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Dead Poets Society (1989)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  9 June 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 259,435 users   Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 477 user | 94 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

English teacher John Keating inspires his students to discover their love for poetry and seize the day.



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 17 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gale Hansen ...
Carla Belver ...
Leon Pownall ...
George Martin ...
Joe Aufiery ...
Matt Carey ...


Painfully shy Todd Anderson has been sent to the school where his popular older brother was valedictorian. His room-mate, Neil, although exceedingly bright and popular, is very much under the thumb of his overbearing father. The two, along with their other friends, meet Professor Keating, their new English teacher, who tells them of the Dead Poets Society, and encourages them to go against the status quo. Each, in their own way, does this, and are changed for life. Written by Liz Jordan <c9310494@alinga.newcastle.edu.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He was their inspiration. He made their lives extraordinary.


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

9 June 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Club der toten Dichter  »

Box Office


$16,400,000 (estimated)


$95,860,116 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Norman Lloyd was most surprised to discover that he was expected to audition for the film. Initially, he refused. He said that he'd just finished six years of St. Elsewhere (1982) and that the producers should use that. He was told that Peter Weir was on location and had never seen Lloyd's TV series, so Lloyd finally acquiesced. See more »


After Keating instructs the boys to rip out the introduction to their poetry textbook, his lip movements do not match the speech. See more »


Neil: [Neil finds Todd sitting alone on the roof] Hey!
Todd Anderson: Hey.
Neil: What's going on?
Todd Anderson: Nothin'. Today's my birthday.
Neil: Is today your birthday? Happy birthday!
Todd Anderson: Thanks.
Neil: What'd you get?
Todd Anderson: [indicating the desk set lying beside him] My parents gave me this.
Neil: Isn't this the same desk set...
Todd Anderson: Yeah. Yeah, they gave me the same thing as last year.
See more »


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User Reviews

Carpe Diem, because the days don't stand still
4 February 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

First of all, this is movie is my all-time favorite, out of all the hundreds of films I have seen. However, every time I mention this film, I have to answer most people's quizzical looks with "It's a beautiful little 80s film that stayed in the 80s." After seeing it for the 24th time since I first saw it 5 years ago, on my 13th birthday, I can gladly say that this movie went far and beyond the 80s, and the power and inspiration of the message can be felt every day.

Dead Poets Society is a most underrated film by a most underrated director whose inspiring, uplifting and moral tales firmly grounded in reality are not nearly as appreciated as they should be. Here, we see one of his very personal and cradled projects, and he shows the visual style and concentration on characters in which he is so affluent. His control of the camera and the characters are very strong and very smooth. The cinematography is near perfect, with every shot, along with the editing, seamless. Also very compelling are the color-tones in every scene, perfectly matching the mood and events of the scene. Could you say this is art? Absolutely.

Then we have the performances. Robin Williams continues in stride as one who has to-date remained the most touching, heart-wrenching, awe-inspiring comedians with inarguable acting talent (he still remains my most favorite performer on the film screen). His Professor John Keating is a man who embodies every professor who you thought was cool and respectable, every person who taught or enlightened you in something out of the ordinary. In fact - dare I say it? - he teaches something EXTRAORDINARY! We have the tragically underrated Robert Sean Leonard in his role as the free-thinking catalyst student Neil. Why is this man not a household name/Hollywood heavyweight? His roles are always full of inspiration, energy, and tragic emotion that never fail to move an audience. His role in this movie is fresh, unhindered, and never pretentious as the cautionary tale of the movie. And then we have Ethan Hawke in one of his earliest roles as the point-of-view character. The entire supporting cast is very strong, also, providing the foundation and serve as the various emotional ties that further involve us in the story. Josh Charles's role as Knox Overstreet is a role that almost all guys can relate to wholeheartedly. And of course, all the actors who are in that Dead Poets Society do a fine job.

And lastly, the story. I won't summarize it since it's been summarized many times here, but I will say that it is one of the best coming of age stories for not only adolescents, but anyone. I have personally heard from nine-to-fivers who were inspired by this movie to change the situations of their jobs, careers, relationships for the better. I first saw this movie when I was 13, and immediately stamped, crowned and elevated this movie as my all-time favorite. Now that I am 18 and living on my own, with very different concerns than back then, I turn back to this movie over and over again, to find inspiration, solace and of course, entertainment. It is still my all-time favorite, and it still inspires me to seize the day and make my life extraordinary.

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Neil still would have done what he did eventually midwestmoviemaven
Mr. Perry's Unreasonable Demand GrafZeppelin127
Anybody else disturbed by the 'messages' of the film ? calcaylor
Some of you seem to be completely missing the point. illbeoneasystreet
Neil's mother was a TRAITOR! willrogers
I hate it when... patchdyer
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