6.9/10
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142 user 83 critic

The Emperor's Club (2002)

PG-13 | | Drama | 22 November 2002 (USA)
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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 (purple)| Color (RED)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Kevin Kline attended Saint Louis Priory School in Missouri, a private, all-boys Benedictine high school similar to the school in the film. He drew inspiration for his performance from his experiences there, including one of his Latin teachers. His Priory ring can also be seen in the film on his left hand. After the movie came a question and answer session. One person asked Kevin if it was his ring and he said "yes." and the whole crowd cheered on. See more »

Goofs

The beginning of the movie is set in 1975, but there are '80s-model cars in the background. 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 Contempt (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

 
Good luck finding a teacher like this in real life!
14 August 2005 | by CuriosityKilledShawnSee all my reviews

I can't help feel bit jealous when ever I see Private Schools in movies. My high school was unfortunately full of teachers who didn't give half a goddamn about you. And it was/is one of the most respected (read pretentious) in the country. I never learned one single thing that was actually of use to me and I believe going to such a place is mostly responsible for turning me into the faithless cynic that I am now.

In this movie Kevin Kline (a seriously underused actor) plays a history teacher who is dedicated to making sure his students grow up to be fine and morally sound, upstanding people. They all get along until Sedgewick Bell (Emile Hirsh)the hell-raising son of an arrogant Governor arrives in class. His grades are terrible but Mr. Hundert sees intelligence in the boy and struggles to push him in the right direction at the expense of the rest of the class who actually want and care for education. Over the years he comes to regret his mistakes but sees a chance to put things right again with a reunion of all his former students organised by Sedgewick who appears to want to put things right.

There are loads of Student/Teacher movies out there but what separates The Emperor's Club from the likes of Dead Poet's Society and Mr. Holland's Opus is that Mr. Hundert's teaching is never in doubt. But he is flawed. Kevin Kline is so good in the role that for most of the film I thought I was watching a real person and not a character. And doesn't he sound like Niles from Frasier?

I do wish I went to somewhere like St. Benedicts or at least had a teacher like Mr. Hundert. It seems that teachers who really care only exist in the movies As are students who are willing to learn. Or perhaps it's just my bad non-education that skews my opinion. Still, I know good movies when I see one and The Emperor's Club get's my recommendation if you're sick of Hollywood, massive budgets, overblown SFX and intrusive marketing and just want a good character drama.


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