Painfully shy Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke) has been sent to the school where his popular older brother was valedictorian. His room-mate, Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard), although exceedingly bright and popular, is very much under the thumb of his overbearing father (Kurtwood Smith) . The two, along with their other friends, meet Professor Keating (Robin Williams), 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To guide his lead actor Robin Williams, Peter Weir called the character "Robin Keating," as he wanted the scripted character to be "shaded with 15 percent of Williams' own off-the-cuff dialog." See more »
During the convocation scene, the headmaster brags that over 75 percent of the school's graduates went on the "the Ivy League." In 1959, the Ivy League was only a five-year-old football conference. The concept of the Ivy League as a specific group of select academic institutions was still many years into the future at this point. See more »
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.
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