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Dead Poets Society (1989)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  9 June 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 256,121 users   Metascore: 79/100
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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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He was their inspiration. He made their lives extraordinary.




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?


The 10th biggest grossing film of the year at the US box office, and the fifth highest overseas. It surpassed two other blockbuster Disney releases Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) and The Little Mermaid (1989). See more »


The Thoreau quote read at the beginning of each meeting is incorrect. In fact, if you look very closely, in the scene where Neil opens the book that Mr. Keating had placed on his desk, you can see three dots after some lines, indicating that the sentences had been taken out of context. However, it is indeed "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately", and not, as quoted in the film, "wanted". See more »


Neil: [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!
See more »


Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-Flat Major, Op. 73 'Emperor'
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performed by Wilhelm Kempff with Berliner Philharmoniker (as The Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra)
Conducted by Ferdinand Leitner
Courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon GmbH
A Division of PolyGram Classics
See more »

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User Reviews

A powerful antidote to conformism
22 August 2001 | by (Mexico City) – See all my reviews

There are certain films that get under your skin, never to come out. They change your life, subtly altering your perceptions of reality, almost always for the better.

Dead Poets Society is one of those few films.

I saw the movie back when I was in High School. I had a teacher who told us that we really needed to watch it; in fact, it was our "homework" for the day. We didn't need to bring back a report, or talk about it in class. All he asked from us was to watch it, make up our own mind about it, and that was it. As you can imagine, many friends of mine didn't watch it at all; I did. And yes, I feel I changed a bit from there on.

Back when you are young, you never really stop to think what in the world you are doing with your life. You simply live for the day, hope your grades will be enough to pass, and that's it. Long term thinking involves maybe flirting with a girl. Nothing more. What this film showed me was that we have the responsability and the joy of being alive in this planet. That we are dust, and we will go back to it, so we have precious little time to make a difference. That we have a moral obligation to "seize the day, and make our lives extraordinary" (my favorite quote in all movie history). That the world, basically is ours. That the only limitations are within ourselves, and that we owe it to us to fight, to rebel against conformity, to change what we hate and keep what we love. That living in this world is a beautiful responsability, and that only cowards dare not to change it for the better.

The fact that the cast was basically my age, and was passing through the same dilemmas and situations I was facing made it all so much more powerful.

So here I sit, 12 years from that day. I still don't think I have seized the day completely. But I keep on trying; I always will. I wonder how many people were transformed by this gem of a movie; I hope many.

10 out of 10. A definitive masterpiece.

500 of 527 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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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
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