- Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: The ending.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: The (non-metaphorical) titular opus.
- YMMV: many people found it more So Okay, It's Average, including the reviewers at the A.V. Club.
- Which is perhaps the point — the musicians are his real masterwork.
- In fairness, the complete version (which is on the score album, not the song album) is more impressive than the excerpt heard in the movie.
- Retroactive Recognition: Terrence Howard played Lewis, the gifted athlete who Mr. Holland taught "to bang a drum."
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: On keeping reading and writing but dumping music and art, Holland has this retort:
Holland: Well I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want, Gene. Sooner or later these kids won’t have anything to read or write about.
- Tearjerker: "Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful... Cole."