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Mr. Holland's Opus is a 1995 American drama film directed by Stephen Herek, produced by Ted Field, Robert W. Cort, and Michael Nolin, and written by Patrick Sheane Duncan.[2] The film stars Richard Dreyfuss in the title role of Glenn Holland, a high-school music teacher who aspires to write his own composition. The cast also includes Glenne Headly, Olympia Dukakis, William H. Macy, and Jay Thomas.

Mr. Holland's Opus
Mr Hollands Opus.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Stephen Herek
Produced by Ted Field
Robert W. Cort
Michael Nolin
Patrick Sheane Duncan
Written by Patrick Sheane Duncan
Starring
Music by Michael Kamen
Cinematography Oliver Wood
Edited by Trudy Ship
Production
company
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • December 29, 1995 (1995-12-29)
Running time
143 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $31 million[1]
Box office $106,269,971

The film was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay. Richard Dreyfuss also received nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama and the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in the film.

Contents

PlotEdit

In Portland, Oregon in 1965, Glenn Holland is a talented musician and composer who has been relatively successful in the exhausting life of a professional musical performer. However, in an attempt to enjoy more free time with his young wife, Iris, and to enable him to compose a piece of orchestral music, the 30-year-old Holland accepts a teaching position at John F. Kennedy High School.

Unfortunately for Holland, he is soon forced to realize that his position as a music teacher makes him a marginalized figure in the faculty's hierarchy. Many of his colleagues, and some in Kennedy High's administration, including the school's vice principal Gene Wolters, resent Holland and question the value and importance of music education given the school's strained budget. However, he quickly begins to win many of his colleagues over. Holland finds success using rock and roll as a way to make classical music more accessible to his students.

Holland's lack of quality time with Iris becomes problematic when their son, Cole, is found to be deaf. Holland reacts with hostility to the news that he can never teach the joys of music to his own child. Iris willingly learns American Sign Language to communicate with her son, but Holland resists. This causes further estrangement within his family.

As the years progress, Holland grows closer to his students at Kennedy High and more distant from his own son. He addresses a series of challenges created by people who are either hesitant or hostile towards the concept of musical excellence within the walls of the average American high school. He inspires numerous students, but never has private time for himself or his family, delaying the composition of his own orchestral composition. Eventually, he reaches an age when it is too late to realistically find financial backing or ever have it performed.

In 1995, the adversaries of the Kennedy High music program win a decisive institutional victory. Wolters, now promoted to principal, works with the board of education to eliminate funding for music along with other fine arts programs, thus leading to Holland's early retirement. Holland realizes that his career in music is likely over, thinking that his former students have mostly forgotten him and is dejected at his failure to ever have his composition, which he views as his life's work, performed.

On his final day as a teacher, Holland enters the school auditorium, where his professional life is surprisingly redeemed. Hearing that their beloved teacher is retiring, hundreds of his former students have secretly returned to the school to celebrate his life.

Holland's orchestral piece, never before heard in public, has been put before the musicians by his wife and son. One of his most musically challenged students, Gertrude Lang, who has become Governor of Oregon, sits in with her clarinet. Gertrude and the other alumni request their former teacher serve as their conductor for the premiere performance of Mr. Holland's Opus ("The American Symphony"). A proud Iris and Cole look on, appreciating the affection and respect that Holland receives.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

The movie was written by Patrick Sheane Duncan, directed by Stephen Herek, and was filmed in and around Portland, Oregon, with many exterior and interior scenes taking place at Ulysses S. Grant High School.[3]

Archive footageEdit

Archive footage seen in the film includes:

MusicEdit

The film features an orchestral score by Michael Kamen and many pieces of classical music. Kamen also wrote An American Symphony ("Mr. Holland's Opus"), the work on which Mr. Holland is shown working throughout the movie. Kamen's arrangement won the 1997 Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement.

Soundtrack releasesEdit

Two soundtrack albums were released for this film in January 1996. One is the original motion picture score, and includes all of the original music written for the film by Michael Kamen. The second album is a collection of popular music featured in the film:

  1. "Visions of a Sunset" – Shawn Stockman (of Boyz II Men)
  2. "1-2-3" – Len Barry
  3. "A Lover's Concerto" – The Toys
  4. "Keep On Running" – Spencer Davis Group
  5. "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" – Stevie Wonder
  6. "Imagine" – John Lennon
  7. "The Pretender" – Jackson Browne
  8. "Someone to Watch Over Me" – Julia Fordham
  9. "I Got a Woman" – Ray Charles
  10. "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" – John Lennon
  11. "Cole's Song" – Julian Lennon and Tim Renwick
  12. An American Symphony ("Mr. Holland's Opus") – London Metropolitan Orchestra and Michael Kamen

ReceptionEdit

Box officeEdit

In the United States, gross domestic takings totaled US$82,569,971. International takings are estimated at US$23,700,000, for a gross worldwide takings of $106,269,971.[4] Rental totals reached $36,550,000 in the US. Although the film is included among 1995 box-office releases (it ranks as the 14th-most successful film of that year), it was only released in a few theatres in New York and Los Angeles on December 29, 1995, because Disney felt, accurately, that Richard Dreyfuss' performance had a good chance of getting an Oscar nomination if it beat that year's in-theatre deadline.

CriticalEdit

Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 74% Fresh rating.[5] CinemaScore reported that audiences gave the film a rare "A+" grade. Writer Patrick Sheane Duncan was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay at the 53rd Golden Globe Awards. Dreyfuss was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama.

AccoladesEdit

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

The Mr. Holland's Opus FoundationEdit

Inspired by the motion picture, its composer, Michael Kamen, founded The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation in 1996 as his commitment to the future of music education.[7]

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit