Mr. Holland's Opus (1995) - full transcript

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.

[Piano Keys Struck Once]


[Piano Continues]

[Strings Join In]

[Orchestra Joins In]

[Orchestra Continues]

[Orchestra Continues]

MAN ON RADIO: At the top
of the news this morning...

Senator Barry Goldwater is
campaigning in Colorado today.

The Warren Commission, almost a full
year after the Kennedy assassination...

said that it's close to releasing...

- Glenn, it's time.
- No, no, just a little more.

Come on, if you don't get up right now,
I'm gonna cut one of your piano strings.

Oh. Oh. What time is it?

- Quarter to 7:00.
- A quarter to 7:00.

- Mm-hmm.
- Oh, God.

Does the sun really come out this early?

It was a surprise to me too. I took a
picture of it in case it never happens again.

Nobody gets up this early.

Oh, yes, they do.

Come on, come on, come on.

- Please, please, please.
- No, no, no.

- No, no, no, no, no. This is a stupid idea.
- Come on, come on, come on.

Oh! Oh, this is definitely
not my scene, Iris.

It's just a gig. If it doesn't work,
you can try something else.

- What time am I supposed to be there?
- 7:30.


What kind of people like to go
to work at 7:30 in the morning?


# One, two, three #

# Oh, that's how elementary #

# It's gonna be #

# Come on, let's fall in love #

- # It's easy #
- # It's so easy #

# Like takin' candy from a baby #

- # A, B, C #
- # A, B, C #

# Fallin' in love with you was #

- # Easy for me #
- # Easy for me #

# And you can do it too #

- # It's easy #
- # It's so easy #

- # Like takin' candy from a baby #
- Hi!

- I'm Glenn Holland. I'm the new music teacher.
- Vice Principal Wolters.

Holy cow.

- Corvair.
- Yeah.

I take it you didn't read Ralph Nader's book.

Well, unless Ralph is willing
to buy me a new car...

I think I'm gonna have to stick with
this one until the wheels fall off.

Well, you may not have to
wait that long. [Chuckles]

- Have a nice day.
- Thanks.

- # It's easy #
- # It's so easy #

- # Like takin' candy from a baby. #
- You look lost, Mr. Holland.

- Helen Jacobs, remember? I hired you.
- Oh....

Of course you did. I'm sorry.

No, no, I'm not... it was not that I'm lost.

I was just looking for the...
Well, yes, of course I'm lost.

What an auspicious beginning.

This way.

Your first day as a teacher,
Mr. Holland. Excited?

[Sighs] Nervous. Boy,
I never thought I'd be here.

No? Why not?

Well, like most people, I only
got my teaching certificate...

so I'd have something to fall back on,

- and now I have.
- This isn't a drive in, Mr. Claridge. Hands off.

You know, Mr. Holland, I don't think
of teaching as a "fall-back" position.

- No, no, I didn't mean it that way.
- I grow nervous around people who do.

- I'm... I'm really very happy to be here. Really.
- Good.

You'll drop by my office later on. I have
a list of students you'll be advising.

"Advising"? Can I ask when I'm
supposed to be doing this advising?

That's for you and the student to arrange.

- You meet your orchestra when?
- Fifth period.

- Are they any good?
- They try hard, and by the way,

I'll need a complete lesson
plan from you by Friday.


- For September and October.
- Right.

[Students Chattering]


[Door Opens]


[Bell Rings]

BOY: Let's go sit up in the back.

All right, people, come on, let's, uh...

Let's take our seats a little quicker,
please. A little quicker. We're losing time.

Come on in, come on in. Take...

My name is Mr. Holland. This,
of course, is a title of courtesy.

And I will extend back to you...

uh, Mister or Miss as
the circumstances allow.

Uh, welcome to Music Appreciation.

This is a class in which
we will be studying the...

the history of music, um...

Who would like to give me
a definition of what music is?

Any music. What do you think?

Music. What do they think
that music is in... in general?

What do they think? Anybody?


Okay, let's, uh, let's go to the text.

and we turn to page...

um, four.

and we read that music is...

"sound in melodic or harmonic combinations...
whether produced by voice or instrument."

Now, questions?

Anybody... at all?

No? Hmm? Good.

All righty, uh, now, I just...

You know, I just want you all to relax.

Have a little fun. You know, we're
not here to impress each other.

[Chuckles] Okay. All right, let's get ready.

Everyone. Come on.

You ready?

Okay, here we go.

[Beethoven: "Fifth Symphony"]



[Playing Stops]

It was good.

Miss Aronson, would th... Ma'am... would
you stand up, please? Stand up, please.

Is that skirt regulation length?

- Try on your knees, both of you,
- Yes.

- right now. On your knees, right now.
- I just got this dress.

I thought so. Come with me. You're
coming to the principal's office.

We're calling your parents,
and you are going home.

You can come back...

- when you're dressed properly.
- Oh, Mr. Wolters.

- But you're not being fair.
- I am being fair.

If I allow you to do it,
everyone is allowed to do it.

- Hi.
- Hi.

Come on. Out of my way.

- Teachers don't wait.
- Pardon me?

High school is not a democracy.

Teachers don't wait. Bill Meister, phys. Ed.

- Glenn Holland. Music teacher.
- Hi.

There you go.

Oh, my God, what is this?

It's Monday. It's turkey Spam surprise.

You could mortar walls with it.

Word of advice. Always bring a bag lunch.

- Where's yours?
- I ate it in second period.

Sylvie, don't tease me. I need extra.

MEISTER: So what have you been
doin' for the last ten years?

I've been playin' music. Been on the road.

You know, um, clubs and
weddings and bar mitzvahs.

- That sort of thing.
- Wait a minute.

I bet you met a ton of
chicks in those clubs, huh?

So you're in these clubs, there
are all these women there...

why'd you become a teacher?

Oh, actually I started teaching because...

I was hoping it would give me some
free time to do some composing.

I'm a composer. That's what I really do.

- What? What's so funny?
- Oh, the free time.

Glenn, I can't remember the
last time I had that was free.

[Children Chattering]

IRIS: I've got it all figured out.

With your salary, plus what I
take in with the photography...

in four years we should have
enough for you to quit...

and do nothing but compose music...

- and become famous and make us rich.
- I'll never make it.

- I made us $32 today.
- Big deal.

I made 32 kids sleep
with their eyes open. Ow!

Right there. Right... yeah.

Right there. Yeah.

[Sighs, Chuckles]


I think this is gonna be a lot rougher
gig than I originally thought.


You know, when I was in high school, I
wanted to be someplace else, you know.

Anyplace. It never occurred to me that
my teachers would feel the same way.

Well, you can still quit.

Naw, we've been through all that.

I thought the band was
getting pretty good actually.

Yeah, yeah, we could play Holiday
Inns for the rest of our lives.

- Or Los Angeles.
- I don't want to be a studio musician.

So, it's four years teaching then.

Come here.

When you were in high school...

did you ever wonder if your teachers
went home and got it on at night?

When I was in high school, my
teachers were all priests and nuns.

I had such a crush on Mr. Griffith.

- He could have taken me home anytime.
- Really?

- Mm-hmm.
- And who was this Mr. Griffith?

Oh, he was my music teacher.

[Both Laughing]

[Woodwinds: Dissonant]

[Note Cracks]

- Okay, okay, that wasn't bad.
- [Playing Stops]

That wasn't bad at all.
Um, Miss... I'm sorry.

- Lang.
- Pardon me?

- Lang, Gertrude Lang.
- Okay, Miss Lang.

Um, would you take it from bar 37, please?


[Note Cracks]

[Students Snickering]

- Okay, okay, good.
- [Bell Rings]

- [Bell Rings Continue]
- Good, um... that's enough for today.

I'll see you all tomorrow. Very good work.

Miss Lang?

Would you mind hanging for a moment, please?

You seem to be having a little
trouble getting through the break.

I know.

- How long have you been playing?
- Three years.


Uh... [Chuckles]

And do you find that you get all
the practice time that you need?

I practice constantly. Yeah.


Well, then I think... I think maybe...

you and I should find some time
to work on an individual basis.

- That... that would be great.
- I... I don't have a lot of time.

That's okay. Doesn't matter.
Whatever you can give me.

That would be wonderful. I just really,
really, really want to do good at this.

Oh, I bet you do. Um, well, why don't you...

come in about a half hour before first
period tomorrow and we'll just start?

Okay. All r... Thank you, thank
you very much. Thanks.

[Door Opens]

When a flat precedes a note like this...

it indicates that the note is
to be played a half step lower.

A piece based in the F major
scale should have a flat sign...

at the beginning of every stave.

These tests... are pathetic.

"Name an American composer."

- Miss Swedlin, your answer was?
- Bach?

- [Student Giggles]
- Johann Sebastian Bach.

Oh, this... this is my favorite one: "How
do you know what key a concerto is in?"

Mr. Mims, your answer was: "Look
on the front page" question mark.

Now, this question mark. Was that because...

you weren't sure or because
your English skills...

are on the same level as your musical theory?

These tests are a waste of my time and yours.

No kidding. I'd rather be somewhere else.

Mr. Sullivan, why don't you
pay a visit to Mr. Wolters?

Right now! Get your books and get outta here!

As for the rest of you, get your textbooks out.

We're gonna go over these answers
one by one until you get them right.

[Bell Rings]

BOY: Aaron, wait up.

[Chattering, Laughing]


[Note Cracks]

Give it up, Miss Lang.


[Crying Continues]

I meant for the day.

School's out, Miss Lang. I... I
meant give it up for the day.

- I... I... I know what you meant.
- Then?

- Why are you crying?
- I'm terrible. I'm...

I'm terrible, Mr. Holland. I just
practice 'til my lips swell up.

- Miss Lang, it takes a lot of work...
- I just all I make is noise... I...

- to learn a musical instrument.
- I just...

I just want to be good at something.

My sister's got a ballet
scholarship to go to Juilliard.

And my brother's going to Notre
Dame on a football scholarship.

My mother's won the blue ribbon for
watercolors at the state fair so many times...

they've retired the category.

My father's got the most beautiful voice. He's...

I'm the only one in my family
who's... I... I just can't...

It... it doesn't make any difference anyway. I...

Mr. Holland! Just the man I was looking for.

We're forming a textbook committee
for next year's curriculum.

And I would like to have
your ideas and suggestions.

- We meet next Tuesday night in the library.
- Oh, I'm sorry, Mrs. Jacobs.

- I'm... I'm very busy on Tuesday night.
- Uh-huh.

You know, for a good four or five months
now, I've been watching you, Mr. Holland.

I've never seen a teacher sprint for
the parking lot after last period...

with more speed and
enthusiasm than his students.

perhaps you should be our track coach.

Mrs. Jacobs, I get here on
time every morning, don't I?

I'm doing my job the best I can.

A teacher is two jobs. Fill young
minds with knowledge, yes.

But more important, give
those minds a compass...

so that that knowledge doesn't go to waste.

Now, I don't know what you're doing
with the knowledge, Mr. Holland...

but as a compass you're stuck.

I really hate that woman. And
I hate teaching, Iris. I hate it.

Nobody could teach these children. Nobody.

I don't know what I'm gonna do.

They just sit there staring up at me.

There... there's no there there.

- I've been trying to teach them...
- Listen, you've played a lot of tough houses.

When they didn't listen, did
you quit and go home? Or...

- Wait a minute. Wait a minute.
- keep playing?

Aren't we supposed to be on the same side?

I am. It's just that I...



I'm pregnant.

I wasn't... I wasn't sure if I was.
But I went to the doctor and I...

I am.

We are.


Say something.




I... I don't know. I knew...

- I knew you wouldn't be, but I just...
- Iris.

- Iris, it just took me by surprise. That's all.
- I just hoped you...

Let me tell you a story, okay?

When I was 15 years old, I used to
hang out at a local record store.

And there was this guy
who worked there who...

you know, thought he knew what I liked
and he handed me this album one day,

and it was John Coltrane.

So I took it home, and
I put it on the machine.

And I hated it. I mean, I really hated it.

I just didn't get it.

So I...

played it again.

I played it again, and I played it again.
And then, I just couldn't stop playin' it.

I kept listening to those notes.

And I realized that...

that's what I wanted to do
with the rest of my life.

You know?

Make music.


Tsk. [Sighs]

What am I tryin' to say?

Look, Iris.

Look, you... you tell me that...

we're gonna have a baby.


that's like falling in love with John Coltrane...

all over again.

If that is a lie...

that is the sweetest lie I ever heard.

- [Bell Rings]
- Let's take our seats, please.

Anybody here know the difference
between the Ionian and the Dorian scale?

- GIRL: Uh-yeah.
- Anybody?


I just wanted to confirm the fact that...

I've made absolutely no impact
on you in the last five months.

Mr. Sullivan.


What kind of music do you like to listen to?

- Um...
- Don't be afraid.

Rock and roll.

- What about you?
- Rock and roll.

- You?
- Classical.


[Students Laughing]

Does anybody here like Johann Sebastian Bach?

Other than you.

I'll bet all of you, whether you know it or not...

already like Johann Sebastian Bach.


What's this called?

[Together] "Lover's Concerto."

- Who wrote it?
- The Toys.

Wrong. That was "Minuet in G".

And it was written by Johann Sebastian Bach.

You hear it?

# Bum-bum-bum-bum-bum #

And he wrote it in 1725.

They are both prime examples
of the Ionian scale.

Now, listen, and see if you can
hear the connective tissue...

between what I just played and this.

[Rock and Roll]




And their hands were up in the air
and they were answering questions.

And it was so much fun. It was rowdy,
you know. It was... it was just great.

Hey, hey, hey. Let... what do we think, huh?

And it only took two tries and three hours.

Well, you didn't realize you'd
married such a handy man, did ya?

But now we really don't have any space.



How would you feel if we moved into a house?

- You're kidding.
- No.

But we can't afford that.

If we used our savings account we could
and I taught driver's ed during the summer.

- You were gonna only compose this summer.
- Well, we could make it work.

- That'd mean taking the crib apart again.
- Never. [Laughs]

I'll tear a wall down first.

It's up to you.

- I think we should do it.
- Really!

Play the song you wrote that
made me fall in love with you.

- The song that made you fall in love with me?
- Mm-hmm.

The song that made you... oh! Yes, the song.

- # Give me some men...
- No!

- # who are southearted... #
- No!

- No?
- No. Come on.


- Mr. Holland?
- You're late.

And you left your clarinet here the other day.

Yeah, um, if you know anyone who wants it...

I... I'm giving up the clarinet. I... I'm just...
I'm just goofing everybody else up anyway.

So, um, I just wanted to say thanks.

Thanks for trying.

Is it any fun?

I wanted it to be.

You know what we've been
doing wrong, Miss Lang?

We've been playing the notes on the page.

[Machine Clicks]

Well, what else is there to play?

Well, there's a lot more to
music than notes on a page.

[The Kingsmen: "Louie, Louie"]

These guys, for example.

Now, they can't sing.

And... and they have absolutely
no harmonic sense, and...

they're playing... the same three
chords over and over again.

And I love it.

- Do you?
- Yeah.

[Chuckles] Yeah. Why?

[Record Continues]

I don't know.

Yeah, ya do.

- Because it's fun?
- That's right. Because playing music...

is supposed to be fun.

It's about... heart.

It's about feelings and moving people
and something beautiful in being alive.

And it's not about notes on a page.
I could teach you notes on a page.

I can't teach you that other stuff.

- [Record Continues]
- Do me a favor.

- Pick up your clarinet and play with me.
- Okay.

- And this time no music,
- Oh... what...?

Because you already know it.

It's already in your head and
your fingers and your heart.

You just don't trust yourself to know that.

Okay, here we go. Ready?

One, two, three, four.


- Ah!
- Okay.

Let's do it again, and this time
not so much lip on the mouthpiece.

- Okay.
- One, two, three, four.


- [Note Cracks]
- Oh!

All right. No, no, don't do that.

- Let me ask you a question.
- What?

When you... look in the mirror...

what do you like best about yourself?

My hair.


Well, my father always says
that it reminds him of a sunset.

Play the sunset.

Close your eyes.

- One, two, three, four.
- ##

[Laughing] Don't stop playing.

[Piano Stops, Clarinet Continues]

[Clarinet Continues]



LYNDON JOHNSON: I do not find it easy...

to send the flower of our youth
our finest young men, into battle.

But as long as there are
men who hate and destroy...

- [Helicopter Whirring]
- We must have the courage to resist.

We will stand...

in Vietnam.

Just relax. Try to use one foot.

Try to use one foot!

Try to get two feet off! That's it! Right! Right!

One foot! One foot! That's it!

# Keep on runnin' #

# Keep on hidin' #

Uh, you're goin' a little too fast.

A little too fast. A little too erratically.

A little too erratically.

Just a little to the right... oh!

# Keep on runnin' #

- Okay, what have we learned from this?
- # Runnin' from my arms #

# One fine day I'm gonna be the one #

# To make you understand #

- # Oh, yeah I'm gonna be your man #
- [Classical]


[Horn Honking]

Whoa. That was a... that was a stop sign
you went through back there, Mr. Holland.

- You're definitely speeding, Mr. Holland.
- Yeah.

- [Tires Screeching]
- [Laughing]

[Horn Honking]

I don't think you're just allowed to
just pass on the right like that either.

- [Tires Screeching]
- [Horns Honking]

- Geez!
- [Front Seat Student Gasps]

- This is a one-way street, Mr. Holland.
- Mr. Hosta! Shut up!

[Horns Honking]


[Panting] Um, um, Maternity. Thank you.

[Babies Crying]

[Mouthing Words]



Come meet your son. Coltrane Holland.

- How you doin'?
- Okay.

[Whispering] Look.

- [Cooing]
- Can I?



He's beautiful.

- [Yawning]
- [Laughing]




# I know an old lady who swallowed a fly #

# I don't know why she swallowed that fly #

# Perhaps she'll die #

- # I know an old lady #
- [Chuckling]

# Who swallowed a spider #

# That wiggled and jiggled #

# And tickled inside her #

# She swallowed the spider to catch the fly #

# I don't know why #

- [Laughing]
- # She swallowed that fly #

Perhaps she'll die The kid is a natural.

It must have been all that music you
played at my stomach while I was pregnant.

[Upbeat Jazz]

Ladies and gentlemen, Radio City Music Hall
is proud to present Coltrane Gershwin Holland.


Mr. Holland, it has come to my attention that
you are teaching the students rock and roll.

- Is this a problem?
- "Is this a problem?" Yes, I think so.

Our only job is to teach.

We cannot teach and the students
cannot learn if there is no discipline.

Uh, I'm sorry, uh, what
exactly is your point, Gene?

My point is, rock and roll by its very
nature leads to a breakdown in discipline.

What would you like me to do?
Deny that rock and roll exists?

What I am... what we are saying is that
you should be pushing the classics.

Brahms, Mozart, Stravinsky.

Stravinsky was the music of
the Russian Revolution...

if you want to talk about
a breakdown in discipline.

- You are deliberately exaggerating.
- How about the Kingston Trio, Gene?

- How about Sing Along With Mitch?
- Oh, please!

Just a minute, gentlemen.

Mr. Holland, I do not want to interfere
in the curriculum of any teacher.

But next week I have a
meeting with the school board.

And there are people in this
community who believe...

that rock and roll is a message
sent from the devil himself.

Now when that issue comes
up, what can I tell them?

Mrs. Jacobs, you tell them...

that I am teaching music...

and that I will use anything...

from Beethoven to Billie
Holiday to rock and roll...

if I think it'll help me teach
a student... to love music.


a reasonable answer, Mr. Holland.

I can tell them that.

Was there something else?

Yes, um, have you been to any of the
football games this season, Mr. Holland?

I can't say that I have. No.

Well, Mrs. Jacobs and I feel
that there's something missing.

Touchdowns. [Laughing]

I'm sorry. [Laughing]

What do you know about marching bands?

Pardon me?

Blue, 32! Set, hut!


Get him! Get him down! [Whistle Blows]

COACH MEISTER: That's the way.

- MR. HOLLAND: Hey, hey, hey.
- That's the way to crash down.

Uh, drums and sousaphones.

Come on, line up here.
Sousaphones on either side.

And, baritones, and, and saxes. Here. Third line.

Put your shirttail in! This isn't a dance.
It looks like a party dress. Get it in!

Let's do it a little quicker. You know,
we don't wanna be here 'til it's dark.

Now, we're not... we're not even.

I'd like to make some attempt to, um...

Can you even up here?
Can you, like, even this...

Do you understand what I'm
saying when I say "even up"?

Line up. There you go.

All right, all right. Take care
of even some... next time.

- Get over here!
- All right.

They're over there. You're
over here. What are you doing?

- Sorry, Coach.
- Are you trying to kill me?

Watch my hand, okay?

One, two, three, march.

Left, right, left, right, left, right, left, right.

- Left, right, left, right.
- [Boy Murmuring] This is stupid.

No, no, no. Left, right, left, right.

- Left, right, left, right.
- Hey, John, let 'em take a knee.

No, no, no. We're clumping.
You're clumping up.

No, no, no, people. Spread
out. I want you to spread!

- BOY: He said "spread."
- Spread out. Spread.

And turn. Turn around and keep marching.

Keep marching. Left, right, left,
right. Left, right, left, right. Left...


[Whistle Blowing] Stop! Take a knee.

- [Football Players Laughing]
- All right, start runnin'.

Hats on! And don't stop
'til you hear this whistle.

Glenn. Glenn.

Man, oh, man, oh, man. Oh, man!

I take it you were never in the army.

[Both Laugh]

Now, that's a stupid question.

I was. Man, I marched my keister off.

Well, then, help me out.

Okay. You see this kid up in the stands here?

That's Lou Russ. He was the greatest
halfback this school ever had.

I had to toss him off the team
because of his grades and...

now I'm about to lose him for
wrestling if I don't get 'em up.

Bill, what are we talkin' about? What do
you want me to do? Take his tests for him?

No, but I bet if he played in your band...

I could talk Jacobs into giving
him an academic credit...

and then I'll help ya out here.

- What instrument does he play?
- He doesn't.

He doesn't play anything. [Laughing]

- What? Are you kidding?
- No, he'll fit right in.

Glenn, listen, you get him to play anything...

and I'll get them to march.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm Coach
Meister... your marching buddy.

You know anything at all about music,

- Mr. Russ?
- No, sir, coach.

You don't have to say "sir",
and I'm not a coach.

- So Mr. Holland is just fine.
- Sorry, sir... I mean, Mr. Holland.

Don't apologize. You haven't
done anything yet. Um...

You know how to read music even a little?

- No.
- No.


Well, you do realize that
you're gonna have to learn...

at least some of the fundamentals of music...

- before you can get into the band.
- Listen, Mr. Holland. I'll work hard.

I know how to work hard. I'm
just not a school type of person.


Well, which instrument do
you think you'd like to play?

Well, I was kind of thinkin' like...
How about electric guitar?

Well, this is a marching band.
The extension cord would kill us.

How about the tuba?

Tubas are for fat guys with pimples.

Well, given the time constraints,
how do drums strike you?

A drum!

["The Stars And Stripes Forever"]

[Humming Along]

- You're ahead, Mr. Russ!
- [Beating Out Of Rhythm]

Get on the beat, Mr. Russ.

Bum, ba, bum, ba... whoa, whoa, stop, stop.

Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. What
happened? Where did you go?

I keep losin' my place.

Well, why don't you find it?

Enough of us here already
think that time is a magazine.

And I don't want you confusing
us any further. And by the way...

Mr. Barr...

it is not as they say, considered couth...

to empty your spit valve in the
middle of the performance...

especially not on the foot of the
person sitting next to you. Okay...

Let's, uh... take it again from the top.

One, two, one, two.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Whoa,
whoa, whoa! Stop, stop, stop.

[Bell Rings]

Boy, were you saved by the bell. All right,
same time, same place tomorrow.

Thank you very much.

Mr. Holland, look, I just
want you to know that...

That you're gonna work very
hard. I know, Louis. Thank you.

- Thanks, Mr. Holland.
- You're welcome.

Will you tell me some stories about the
chicks you met when you were on the road?

That was a different time.
I was a very different guy.

- Check.
- [Exhales]

Oh, you must be keepin' something so good
for me because you're always avoiding...

- this line of questioning.
- I'm not avoiding anything.

- I know you are.
- It's just, I lead a very different life now.

I have a beautiful wife, a gorgeous child.
Something you know nothing about. Check.

- I want to have kids someday.
- You ought to find a wife first.

- I don't want kids that badly.
- [Laughs]


[Sighs] All right, all right, all right.

Besides, the kids at school are like my kids.

I wanna smack 'em sometimes, but
mostly I just want to see 'em do good.

So, Lou Russ. He gonna make it?

Is he gonna make it?

- I don't think so.
- Glenn, come on. I need him!

[Chuckles] A kid doesn't wrestle,
it's not the end of the world.

For him, it is. If he doesn't wrestle,
he doesn't have anything else.

It's not about wrestling. I care about the kid.

Bill, how am I supposed to keep a kid in
the band if he can't play an instrument?

You teach him. You're telling me that you
cannot teach a willing kid like Lou Russ...

- to bang a drum or something?
- I tried!

- No, no, you teach him.
- I tried and I can't.

Well, then, you're a lousy teacher.

And I just can't see a chance like this
gettin' away from him if I can stop it.

Look, I was a kid just like him.

And if someone hadn't given me a chance
to excel in the one thing I was good at...

I never would have become the
brilliant gum-chewing coach that I am.


I was kept off the chess team,
and, well, it's ruined my life.


Do it again. Come on.


everything is all right #

# Uptight, outta sight #

# Baby, everything is all right #

# Uptight, outta sight #

# A poor man's son from
across the railroad track #

# Only shirt I own is here on my back #

# But I'm the envy of every single guy #

# Since I'm the apple of my girl's eye #

# When we do our stuff
go downtown for a while #

# Money's goin' my suits aren't in style #

# But it's all right if
my clothes aren't new #

# Out of sight, because my heart is true #

# She says, baby everything is all right #

# Uptight, clean outta sight #

# She's a pearl of a girl I guess
that's what you might say #

# I guess her folks brought her up that way #

# On the right side of the tracks
she was born and raised #

# In a great big old house full of brothers #

# And then she says, baby
everything is all right #

["The Stars And Stripes Forever"]

Da-da-da, da-da-da

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Stop,
stop, stop, stop, stop.

- Mr. Russ.
- [Groans]

Congratulations, you found the beat.

[Applauding, Cheering, Blowing Instruments]

ANNOUNCER: It's a wonderful
day and a terrific parade.

And here comes an original
1937 Dodge school bus.

And there is the princess
of spring, Tammy Monroe.

She is just great.

- Hiya! Here you go.
- Kisses, kisses, kisses to blow all around!

Isn't this a great way to spend a weekend?

Oh, here comes my favorite: The Fort
Vancouver High School Marching Band...

- led by my friend Jim; over 100 instruments.
- [Band Playing, Crowd Cheering]

Don't forget I want you to keep your eyes
on the shoes of the person in front of you.

All right. Have a good time. Ready?

No, no! No, no, no, no, no! Back.

- OFFICIAL: Kennedy High, get in there.
- Back, back, back. Just relax.

- Let's go!
- Just take a deep breath. We're gonna have fun.

- Let's go, Kennedy!
- We're doing the best we can, damn it!

Hold it. Hold it.

Ready? Mr. Benson.

- One, two, three, four!
- [Drums Beating Cadence]

[Whistle Blowing]


[Whistle Blowing]

["Louie, Louie"]

ANNOUNCER: Now we have a real
treat coming down the road:

The John F. Kennedy Marching Band.

- [Cheering]
- And aren't they good!

Their first year in this parade,
led by Glenn Holland.


- [Laughing]
- Hey!

That's my boy! That's my boy!
Hey, Louis! Louis! Louis!

Louis! [Laughs]

- Hey!
- Yeah!

[Fire Truck Horn Blasting]

[Baby Crying]

Iris. Cole.

Was that fun or what?

There's something wrong with Cole.

- What?
- I don't know, but I've...

I've tried different things. Um,
sneaking up behind him and...

banging pots and screaming his
name and stomping on the floor.

He... he turned when I did that. Big smile.

- He thought I was playing a game.
- Iris.

I don't think he can hear.


[Clapping] Cole?

Cole! [Clapping]

Cole? [Clapping]

Cole has a 90% hearing loss.

Now, with training he will learn
to use what hearing he has left.

Treat him as if he's normal. Talk
to him as if he can hear you.

I notice Cole uses gestures to
help himself be understood.

Let me caution you, don't use them back.

Gestures won't help him find
his place in a hearing world.

When he's older, there are schools that
will help him and you to find his voice.

[Beethoven: "Symphony No. 7 In A Major"]

He couldn't hear. Of all people.

Not a thing.

And because Beethoven couldn't hear,
the thought of him conducting...

or let alone composing was...
pathetic to most people.

And so to answer them, he composed
and conducted the "Seventh Symphony".


Just try to imagine...

Beethoven standing on that podium...

holding his baton...

his hands waving gracefully through the air...

and the orchestra in his mind...

is playing perfectly.

And the orchestra in front of him...

trying desperately just to keep up.

[Clicks Tongue] There is a story...

that in order to write his music...

Beethoven literally sawed
the legs off his piano...

so that he could lay the body flat on the ground.

And then...

he would lay down on the
ground next to the piano...

with his ear pressed to the floor.

And he would pound the keys with his fingers...

in order to hear his music through
the vibrations... of the floor.

Mr. Holland? Mr. Holland?

If he couldn't hear, how would
he even know what the notes were?

Like, if he never heard a "C..."

how'd he know that's what he wanted played?


Beethoven wasn't born deaf.

[Helicopter Whirring]

JOHN LENNON: # Imagine there's no heaven #

MARCHERS: We want freedom!

- # It's easy if you try #
- KING: Let us try to feed the hungry.

[King's Speech Continues]

- # No hell below us #
- BOBBY: I want the Democratic Party...

- NASA OFFICIAL: We have liftoff.
- # Above us only sky #

NEIL ARMSTRONG: One small step for man...

# Imagine all the people #

# Livin' for today #

# Ahh #

# Imagine there's no country #

# It isn't hard to do #

# Nothin' to kill or die for #

# And no religion too #

# Imagine all the people #

- # Livin' life in peace #
- [Bach: "Sleepers Wake"]

[Mouthing Words]

[Mouthing Words]

[Music Stops]

GLENN: A private school?

She said it's the best, and it's way
ahead of any other school in the state.

It's probably the most
expensive place in the state.

Yeah, but if it's the best!

I'm just a little worried about where
the money's coming from, that's all.

It's probably a great place, Iris...

- but I... I worry about the money, okay?
- What do you want, honey?

Show me. Show me what you
want. Want a dessert? This?

- [Trying To Speak]
- I don't... I don't know what you want.

- [Whining]
- What? Cole.

- [Whining Continues]
- Dessert? No?

- This? This? I don't know what you want!
- So they were signing, huh?

The school emphasizes it, and she said it's
for parents too. What? What do you want?

- Dr. Sorenson said that gestures meant...
- It's way more than gestures!

That gestures meant that Cole would
never learn how to lip-read or to talk!

He can barely talk now! He
can't say two or three words!

The guy is a specialist, Iris!

Oh, he's a specialist who thinks
that deaf people are retarded...

- and he is not retarded; he's... Cole!
- [Door Banging, Cole Wailing]

- What does he... give him what he wants!
- I don't know what he wants!

I don't understand what he's trying
to tell me! Don't you get it?

You go off to school every day with
all of your children who are normal.

I can't talk to my son!
I don't know what he wants...

or what he thinks or what he feels;
I can't tell him that I love him.

I can't tell him who I am!

I want to talk to my son!

I don't care what it costs; I don't care what
the stupid doctor says is right or wrong!

I want to talk to my son! [Sobbing]

[Sobbing] Oh, Cole. Oh, Cole.

Okay, now we'll talk about what is today.

Can you tell me what's today? Tuesday. Good.

Can you spell it for me? T-U...


TEACHER: Wonderful! Now, can
you tell me what is tomorrow?

WOMAN: We encourage talking and signing
at the same time. And, as you can see...

today, the class is learning the days
of the week and the months of the year.

Would you care to step out for just a moment?

- Wednesday. Great. What is yesterday?
- Shall we?

- GLENN: Can we talk about tuition?
- Yes.

- Is there any chance of government subsidy?
- I'm afraid not.

IRIS: Well, we can handle it.

Uh, so... so how long would it
be before he learns how to sign?

Well, not as long as it'll take the two of you.

You see, children learn
very quickly, but adults...

Well, so much depends on
how much you put into it.

- And... when would we begin?
- Well, our next intensive program...

the one that we gear toward
parents, starts in June.

It's three months, three hours every day.

The most important teacher your
child will ever have is you.

[Bach: "Minuet In G Major"]

So, who was Bach writing all this for?


Mr. Tidd, care to join us?

- Uh, Lurch in the Addams Family?
- [Students Laughing]

[Softly] You're the Lurch, you dipstick.

How 'bout I shut your smart mouth, man?

- Anytime you wanna try.
- GLENN: Tidd!

You take one more step and you'll
think you were born in detention.

Get back to your seat. Stadler.

Sometimes the best way to deal
with a pest is to ignore them.

- [Bell Rings]
- Okay.

Don't forget pages 280 to
314 for tomorrow. Stadler.

- [Students Chattering]
- [Sighs]

- You stoned again, Stadler?
- I don't need to stay straight for this class.

I know this stuff. I can give you
all the names and dates you want.

I know all the scales, the modes,

- counterpoint...
- So what?

The name of this class is Music Appreciation.
I don't see you appreciating anything.

- This is such lame bullshit.
- Sit down.

You are this close from being suspended, pal.

[Stadler Exhales]

You think you are real smart, don't you?

Okay. Prove it.

I want a paper on my desk by the end of term.

I want it to be single-spaced;
I want it to be annotated.

I want the name of this report to be
"Music: The Language of Emotion."

- You can't make me do that.
- Watch me!

This is not extra credit.
You don't do it, you flunk.

This isn't fair, Mr. Holland.

- Life is not fair, pal.
- [Door Opens]

Mr. Holland?


- You can tell Mrs. Jacobs I'll take care of it.
- Okay.

- Am I released yet?
- No.

I want you to meet me here
Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m.

- Why?
- Research.

We are honored and we are
proud that we have known him.

And our lives are forever changed.

Louis's gifts live in each of us.

Let us burn bright his spirit...

his courage, his love.

- Amen.
- ALL: Amen.

"In Flanders fields the poppies blow...

"between the crosses, row on row...

"that mark our place.

"And in the sky, the larks,
still bravely singing, fly...

[Speaking With Difficulty] "Scarce
heard among the guns below."

So, uh, who's the... who's the one, uh...

You know.

Just some kid I taught to bang
a drum, named Louie Russ.

[Poem Continues Nearby]

He made the...

state wrestling finals three years running.

He was never as smart as you are.

He had to work real hard even to graduate.

Maybe that's why it meant so much to him.


Aim. Fire.

- [Gunshot]
- Aim. Fire.


Present... arms.

[Trumpet: "Day Is Done"]

On behalf of the president of the
United States and a grateful nation...

I present this flag in recognition
of your son, Corporal Louis Russ...

for his long and faithful service to his country.

About face. Forward.

You can go home now.

[Exhales] Hi, Glenn.

- You okay?
- Oh, yeah. Yeah, brother.

[Breathes Deeply]

What a waste.

We know too many of these kids.

Come on. Let's get outta here.



- Smile.
- Dad.

Of course, Daisy was also
the former Miss Idaho.

- Is that right?
- Her dress is made of a potato skin. Seriously.

- Will you stop it? It's very nice to meet you.
- This is Glenn.

- It's nice to meet you.
- And this is Iris.

- Hello. Hello, nice to meet you.
- Nice to meet you.

- Cole, say hi. This is Cole.
- And Cole, my son.

- MRS. JACOBS: Hello, everybody.
- ALL: Hi.

- Mr. Holland, a word.
- Mrs. Jacobs, with you, it's never just one word.

- What are your plans for the summer?
- Oh, the usual, I guess.

You know, the Clyde Crashcup School
of Driver's Ed. What about you?

Oh, I'm going to be very busy. Gardens
to plant. Grandchildren to visit.

I'm retiring, Mr. Holland.



I've been promising my
husband for several years now.

It's time.

I have something for you.

A momento, if you will.

[Chuckling, Sighs]

I'm honored.

Mr. Holland...

of all the teachers here at
John F. Kennedy High School...

you're my favorite.

gonna rent myself a house #

# In the shade of the freeway #

# Gonna pack my lunch in the morning #

# And go to work each day #

- # And when the evenin' goes around #
- GLENN: Wait, whoa, whoa!

- # I'll go on home and lay my body down #
- Therefore...

I shall resign the presidency,
effective at noon tomorrow.

# Comes streamin' in I'll
get up and do it again #

# Amen #

The brake, the brake.
You're going the wrong way!

# And the struggle for the legal tender #

# Well, the Sirens sing
and the church bells ring #

- # And the junkman found us #
- GLENN: All right, you're going the wrong way.

You're going the wrong
way! You're going too fast!

# Well, the veterans dream of the fight #

# Fast asleep at the traffic light #

# And the children solemnly wait
for the ice-cream vendor #

# Out into the cool of the evening #

# Strolls the pretender #

# He knows that all his hopes and dreams #

# Begin and end there #

GENE: All right, moving on. People,

- let's get through this.
- But you tell him, you know?

- [Teachers Chattering]
- Now. People, please! If we could move on...

to the next item of the agenda,
which is the senior class play.

- Now...
- Oh, yes, yes. Um, after our critical success...

last year with Romeo and Juliet...

Um... Mr. Holland and I have come up with the
most wonderful idea for this year's production.

Well, we're not doing a full
production. We're going to do a revue.

A George and Ira Gershwin revue...

- with very few costumes, one set...
- Much cheaper than...

I know this is going to bother some of
you, but I think we have to consider...

cutting the senior class
play altogether this year.

- Are you nuts? Yes! You know what?
- People.

- People
- Oddly enough, it's going to bother me!

People, people. Please.

Let's keep in mind why we are here.

We're looking for things which will keep
money in the school coffers, not take it away.

At the expense of what?

I have a responsibility to
the Board of Education...

and there just isn't the money to fund...

- programs like this; not anymore.
- Then what am I doing here?

- I mean, why are we teaching any of this?
- Let's just move on.

This is the kind of thing that's...

- important to me.
- Excuse... excuse me, Gene.

Yes? Bill?

I think I can guarantee that
this year's show will make money.

- I'm listening.
- What if we get some of my football players...

to be the dancers in the show...

and then people will show up in droves
just to see them fall on their asses.

Bill, I don't want to turn this into a farce.

It wouldn't be a farce,
because we would get them...

to be better than the damn
June Taylor Dancers,

and then that'll shock the hell out of everybody.

Who's going to teach the
football players how to dance?

- Me.
- [Teachers Laughing]


I minored in modern dance.

- He minored in modern dance, Gene.
- [Teachers Chuckling]

I did. The coach had us do it...

so we'd be more graceful.

- Glenn, hold my leg. Come on.
- Hmm.

[All Laughing]

# I've got rhythm #

# I've got music #

# I've got my gal, who could
ask for anything more #

# I've got daisies #

# In green pastures #

# I've got my gal, who could
ask for anything more #

[Piano Continues]


- # Old man trouble I don't mind him #
- Smile!

# You won't find him, round my door #

[Talking, Not Singing]
I got rhythm I got music

I got my gal, who could ask for anything more.

# I got daisies #

# In green pastures #

# I got my man, who could
ask for anything more #

# Old man trouble I don't mind him #

# You won't find him round my door #

# I got starlight I got... #

# I got starlight I got sweet dreams #

[Off-key] # I got my gal, who
could ask for anything more #

- # Who could ask for anything more #
- # Who could ask for anything more #

- # Who could ask for anything more #
- Huh?

Thank you. Thank you very much.


- We still don't have an ingenue.
- Don... don't worry.

We still have a few more people to see yet.

All right, Billy Faraday can
pull off the Gershwin...

but the only ingenue we seem
to have so far is ToMarkam.

I really don't think that
ToMarkam... or his parents...

- Or is...
- # I got rhythm I got music #

# I got my man, who could
ask for anything more #

- # I got daisies #
- Maybe it's just me...

- # In green pastures #
- but I think she's better than ToMarkam.

# I got my man, who could
ask for anything more #

# Old man trouble I don't mind him #

# You won't find him round my door #

# I got starlight I got sweet dreams #

# I got my man, who could
ask for anything more #

# Who could ask for anything more #


- Very good. Miss... ?
- Morgan. Rowena Morgan.

Very good. You were very, very good.

Thank you very much.

Hey. How was the science fair?

- You want to go to the what?
- Stars. Cole discovered astronomy tonight.

Whoa. Whoa. Slow down. Slow
down. You're goin' like a rocket.

He wants to be an astronaut.


- Who put that stuff in his head?
- As a matter of fact, his teachers.

- I thought you were going to meet us.
- Well, I wanted to...

but I had to get these orchestrations
finished by the end of the week for the kids.

We're gonna do a Gershwin revue.

It's always something, isn't it? If it
isn't a school play, it's band practice...

or grading papers or some student
committee needs an advisor.

Missing the science fair
isn't the end of the world.

- Maybe you didn't hear me this morning.
- I heard you. I always hear you.

- He wanted you to be there tonight!
- Oh, God. You know, it's really amazing.

No matter what I do, no matter how hard I try...

sooner or later anything I
try turns out being wrong.

Why is every other child more
important to you than your child?

- I'm a teacher, Iris!
- You are his father!

I'm both!

I do one thing: I let him down.

I do another thing: I let the school down.

How the hell am I supposed to
be everything for everybody?

- You have to make priorities.
- I have!

He's my son and I love him. And
I do the best I goddamn can, Ok?

Well, you know what? Your
best isn't good enough.

So go on. Write your music.

[Exhales] Write my music, huh?

Write my music! When do I
have time to write my music?

# Won't you tell him please
to put on some speed #

# Follow my lead #

# Oh, how I need #

# Someone to watch #

# Over me #

That was perfect, darling. Mr. Holland.

- It was good. Can I talk to her for a second?
- Sure.

Let's all take a break for a minute.

- I was trying to sing my best.
- It was fine.

I just want to ask you a question.


What do you think... the
girl's really feeling here?

- I don't know.
- You have to know...

or you can't sing it.

This song is wistful, Miss Morgan.

It's about a woman who is alone
in a very, very cold world...

and all she wants more than anything
is to have someone hold her close...

and to tell her that everything's
gonna be all right.

It's about...

the need for love...

in your gut.


Try it again, from the top.

This time I wanna do it in a lower key.


# There's a saying old #

# Says that love is blind #

# Still we're often told #

# Seek and ye shall find #

# So I'd like to seek a certain lad #

# I've had in mind #

- Here you go.
- CUSTOMER: Thank you.

Okay? All right.

Hi, Mr. Holland.

- Hey, Miss Morgan.
- What are you working on?

[Inhales] Nothing important.

Just... sometimes it's easier
to work here than at home.

- Would you mind if I join you?
- No. Not at all.

Want some coffee... or tea?

- Anything under a buck.
- [Laughs]

There's something I always remembered
about your class, Mr. Holland.

You have this very highly
developed sense of humor.

Thank you.

I loved your class.

The way you taught.

[Exhales] You love music and you
made the kids love it with you.

- I always wanted to tell you that.
- Well. I'm glad you did.

So... you're a senior now. You got any ideas
about where you're gonna go to college yet?

No. My mom and dad have a
little restaurant downtown.

My dad's dream. He wants me
to stay and help him with it.


What do you wanna do?

- What do you mean?
- Well. I mean...

If you had one wish, you know?

If you could do whatever it is that you
really wanted to do, what would it be?


I think I'd rather sing than do anything.

Sometimes I dream about going to
New York and being on the stage...

in front of thousands of people.

That's what I'd wish for.

[Inhales] Maybe I shouldn't
tell you this, Miss Morgan...

but you have... a great talent.

And if you have the passion,
if you have the hunger...

then you ought to go to New York...

and do what you want to do, no
matter what anyone tells you.

Can I get you anything?

No. I should get going.

- See you Monday, Mr. Holland.
- Yeah. I'll see you later.

[Plunks Discordant Notes]

Cole. Cole. Take this stuff outside.

It stinks.

Go open the window for him.

- [Piano Resumes]
- Hey, don't bust my butt.

No, no, no, no!

I don't believe it!

- He didn't do it on purpose.
- Are you kidding me?

Of course he did.

Cole, help clean up.


Wait. Just wait, wait, wait.

I'll... I'll do it myself.

- Help me out here.
- He said he's only trying to help.

Well, he's making a bigger
mess than he already has!

This is off-limits, Cole. Do you understand?

- Don't touch.
- That's "don't sit".

# We may never, never meet again #

- # On the bumpy road to love #
- Don't push.

# Still I'll always always keep #

# The memory of #

# The way you hold your knife #

# The way we danced 'til 3:00 #

# The way you changed my life #

[Chuckles] Where did you go?


- I think we ought to call it quits.
- Oh.

Could we work on "Someone to Watch Over Me"?

- I've been working on it.
- It's pretty late.

Next time, then.

What's this?

Oh, that's what I was
working on the other night.

You wrote this?

Well, I... I pick at it once in a while.

Would you play this for me?

- [Chuckles]
- Please.

La, da, da, da


[Humming Along]


It's wonderful.

Is there more?

Yeah. Yeah.

- It's just not finished.
- [Door Opens]

YOUNG MAN: Ro. Are you done yet?

Are we?

Good night, Rowena.


Who's Rowena?

- Huh?
- Who's Rowena?

Uh... a legend. A heroine from Norse mythology.

I got a book about it somewhere around here.

I was just wondering what you
thought would be a good night...

for Cole and I to come see the show.

- Opening night.
- Yeah! Er, uh, no.

Um, I've got a meeting on
Friday with Cole's teachers.

- Saturday then.
- Yes. [Chuckles]


- [Orchestra]
- [Cheering, Applause]

# I got rhythm I got music #

# I got my gal, who could
ask for anything more #

# I got daisies in green pastures #

# I got my gal, who could
ask for anything more #

# Old man trouble I don't mind him #

- [Calculator Beeping]
- # You won't find him round my door #

# I got starlight I got sweet dreams #

# I got my gal, who could
ask for anything more #

# Who could ask for anything more #

[Duet] # Still I'll always #

# Always keep the memory of #

# The way you hold your knife #

BOY: # The way we danced 'til 3:00 #

# The way you changed my life #

# No, no, they can't take that away from me #

# No, they can't take that away #

# From me #

starlight I got sweet dreams #

# I got my gal, who could
ask for anything more #

# Who could ask #

# For anything #

# Anything more #

[Applause, Cheering]


- Great! [Laughs]
- MAN: Good job!

GLENN: Good night, Sarah.

Mr. Holland.

How was I? The truth.

You were great.

- I owe it all to you.
- [Chuckling] No.


I just accompanied you.

Mr. Holland, I'm doing what you said.

I'm going to New York. I'm gonna be a singer.

[Inhales] You know, someday, we're
all gonna say that we knew you when.

No, you don't understand.

- I'm going tomorrow.
- What?

There's a party at Miss Olmstead's
after we close the play.

I'll be there to sort of say good-bye
to my friends. They don't know...

but the bus leaves from downtown
at midnight; I'll be on it.

Rowena. [Sighs] Oh, Rowena.

You know, when I said that you should go
to New York, I didn't mean right away.

- You have so much time.
- If I wait, I'll never do it.

I'll end up waiting tables or working
in some store. It has to be now.

You could come with me.

I know you think I'm just a kid.

- I know you're married and you have a son.
- Rowena.

I know.

Don't you see? You could
be writing great music.

The bus stops at King's
Drugstore, tomorrow night.

ROWENA: # There's a saying old #

# Says that love is blind #

# Still we're often told
seek and ye shall find #

# So I'm going to seek a certain lad #

# I've had in mind #

# Looking everywhere, haven't found him yet #

# He's the big affair I cannot forget #

# Only man I ever think of with regret #

# I'd like to add his initial to my monogram #

# Tell me where is the
shepherd for this lost lamb #

# There's a somebody I'm longing to see #

# I hope that he turns out to be #

# Someone who'll watch #

# Over me #

# I'm a little lamb who's lost in the wood #

# I know I could #

# Always be good #

# To one who'll watch #

# Over me #

# Although he may not be the man #

# Some girls think of as handsome #

# To my heart #

# He carries the key #

# Won't you tell him please #

# To put on some speed #

# Follow my lead #

# Oh, how I need #

# Someone to watch #

# Over me #


Listen, uh, some of the kids are having a
party, and I really should make an appearance.

Do you wanna come?

Um, I should get Cole home.

Okay, okay. Well, I'm not
gonna be late. All right?


You pack light.

You got a place to stay?

Y. W. C. A.

That's the name of a guy that I used to play
in a band with. I've already called him.

He and his wife are expecting you.

This isn't the way I imagined it.

But it's the best way.

[Bus Approaching]

Good-bye, Rowena.



I love you.

I know.

Tonight John Lennon is dead.

A victim of what police call "a deranged man".

FEMALE NEWSCASTER: The spirit of the
Beatles is dead tonight at the age of 40.

was silence and reverence...

at the appointed hour of 11:00.

But as the crowd continued singing the
Beatles' songs... the songs of John Lennon...

they became happier, vibrant, more spirited.

That was the purpose of John
Lennon's music and his life.

At O'Bryan Square in southwest
Portland, this is Jim Collins reporting.

[Dog Barking]

What happened to your eye?


- Later.
- [Tool Clanks]

In a second!

Someone was... was killed.

No, no, Cole. That's not funny.



The musician.

[Sighs Deeply] You wouldn't understand.

You okay? It's so sad.

[Door Slams]

- [Exhales]
- Cole, what is it?

He wants to what?

He wants to tell you something. He
wants to be sure you understand.

- Couldn't we do this another time?
- Now!

Why do you assume that John Lennon's
death would mean nothing to me?

Do you think I'm stupid?

- I know who John Lennon is...
- I never said that he...

I... I can't read your lips if you don't look at me.

I never said that you were stupid.

You must think so...

if you think I don't know who the
Beatles are or any music at all.

You think I don't care about what
it is that you do or what you love?

You're my father.

I know what music is. You could help
me to know it better, but... no.

You care more about teaching
other people than you do about me.

- [Door Opens, Closes]
- Iris.

[Clears Throat]

What does this mean?

That means "asshole".


Come to bed. It's really late.

I was only tryin'... [Sighs]

Protect him.

I just didn't wanna see him hurt...

or disappointed.


[Engine Revving]

[Revving Continues]

The second, uh, would be, uh, if there are
songs with words, you will need an interpreter.

Someone to sign the words...

- along with the music.
- Okay, so what we can...

- We can do two kinds of listening.
- Right.

The... the first kind would be the...
the pure music without words.

- The music. The music.
- The pure music without words...

that they could experience through
putting themselves closer to the language.

The lights. Maybe lights flashing.

[Beethoven: "Symphony No. 3 In E flat Major"]

[Applause, Whistling]

Ah! Did you like that?



For our final selection tonight, we are
going to do a song by John Lennon.

Now, to those of you in our
audience who cannot hear...

this evening you will be grateful
for your hearing difficulties...

because I am going to sing.

- [Laughing]
- And to those of you who...

have no hearing problems...

my profound apologies.

[Audience Laughing]


[Embarrassed Chuckle] On a personal note...


I would like to dedicate this song...

to my son...



# Close your eyes #

# Have no fear #

# The monster's gone #

# He's on the run #

# And your daddy's here #

# Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful #

# Beautiful boy #

# Before you go to sleep #

# Say a little prayer #

# Every day in every way #

# It's getting better and better #

# Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful #

# Beautiful boy #

# Over the ocean #

# Sailing away #

# I can hardly wait #

# To see you come of age #

# But I guess we both
just have to be patient #

# 'Cause it's a long way to go #

# A hard road to hoe #

# Yes, it's a long way to go #

# But in the meantime #

# Before you cross the street #

# Please take my hand #

# Life is what happens to you #

# While you're busy making other plans #

# Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful #

# Beautiful boy #

# Beautiful, beautiful #

# Beautiful #

# Beautiful Cole #

[Applause, Cheering, Whistling]


# I got a woman #

# Way over town #

# That's good to me #

# Oh, yeah #

# Say, I got a woman #

# Way over town #

# Good to me #

# Oh, yeah #

# She give me money #

# When I'm in need #

# Yeah, she's a kind of #

# Friend indeed #

# I got a woman #

# Way over town #

# That's good to me #

# Oh, yeah #

# She saves her lovin', early in the mornin' #

# Just for me #

# Oh, yeah #

# Oh, she's my baby #

# Oh, don't ya understand #

[Volume Increases] # Yeah, and I'm #

# Her lover man #

# I got a woman #

# Way over town #

# That's good to me #

# Oh, yeah #

- # Oh, don't you know she's all right #
- DE LA SOUL: # Mercy, ah, ah ah, ah #

# Ah, ah, ah #

# Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah #

# Your duck may truck a man rollin' in town #

# How you do, how you do #

# I got the joint that make you jump #

# Because I'm headin' these down, tied
up the merry-go-round and around #

# You know what I'm steppin', skirts playin'
with me 'cause I'm slick like that #

# I'm the greatest I've seen in the world #

[Phone Ringing]

- Hey, Joan. He wants to see me?
- He's with someone.

Oh, well. I'll come back later.

Mr. Holland...

you better wait.

- Mr. Holland, would you come in, please?
- [Door Closes]

What's wrong with Sarah, Gene?

- Please, sit down.
- I'd rather stand, thanks.

Why is Sarah crying, Gene?

All right. I'll come right to the point.

You know how acrimonious the budget meeting
was at the Board of Education meeting...

last Tuesday.

Be that as it may...

each school in the district has been asked...

to submit proposals on ways of reducing
costs by ten percent by September.

This is what I've decided.


[Chuckles] The entire music program.

And art. And drama.

Well, congratulations, Gene.

You've been lookin' for a way
to get rid of me for 30 years...

and they finally gave you an excuse.

You know, I'm not as popular as you.
I'm not anybody's favorite anything.

That's because you're the enemy,

- Gene. You just don't know it.
- But...

I care about these kids just as much as you do.

And if I'm forced to choose between Mozart
and reading and writing and long division...

I choose long division.

Well, I guess you can cut the
arts as much as you want, Gene.

Sooner or later, these kids aren't gonna
have anything to read or write about.

Mr. Holland.

If there's anything I can do.

[Laughs] A recommendation.

I'm 60 years old, Gene. What are you gonna do?
Write me a recommendation for the morgue?

- Jacobs would've fought this.
- She would've lost.

Yes, she would've lost, but
she would have fought this.

And so will I!

No. No. Do not misunderstand me.
I am not talking about my job!

I am talking about the education that
students once got at Kennedy High...

versus the education that you people
are willing to give these kids today.

We have been going over and over this,
Mr. Holland. We've done all we can.

Then, do it again. That's what I used to tell
you when you were my student, Michael...

and it served you pretty well then.

- Well, that was a different time, Mr. Holland.
- I don't think the time...

was that different; I think
that more was expected of us.

- Fifteen seconds.
- I think that the big difference...

is how little you people care.

- And how lazy you've become.
- I resent your tone, Mr. Holland.

And I don't think you have any real
appreciation for our financial problems.

Oh, come on, Michael!

You know the big problem here
is that you people are willing to...

create a generation of children who
will not have the ability to think.

- Or create. Or listen.
- BOARD OFFICIAL: Time, Mr. Holland.

MICHAEL: Mr. Holland, as I've said,
we've done the best that we can.

Your best is not good enough!

"A very flattering offer has
been made to me to teach...

at a university for the deaf in Washington, D. C.

I'm not sure that I'm going to take it...

because I'm fond of the students
in the school that I'm at now.

It's something to think about.

No girlfriends yet... at least not serious ones.

And tell Dad that I'm never
going to give his car back.

Love always, Cole".

[No Audible Dialogue]

BILL: Hey!


What are you doin' here?

You know, I had some jock straps in the
rinse cycle down in the locker room.

- Came to see if you needed any help.
- Nope.

No, no, no.

So you decided what you're gonna do yet?

Too old to start a rock band.

Probably hang out a shingle
and teach a few piano lessons.


- I'd love to retire. I'd...
- I'm not retiring, Bill.

I'm getting dumped.

[Sighs] And I don't think you
have anything to worry about.

The day they cut the football
budget in this state, well, now...

that will be the end of western
civilization as we know it.

[Sighs] I'll tell you the truth.

[Chuckles] I'm scared to death.

They have no idea how much they're
gonna miss you around here.

- You really think so?
- What, do you doubt it?

Well, as a matter of fact, yeah.

It's almost funny. I got dragged into
this gig kicking and screaming...

and now, it's the only thing I want to do, and...


You work your whole life.

You work for 30 years because you think
that what you do makes a difference.

You think it matters to people.

Then you wake up one morning, and
you find out, well, no, you've...

you've made a little error there.

You are...


[Inhales Deeply] Oh, God.

[Chuckles] Oh, I should be laughing.

You sure you don't need any help, huh?

All right.

[Sighs Deeply]

[Door Opens, Car Horn Honking]

[Door Closes]

[Honking Continues]


What are you doing here?

School is out for me too.

The old car. It looks pretty good.

It's a classic. You can't have it back.

[Door Opens]

No, no.

You don't have to do this.

I don't want an old fart
like you to strain yourself.

Okay, okay, asshole.

[Sighs] That's enough, you two.

Let's go out to the car. [Clears Throat]


Now what is that?

Um, I don't know.

What? You can't hear what's
going on in the auditorium?

- Oh, yeah. I... I... I hear it, but...
- Well, there's something going on in there.

- There isn't supposed to be...
- Well, it could be a summer program.

No, the summer programs don't
start for another couple of weeks.

## ["Louie, Louie"]

# Oh, oh, we gotta move now #

[Cheering, Applause]

Mr. Holland!

Mr. Stadler?

I wouldn't have missed it, Mr. Holland.

Hi, Cole.

Uh, I'll sign myself.

Uh, hello. [Clears Throat]

Our master of ceremonies
seems to be a little late...

so I guess it's up to me to begin.

Um, when word first got out that
the music program was cut...

and about the retirement of my husband...

Well, I've never seen such a
response from the community.

Oh, looks like my watch is fast.

Uh, ladies and gentlemen,
may I present our governor...

and Kennedy High School alumnus
the most Honorable Gertrude Lang.

- Gertrude.
- [Chuckles] It's been a long time.


- Thank you so much for coming.
- Oh, thank you.

My... my apologies for my tardiness,
and, uh, Principal Wolters...

I'd like you to know... yes, I
brought a note from my mother.

[Audience Laughing]

Mr. Holland had a profound influence
on my life. On a lot of lives, I know.

And, yet, I get the feeling...

that he considers a great
part of his own life misspent.

Rumor had it, he was always
working on this symphony of his...

and this was going to make him famous, rich.

Probably both.

But Mr. Holland isn't rich...

and he isn't famous...

at least not outside of our little town.

So it might be easy for him
to think himself a failure.

And he would be wrong...

because I think he's achieved a
success far beyond riches and fame.

Look around you.

There is not a life in this room
that you have not touched.

And each one of us is a better
person because of you.

We are your symphony, Mr. Holland.

We are the melodies and the notes of your opus.

- And we are the music of your life.
- [Cheering, Applause]


Mr. Holland, we would now like
to give something back to you.

To you and to your wife...

who, along with you, has waited 30
years for what we are about to hear.

If you will, would you please come
up here and take this baton...

and lead us in the first performance ever...

of "The American Symphony" by Glenn Holland.




# That the love around me #

# Has come #

# From another realm #

# I have lost love #

# I have found love #

# From the moment you were born #

# I could see #

# A new beginning #

# Come to me #

# Let me tell you how #

# How I've lost love #

# And how I've found love #

# In a world of broken dreams #

# I was wrong #

# To deny your feelings #

# And I'm sorry #

# If I've caused you pain #

# I was lost then #

# So confused then #

# I believe that #

# You would change that #

# There are broken hearts we can mend #

# Through the music we've
learned to love again #

# Through the silence #

# Through the years #

# From the moment you were born #

# I have lost you #

# Now I've found you #

# Let me feel your heart #

# Let me hear #

# Your song #


# Little Mondays #

# Trying to embrace #

# Life with my heart #

# By all the beauty I feel and create #

# It spins and moves #

# Flows at my pace #

# Telling its story #

# From the tear running down my face #

# Visions of a sunset #

# Just appear when I close my eyes #

# Takes me closer to heaven #

# When the flute starts to fly #

# And the violin cries #

- # Oh-h-h #
- # That's all I need #

- # Whoa, whoa #
- # In my life #

# It's all I need and no one #

- # Oh, yeah #
- # Can take your place by my side #

# You're all inside of me
Visions of a sunset #

# Just appear when I close my eyelids #

# Takes me closer to heaven #

# When the flute starts to fly #

# And the violin cries #

# I will flee from the sorrow #

# Like the wind blows from the sky #

# Sends me closer to heaven #

# When the flute starts to
fly and the violin cries #

# Oh, oh, oh #