Edit
Dead Poets Society (1989) Poster

Goofs

Continuity 

When Todd receives the desk set for his birthday, and Neil and Todd go to throw the desk set off the bridge, the desk set is clearly covered in plastic shrink wrap. However, when the desk set is thrown, papers and pens still go flying everywhere.

Anachronisms 

Many mistakes in the band musical instruments used for 1959. Fiberglass sousaphones, metal drum carriers, tenor drums - all about 20 years too early.
Although set in 1959, the chemistry textbook the students use, "Chemistry: A Modern Course" by Robert Smoot, is copyrighted 1987.
Although the film is set in 1959, the tune played by the lone bagpiper by the lake is "The Fields of Athenry." This tune, though considered a classic Irish folk tune, was only written in 1979.
The desk set given to Todd is packaged in shrink-wrap, invented in the 1970s.
The literature anthology, "Literature: Reading, Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and the Essay", edited by Robert DiYanni, was published by Random House in 1986.
Someone rides a bike through a big flock of Canada geese who all go flying away. In the 1950's, it was very uncommon to see Canada geese - they were under federal protection and extremely scarce.

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

Near the beginning, starlings honk like geese.
After Keating instructs the boys to rip out the introduction to their poetry textbook, his lip movements do not match the speech.

Character error 

The line that Keating refers to from Walt Whitman's poem "Song of Myself" is misquoted. The line actually reads "I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world".
When Neil first learns that Todd Anderson is rooming with him and that Todd's brother went to Wellton. Neil says, 'oh, so you're that Henderson.'
After the welcoming speech, Todd's father refers to the headmaster as "Dr. Nolan". Everyone else throughout the movie calls him "Mr. Nolan".

Continuity 

Snow starts and stops, depending upon the camera shot, when Knox is trying to convince Chris to attend the play with him.
When John Keating has the boys stand on his desk, he gathers his things to leave the room. Behind his desk (waiting to stand on it) are three boys on the left and none on the right. In the next shot of his desk, there are two boys on the left and two boys on the right.
The lipstick marking on Nuwanda's right cheek switches positions between shots as he is talking to the girls in the cave. The dimensions of the original marking change.
While Keating addresses the class for the first time outside their classroom, he reads out Pitts' name to ask him to read out a passage. Pitts raises his right hand, but in the next shot, Pitts is raising his left hand.
At meal time, when Mr. McAllister is talking to Mr. Keating, they are holding a tray. After exchanging them, when the camera does a close shot on Mr. McAllister, he doesn't seem to hold the tray anymore.
At the studying group scene, Neil is wearing glasses. After Knox's arrival, there is no more trace of Neil's glasses.
At the beginning, after the procession arrives where the headmaster is, we can see the two first boys going to sit. Then, when the man holding the candle approaches the pew, we can see them going to sit again.
At the study group that night, the boys are told to leave. Todd, who was supposed to be in his room because he said he didn't want to come, gets up and leaves with them.
When the students are stepping up onto Mr. Keating's desk to get a different view of the room, Pitts goes up twice: once towards the beginning and then later when Mr. Keating tells them that they are to write a poem.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
When Neil is reading from the introduction to the poetry book, and Mr. Keating is drawing the diagram on the board, Cameron starts to copy the diagram down in his notebook. Cameron draws and shades in the boxes on his notes before Mr. Keating ever draws them on the board.
When the students are reading the preface of their English books, Cameron is seen drawing and shading the first graph Mr. Keating draws, before he's drawn it on the board.

Factual errors 

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".
The bagpiper in the first scene takes his pipes out of the case one moment and is seen playing "Scotland The Brave" during the ceremony apparently the next, without any indication any time had gone by. In reality it takes several minutes to tune a full set of pipes to the tonal qualities expected at a graduation (or similar).
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

Keating's impression of Marlon Brando is not an anachronistic reference to The Godfather but to his role as Mark Antony in Julius Caesar.
The school's name is Welton throughout the movie. Various characters call the school "Hell-ton" including the cafeteria's offering of "Hell-ton Hash". It's not a mistake about the name of the school, just boys making fun of their school.

Revealing mistakes 

The first meeting of the Dead Poets Society in the cave is at night but there is light through the hole in the ceiling.

Spoilers 

The goof item below may give away important plot points.

Plot holes 

When the boys are standing up on their desks, making a tribute to Keating, a glimpse of Charlie/Nuwanda as being one of the boys standing up can be seen. However, as pointed out a few scenes earlier, his character was expelled from the school so there isn't any reason why he'd be there at the class. This goof was seen in theaters in 1989 and now can only be found in the earlier video versions and sometimes on cable presentations, but it's no longer present on DVD and Blu-rays.

See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page