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Mr. Holland's Opus (1995)

PG  |   |  Drama, Music  |  19 January 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 28,957 users  
Reviews: 148 user | 39 critic

A frustrated composer finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher.


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Coach Bill Meister
Principal Jacobs
Vice Principal Wolters (as W.H. Macy)
Gertrude Lang
Louis Russ
Bobby Tidd - Student
Rowena Morgan
Sarah Olmstead
Nicholas John Renner ...
Cole at 6 Years Old
Joseph Anderson ...
Cole at 15 Years Old
Cole at 28 Years Old
Governor Gertrude Lang
Deaf School Principal


Glenn Holland is a musician and composer who takes a teaching job to pay the rent while, in his 'spare time', he can strive to achieve his true goal - compose one memorable piece of music to leave his mark on the world. As Holland discovers 'Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans' and as the years unfold the joy of sharing his contagious passion for music with his students becomes his new definition of success. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A symphony of life. See more »


Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

19 January 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Querido maestro  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$92,254 (USA) (19 July 1996)


$82,528,097 (USA) (26 July 1996)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


As a child, Katee Sackhoff was a child extra in this film. She has stated that she hated the experience, but vowed to Richard Dreyfuss that she would work with him again. She ended up playing his daughter in the series The Education of Max Bickford (2001) six years later. See more »


Mr. Holland plays Lovers Concerto to his class and asks who wrote It. A student replies, 'The Toys.' Mr Holland corrects him and says "That was Minuet in G, by Johan Sebastian Bach." The piece is often attributed to Bach as it was found in a book kept by Bach's wife. It was in fact written by Christian Petzold (1677-1733). See more »


Louis Russ: Tubas are for fat guys with pimples.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The producers wish to thank: Alain Levy; Michael Kuhn; Portland Public Schools; Grant High School, Portland, Oregon (Pricipal: Darryl Tucker); The Christie School Marylurst, Oregon. See more »


Features Woodstock (1970) See more »


Performed by Julian Lennon
Words by Julian Lennon and Justin Clayton
Music by Michael Kamen
Produced by Stephen McLaughlin (as Steve McLaughlin) and Michael Kamen
Julian Lennon appears courtesy of Atlantic Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Genuinely Nice Bio Film That Hits Mostly The Right Notes
9 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is simply a nice, dramatic story of a music teacher's life. Richard Dreyfuss plays the teacher, "Glenn Holland." It spans 30 years of his career with a tear-jerking ending. Endearing characters make it a memorable film.

The focus of the story is Dreyfuss and three students he gives special time to over the years. A big subplot involves the teacher and his hearing-impaired son.

The students are winningly played by Alicia Witt, who plays the sweet girl who goes on to become governor; Terrence Howard, a really nice kid who gets killed in Viet Nam, and Jean Louisa Kelly, the last and most memorable student perhaps, an extremely talented singer who goes on to a career in New York City.

Interwoven are some personal stories, particularly with Kelly's character, and with fellow teachers (Jay Thomas playing the most likable) and school administrators (Olympia Dukakis and William H. Macy). The most personal, of course, involves his hot-cold-hot relationship with his disabled son (played by three different actors as time passes.) Glenne Headly, meanwhile, plays Dreyfuss' wife.

As you can see by this cast, this is a well-acted movie with the only flaw being the screenwriters unable, as Hollywood seems to be, to control their political bias by giving unwarranted cheap shots to Republican politicians who are pictured as being against the arts; atheist John Lennon almost deified in this film as one of the "heroes" of the 20th century, plus a few more digs and plugs here and there, all with the normal Liberal bias.

Propaganda-aside, it's a genuinely nice film about people who succeed through dedication to their professions. The movie seemed to appeal to a wide audience. It's very manipulative, but it works. It's also a plug, if you will, for deaf children and the problems they face and the difficulties parents face in raising a kid with that disability.

22 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Rowena Sequence LDSMom128
Mistreated his son nutritionist
He didn't know Rowena at the audition... yolhanson
Richard Dreyfuss was robbed of the best actor oscar sonofjorel316
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Am I the only one who hates this movie? Crewgrrl20
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