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Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation


Great Mentoring Movies

Once in a while, I post a fun blog about something from our culture. Several days ago I wrote about some great leadership movies that have come out over the last three decades. Today, I want to list a dozen great movies on the topic of  “mentoring.” We believe young leaders will not be raised up through massive crowds at some conference, but through life-on-life mentoring relationships. In fact, we believe that “more time with less people equals greater impact on students.”  When I talk to young people, mentors are one of the hottest topics in their lives. Most long for helpful, healthy mentors to guide them from backpack to briefcase.

This list of movies doesn’t nearly scratch the surface, but I offer them to you and ask for those who read this to add to the list. There is a place for you to do so at the bottom of this page.

  1. Mr. Holland’s Opus                        7.  Star Wars (any from the series)
  2. The Guardian                                 8. Entrapment
  3. Finding Forrester                            9. The Karate Kid (any from the series)
  4. Take the Lead                               10. The King’s Speech
  5. Stand By Me                                 11. Music of the Heart
  6. The Freedom Writers                     12. Dead Poet’s Society

In my book, Life Giving Mentors, I suggest that mentoring is the oldest form of teaching or education in the world. Long before there were chalkboards and desks, someone from an older generation would invite a young person into an experience. This experience was called a “developmental relationship” or an apprenticeship. Rabbis chose young boys for study; blacksmith’s invited young men for training; father’s would even take their sons and teach them through on-the-job training. The key was not just the information, but the relationship. The connections made built a bridge to pass on a compass for life.  This is what students need from us today.

Let me know—do you know of any other movies to add to this list?


  1. Alison Thornton on February 22, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Second-Hand Lions!

  2. Steve on February 22, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Stand and Deliver, the  1988 movie about Jaime Escalante, the charismatic former East Los Angeles high school teacher who proved that deprived inner-city students could master subjects as demanding as calculus

  3. Tanya Glass on February 22, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    My two favorites (of which I watch continually) are Remember the Titans & Miracle. Both movies share the same line: “We gotta change the way we play the game.”

  4. Moakster on February 22, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    i love REMEMBER THE TITANS… it’s the story of how a leader can change a community through commitment, character, and credibility.

  5. Steve Barnaby on February 22, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    “Invictus .” It’s true, powerful and was life-changing for a nation.

  6. Holly on February 22, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Mona Lisa Smile and Coach Carter

  7. Matt on February 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    If you can get past the language, Good Will Hunting is a pretty awesome example.

  8. Joshua Gilstrap on February 22, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    The Power of One. 

  9. Penny Hunter on February 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington   Stone of Scone   Bishop’s Wife (great discussion about priorities)  The Lion King 

  10. Jackie Anderson on February 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Recently watched “Forever Strong”. My teens loved it too.

    • T Goertzen on February 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      I use Forever Strong in a class I teach for middle school boys on leadership and responsibility. They find it relevant and engaging.

  11. Wilda on February 28, 2012 at 10:24 am

    I’ve often heard of Chariots of Fire, as a must see . I haven’t seen it yet, but its on my list

  12. Lillystar1 on February 28, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I’ve often heard of Chariots of Fire,as a must seE.  I’ve not seen it yet, but its on my list.

  13. Jimmy Larche on April 9, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Antoine Fisher

  14. Maria on December 16, 2015 at 4:45 am

    The Peaceful Warrior

  15. Joseph on March 29, 2019 at 12:55 am

    Also check out Freshman Year movie, it comes in August 2019!!

  16. Negin on May 17, 2019 at 10:55 am

    Okja (2017) (Prepare both a box of tissues and a punching bag for watching this)
    The man without a face (1993)
    Akeelah and the Bee (2006)
    Educating Rita (1983)
    Take the lead (2006)
    Spirited away (2001)
    My neighbor Totoro (1988)
    The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
    Billy Elliot (2000)
    Training Day (2001)
    A monster calls (2016)
    Pay it forward (2000)
    A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
    Seventh Son (2014)
    Armageddon (1998)
    I, Robot (2004) (It counts, right? The sentiment the robot is feeling is exactly what we feel)
    Little Man Tate (1991)
    The Great Gatsby (2013)
    The Pacifier (2005)
    Thunder Prince (1982)
    The Pagemaster (1994)
    The Fox and the Hound (1981) (Prepare both a box of tissues and a punching bag for watching this)
    Richie Rich (1994)
    Oliver and Company (1988)
    Looking For Miracles (1989)
    Gattaca (1997)
    Baby Geniuses (1999)
    A Good Year (2006)
    Sword In the Stone (1963)
    Matilda (1996)
    Big (1988)
    La joueuse (Queen to play) (2009)
    Le Papillon (2002)
    April And The Extraordinary World (2015)
    Demain Tout Commence (Two Is A Family) (2016)
    La Tete Haute (Standing Tall) (2015)
    Le Gamin au Velo (2011)
    The Search (2014)
    Queen of Katwe (2016)
    Lion (2016)
    The Whistleblower (2011)
    Girls in Uniform (1958)
    The guardian (2006)

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Great Mentoring Movies