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Mr. Holland's Opus (1995)

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

Director:

Stephen Herek
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Popularity
3,628 ( 859)
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:

Querido maestro 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Julian Lennon, the son of Beatle John Lennon, whose music is featured prominently in the film, sings the film's main theme, "Cole's Song" on the soundtrack. 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

Stadler: Who's that in the box?
[a brief pause]
Glenn Holland: Just some kid I taught to beat a drum.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Rocky Horror Picture Show, The (1975) scene courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: The Best of Molly Shannon (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

ONE, TWO, THREE
Written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland (as Edward Holland), John Madara, Dave White and Len Barry (as Leonard Borisoff)
Performed by Len Barry
Courtesy of MCA Records
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User Reviews

Great story with challenges and rewards
1 August 2004 | by bppihlSee all my reviews

I remember seeing "Mr. Holland's Opus" for the first time in high school. I liked it then, and still do. Films about teaching often involve tough kids and less than ideal teachers, among other things. I have to say this film is an exception. Mr. Holland is an inspiration in so many ways that he does not realize or even want to acknowledge. It is also a story that could have taken place and that some people can relate to. This is why I enjoyed it so much.

Mr. Holland has a dream of composing a very memorable and moving symphony, and to ultimately be "rich and famous." But working odd jobs in pursuit of his dream doesn't appeal to him. Reluctantly, he takes a day job as a high school music teacher to support the family and at first hates it. His students are not motivated to learn through readings and tests, and do not respond well to the music of Bach. When he finds they love rock and roll, he integrates this into the curriculum, much of the disapproval of the administration, who believe "rock and roll by its very nature leads to a breakdown in discipline." He teaches and mentors many students over the years, from a clarinet student who doubts her talent and feels inferior to her musically talented family, to a wrestler who becomes a drummer, and a talented singer with her eye on him who wants to go to Broadway despite any barriers. Whether or not he knows it, Mr. Holland inspires them to do something worthwhile.

Despite his love and talent for teaching, Mr. Holland cannot develop this same level of rapport and love with his wife Iris and son Cole, who is deaf. His desire for Cole to appreciate music is outweighed by Cole's inability to hear and his father's reluctance to help him. Cole learns sign language from his teachers and mother predominantly. Mr. Holland appears to be the kind of person who detests imperfection of any kind, and this strains his familial relationships. Gradually, though, he learns to accept and deal with these challenges, and becomes more loving and appreciative.

I recommend "Mr. Holland's Opus" for musicians, singers, music teachers, and really everyone. Enjoy the show!


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