Dave (1993)


Dave is set in Washington, DC during the early 90’s, where he is impersonating the president of the United States. Dave is in a tough position as he is in a place filled with power and politics and he was never involved in such a thing before. Dave’s impersonation of the president, Mitchell is later exposed and he is faced with a difficult decision. All eyes are on Washington, therefore all eyes are on Dave.


President Mitchel, his look-alike, and the movie’s protagonist differ greatly in terms of personality and characteristic. One is power hungry and the other is a simple citizen from a little town who is trying to get by and enjoy life. The only side of Mitchel that the viewer is introduced to is an evil one. Dave shows great adaptability and charisma when he is thrust into Mitchel’s position.

Dave full of characters that illustrate committed citizenship, lawful involvement, and good behavior in response to the scandals of the president and his former chief of staff. Alan for example, even though was on the wrong-doers’ side, has chosen to remain ethical and in good behavior. The main secret service guard has also been committed to doing the right thing.


Dave finds himself in a position in which he is impersonating the president after president Mitchel suffered a heart attack and pressures from the white house chief of staff, Bob. He was introduced to how the president is supposed to act, talk, behave, and run the country. Bob was expecting Dave to follow blindly but he refused and fired Bob lawfully. Bob accused Dave of scandals Mitchel committed. Dave found a way to get himself out of the mess while Bob was imprisoned and the vice president took the president’s role.

Point of View

The makers of Dave are trying to present the viewer with an ethical dilemma. What do you do if you’re in Dave’s position? They argue that it is acceptable to get creative and find a way to achieve the best for all stakeholders while attempt to get out of the mess.

Leadership Theory

In Dave, we see that Dave attempts to fix what Michel has broken. Dave took responsibility for communication and miscommunication and treated people as individuals and equals, unlike Mitchel. He expressed respect and dignity to people like the secret service guard and even children (Drucker, 1999).

Dave has gone through crucible experience where he was transformed into a more developed and mature personality and identity. Eventually, the experience has molded him to become a very exceptional leader with positive impact (Bennis & Thomas, 2002).

Application to my life

I think Dave teaches us how to switch a shocking experience into something we truly own and can produce positive impact from like Dave did. Dave’s experience transformed the lives of many and fixed relationships and ended corruption in the white house. With his authentic leadership and being true to himself, he was able to win the hearts of many and transform to the better.


Taps 1981

Setting (Context)

Taps was released in 1981 and the movie is set in the Bunker Hill Military academy for boys. The movie is mainly set in the academy and revolves around preserving it from being sold by the board of trustees. The boys of the academy were able to use the resources and the infrastructure to hold up a siege and hold hostages with the use of guns provided by the academy. The setting of the movie has put the characters, mainly the boys in a mind-set that encouraged them to behave in the manner they have.


The most notable characters in Taps are General Bache, Cadet Major Brian, Colonel Kerby, Cadet Captain Alex Dwyer, and Cadet Captain Shawn. Recently-appointed Cadet Major Brian is one of the characters that barely part the screen due to his major role in leading the siege and call to “take back the academy”. Cadet Major Shawn is Brian’s right arm, he helped enforce Brian’s order and cause mayhem in the last scene of the movie. General Bache was the teacher and leader of Bunker Hill. The General’s teaching were a main element in the event build-up

The hierarchy of the characters is one of the most notable elements and it enabled an element of group think among smaller-ranking boys.


The film follows a group of military academy students who decide to take over their school once they hear at the commencement ceremony that the school’s board of trustees has decided to shut it down. The boys are very attached to the academy and are willing to put their lives at risk to keep the academy open.

At a ball in the evening, General Bache accidentally shoots a local kid in an attempt to break up a fight between the academy boys and the locals. General Bache is later announced dead which creates emotional distress in the students.

The boys hold a delegation from the board of trustees and a police man hostage after they toured and inspected the academy. The situation escalates into a complete take over and the police surrounding the premises of the academy. Later on, with a student dead and some that escaped, Major Cadet Brian orders all the other students to surrender but Shawn refuses and opens fire, in an attempt to stop him, Brian is killed.

Point of View

The makers of Taps want to show how the students are dedicated to their academy and its survival. Other characters often depict the students as local terrorists in their attempt to sway their opinion and get them to surrender. They also depict how difficult it is to deal with youth in their peak of teenage years. They can be very determined and stubborn, but the students reflect at it positively and are determined to die for a cause. This determination is later found fragile in some characters due to outside and inside pressures by the police and national guard. The movie excellently argues for and against dedication with extreme measures at the same time.

Leadership Theory

How the academy was and structure was set up helped reinforce its culture and labels for students such as major, cadet put the students in a militaristic mentality that made it easy for them to attempt to rebel. Moreover, the General telling stories of war and legends helped reinforce this culture and inspire Cadet Major Brian at times because he believed that he is doing what his leader, General Bache would want him to do. We see other ways that General Bache is embedding the academy’s culture in Brian by giving him a higher rank and making sure he acknowledge its importance (Schein, 1985).

Cadet Major Brian also shows knowledge in what is expected of him at the academy and how he is supposed to maintain an image and a behavior that progresses his leadership (Buckingham & Coffman, 1999).

The students also showed commitment to the organization as a whole by putting their self-interest behind for the most part of the movie. They are willing to go through uncomfortable experience to accomplish what they believe is best for the academy as a whole (Senge, 1990).

Characters such as Colonel Kerby shows compassion and empathy towards the students. Colonel Kerby clearly understands what it means and what it is like to be a soldier and in a battle field so he attempts to reach out to the students, namely Brian to put some sense into him (Senge, 1990).

Application in Life

One thing that will stay with me from Taps is the level of patience police men and national guard personnel embodied during the standoff in the movie. They created an atmosphere that enabled the students to feel safe enough to back down and surrender. This ability to communicate safety and security is crucial in risky situations and especially the compassion.

Mean Girls (2004)


Mean girls is set in 2004 during the time where HS students started having cellphone and popular kids would host parties at their parents house. The movie brilliantly depict the clash of cultures between Cady and the dominant American culture of HS students.


Our protagonist Cady faces an identity crisis when she tries to get overthrow the reign of Regina, the queen of the plastics. Cady wasn’t very entrenched in the American culture and behavior since she spent most of her life in Africa with her parents therefore she faces some social dilemmas during highschool in the U.S.

Other characters like Janis and Damian, the Highschool principal and the calculus teacher played important roles as well in the movie that changes the course of events.


Teenage Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) was educated in Africa by her scientist parents. When her family moves to the suburbs of Illinois, Cady finally gets to experience public school and gets a quick primer on the cruel, tacit laws of popularity that divide her fellow students into tightly knit cliques. She unwittingly finds herself in the good graces of an elite group of cool students dubbed “the Plastics,” but Cady soon realizes how her shallow group of new friends earned this nickname.(WIKI) 

Leadership Theory

Throughout the beginning of the movie, Janis controlled Cady through expert power given her expertise in the social structure of the school and all the in-and-outs of the social groups. This allowed her to direct Cady.

Aaron Samules, the boy Cady liked, had referent power. He possessed attractiveness in the eyes of the female characters and people would listen to him and want to be around him because they liked him.

The principle had legitimate power stemming from his official position. He expressed that power once the Burn Book was all over the school and chaos was rampant.

Moreover, the calculus teach showed her ability to empower Cady and enable her to apologize for the rumor she started about her teacher. The teacher kept encouraging Cady and helped her understand that there is nothing wrong with admitting to your mistakes.

Finally, we see an embodiment of Milgram experiment. The plastics saw themselves as tools to Regina’s desires and orders and they did not realize what she has turned them into doing. Regina has also done the same to Cady and just her presence with them affected her behavior in the future.

Point of View

The makers of the movie wanted to show the brutal and chaotic nature of social life in highschool while depicting how forgiveness can lead to harmony. The makers drew parallels between the jungle and highschool to show how brutal that social life can be while it looks sophisticated on the surface.

Application to real life

I believe that Cady played the role of the martyr by taking responsibility for the entirety of the burn book. I see that there aren’t many people who are willing to do what Cady did for the sake of restoring peace and harmony. While I know that it takes a great deal of courage to do a similar thing, still that philosophy needs to be fostered more in my life and in the way parents raise their children.

The Poseidon Adventure


The movie depicting a disaster was released in 1972 but only based on a novel not a real-life story. During the 70’s, there was a number of movies about disasters. The Poseidon Adventure won multiple Academy awards and a golden globe.

Characters & Leadership Theory

The disaster film follows a group of ship crash survivors after their cruise ship hit a massive wave on along the cost of the Mediterranean. More than one character in the adventure exhibit leadership and strong sense of initiative. Starting with reverend Scott who leads a group of fellow passengers through the wreckage in an attempt to get to safety and hopefully get rescue. We also witness other side characters who exhibit leadership and initiative such as the little boy and Mrs. Rosen. After most people regained consciousness after the crash, reverend Scott for example never stopped persuading the masses to follow him to safety and showed initiative. He also showed confidence in his beliefs. Mrs. Rosen shows leadership and courage for offering to swim and save reverend Scott when he got stuck under a large piece of wreckage.

Reverend Scott’s leadership was autocratic most of the time with the exception of some instances in which he tried to sell his decisions to others and argue for his confidence in knowing the direction of the engine room (Tannenbaum & Schmidt, 1958). Additionally, Reverend Scott showed achievement-oriented behavior by emphasizing how to reach certain checkpoints along the ship and was extremely angry and understanding when someone couldn’t hurdle through the wreckage (House, 1996). 

Mr. Rosen showed supportive leader behavior by trusting and supporting his wife’s decision to jump in the water and attempt to rescue Reverend Scott (House, 1996).

Moreover, we see some changes in the attitudes, behaviors and methods of other leaders such as the lieutenant detective. He starts to become more willing to compromise and to take a leap of faith for the overall good of the group.



A group of passengers on a recently-crashed ship struggle to find their way to safety. Slowly, the make sacrifices, compromises, and show courage as they battle through the wreckage of their ship as well as all the dangerous obstacles. The group fights not only against nature and the wreck but against each other’s attitudes and behaviors.

Point of View

I believe that it was difficult to capture what the movie makers were attempting to convey through their film, but I notice the pattern of masculine leadership to be prominent throughout the movie with the exception of one or two scenes. Thinking about the 70’s in the US, which is a time of change and adaption, the film makers were attempting to reflect these ideals of leadership and authority.

Leadership Theory in My Life

The movie showed me that I must have a balance between confidence and enough doubt in my decisions. It showed the importance of taking a leap of faith and trusting one’s instinct and memory but at the same time entertaining doubt until one reaches a satisfying conclusion. Moreover, I saw the importance of being relationship-oriented and how that can affect people’s judgement of leaders.

Philadelphia (1993


The movie Philadelphia takes place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and it was released in 1993 but set in the mid 1980’s (according to film-makers). The story-line is set in a time where AIDS has become more identified to the masses but with some confusion. There was little knowledge about its origins but it was mainly associated with homosexuals. In 1987, the FDA approved some medication to treat HIV but it was not until 1990 that the American with Disabilities Act included HIV+ people. Therefore, throughout the movie, we witness homophobia and ignorance surrounding HIV and homosexuality.


Our two main characters in the movie are Andrew and Joe. After working in a case against each other, the two extraordinary lawyers cross paths once more under the bleak circumstances of Andy’s illness with Aids. In their case against Andy’s law firm for wrongful dismissal, both Andy and Joe show leadership. However, Leadership is visible in other characters like Andy’s partner and family as well as Joe’s wife.

For example, we see how Joe’s wife managed to make an impact on an reconsider his initial decision and reaction towards representing Andy (refusal and disgust) when she educated him on some aspects of HIV and homosexuality.

Andy was exhibited consideration for and orientation towards people. In the law firm he worked for, Andy was very friendly and loved by coworkers and he has a good relationship with many of them. We see Andy’s impact on Joe and how the latter transitioned into a more people-oriented type of leader due to his first-hand interaction with Andy. Joe started to support and appreciate Andy as a person, as well as his family with every hardship he’s come across.

Other characters in the story that not much light was shed on are the managing partners of the law firm who exhibited Authority-Compliance type of management. The partners cared a great deal about results and them knowing that Andy has contracted HIV had them worried about work results at their firm.

Point of View

The makers of Philadelphia successfully shared a less held perspective on the issue at hand at the time but showing how people from different perspectives can come to hold a similar position and stand next to each other in solidarity. We mainly notice the scenes that aim to clarify some misconceptions about HIV and homosexuals and Joe, at least initially, was representing these misconceptions. I believe that the creation of this work also intended to spread the news about this ongoing issues at the time to those who did not hear of it.

Brief Synopsis

Andrew Beckett, a gay, HIV positive lawyer, is fired from his law firm in fear that they might contract HIV from him. After Andrew is fired, in a last attempt for peace, he sues his former law firm with the help of a homophobic lawyer, Joe Miller. During the court battle, Miller sees that Beckett is no different than anyone else on the gritty streets of the city of brotherly love, sheds his homophobia and helps Beckett with his case before AIDS overcomes him- IMDb. 

Philadelphia, a masterpiece worthy of watching depicted the least depicted and generated emotions regarding issues of HIV, homosexuality and followed the lives of those who are suffering from others’ prejudice.

Leadership Theory

We notice how Joe shows more signs of Transformational Leadership when he is practicing law and how he promotes intelligence and logic by taking the proper processes and showing extraordinary skills in law. Andy, as well is indicated to be like that when we hear others testimonies about his law practices.

On the other hand, Joe shows team management skills as well as goal emphasis when he is helping Andy practice questions for trial and how he is invested in the results but when he notices Andy is not fully in focus, he decides to let him rest and go home for the night.

Andy’s partner, Legel shows support and servant leadership by standing by Andy’s side in times of hardship and exhibiting care and support at all times and showing up in all court dates and so does Andy’s family.

Leadership Theory Application in My Life

I believe that both Joe and Andy showed great courage throughout the movie. But most importantly, Andy  showed strength, hope, and optimism throughout in spite of his struggle with HIV. I believe that one still needs to have a clear outlook on life as well as an emphasis on goals which is something I need to focus on. I must not let big goals get the best of me in a way that affects my daily life, outlook and interaction with others. To have this balance is a challenge and a goal of mine but Andy exhibited that perfect balance.




Remember the Titans


Remember the Titans takes place in Virginia in 1971. During that time period, there was the famous supreme court ruling in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education to promote integration between white and black Americans. At the time, schools were segregated but inherently unequal, but in the movie desegregation had a significant impact on the focus of the story, the intertwining of Americans in a divided society.


We can observe leadership in many characters of Remember the Titans, but most notably for myself is coach Boone, players like Julius and Bosley, and coach Yoast. All the mentioned characters show either powerful transformation and willingness to be involved. Our main character, Coach Boone, pours his soul and effort into integrating players of both color, eventually unifying them in the struggle they endured together. Coach Boone’s role is extremely vital to all the players, because he did not only coach them football, he coached them how to be at peace and tolerant with others. Coach Yoast was able to demonstrate a great deal of discipline and support for coach Boone. This cohesion and mental strength eventually helped enable peaceful integration.

Point of View

The makers want to deliver a story of perseverance in spite of athletic and societal difficulties on and off the football field. It was difficult for a school to be on the forefront of integration in American due to decades of hostility and intolerance, but it took one man to take a giant leap of faith in order to transform the minds of those who are around him, molding them into more accepting and tolerant people.

Brief Synopsis of the plot

The 2000 production, Remember the Titans is “based on the true story of African-American coach Herman Boone, portrayed by Denzel Washington, and his attempt to integrate the T. C. Williams High School football team in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1971. Will Patton portrays Bill Yoast, Boone’s assistant coach. Real-life athletes Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell are portrayed by Ryan Hurst and Wood Harris, respectively”(Wikipedia).

Leadership Theory

Julius is one of the players in the movie that impressed me the most, especially in one of the last scenes of the movie when all the players are in the locker room and he tries his hard to motivate everyone and say that they will win. He shows responsibility and desire to excel (Stogdill, 1948). Throughout the first part of the movie both coaches Boone and Yoas show personal factors such as sociability and popularity among people in their community (Stogdill, 1948). 

Ryan Gosling’s character, Bosley, shows responsibility as well as participation (Stogdill, 1948) when he offers his defensive position to another player who is obviously better than him resulting in the team winning.  Additionally, coach Boone showed charismatic and instrumental roles as part of his team by demanding respect from all players to teach discipline and pushing them to their limits in the training.

How you might personally apply leadership lesson learned in film

One of the scenes that I left the movie thinking about is the one between Gerry and Julius after the training and both of them coming to the conclusion that attitude and actions are key to transformation and development. Gerry led by action, namely by holding his white teammates accountable for not covering Julius which in turn progressed the team towards unity. This proved to me more and more that leading by action and walking the talk is vital.

Leadership in Glory Road


Glory Road takes place in the city of El-Paso in Texas in 1965 but the movie was released in 2006 and it follows a basketball team headed by coach Haskins. The majority of the scenes in the movie take place in the University of Texas Western and on basketball courts where the university’s team plays against rivals. During the period the movie is sit in, racism is more rampant and public than today.


The main characters are coach Don Haskins and basketball team stars Bobby Jones, David Lattin, Moe, and others of the team. I think we mainly see leadership in Coach Haskins and players like Bobby Jones and Lattin. I believe one main distinction between Coach Haskins and his assistants is how the coach does the right thing while the assistants are supposed to do things right. The coach took most of the heat from his vision of composing a team with a majority of African-American players to play. While his assistants were mainly attempting to put things together for the team and help with the recruitment process.

If we compare the two coaches of the teams that were in the national championship final, a difference is to be noted between both coach’s methods of motivating their players. Coach Haskins for instant say: “Play smart, with big heart” (slightly rephrased), while the rival coach says: “We’re gonna win this game, go out there and make me a prophet”.  While coach Haskins attempts to bring out the inner talent in the players, the rival coach’s choice of words indicate a self-interest in the win, rather than a concern with a more important vision for his team or players, lacking human skill (Katz, 1995).

Characters with less spotlight in the movie show leadership as well. Before the final game, the players who aren’t African-American were able to grasp the coach’s vision of a game for all with starting and playing with an all African-American team.

In other instances, we see a the coach affirming the values of the team and emphasizing the goal when he remind his players of their priorities and what’s at stake with every single practice (Gardner, 1990).

We also see how a change occurred of how the coach’s leadership is viewd on the management-level in the university. The coach was look’ed down upon since he used to coach girls’ basketball team but as soon as he started generating recognition and wins for the university, that has changed and the management was pleased with his actions later on.

Point of View

In Glory Road, we have multiple point of view and insights on individual’s positions during the time of the movie. The makers of Glory Road successfully capture the hardships of the African-Americans caused by racism and how even the coach dealt with similar difficulties because of his decisions. The true-story-based movie shows how the road to success was paved, with a great deal of effort and self-control.

Brief Synopsis of the plot

Glory road follows the story of a basketball team headed by coach Haskins that battles controversy and racism on his path of building a respectable basketball team in El Paso, Texas. The 1965 plot deals with the controversy of a coach heading towards success in the national championship final with an only-African-American team in racism-filled Texas. Despite odds, obstructions, and race-related disturbances, the team makes its way to change the course of American sports to a more racially-inclusive one.

Leadership Theory

In Glory Road, leadership can be found in multiple characters, but mainly in coach Haskins. His ability to transform the team into a strong entity by find the right position for every player illustrate technical skills and experience in procedures of basketball (Katz, 1995).

Coach Haskins shows human skills as a leader through his attempts to understand what his players go through and what they need to make change. His ability to work with others and especially the youth on his team demonstrates all that.

On a conceptual level, coach Haskins was able to grasp the position of the entity he is in charge of leading (his team) and how it relates to the sport as a whole and issues of racial discrimination (Katz, 1995). In one scene with his wife, he exclaims to her that what he is a part of is much more than just a game, but it’s also about the future of many others.

How you might personally apply leadership lesson learned in film

By watching coach Haskins’ methods of recruiting, it showed me how vital it is to think outside the box in order to be ahead and more importantly to have a spot at the table. Additionally, sometimes, it is okay to go to extreme levels to motivate someone, as long as it will not cause negativity.  So, I believe I will definitely try to find better ways to motivate people I work with in the ways that work for them.