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

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The tragedy of the rigorous and mindless enforcement of conformity

  • Jun 11, 2008
Rating:
+5
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. A group re-forms the Dead Poets Society, where they sneak out of their dorm rooms and meet in an Indian cave and read classical poetry. It is a club like those formed by young men since they first existed, a chance for them to rebel against their restrictions and branch out into new and forbidden areas.
However, when one of the boys chooses to act in violation of his father's edicts, the father responds with an ultimatum. When the boy chooses suicide over giving up acting, a scapegoat must be found and Keating is the "logical" choice. The boys are forced to sign statements blaming Keating for the death of their friend, with some being completely shameless about it. In a touching scene at the end, the most rebellious of the boys stands on his desk and says to Keating, "Oh Captain! My Captain!", from a poem of the same name penned by Walt Whitman and dedicated to the memory of the assassinated Abraham Lincoln. Others follow his lead and only the most heartless of us can watch that scene and not generate a teardrop.
In my opinion, this is the best movie Williams has ever done; his character is forceful, imaginative, and creative and pays dearly for his excellence. As an educator operating at the college level, I know that situations like this happen more often than non-educators realize.

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More Dead Poets Society reviews
review by . March 15, 2011
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 …
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 . 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 …
About the reviewer
Charles Ashbacher ()
Ranked #78
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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Wiki

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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Tags

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

Details

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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