400 Films about Higher Education (or at Least Set on Campuses): 1-50


Cultural Representations of Higher Ed, No. 8

I am working backwards through this list. Here are films 1 to 50.

The rankings are my own and in most cases somewhat arbitrary. The descriptions of the films are paraphrases of summaries found in a half-dozen print and online film guides. I compiled the list about a decade ago, and it needs some updating.


1. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: Burton and Taylor, boozy and still boozing; professorial ambitions, pretenses, and politics, all in unsparing black and white.

2. Wild Strawberries: Ingmar Bergman’s meditation on mortality, focusing on an elderly, former professor.

3. Madadayo: Kurosawa’s meditation on mortality, focusing on an elderly former professor.

4. Butley: Alan Bates is a middle-aged professor trying to forestall a mid-life crisis.

5. Good Will Hunting: A working-class kid from South Boston realizes his potential at M.I.T.

6. The Freshman: Matthew Broderick is the title character…

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