Movie mentors fill the stories with well chosen words of wisdom and education. They should make us think about what lessons the movies are trying to teach us, and often provide us some great quotes that live with us for many years to come. Let’s check out some great movie mentors.
1. Yoda from Star Wars
Probably the wisest and possibly the cutest of all movie mentors might come in a wrinkly green package and be rather small, but size is no indication of brain power or wisdom. So what if he is a master of incorrect syntax, he’s calm, unassuming and delivers a powerful message. With reversed verbs and articles in his short bursts of speech, Yoda guides Luke through the powers of The Force. Of course, I could also have picked Obi-Wan Kenobi!
2. Professor Charles Xavier from X-Men
As the patriarch of the X-men, young and old, Professor Charles Xavier, played by the most excellent British actor Patrick Stewart (in the originals), is a very wise head. Fighting prejudice against mutants, Xavier is one of those movie mentors with a powerful message – in this case, it doesn’t matter how different anyone is, we can all live together.
3. Gordon Gecko from Wall Street
One of the film gurus that we probably should vilify rather than celebrate, Michael Douglas’s character expounds the theory that money is pretty much the be all and end all of everything. When released in the 1980s, this movie was very much of its time with the rise of yuppy culture and the endless pursuit of profit.
4. Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid (original)
Seriously, who had thought that the line “wax on, wax off” would become one of the most memorable movie lines ever? As purveyors of wisdom on the silver screen, Asian characters have a strong pedigree – the east has a strong philosophical heritage. And, let’s not forget all those martial arts. As well as being one of the top movie mentors, Mr. Miyagi kicks ass!
5. John Keating from Dead Poets Society
Ok, so this film puts people in the camp of either loving it or hating it, but Robin Williams as Professor John Keating, an English teacher in a school for rich boys where conformity is the norm, breaks the mold. Teaching the privileged boys to shake off their upper class chains, strike out and follow their dreams, we are now all so familiar with his catchphrase: carpe diem – seize the day. Robin Williams also plays another of the great movie mentors as Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting.
6. Sister Mary Clarence from Sister Act II
The thing that disappointed me most when drawing up this list is that, although there are some really inspirational and strong female characters, there are really very few female movie mentors. I actually really struggled to find any. (Would love your suggestions please.) Sister Act II may be a piece of frivolity and fluff, but Sister Mary Clarence (Whoopi Goldberg) is a mentor, life coach and inspiration to a bunch of inner city kids who think life presents them no opportunities, and it's all done through the power of music.
7. Professor Dumbledore from Harry Potter
In creating one of the masterpieces of modern literature (and movies), J.K. Rowling gives us in Professor Dumbledore, someone who is incredibly intelligent, wise, and a master of magic. He nurtures, allows space for growth, allows Harry and countless others to find their way, and the foundation of this philosophy is, quite simply, the same as many other mentors in the movies – love.
8. Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings
Sorcerers have been mentors in stories since way back when, so it’s no surprise that any list of movie mentors would be peppered with them. Gandalf (The Grey and The White) is not only a hugely powerful wizard but he is a brilliant strategist and inspires all of those around him. (It would be interesting to compare and contrast Gandalf with Dumbledore and even Merlin.)
Do you agree with my list of movie mentors? Who would you have included? And I’d really love for you to point out some female movie mentors please.