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Waiting for 'Superman' (2010)

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Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim reminds us that education "statistics" have names: Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, and Emily, whose stories make up the engrossing foundation of WAITING FOR ... See full summary »


16 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Charles Adam ...
Charles Adams ...
Robert Balfanz ...
Harriet Ball ...
Steve Barr ...
Ms. Celeste Bell ...
The Black & McGee Family ...
James Carter III ...
Todd Dickson ...
The Esparza Family ...
Mike Feinberg ...
Adrian M. Fenty ...
Himself (as Adrian Fenty)
Howard Fuller ...


Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim reminds us that education "statistics" have names: Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, and Emily, whose stories make up the engrossing foundation of WAITING FOR SUPERMAN. As he follows a handful of promising kids through a system that inhibits, rather than encourages, academic growth, Guggenheim undertakes an exhaustive review of public education, surveying "drop-out factories" and "academic sinkholes," methodically dissecting the system and its seemingly intractable problems. Written by Sundance Film Festival

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The fate of our country won't be decided on a battlefield, it will be determined in a classroom.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some thematic material, mild language and incidental smoking | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

29 October 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Esperando a Superman  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$139,033 (USA) (24 September 2010)


$6,410,257 (USA) (17 December 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


There is a scene in which Bianca, one of the little girls, is reading from a book about someone taking apples and bringing them into the city to sell. The book she is reading is called "The Giving Tree" and was written by Shel Silverstein. See more »


Geoffrey Canada: I was like what do you mean he's not real. And she thought I was crying because it's like Santa Claus is not real and I was crying because there was no one coming with enough power to save us.
See more »


Features Leave It to Beaver (1957) See more »


Written and Performed by Michael Brook
Courtesy of Canadian Rational
Under license from The Bicycle Music Company
See more »

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User Reviews

Propaganda in Sheeps Clothing
21 October 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

THIS FILM HURTS CHILDREN!!!!!!! I'm a history teacher at a public school & one with a deep love for propaganda. Seriously, I have a collection of it, from "Red Dawn," to a "Chu Tich Ho Chi Minh" banner, from old clippings warning Americans of the Irish to asking us to save Europe from the attack Huns. It's kind of a history teacher's thing. Besides it's fun & useful. You get to see the shocked expression on people's faces when they walk into your apartment to be greeted by a giant painting of Castro & you get the added bonus of hanging it in the classroom when it's topic appropriate.

Most of the time, propaganda is understandable, it's how governments operate. Both the Left (Capitalism a Love Story) and the Right (Fox News) use it & have done so for centuries. But I am very sensitive to things that are created to harm Children, and that is the intent of "Waiting for Superman." As a former Chicago Public School teacher, I can tell you exactly why you should not believe the views propagated in this film.

1) Private schools do not teach anywhere near the amount of students that public schools teach. To be fair, the film does mention this point. what it doesn't mention is that, by design, these schools take few students in order to more successfully teach them, weeding out the students that need the most help.

2) These schools are for-profit, yet they take the lion's share of education funding that you pay for with your tax dollars. Meaning, you'll have to, in some cases, pay for your child to attend a school that you are already paying for with your taxes & by doing so you are leaving public schools under funded.

3) In most cases, when one of these schools open, they close down a public school. The majority of the students in the public schools that are not lucky enough to attend the new school are then bussed to another public school. How far do you want you children to commute to elementary school?

4) Because of the events listed in points 3 & 2, a formerly passing public school becomes both over crowded & underfunded, not able to accommodate the extra students nor hire more teachers due to lack of funding, as a result this passing school fails & is eventually closed, causing the opening of yet another charter school & the overcrowding & closing of another public school.

5) This entire system violates federal law, specifically the Homestead Act, which guarantees one section of the community (lot 32 if I recall correctly) to be set aside for free public education.

6) When you bus students to overcrowded schools, you tend to mix gangs. 2-6 & the Latin Kings do not get along. It's hard enough to teach one gang, try teaching two waring gangs & see if you come out alive. A one-gang school is manageable, you add a rival gang into the mix & suddenly the school becomes a war zone.

7) Most public school teachers that are teaching in the inner city want to be there. They are teaching there because they care & think they can make a difference, "Waiting for Superman" turns people against those teachers & throws them in bed with a system that makes it even harder for people like me to educate the people that most of America wants to ignore.

Don't blame the teachers nor the public school system. Most failing schools--growing every day--are failing due to over crowding & lack of funding caused by private charter schools. My last year teaching, my average class size, due to the closing of an over-crowded failing public school, jumped from 25 students per class to nearly sixty. Standing room only, not enough text books for half the class.

You couldn't successfully teach 60 high school students per class either. Most of the "lazy" teachers featured in the film, are teachers that were overwhelmed by the current system. You can fault them for giving up the fight if you want, but it's a hard fight, especially since our current political climate has turned the parents & community against the teachers so your schools can become for-profit.

Support the teachers, not for-profit industry, your future is literally in their hands.

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