Neil Perry
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Quotes for
Neil Perry (Character)
from Dead Poets Society (1989)

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Dead Poets Society (1989)
Neil Perry: For the first time in my whole life, I know what I wanna do! And for the first time, I'm gonna do it! Whether my father wants me to or not! Carpe diem!

John Keating: Language was developed for one endeavor, and that is... Mr. Anderson? Come on, are you a man or an amoeba?
[Todd stays silent]
John Keating: Mr. Perry?
Neil Perry: To communicate.
John Keating: No! To woo women!

Neil Perry: [quoting Henry David Thoreau] "I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."
Charlie Dalton: I'll second that.
Neil Perry: "To put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived."

Neil Perry: [finds Todd sitting alone on the roof] Hey!
Todd Anderson: Hey.
Neil Perry: What's going on?
Todd Anderson: Nothin'. Today's my birthday.
Neil Perry: Is today your birthday? Happy birthday!
Todd Anderson: Thanks.
Neil Perry: What'd you get?
Todd Anderson: [indicating the desk set lying beside him] My parents gave me this.
Neil Perry: Isn't this the same desk set...
Todd Anderson: Yeah. Yeah, they gave me the same thing as last year.
Neil Perry: Oh.
Todd Anderson: Oh.
Neil Perry: Maybe they thought you needed another one.
Todd Anderson: Maybe they weren't thinking about anything at all. The funny thing is about this is, I-I didn't even like it the first time.
Neil Perry: Todd, I think you're underestimating the value of this desk set.
[picks it up]
Neil Perry: I mean, who would want a football or a baseball or...
Todd Anderson: Or a car.
Neil Perry: Or a car, if they could have a desk set as wonderful as this one? I mean, if-if I were ever going to buy a desk set, twice, I would probably buy this one. Both times! In fact, its shape is... it's rather aerodynamic, isn't it?
[walks to the edge of the roof]
Neil Perry: You can feel it. This desk set wants to fly!
[hands it to Todd]
Neil Perry: Todd? The world's first unmanned flying desk set.
[Todd throws it off the roof - papers fly everywhere and things crash and clatter to the ground]
Neil Perry: Oh my! Well, I wouldn't worry. You'll get another one next year.

Todd Anderson: Keating said that everybody took turns reading and I don't wanna do that.
Neil Perry: Gosh, you really have a problem with that, don't you?
Todd Anderson: N-No, I don't have a problem, Neil. I just... I don't wanna do it, okay?

Neil Perry: So what are you going to do? Charlie?
Charlie Dalton: Dammit, Neil, the name is Nuwanda.

Neil Perry: I just talked to my father. He's making me quit the play at Henley Hall. Acting's everything to me. I- But he doesn't know! He- I can see his point; we're not a rich family, like Charlie's. We- But he's planning the rest of my life for me, and I- He's never asked me what I want!
John Keating: Have you ever told your father what you just told me? About your passion for acting? You ever showed him that?
Neil Perry: I can't.
John Keating: Why not?
Neil Perry: I can't talk to him this way.
John Keating: Then you're acting for him, too. You're playing the part of the dutiful son. Now, I know this sounds impossible, but you have to talk to him. You have to show him who you are, what your heart is!
Neil Perry: I know what he'll say! He'll tell me that acting's a whim and I should forget it. They're counting on me; he'll just tell me to put it out of my mind for my own good.
John Keating: You are not an indentured servant! It's not a whim for you, you prove it to him by your conviction and your passion! You show that to him, and if he still doesn't believe you - well, by then, you'll be out of school and can do anything you want.
Neil Perry: No. What about the play? The show's tomorrow night!
John Keating: Then you have to talk to him before tomorrow night.
Neil Perry: Isn't there an easier way?
John Keating: No.
Neil Perry: [laughs] I'm trapped!
John Keating: No, you're not.

[Neil's father has just driven him home from his performance in "A Midsummer Night's Dream."]
Mr. Perry: We're trying very hard to understand why it is that you insist on defying us. Whatever the reason, we're not gonna let you ruin your life. Tomorrow I'm withdrawing you from Welton and enrolling you in Braighton Military School. You're going to Harvard, and you're gonna be a doctor.
Neil Perry: But, that's ten more years! Father, that's a *lifetime*!
Mr. Perry: Oh, stop it! Don't be so dramatic! You make it sound like a prison term! You don't understand, Neil! You have opportunities that I never even dreamt of, and I am not going to let you waste them!
Neil Perry: I've got to tell you what I feel!
Mrs. Perry: We've been so worried about you!
Mr. Perry: *What*? What? Tell me what you feel! What is it? Is it more of this, this *acting* business? Because you can forget that! What?
Neil Perry: [pauses] Nothing.
Mr. Perry: [pauses] Nothing? Well, then, let's go to bed.

Neil Perry: I was good. I was really good.

Neil Perry: If I don't ask him, at least I won't be disobeying him.

Todd Anderson: [talking about people listening to him] The point is, that there's nothing you can do about it. So you can just butt out. I can take care of myself just fine. All right?
[long pause]
Neil Perry: No.
Todd Anderson: What do you mean 'no'?
Neil Perry: [grinning] No!

Neil Perry: [talking angrily to Todd] You're in the club! Being in the club means being stirred up by things! You look about as stirred up as a cesspool!

Dalton: Gentlemen, what are the Four Pillars?
Dalton, Meeks, Neil, Knox, Todd Anderson: Travesty. Horror. Decadence. Excrement.

Todd Anderson: You want me out? Fine, I'm out.
Neil Perry: No, I want you in, but being in means you have to do something. Not just saying you're in.