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

Director:

Stephen Herek
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:

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Though not mentioned by name, the job offer Cole writes of in his letter home near the end of the movie would have been Gallaudet University. Gallaudet University is the world's only university with all programs and services are specifically designed to for deaf/hard of hearing students. It was founded in 1864 by an Act of Congress signed into law in 1&64 by President Abraham Lincoln and the only college whose diplomas has the signature of the US President, not the president of the university. See more »

Goofs

During Louis Russ' funeral, the flag is presented to next of kin incorrectly. The point should be facing away from the recipient. See more »

Quotes

Vice Principal Wolters: Have you been to any of the football games this season, Mr. Holland?
Glenn Holland: I can't say that I have, no.
Vice Principal Wolters: Well, Mrs. Jacobs and I feel that there's something missing.
Glenn Holland: Touchdowns.
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Crazy Credits

Thanks to The Seattle Symphony Orchestra See more »


Soundtracks

I Got a Woman
Written and Performed by Ray Charles
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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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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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:

$14,466, 1 January 1996

Gross USA:

$82,569,971

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$106,269,971
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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