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Dead Poets Society More at IMDbPro »

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556 out of 586 people found the following review useful:

A powerful antidote to conformism

10/10
Author: Francisco Huerta (fjhuerta@hotmail.com) from Mexico City
22 August 2001

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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267 out of 298 people found the following review useful:

Carpe Diem, because the days don't stand still

10/10
Author: blissfulmitch from United States
4 February 2005

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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160 out of 198 people found the following review useful:

Poetry on the screen

10/10
Author: chic1224 from Ithaca, NY
28 March 2000

Not only will this movie touch your heart and bring tears, it will inspire you to be a better teacher to others and to follow your dreams no matter what the boundaries may be. It is truly poetry on the screen... a great story and a touching social commentary on humanity and life's greatest challenges. If you haven't seen it yet, rent it now. It has taken my love of poetry to an entirely new level!

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143 out of 190 people found the following review useful:

this movie is the greatest movie, with excellent cinematic techniques.

10/10
Author: Christine Harthcock (jchckid) from Oxnard, CA
19 March 2001

The film Dead Poets Society is a film that explores the idea of "Carpe Diem" (seize the day) from the viewpoint of a classroom of young men at an all boys boarding school. Their teacher Mr. Keating (played by Robin Williams)helps them stretch their minds, and exercise their right to defiant acts of love for life and poetry, rebuttlng society. The director Peter Weir treats you with eye candy by using various camera shots of beautiful scenary, and neat techniques. Weir takes you on a roller coaster that leaves you gripping your seat, enjoying life, and thinking "Carpe Diem" in your own life. There are some very depressing scenes, but they are very artful, and teach you of appreciation for those brave members of society that dare stand up for their beliefs, and rights to wrestling around with life. I thought Ethan Hawke (Todd Anderson) gave a true life twist to the film, Robin Williams (Mr. Keating or also known as Captain my captain) added an element of excitement, and Robert Sean Leonard (Neil Perry)added passion that leaves you mesmerized. I just saw this film in English class, but I immediatly fell in love with it, as I know you will.

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110 out of 136 people found the following review useful:

A masterful tribute to teaching at its best

10/10
Author: roghache from Canada
3 March 2006

Dead Poets Society is, to use a cliché, a cinematic masterpiece. I can watch it over and over, absorbing more nuances of meaning every time. As a former teacher myself (albeit of science), I view it as a tribute to the profession at its best...teaching not merely the subject but also the person, and having a lifelong impact on students' lives.

The setting is Weldon Academy, a very traditional New England boys' prep school in 1959. If I can find one flaw with the movie...and there certainly aren't many...it's the underlying premise that seems to worship free thought and implies that ALL tradition is of necessity undesirable and thus to be avoided. Frankly, compared to modern classrooms which are bastions of free expression, I found the Weldon students' respectful treatment of their teachers rather refreshing. (But perhaps that's just the ex-teacher in me coming out!) Some of Weldon's ideals, generally referred to in mocking tones, are actually qualities to which parents rightfully DO hope their offspring will aspire.

Robin Williams plays Mr. Keating, the English teacher we all wish we'd had. He brings warmth, passion, and an endearing quiet humor to the role as he fosters individualism in a school environment of total conformity, endeavoring to teach these young men both the beauty of the English language and the importance of living life to the full, of "seizing the day". How many of us mentally revolted at the dissection of poetry when we were in school? Many a viewer will both chortle and rejoice when Mr. Keating has his class rip out the methodical, emotionless "Introduction to Poetry" from the time honored Pritchard textbook!

The "Dead Poets Society", and the boys on which Mr. Keating has such a profound impact, include an interesting mix of characters...Neil Perry (the passionate young man at odds with his father's clearly defined expectations for his son's life), Todd Anderson (the classic shy adolescent, through whose eyes we view the unfolding drama), Charlie Dalton (the quintessential rebel), Knox Overstreet (the teen with whom most viewers can identify, deep in the throes of first love), and Richard Cameron (the mindless conformist).

Ethan Hawke gives a moving performance as Todd, the younger brother of a former Weldon valedictorian and my personal favorite, who undergoes a character transformation as the plot unfolds. In a sense, this movie is really Todd's story. As another reviewer has wisely pointed out, his best scenes are sometimes when he has no dialogue at all. Your heart will ache for him. The sub-plot of young Overstreet's romance with a girl from a nearby school may not be brilliant, but it provides some light, entertaining relief from the main drama.

Needless to say, Mr. Keating's unorthodox approach meets with obstacles...from his fellow teachers, from the school's ultra traditional Headmaster, from Neil's overbearing father and the other parents, who are depicted as a conservative, status conscious lot. His encouragement of adolescent individualism leads to dramatic consequences for one student in particular, triggering a dramatic scenario that engulfs most of his classmates. I don't want to give the plot away, but Dead Poets Society has the most powerful ending I've experienced in the cinematic world. I could watch it over and over, and tears would either come to my eyes or virtually stream down my cheeks every time.

It's an intelligent film, both gripping to watch and thought provoking afterward. Engaging plot, memorable characters, meaningful theme, wonderfully done scenes and atmosphere...Dead Poets Society has it all. A special tip of my hat to the cinematography; clearly, it should have won an Oscar for the final scene alone.

This is a must-see movie, especially if you're a high school student who hates English. It might just change your view of the subject, even if your actual teacher doesn't quite measure up to Mr. Keating. And for everyone...not only "Carpe Diem", but a certain phrase from a Walt Whitman poem will take on incredible meaning and be remembered forever.

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126 out of 171 people found the following review useful:

Pure excellence...

10/10
Author: natalia1818 from Warsaw, Poland
31 December 2004

I watched this movie today for about 15-th time. I'm never bored with it. A few hours ago I felt lonely and depressed.I decided to watch it without the scenes that evoke sadness.And even though I watched it so many times before I found it restorative and heart lifting. There are many good films.Also there are probably many better than this one;cause it's not flawless. But if you believe that a movie can change your life, I have no doubts that this one can influence you as no other. If you have not watched it yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Go to the video rentals and buy it.Yes, don't rent it but buy it.It's a movie that you will watch many times.Perhaps it will even save you..As it had saved me..

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94 out of 111 people found the following review useful:

Excellent

10/10
Author: ijtfalcon from Richland, Washington
20 January 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have no need to summarize this movie seeing as how most people tend to do that anyway so, therefore, any addition of such would simply be frivilous. However, I am somewhat disappointed to see how people tend to misinterprate this film by proclaiming that the movie's message of carpe deium is derailed by the fact that those who apply it end up losing. This could not be further from the truth. In the beginning, when the young men are first introduced to this idea of sucking the marrow out of life it is applied by the students when its results prove to be fun and joyous. The point really driven home by the movie though is to stand up for one's beliefs throughout all of life no matter how hard it may prove. Now, while the character of Neil, does try to do what he feels he must without regard to his father, in the end, he doesn't stand up at all, but simply accepts his father's authority. Some may not like it but his story serves to prove just how important it is to stand one's ground no matter how hard it may be. It's not only his character, but in fact every character in the film that does not fully understand Mr. Keating's message until the very end by finally doing what they feel is right now matter how much the opposing forces deny this basic truth.

I urge everyone to give this movie a chance and to see it for what it really is. It may just change your life.

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93 out of 125 people found the following review useful:

extraordinary

10/10
Author: kbmoshea from NFLD
17 June 2001

Dead Poets Society is a thoroughly moving, and inspiring film from Peter Weir, who is definitely one of the most under rated directors around. This movie is in the same vein as "A Separate Peace", in the sense of setting, and in the general coming of age story line. The basic message is to "suck the marrow out of life", as the passage for the society reads, or to live every moment to the fullest. It is inspiring and uplifting for the first hour and 15 minutes or so, before changing stride altogether to a somewhat depressing but remarkable conclusion. This is a must see.

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75 out of 95 people found the following review useful:

A terrific film

Author: pompaj from new york
17 July 2000

There's so much good about this movie. The first time I saw it I watched it solely for plot and I loved it. Now I've seen it again and watched Peter Weir's filming and timing which is also great. Robin Williams is a terrific actor when he's serious. He proved it in Good Will Hunting but he proved it first here. If you liked that movie and your liking it had something to do with Williams than you will like this one. The plot is about a number of students who are taught by Williams about life. They are taught how to enjoy themselves. This ends up causing great controversy among the heads of the school. The students are terrific and even the dialogue is great. This is a movie that I can't imagine anyone not liking. It is good in every way.

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35 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Seize the Day- One of the Greatest Movies Ever!

10/10
Author: fred-kolb from USA
17 November 2008

Dead Poets Scoiety. I suppose if you were in High School sometime between 1990-2008, one of your teachers thought I'd be a good idea to watch this movie and I still remember my reaction and the ones of our fellow classmates: Yeah, probably a boring movie that will try to make the school look better and encourage us to do our homework and study for our tests. I couldn't have been more wrong. This movie definitely changed my way of thinking to a certain extent and there are very few films who have moved and touched me like this one.

The movie plays in 1959 and centers around a private academy somewhere in New England. The curriculum is extremely difficult and the teachers have no humor and are very strict. The new English teacher though, Mr John Keating (Robin Williams), who graduated from the very same school, uses unorthodox, but quite effective methods to teach the students about literature, and poetry. During their first lesson, he tells them that they can either call him Mr. Keating or "Oh Captain, my Captain", based on a quote by Walt Whitman. He encourages them to come out of themselves, use their energy to make their lives worth living and beautiful - Carpe Diem, Seize the Day! The plot also centers around two students: Neil (Robert Sean Leonard), who is funny and popular, but fails to gain his fathers pride, because of his wish to become an actor, and Todd (Ethan Hawke), who is very shy and unsure of himself, and is inspired by Keating to use his imagination and eventually we find out that he is very talented when it comes to poetry. After they find out about a club Keating was a member of while he was a student, the Dead Poets Society, which was forbidden by the school, they decide to reestablish it, what ultimately gets them into a lot of trouble.

There are several key factors, that make this movie as brilliant as it is. First of all there is the acting. Robin Williams, who I really like as a Comedian, really proves that he is a great actor, who can get deep into a character and play him with such passion and energy that you will forget he's an actor. Keating, whose teaching methods are indeed unusual and will probably make you laugh a couple of times, is a very interesting role, the teacher we all would have wanted, but not because he doesn't give homework or makes up very easy, open-book tests. No, because Keating shows us that we have to come out of ourselves, make the best of our lives and especially that there is a poet in everyone of us. Then there is the terribly under-appreciated Robert Sean Leonard, who also gives a very moving performance as a student, who is kept back by his father, and therefore fails to make his dreams come true. In my opinion he is very underused as an actor, and should have gotten a lot more leading roles. As for Ethan Hawke, he definitely was the best choice for the character he plays. We can literally feel his fear and shyness when he stands in front of the class and gets no word out, because he's so embarrassed.

Peter Weir, who is probably most known for his recent movie "Master and Commander" shows what a great director he is with this film and it definitely deserved the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and the nominations for Best Picture, Director and Leading Actor for Robin Williams.

Some of you may have heard about Roger Ebert absolutely negative review of this movie and that "he wanted to throw up at the end of the film". I can understand why people might not like the ending (I won't put any spoilers), but I think it just adds to the the beauty and drama of this film, a film that should definitely be on the IMDb Top 250 Movies. This is a movie, you must have seen!!

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