Film / The Emperors Club

The Emperor's Club is a 2002 film starring Kevin Kline and Emile Hirsch while directed by Michael Hoffman. Based on Ethan Canin's short story "The Palace Thief," the film follows a prep school teacher and his students at a fictional boys' prep school, St. Benedict's Academy, near Washington, D.C. It follows the relationship between a prep school teach and a rebellious student which turns into a power struggle that spans literal decades over a classics trivia competition.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Aesop: It is better to build something than to take something is basically repeated throughout the movie.
  • Broken Pedestal: Happens to Sedgewick's son when he hears his dad boast about being a cheater to Hundert in the bathroom.
  • Cool Teacher / Stern Teacher: William Hundert.
  • Generation Xerox: Sedgewick becomes more or less a carbon copy of his father.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Shutruk-Nakhunte is used an example of a conqueror who built nothing and is now virtually forgotten. The fact he lived almost three thousand years ago is all but ignored.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Hundert removed a promising and good-natured student from his earned spot on trivia team to give it to Segewick in hopes of inspiring him to be a better person. The student, Blythe, is still bothered by it decades latter.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Segewick gives one to Hundert about how he's just a teacher when he's a CEO on the way to becoming a Senator.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: A variation: Sedgewick claims to have turned over a new leaf when he grows up, but Hundert discovers that he's just as much of a dishonest cheater as ever.
  • Serious Business: The "Mister Julius Caesar" competition is this to the students and former students, even to adulthood.