The Emperor's Club is a 2002 American drama film directed by Michael Hoffman and starring Kevin Kline. 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. Wikipedia
(first lines) Valet: Is everything okay, sir? William Hundert: Fine, thank you. Here. (reaches into his pocket) William Hundert: Let me, uh... Valet: That's not necessary, sir. (walks away) William Hundert: (narrating) As I've gotten older, I realize I'm certain of only two things. Days that begin with rowing on a lake are better than days that do not. Second, a man's character is his fate. And as a student of history, I find this hard to refute. For most of us our stories can be written long before we die. There are exceptions among the great men of history, but they are rare, and I am not one of them. I am a teacher - simply that. I taught for 34 years. One day I stopped teaching. Those were the facts of my life's chronicle. The last chapter had been written. My book was closed.