400 Films about Higher Education (or at Least Set on Campuses): 101-150

Cultural Representations of Higher Ed, No. 6

I am working backwards through this list. Here are films 101 to 150.

The rankings are my own and in most cases somewhat arbitrary. The descriptions of the films are paraphrases of summaries found in a half-dozen print and online film guides. I compiled the list about a decade ago, and it needs some updating.


101. The Blot: a professor struggles with his poverty and, more specifically, with the fact that his neighbor, a cobbler, has a higher income than he has.

102. Spencer’s Mountain: Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara head a rural family struggling to provide their oldest son with a chance to go to college.

103. The Secret Life of John Chapman: in this made-for-television film, Ralph Waite is a college president who is finds a renewed sense of purpose in unexpected circumstances.

104. The Male Animal: a witty farce in which Henry Fonda is a self-absorbed professor on a crusade to protect the concept of academic freedom who almost loses his wife to her old college sweetheart.

105. The Feminine Touch: Don Ameche and Rosalind Russell star in this comedy of manners about a professor who is only theoretically an expert on jealousy.

106. A Woman of Distinction: Rosalind Russell is a dean, and Ray Milland, a visiting scholar from the UK.

107. The Petty Girl: romance follows for a straightlaced professor after she agrees to pose for an illustrator.

108. The Pilgrim Lady: a staid college professor writes a racy novel under a pseudonym and discovers how hard it is to keep her secret.

109. Lost and Found: George Segal and Glenda Jackson are largely lost in this treatment of a conventional Midwestern professor and his difficult spouse.

110. Tall Story: Anthony Perkins plays a basketball star, and Jane Fonda, a coed infatuated with him.

111. Girl Crazy: a Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney musical set at a college in the Southwest.

112. Pigskin Parade: Judy Garland sings and dances about college football.

113. Good News: a post-war musical extravaganza about campus romance and the build-up to the big game.

114. Charley’s Aunt: Jack Benny vehicle about a college student who disguises himself as a fellow student’s aunt.

115. The Nutty Professor: the original, Jerry Lewis version.

116. The Nutty Professor: the Eddie Murphy re-make.

117. Simon: a bizarre “think tank” sets out to demonstrate that a professor can be convinced that he’s a space alien.

118. A Chump at Oxford: Laurel and Hardy attend Oxford.

119. College: Buster Keaton is a serious student who tries to become a star athlete in order to win a young woman’s heart.

120. Speak Easily: Buster Keaton is a professor who mistakenly believes he has inherited a fortune and gets involved with entertainers and hoodlums.

121. Back to School: Rodney Dangerfield is a successful businessman who goes back to college to convince his son that anyone can succeed in college.

122. Old Man Rhythm: a successful businessman goes to college with his son.

123. The Undergrads: a college student rescues his grandfather from a retirement home, and the old man decides to matriculate.

124. The Absent-Minded Professor: Fred MacMurray is a professor who stumbles upon “flubber,” a material that defies gravity and makes things bounce.

125. The Absent-Minded Professor: Harry Anderson’s re-make.

126. The Guyver: a mediocre college student stumbles across a magical helmet that transforms him into his favorite comic-book action hero.

127. The Gladiator: Joe E. Brown drinks a potion that changes him from a wimp into a big-man-on-campus.

128. It Happens Every Spring: Ray Milland stars as a chemistry professor who accidentally discovers a mixture that makes baseballs curve.

129. The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes: Kurt Russell plays a college student whose brain has been computerized.

130. Now You See Him, Now You Don’t: the sequel to The Computer . . .

131. The Strongest Man in the World: the third film in the series set at the fictional Medfield College.

132. 18 Again: octogenarian George Burns switches bodies with his college-freshman grandson.

133. Desire Diabolique: a woman take a potion that transforms her into her fiance, a professor.

134. The Girl Most Likely To . . .: an ugly coed becomes beautiful and gets back at all the men who have previously rejected or ignored her through plastic surgery–co-written by Joan Rivers.

135. Up in the Cellar: a disturbed college student who loses his scholarship through a clerical error revenges himself against the college president a by seducing his wife, his daughter, and his mistress.

136. Real Genius: a Martha Coolidge-directed comedy in which bright science students prevent their laser research from falling into the wrong hands.

137. Interface: a computer game gets out of hand.

138. Mazes and Monsters: a Dungeons and Dragons game gets out of hand–starring a very young Tom Hanks.

139. Gor: a professor enters into a world run by wizards and warriors.

140. Paper Man: computer hackers devise a credit scam that leads to a series of killings.

141. The Misadventures of Mr. Wilt: a college professor in a bad marriage becomes the chief suspect when his wife disappears–a comedy.

142. Throw Momma from the Train: a creative-writing instructor is drawn by an odd student into a darkly comic bargain to commit murder for each other.

143. How to Be Very, Very Popular: Betty Grable’s final film about two belly dancers who witness a murder and hide out in a coed dormitory.

144. She Loves Me Not: a nightclub entertainer witnesses a Mob hit and hides out at a men’s college.

145. D.O.A.: a creative-writing professor tries to find the source and antidote to his poisoning before it kills him.

146. Man to Man: a 1930s film in which the premise is that a college student is dismissed from college when it is discovered that his father is serving a prison term for murder.

147. The Glass House: in this adaptation of the Truman Capote story, a college professor is imprisoned for manslaughter.

148. Johnny Apollo: a young man’s graduation coincides with his father’s imprisonment for embezzlement.

149. Columbo Goes to College: in this made-for-television film, the persistent detective investigates the murder of a criminology professor.

150. Once the Killing Starts: a professor schemes to get away with murdering his wife.


The first post in this series, covering films ranked 351 to 400 is available at: https://academeblog.org/2013/07/09/400-films-about-higher-education-or-at-least-set-on-campuses-351-400/

The second post in this series, covering films ranked 301-350 is available at: https://academeblog.org/2013/07/10/400-films-about-higher-education-or-at-least-set-on-campuses-301-350/

The third post in this series, covering films ranked 251 to 300 is available at: https://academeblog.org/2013/07/11/400-films-about-higher-education-or-at-least-set-on-campuses-251-300/

The fourth post in this series, covering films ranked 201 to 250 is available at: https://academeblog.org/2013/07/12/400-films-about-higher-education-or-at-least-set-on-campuses-201-250/

The fifth post in this series, covering films ranked 151 to 200 is available at: https://academeblog.org/2013/07/14/400-films-about-higher-education-or-at-least-set-on-campuses-151-200/

7 thoughts on “400 Films about Higher Education (or at Least Set on Campuses): 101-150

  1. The Secret Life of John Chapman was largely inspired by Blue Collar Journal, written by John Coleman as a result of the year sabbatical (1972-73) from his position as President of Haverford College (my alma mater), where among other things he worked in a Legal Seafoods. John was an economist, served as President of The Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve. He said the experience was very much eye-opening for him.

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