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Why Shoot the Teacher?
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Reviews & Ratings for
Why Shoot the Teacher? More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

One of my favorite performances by Bud Cort!

Author: ClassicFilmEra from United States
11 August 2008

Such a sweet, sweet movie...and so, so underrated... I'll never understand why some of the worst movies make it to DVD, but the gems sit around and wait for their turn.

I adored the story line! Bud Cort plays an innocent, scattered, simple/warm-hearted man who tries to teach students in a small town in Canada. At first the students are disrespectful loud-mouths, but grow to become compassionate individuals when Cort's character (Max Brown) inspires them.

I cannot get over how endearing Bud Cort is in this film. All he wants is to be loved, and to love someone else, but he has a failed romance with an already-married woman, who is also lost in her own troubles. All you want to do is sympathize with his character, especially in the beginning, when he was trying to become adjusted to this unfamiliar town with people who couldn't understand him.

I would say that this is one of Bud Cort's top 5 best film roles. (Along with Harold and Maude, Bernice Bobs Her Hair, Brave New World, and Ted and Venus).

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

An accurate depiction of a rural Canadian community in the 30's. Also applies to the 40's and early 50's.

Author: gfloyd-1 from Canada
20 October 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you want to know what life was like in "the good old days" then watch this movie and see how we lived in rural areas of Canada without unemployment insurance, decent medical care, television, internet, access to higher education and on and on.

My 1st school was exactly as shown in the movie complete with a crude living space for the teacher. Strapping, as shown, was common. The inspector was as ignorant as any that I recall. Closed minds and mean spirits abounded.

I've seen the movie several times and still feel gratitude that I had a teacher like Max Brown to show me the way out.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

One of Bud Cort's finest films and performances!

Author: Tiwanna Ellerbe (tiwannae) from New Jersey
31 December 2003

I found this sweet little film to be a very enjoyable and highly recommended experience!

Bud Cort gives one of his finest performances as the naïve, lonely, sensitive, and oh-so-out-of-place Max Brown, a city fellow from Ottawa trying to make a life as a poorly compensated teacher in the very rural town of Willowgreen in western Canada during the Great Depression. It's comic how he has to deal with adjusting to the town, the townspeople, and their children as his students; and is especially very poignant and sad watching his doomed romance with the very married and just as lonely and frustrated Alice Field, played by Samantha Eggar.

As his 'Harold and Maude' was poorly served when it came out on DVD, how I wish that 'Why Shoot the Teacher?' would find its way onto DVD, having such special features as outtakes, deleted scenes, and especially, interviews with Bud Cort and the remaining cast and crew of the film. It's sad to see this one overlooked and, instead, to find such films of lesser quality in Bud's oeuvre, like 'Hysterical,' getting the DVD treatment. I hope that this oversight will someday be rectified for this gem in the career of Bud Cort.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A humourous, entertaining slice of life in the Canadian Dust Bowl

Author: Richard Maurer (ram-30) from Red Earth, Saskatchewan
15 January 2000

The film WHY SHOOT THE TEACHER? stars American Bud Cort, star of many Robert Altman classics, and British actress Samantha Eggar. Other than that, the film is truly Canadian. The story, based on the autobiography of Max Braithwaite, is a humourous, entertaining slice of life in the Canadian Dust Bowl. It's as good as any other film to clearly show the extent that the Great Depression had in rural communities. The production, cast, props, etc., make this an excellent period piece of the 1930s. Many of the co-stars are amateurs but this only emphasizes the realism of the picture. Overall, if you need to show someone a video about the Great Depression, and you don't have access to THE GRAPES OF WRATH, then WHY SHOOT THE TEACHER? will be a worthy substitute.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Why Shoot the Teacher

Author: vinciegirl from Canada
30 October 2005

This movie allowed the viewer to gain some insight into life in the prairies. It is used in many classrooms as a tool which discusses information on the 1930s. The movie also contains some humour, even if it was corny.

However the movie lacks strong does not expand on certain issues. For instance, it would have been interesting to know how many persons came out West during the depression. Or how this migration affected the prairies. Providing these details would have made the movie more informative to watch.


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Capital of Canada is "C"

Author: Steve Skafte from Nova Scotia, Canada
21 March 2013

I grew up in rural Canada, in a small middle-class household that was a little bit on the old-fashioned side. Dramas like these were part of the experience when all you had was access to CBC television and a small selection of video tapes. Although I never caught this one in particular as a child, it would have been perfectly welcome.

It's hard to picture why exactly a film like "Why Shoot the Teacher?" has been so well-forgotten over the years. Something in the lack of initial distribution no doubt, which seems to be the lot of nearly all Canadian films of this era. It's based on a book by Max Braithwaite, and it feels very much like a true story, though there's a chance I suppose that it isn't. Silvio Narizzano directs it to life with a looseness and a real live humanity.

The acting is undoubtedly what gives this film its energy, and Bud Cort is better than I've ever seen him. In a similar sense as Charles Martin Smith's character in "Never Cry Wolf" he portrays a truly charming combination of naiveté and forced confidence. It's that painfully forced bravery that saves him in the end. This film could serve as a lesson in how much difference overcoming even the smallest percentage of personal fears can make in your life.

There is a lightness to "Why Shoot the Teacher?", a faithful depiction with just enough weight to keep it all from blowing away. I felt it moving through me, lifting my head and softening my heart. It's something to be thankful for, this gentle little thing.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Bud Cort and Samatha Eggar Do Fine Work Here

Author: azjimnson from United States
12 May 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I had the good fortune to interview Bud Cort when this film was released in the US in 1980. He told me that he felt as a character, Max, was closer to his actual character than the more eccentric roles he was most well known for playing. Apparently the book on which this movie is based is almost required reading for Canadian students at the level of US high school students. The film was a big hit in Canada. I would like to correct what one user review said about the film being shot in black and white. It was shot in color, but in muted tones. There's a "magic hour" shot of people carrying lanterns across a field that is quite striking, and reminded of the photography in "Days of Heaven."

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A teacher's work is never done.

Author: dbdumonteil
6 December 2009

The subject of "why shoot the teacher?" is a burning one,as much today as it was yesterday:the teacher,fresh from his training college ,who takes his first class ,in a dead-and-alive hole (or ,worse,in the wrong side of the town).The young man (or woman)understands that all that he learned in college ,all the highest theories can't help him with his thankless job.His pupils are not the ones he was expecting.Any teacher,when he began,has been through all this. Bud Cort ,famous for his part of Harold in "Harold and Maude " is ideally cast as the young schoolteacher:his youthful looks ,his naive face and his resilience work wonders.For, in this part of Canada,mother nature is not really on his side.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Canadian teacher by the name of Max Brown takes a train to the prairies where he begins his hard life as a teacher.

Author: rana-attalla
19 October 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Why Shoot the Teacher" was a very interesting movie that I believe gave a very accurate depiction of the different ways Canadian citizens were affected by the Great Depression. It showed the difficulties people had to go through both physically and emotionally in order to survive during the 1930s. In this movie, we meet a young teacher who has finally been able to find himself a job as a teacher, but he must move to the prairies. We learn that in those days, unemployment was a major problem as many people were losing their jobs and not being able to find new ones. Single men traveled the country in search of work since they had no families to support and keep them home. We see in this case, the main character is very lucky to be able to find a job, however we soon see how poor the working conditions and the pay are. He only earns $20 dollars a month and much teach a very rowdy and disobedient group of students. He lives in a small room underneath the school house and seems to be treated rather unkindly by most of the people surrounding him. This seems somewhat understandable since they must be under a lot of stress and pressure as well because of the hard times they must go through at the time being. At times, Max Brown wishes he could simply hop a train back home so that he doesn't have to endure anymore of these problems which he doesn't feel he can cope with anymore, although I sometimes think he feels grateful that he at least has board and a steady salary while others have neither and are living on the streets. It's interesting to see how the movie ends, with whether or not Max will be able to survive the harsh times.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Canadian teacher, Max Brown going to the Praires to teach children, facing though times with poor living conditions and food.

Author: N. P. from Toronto, Canada
19 October 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I think this movie was a good depiction of Canada in the 1930s because of many factors such as food, shelter, salary, employment, poor living conditions and harvesting crops. They were all problems in the movie as well as in the 1930s. Max Brown's friend was riding the rods in search for a job, and Max Brown was complaining about his salary. This would be something which would be included in a persons everyday life in the 1930s. Another thing which would be included is the living conditions, it wasn't too well for Max Brown as well as the food and water, it had to be provided for so many people and it wasn't as easy to get as it seemed. Harvesting crops were also a problem because of the bad weather conditions, this leaded to food problems and farmers going through difficult times. Overall this movie is a good explanation of the 1930s all the key factors included, they were realistic and interesting.

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