Behind Every Great Hero Is A Greater Mentor

Wise, witty and sometimes downright bonkers, mentors pop up in everything from fight movies to fantasy epics.
Here are a handful we can’t help but love!

Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back

Yoda from Star Wars
Source: [Lucasfilm]

The pint-sized Jedi Master is one of film’s most famous mentors (and the weirdest, hanging out in a muddy swamp most of the time). But, as he teaches Luke the ways of The Force, whipping out his lightsaber out when necessary and serving up choice nuggets of wisdom, Yoda proves he’s so much more than just a pointy-eared novelty.

Memorable Yoda quote: “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid

Mr Miyagi from The Karate Kid
Source: [Columbia Pictures]

It sucks being the new kid in town, as young, skinny Daniel (Ralph Macchio) finds when he moves with his mum to a new area. Tormented by the karate school bullies and rescued by Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita), an unassuming karate master, Daniel soon learns – via his mentor’s unorthodox methods – to kick some serious butt.

Memorable Miyagi quote: “Wax on… wax off.”

Jack Donaghy from 30 Rock

Jack Donaghy from 30 Rock
Source: [NBC]

Here’s the thing: much as we adore Tina Fey’s alter ego Liz Lemon, 30 Rock would not be the same without Liz’s unlikely confidante: the unhinged but witty Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin). He had her back, frequently dispensed pithy advice, and helped drive a bizarre but beautiful friendship many of us wish we could have with our boss.

Memorable Jack quote: “It's a symbiotic relationship. I'm a mighty great white shark, Lemon, and you are a remora, clinging to me with your suction cup head. I give you a free ride and in exchange you, uh... eat my parasites.”

Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings

Gandalf The Grey from Lord Of The Rings

When it comes to the wise old man archtype, I think we can all agree Gandalf (Ian McKellen) breaks the mold. The LOTR triology’s bossy wizard pops up when needed, and often disappears at the most inopportune times – possibly to teach Frodo to find his own path. Deep.

Memorable Gandalf quote: “A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.”

Professor Charles Xavier from X Men

Charles Xavier from XMen
Source: [Twentieth Century Fox]

The bald, wheelchair-bound head honcho (Patrick Stewart) of the X Mansion has long provided a safe haven for new, out-of-their-depth mutants, mentoring them until they find their feet and master their powers. He may look deceptively frail, but don’t be fooled. Xavier is a powerful telepath who some say is impossible to kill.

Memorable Xavier quote: “You don't want me inside your head.”

Morpheus from The Matrix

Morpheus from The Matrix

As the keeper of the red and the blue pills and the calm voice of reason for all-over-the-shop Neo, the Matrix trilogy’s famous mentor (Laurence Fishburne) is the one we all look to when things are dire – as they so often are in these movies. And, although he’s irritatingly ambiguous, he’s also very wise. And able to balance pair of sunglasses on his face without any ear hooks, which is super cool.

Memorable Morpheus quote:
“I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.”

Patches O’Houlihan from Dodgeball

Patches O Houlihan from Dodgeball
Source: [Twentieth Century Fox]

He’s the potty-mouthed dodgeball legend (Rip Torn) who gives the Average Joe’s gym members their first lesson in the hope they can save their gym from a corporate franchise at a dodgeball tournament. Admittedly, Patches is a pretty violent mentor, throwing wrenches at the team, forcing them to dodge oncoming cars and tossing insults at them whenever possible. And when he gets squashed by a falling sign mid-movie, he even continues to give advice from beyond the grave.

Memorable Patches quote:
“If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”

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