7.3/10
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163 user 42 critic

Mr. Holland's Opus (1995)

PG | | Drama, Music | 19 January 1996 (USA)
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A frustrated composer finds fulfillment as a high school music teacher.

Director:

Stephen Herek
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Popularity
1,978 ( 1,970)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Dreyfuss ... Glenn Holland
Glenne Headly ... Iris Holland
Jay Thomas ... Bill Meister
Olympia Dukakis ... Principal Jacobs
William H. Macy ... Vice Principal Wolters (as W.H. Macy)
Alicia Witt ... Gertrude Lang
Terrence Howard ... Louis Russ
Damon Whitaker ... Bobby Tidd
Jean Louisa Kelly ... Rowena Morgan
Alexandra Boyd ... Sarah Olmstead
Nicholas John Renner Nicholas John Renner ... Cole at 6 Years Old
Joseph Anderson ... Cole at 15 Years Old
Anthony Natale ... Cole at 28 Years Old
Joanna Gleason ... Adult Gertrude
Beth Maitland ... Deaf School Principal
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Storyline

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 <russell.boyd@dsto.defence.gov.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Of all the lives he changed, the one that changed the most was his own. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

19 January 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mr. Holland's Opus See more »

Filming Locations:

Oregon, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$23,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$92,254, 19 July 1996

Gross USA:

$82,569,971

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$106,269,971
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Composer Michael Kamen was so inspired by the story told in this film that he started a non-profit organization dedicated to providing musical instruments to underprivileged students. See more »

Goofs

The orchestra playing "The American Symphony" at the end of the movie is composed of current students and various alumni who graduated during the various years of Mr. Holland's tenure. The symphony is a fairly complex composition which would have required a number of orchestra rehearsals. Assuming that at least some of the various alumni no longer lived in that town (including the Governor), the logistics of gathering all of these people together would have been considerable and when and where could the required rehearsals have taken place? See more »

Quotes

Iris Holland: [Iris is translating Cole's signing for Glenn] Why do you assume that John Lennon's death would mean nothing to me? Do you think I'm stupid? I know who John Lennon is.
Glenn Holland: [Glenn turns to Iris] I never said that he...
Iris Holland: [Iris continues translating] I cant read your lips if you don't look at me.
Glenn Holland: [Glenn looks back at Cole] I never said you were stupid
Iris Holland: You must think so. If you think I don't know who The Beatles are or any music at all. You think I don't care about what it is you do or what you love? You're...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to The Seattle Symphony Orchestra See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: John Goodman/Everclear (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

I GOT A WOMAN
Written and Performed by Ray Charles
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

Good story for the unsung heroes of life – touching without being sickly sentimental
11 May 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Glenn Holland is a young composer. In the fifties he stops touring with his band to teach music in a school which he hopes will free him from touring to allow him to work on his main love of composing his own music. Despite initially hating his job, Holland soon learns to enjoy it and how best to communicate the love of music to his pupils. We trace his life over 30-40years as he has a son with his wife and goes through great emotional times while putting his personal dreams to one side.

Although this had `sentimental life lesson film' written all over it, I still wanted to give it a go and strangely still enjoyed it. The film is very much a bit of praise for all those who are unsung heroes in there lives and it had the potential to be really sickly sentimental. Happily a good script manages to avoid this for the majority of the time.

The weakness of the film is the fact it that it does try to cover a lifetime and occasionally there isn't enough plot to do that well. I know it would have been difficult but I do feel that the film could have been either a little tighter or filled to overflowing with plot to make it feel shorter. As it is it is still enjoyable but it does feel a little wandering at times – but I guess that's like life in a way. When the climax comes though it is hard not to be a little moved by the lesson that the film is teaching us.

However, the reason for the success of the film is also the reason for it's Oscar nomination – Richard Dreyfuss on good form. He kept me watching even when the material was stretched. He is totally believable in the role – for a microcosm of his performance watch his face when the announcement is made about the surprise they have prepared for him – his emotion got me right away! He deserved his nomination for this as he is captivating over the whole film. He even ages very convincingly and make up should be congratulated. However while makeup were concentrating on Dreyfuss they totally forgot about Headly who doesn't age a bit until the final time period (apart from looking a bit tired). She is badly miscast and she doesn't fit the role at all. Thomas, Macy, Dukakis and Anderson (as the teenage Cole) all do well in support – but this is Dreyfuss' movie.

Overall I enjoyed this. I usually struggle with things like this because they pile the sentiment on thick like a daytime TVM. Happily this script avoids that are the majority of the flaws are compensated for by a strong performance from Dreyfuss.


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