Maverick teacher John Keating uses poetry to embolden his boarding school students to new heights of self-expression.


Peter Weir


Tom Schulman
791 ( 57)
Top Rated Movies #207 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 19 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Robin Williams ... John Keating
Robert Sean Leonard ... Neil Perry
Ethan Hawke ... Todd Anderson
Josh Charles ... Knox Overstreet
Gale Hansen Gale Hansen ... Charlie Dalton
Dylan Kussman ... Richard Cameron
Allelon Ruggiero ... Steven Meeks
James Waterston ... Gerard Pitts
Norman Lloyd ... Mr. Nolan
Kurtwood Smith ... Mr. Perry
Carla Belver Carla Belver ... Mrs. Perry
Leon Pownall Leon Pownall ... McAllister
George Martin ... Dr. Hager
Joe Aufiery Joe Aufiery ... Chemistry Teacher
Matt Carey Matt Carey ... Hopkins


Painfully shy Todd Anderson has been sent to the school where his popular older brother was valedictorian. His roommate, Neil Perry, 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 does so in his own way, and is changed for life. Written by Liz Jordan <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He was their inspiration. He made their lives extraordinary.


Comedy | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


What attracted Robin Williams to the role of John Keating more than anything else was that John Keating was the type of teacher he, in his school days, always wished he had. See more »


The desk set given to Todd is packaged in shrink-wrap, invented in the 1970s. See more »


John Keating: Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." Don't be resigned to that. Break out!
See more »

Alternate Versions

TV version shown on USA Network (and released on laserdisc) includes 14 minutes of extra footage not included in the original theatrical release. See more »


Spoofed in Muchachada nui: Episode #3.2 (2009) See more »


The Fields of Athenry
Written by Pete St. John
See more »

User Reviews

Make Your Lives Extraordinary

So today is August 12th and news has broken of Robin Williams' untimely death. I just felt compelled to review my favourite movie of his. On a rainy day back in 1980- something, my mother sat my brother, sister and me down and put on the movie, Dead Poets Society. Little did I know what a profound impact that movie, and its characters would have on me. The film is bursting with quotable material, and my siblings and I quote it to this day: O Captain My Captain, Carpe Diem, Seize the Day, and of course, Make Your Lives Extraordinary. It's not until we grow older that we can look back on a teacher like John Keating and see what he really meant to us, the chances he made us take, the way he made us feel alive. I look back now on Robin Williams' performance and see one of the most flawless performances of all time. When you watch the movie, it's hard to think of hammy, manic Robin Williams giving such a nuanced and subtle performance. It's almost as though Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting is who John Keating became. And funny how his most subtle performances may be the ones he's most remembered for. When I heard the news of Robin's death, I was taken back to this film and really felt how integral this movie actually was to my childhood. I think it was the first time my 10 year old self was truly "moved" in the way that adults can be moved by art. All I can say is watch this movie. You won't be sorry.

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English | Latin

Release Date:

9 June 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dead Poets Society See more »


Box Office


$16,400,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$340,456, 4 June 1989

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (laserdisc)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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