth and sincerity. Sidney Poitier gives a moving performance as Mr. Thackeray, a former engineer who begins his teaching career in a depressed area of London. He quickly realizes that his real challenge is teaching his students how to survive rather than instilling them with a knowledge of arithmetic or geology. While the rookie teacher/rebellious class dynamic has become a trope of teacher films (Dangerous Minds, Freedom Writers, etc.), To Sir, with Love has enough compassion and class to move beyond the plot’s predictability.