From Ferris Bueller To Rushmore, The Best Students In Movies

“In England, at any rate, education provides no effect whatsoever. If it did it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and would probably lead to acts of violence in Grovesnor Square”. Oscar Wilde said that. In 1895. 115 years ago.


It’s probably best not to applaud the small instances of smashing things up this week in the name of literacy, numeracy and the ability to dissect everything from frogs to movies, but to condemn the student protests as “deplorable” because a window was smashed and a bobby’s hat got knocked off seems a little on the reactionary front. Regardless of your standpoint that dick with a fire extinguisher is still a dick.

But let’s not tar all ‘yoot’ below the age of 21 as drug-crazed, morons with no purpose other than to kick off of a bit. Most of them, especially the one’s in movie-land, are pretty bloody wonderful.

Ferris Bueller (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – 1985)
If you’ve lost your faith in the youth of today look no further than Ferris for finding it again. While he doesn’t exactly hit the books at any point during John Hughes classic Ferris is the ultimate student’s student. Not content with staring at the front of the class, open mouthed and bored, the young Bueller’s classroom is out on the streets of Chicago. Next time the student’s protest they should hire a float and sing ‘Twist And Shout’ outside Clegg and Cameron’s house for days on end. Hugely fun, and eventually, one would think, enough to drive them insane.

Student Speak
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t take a look around once in a while, you could miss it” – Ferris Bueller

Max Fischer (Rushmore – 1998)
President of the chess club. Founder of the bee-keepers society. Captain of the fencing and debate teams. Max Fischer is the guy at fresher’s with twenty tables. His main problem is he’s failing at every class. When he puts on full scale productions of everything from Serpico to ‘Nam movies in his spare time you can see why. The rest of his time is spent awaiting a hand job. Ah, those were the days.

Student Speak
“Maybe I’m spending too much of my time starting up clubs and putting on plays. I should probably be trying harder to score chicks” – Max Fischer

Olive Penderghast (Easy A – 2009)
Recent graduate to the alumni of incredibly inspirational mid-pubescents is Olive. Intelligent, funny and completely lost in a sea of high-schoolers who wouldn’t know their San Tzu from their Snooki. If Olive was considering going to the same Uni as you but was worried about tuition fees, pay them for her. Seriously. Even if you only talked to her once, it would be worth every penny.

Student Speak
“That’s the one thing that trumps religion… capitalism.” – Olive Penderghast

Mathilda (Leon -1994)
The wonders of home-school. You don’t need a stuffy classroom and standardised textbooks to learn such life-gems as how “The rifle is the first weapon you learn how to use, because it lets you keep your distance from the client.”

Student Speak
“Can we try with real bullets now?”

Alex/Mick Travis (If…1968/A Clockwork Orange – 1971)
In a list overly-populated with US students it’s time to look for some textbook beaters this side of the Atlantic. In doing so you can’t really neglect Malcolm MacDowell’s interpretations of what it’s like to be young and living in Blighty. This is most probably how Daily Mail readers see every single person with an NUS card.

Student Speak
“There’s no such thing as a wrong war. Violence and revolution are the only pure acts” – Mick Travis

Wait a second. What first started as a nice tribute to on-screen students descended into the praising of violent youngsters. This really was completely unintentional.

So who did we leave out? Lloyd Dobler, Mark Zuckerberg, All of The Breakfast Club… Have your say below.

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