Home Movies 1970s Why Shoot the Teacher?

Why Shoot the Teacher?

Why Shoot the Teacher?, movie, imsge,

99 minutes – Drama, Comedy, The Depression, Small towns,
Language: English
Release date: 1977 (Canada), 1980 (United States)
Production companies: Fraser Films, Lancer Productions
Canadian distribtor:

Set in the winter of 1935 during the Depression, Max Brown (American actor Bud Cort) has just arrived in Willowgreen, Saskatchewan, a rural Canadian prairie town, to take up his first teaching job. From a big city “back east” the young urban man is fresh from college and disregarding everything about making first impressions, he comes off as distant, superior, lonely, and bewildered. His students become rebellious and he quickly realizes he has landed in a far less than ideal situation: the winter is harsher than he’s ever experienced, he’s living in the basement of the school, his wages are paltry…if and when he ever does get paid. He is drawn to Alice Field, the wife of a farmer, in a love that can lead nowhere. But slowly he and his students begin to connect, and it’s a connection that matters and lasts.

Why Shoot the Teacher? was the first of four feature films produced by Fil Fraser as part of a goal to tell western Canadian stories to Canadian audiences. It was produced with the assistance of the Canadian Film Development Corporation. Screenwriter James DeFelice won a 1978 Canadian Film Award for the film’s adapted screenplay. The film also won the Golden Reel Award for highest box-office gross revenues of $1.8 million. Some sources state Why Shoot the Teacher? made more than two million dollars. In its review, the New York Times said, in part, “it very aptly conveys a sense of Depression-era life in a small, impoverished farming community.”

Trivia: Why Shoot the Teacher? was based on the 1965 novel by Saskatchewan-born author Max Braithwaite.
More trivia: Bud Cort began life as Walter Edward Cox.

Why Shoot the Teacher?, movie, poster,



Lawrence T. Hertzog

Executive Producer:

Fil Fraser

Associate Producer:

Mike Cheda


Silvio Narizzano


James DeFelice


Marc Champion


Stan Cole
Max Benedict


Ricky Hyslop

Art Director:

Karen Bromley

Cast: Roles:

Bud Cort
Samantha Eggar
Chris Wiggins
Gary Reineke
John Friesen
Michael J. Reynolds
Kenneth Griffith
Scott Swan
Merrilyn Gann
Norma West
Margery Hill
Joanne McNeal
George Gwin
Doug Blake
Alan Stebbings
Joe Yasinsky
Vernis McCuaig
Richard Davison
Kathie Ball
Jim Devereaux
Phyllis Ellis
Lyman Potts
Dale McGowan
Curtis Peterson
Andrea Paulson
Dale Crowle
Warren Sulatycky
Larissa Maclean
Michael Zwiers
Karen Bernstein
Jody Gaye Scott
Ronald Urban
Cynthia Macdonald
Rick Bremness
Jennifer Hill
Michael Ross
Murray McCune
Cathy Lynn Viste
David Figenshaw

Max Brown
Alice Field
Lyle Bishop
Harris Montgomery
Dave McDougall
Bert Field
Inspector Woods
Dan Trowbridge
Sheila Barnes
Mrs. Bishop
Mrs. Montgomery
Mrs. McDougall
Dance Caller
Percy Garfield
Lester Sinclair
Max’s Father
Max’s Mother
Max’s Brother
Louise Brown (Max’s Sister)
Train Conductor
Rita Danchuk
Radio Announcer (voice)
Jake Stevenson
John Stevenson
Anne McDougall
Myron McDougall
Charlie McDougall
Pearlie Sinclair
Michael Zwiers
Karen Bernstein
Cathy Friesen
Paul Friesen
Mary Field
Bill Field
Summer Littlewood
Alan Littlewood
Bob Sanderson
Betty Bishop
Carl Wells