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This inspirational 1989 film was directed by Peter Weir and starred Robin Williams and Ethan Hawke.

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Dead Poets Society

  • Mar 15, 2011
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I have been watching this in my English class for days now and I can safely say that this is probably the best movie ever made for an English classroom. DPS is also one of the best, if not the best high school movies ever made and one of two movies that I haven't hated Robin Williams in. In fact, I thought that he was terrific in this movie. The young cast are great as well and this is a genuinely touching, inspirational movie.

For those of you who don't know, Dead Poets Society is about seven boys at the ultra-exclusive Welton Academy, 50's prep school. The school prides itself on its dedication to honor and tradition and all that stuff. The seven boys are all in a mutual english class taught by Mr. John Keating (Robin Williams), who's unconventional teaching methods inspire the boys to seize the day and make the most out of life. That also inspires Neil (Robert Sean Leonard), a popular boy much under the thumb of his overbearing father, to reinstate the titular Dead Poets Society (a poetry club that meets in a cave and reads...well...poetry). There are also some subplots, like Knox (Josh Charles) trying to woo a girl who has a boyfriend and Neil wanting to be an actor against his father's wishes. I won't give away the ending or the big twist near the ending, but its damn near perfect.

This film won Best Original Screenplay at the oscars that year, and I can definitely see why because the screenplay is damn amazing. Every word of dialogue spewed from the mouths of the characters is brilliant and this is just a generally perfect movie. I definitely think this would end up in my top 30 favourites of all time, maybe even in the top 20. The film centres often on the power of poetry and the dialogue, including the actual words of poetry spoken, is poetic unto itself. Needless to say, the Oscar was well-deserved.

Now, onto the performances. This was pretty much Robin Williams' only shot at an Oscar and he did get nominated because of his spectacular performance. He did give a genuinely compelling dramatic performance and this is one of two movies that I am not annoyed by him in. However, his performance isn't quite as good as the affecting performances from the young cast.

They are all fantastic, but the two performances of the young actors that really stick out are Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard as Todd and Neil respectively. Todd is the ultra-shy new student that gains his confidence at the end and Neil is the popular intelligent boy who is under the thumb of his overbearing father. They were great, but everyone was fantastic. The only other performance worth mentioning is Kurtwood Smith as Neil's father, who I guess could be considered the antagonist of the movie if the movie had one. All in all, the performances are fantastic.

I don't really have much else to say so I'm going to wrap this up. This is a truly inspirational movie and one of the best high school movies ever made. This is pretty much a perfect movie, there's not much wrong with it. The only thing wrong with it was the occasional narrative lull but brought up by its fantastic cast and fantastic script. If you haven't seen this movie I would definitely suggest you do so because it is great.

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More Dead Poets Society reviews
review by . February 09, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Robin Williams as Professor Keating
From master director Peter Weir (The Year of Living Dangerously and Witness) comes the inspirational film Dead Poets Society. Through Weir's skillful direction the film is imbued with a passionate message about self-expression and discovering your identity, and yet it never comes across as being preachy or pretentious. The screenplay was written by Tom Schulman, who based much of the story upon his own experiences in school. The story is universal, showing how words and ideas can change us and how …
review by . June 11, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
This is one of the most inspiring and saddest movies ever made. Robin Williams stars as John Keating, an inspirational and unconventional English teacher in an atmosphere of strict conformity. The school is one that rigid, simplistic parents send their young men to, and they expect the education to be formal, complete and without deviation from the prescribed path.    Williams arrives at the school and teaches the boys the joy of breaking with the mass lockstep and thinking for themselves. …
review by . March 16, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
`Dead Poets' Society' feels like a classic from start to finish. The movie finds Robin Williams in a break-out role that transcends his earlier, comedic work. Which is not to say he isn't funny at times in this movie; it's just that he's more well-rounded. If we didn't care about the poor lads at Welton Academy, the whole film would fall apart. A boarding school with the highest academic standards, Welton is presented as the epitome of 1950's conformity and convention.    It …
review by . April 05, 2003
Dead Poet's Society is a compelling tale of being true to your calling. The words Carpe Diem ring true as one must indeed seize the day.Robin Williams is mildly amusing but extremely dramatic in his role as a prep school poetry professor. He emphasizes to his students to make the most of their opportunities. To speak out and be heard. Unfortunately the school he works for merely wants to prepare their students to get into the best college possibly without any regard to their feelings. The results …
review by . May 10, 2000
Pros: Wonderful cast - Williams is briliant     Cons: none     Another outstanding performance by Robin Williams as John Keating, English teacher at a Vermont prep school. Previously a student at the school, Keating has returned to become an off beat and not always by the rules teacher.       While a student, he belonged to what became known as the Dead Poets Society, a group of young men that met regularly - initially to discuss literature …
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About this movie


Dead Poets Society is a 1989 drama film starring Robin Williams and directed by Peter Weir. Set at a conservative and aristocratic boys prep school, it tells the story of an English teacher who inspires his students to change their lives of conformity through his teaching of poetry and literature.

The story is set at the fictional Welton Academy in Vermont in the 1950s, and was filmed at St. Andrew's School in Middletown, Delaware. The script, written by Tom Schulman, is based on his life at Montgomery Bell Academy, an all-boys preparatory school in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Movies, Movie, 1980s Movies, Robin Williams, Peter Weir, Dramatic Films


Director: Peter Weir
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: Tom Schulman
DVD Release Date: January 10, 2006
Runtime: 128 minutes
Studio: Touchstone Pictures
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