6.9/10
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145 user 83 critic

The Emperor's Club (2002)

PG-13 | | Drama | 22 November 2002 (USA)
Trailer
0:30 | Trailer
An idealistic prep school teacher attempts to redeem an incorrigible student.

Director:

Michael Hoffman

Writers:

Ethan Canin (short story "The Palace Thief"), Neil Tolkin (screenplay)
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Kline ... William Hundert
Emile Hirsch ... Sedgewick Bell
Embeth Davidtz ... Elizabeth
Rob Morrow ... James Ellerby
Edward Herrmann ... Headmaster Woodbridge
Harris Yulin ... Senator Bell
Paul Dano ... Martin Blythe
Rishi Mehta ... Deepak Mehta
Jesse Eisenberg ... Louis Masoudi
Gabriel Millman Gabriel Millman ... Robert Brewster (as Gabe Millman)
Chris Morales Chris Morales ... Eugene Field
Luca Bigini Luca Bigini ... Copeland Gray
Michael Coppola Michael Coppola ... Russell Hall
Sean Fredricks ... Mr. Harris
Katherine O'Sullivan ... The Nun
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Storyline

William Hundert is a passionate and principled Classics professor who finds his tightly-controlled world shaken and inexorably altered when a new student, Sedgewick Bell, walks into his classroom. What begins as a fierce battle of wills gives way to a close student-teacher relationship, but results in a life lesson for Hundert that will still haunt him a quarter of a century later. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In everyone's life there's that one person who makes all the difference.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 November 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Palace Thief See more »

Filming Locations:

New Jersey, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,846,780, 24 November 2002

Gross USA:

$14,118,751

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,318,449
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first scene filmed was where Hundert spoke to Senator Bell as stated in the audio commentary. See more »

Goofs

As Hundert is swinging the bat getting ready to hit the ball, his tie switches from being on his shoulder to hanging in front of his body. Then as he hits the ball, it switches back to his shoulder. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Valet: Is everything okay, sir?
William Hundert: Fine, thank you. Here.
[reaches into his pocket]
William Hundert: Let me, uh...
Valet: That's not necessary, sir.
[walks away]
William Hundert: [narrating] As I've gotten older, I realize I'm certain of only two things. Days that begin with rowing on a lake are better than days that do not. Second, a man's character is his fate. And as a student of history, I find this hard to refute. For most of us our stories can be written long before we die. There are exceptions among the great men of history, ...
See more »

Connections

References The Great Escape (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Funk 49
Written by Jim Fox, Joe Walsh, and Dale Peters
Performed by James Gang
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tough sell of a movie
20 March 2006 | by KUAlum26See all my reviews

I say that this is a tough sell of a movie because it seems like most movies marketing of late have to have some catch,hook or twist about it to sell to audiences,something either sexy,violent or both. Movies that stress intellectual or moral higher pursuits are somewhat rare to come by and when they are,they either are heavy-handed(Dead Poets Society)or arcane,word-of-mouth projects(Kidco,Stand and Deliver).If they don't feature some level of arousing interest(two examples:Sirens or Kinsey,both films I greatly appreciated BTW),then they are probably going to fall under the wheels of Hollywood's promotional behemoth if they are produced for the large screen.

Such,I suspect,is the case with The Emperors Club, a Neil Tolin screenplay based on a Ethan Canin short story. The central figure is one William Hundert(Kevin KLine,perhaps never more dignified in role),a well-respected and generally popular teacher at a Catholic,boys-only academy,who teaches the classics(i.e.Roman and Greek history and culture). His long stay as an educator is put to the test(probably not the only time,but what has to be the most memorable) in the 1976-77 school year when an arrogant,selfish son of a congressman(Emile Hirsch,avec David Cassidy fro)enrolls in the school,for whom Hundert decides he's going to make a special effort to "mold" into a true student of enlightenment. His efforts then have effects on both his students and himself that stay with him long after.

Well-acted,well-scripted,thoughtful and gently guided by Michael Hoffman(who directed Kline in the pleasant Midsummer Night's Dream adaptation three years earlier),this film quietly came and went in the Autumn of 2002 and it seems like a shame,but not un-understandably so. This is a show with virtually no violence and very little(if any)sexual content and the majority of the cast are either rising young stars who haven't quite reached high acclaim yet or are older character actors,so one will enter this on virtually a blind-faith interest of the film's topic or(more likely)an appreciation for Mr.Kline. To be honest and tell on myself,when this film was out I passed it up and didn't really sit down to appreciate it until very recently,and that was a a free library rental! As is,free or not,this is clearly a unique and recommendable movie.


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