400 Films about Higher Education (or at Least Set on Campuses): 51-100

Cultural Representations of Higher Ed, No. 7

I am working backwards through this list. Here are films 51 to 100.

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.


51. Adam at 6 A.M.: Michael Douglas is a college professor who tries to regain his sense of purpose by working for a summer as a laborer.

52. American Friends: Michael Palin, in a straight dramatic role, is a UK professor in line for a college presidency when he falls in love with a much-younger American.

53. In Custody: an Indian film adaptation of Anita Desai’s novel about a professor’s thwarted attempts to record a great Urdu poet’s recitations of his work.

54. More: a German college student embraces the Paris counterculture of the 1960s.

55. The Rubber Gun: a researcher at a university is distracted by Montreal’s “scene.”

56. Getting Straight: Elliott Gould is a Vietnam vet who returns to graduate school and finds that his values conflict with both written and unwritten university policies.

57. Middle Age Spread: a professor achieves professional success while his personal life goes south.

58. Another Woman: one of the “serious” Woody Allen films, this one about the unexpected consequences of a philosophy professor’s eavesdropping on the sessions in a therapist’s adjoining office.

59. Do You Remember Love: Joanne Woodward is a middle-aged college professor who is stricken with Alzheimer’s.

60. Night into Morning: Ray Milland is a professor who loses his wife and his son and slips into alcoholism.

61. The Gambler: James Caan is a professor who can’t stop betting.

62. Blue Chips: Nick Nolte is a ruthless college basketball coach.

63. Rudy: a predictable but nonetheless moving story about a working-class, under-sized walkon who pursues his dream of playing football for Notre Dame.

64. Saturday’s Hero: John Derek is the son of immigrants who seeks assimilation and success on a football scholarship.

65. The Last Game: a young man is determined to play college football even while taking care of his ailing, disabled father.

66. Saturday’s Millions: a young Robert Young is a poor football star with a rich girlfriend.

67. Foolin’ Around: Gary Busey in an Oklahoma farmboy who heads off to college.

68. The Revolutionary: Jon Voight is a college student who becomes caught up in radical politics.

69. Fandango: college students consider their futures during the Vietnam-era–a better film than one might expect starring Kevin Costner, Judd Nelson, and Sam Robards.

70. A Small Circle of Friends: a somewhat overreaching treatment of the experiences of a small group of college students during the Vietnam era.

71. 1969: Robert Downey, Jr., and Kiefer Sutherland co-star in this sometimes uninspired buddy flick set in the psychedelic era.

72. The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart: a title by and for video-store browsers on

hallucinogenic drugs.

73. The Harrad Experiment: a dramatization of the changing sexual mores on campus.

74. Harrad Summer: the sequel to the “Experiment.”

75. The Activist: a college student becomes pre-occupied with the protests against the Vietnam War.

76. Summertree: Michael Douglas is a student who wants to avoid military service during the Vietnam War.

77. L’Invasion: a professor and his wife have their sensibilities mauled by antagonistic student activists who take over their home.

78. Murder in Mississippi: a made-for-television film dramatizing the murders of three college students promoting civil rights in Mississippi.

79. Heart of Dixie: Ally Sheedy is a young woman at a Southern university who feels compelled to become involved in the civil rights movement.

80. The Pursuit of Happiness: Michael Sarrazin is a politically radical college student who is sentenced to prison for vehicular manslaughter.

81. The Reincarnation of Peter Proud: Michael Sarrazin is a professor who becomes

obsessed with the idea that he came to a bad end in a previous life.

82. The Deadly Tower: Kurt Russell portrays Charles Whitman, who turned the commons at the University of Texas at Austin into a killing field. (Whitman’s autopsy showed that he had a large brain tumor.)

83. Forgotten Prisoners:The Amnesty Files: in this made-for-television film, Ron Silver is a professor who investigates mistreatment of prisoners in Turkey for Amnesty International.

84. Nothing Personal: Donald Sutherland is a professor who files a lawsuit against a company that profits from the slaughter of baby seals.

85. UMC: a melodrama about the professional and personal lives of the staff at a university medical center–the basis for the long-running television series Medical Center.

86. First Steps: a made-for-television film about a bio-engineer who is determined to help a paraplegic student walk before her graduation.

87. Split Image: James Woods is a deprogrammer who tries to rescue a college student from a religious cult.

88. When He’s Not a Stranger: a young woman is the victim of date rape on a college campus.

89. A Reason to Believe: another treatment of the subject of date rape.

90. For Your Love Only: Nastassia Kinski is a college student whose affair with a professor exposes her to blackmail.

91. A Kiss before Dying: a psychopathic college student murders for money.

92. Creator: Peter O’Toole is a professor obsessed with trying to clone his deceased wife.

93. The Changeling: George C. Scott is a college professor who buys a haunted mansion.

94. The Evil Dead: a cult film about college students who confront demons in a remote cabin.

95. Night of the Creeps: a wild homage to B-movies in which college students are the staple victims–in this instance of extraterrestrials who lay eggs in their brains and turn them into zombies.

96. Compulsion: rich college students Leopold and Loeb set out to prove that they can commit the perfect murder.

97. Rope: two pretentious college students commit a thrill killing and then hold a dinner party.

98. Those Were the Days: William Holden is a man looking back fondly on his college years in turn-of-the-century America, when a college man could avoid jail time by romancing the judge’s daughter.

99. Breaking Home Ties: in this film based on a Norman Rockwell painting, a young man leaves home for college and discovers that his family has trouble dealing with his absence.

100. Confidentially Connie: Van Johnson is a poorly paid professor whose family is pressuring him to find another line of work.


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/

The sixth post in this series, covering films ranked 101 to 150 is available at: https://academeblog.org/2013/07/18/400-films-about-higher-education-or-at-least-set-on-campuses-101-150/

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