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57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make your lives extraordinary
I still remember fondly seeing this at the cinema back in 1989. It's as fresh now as it was then and still totally inspiring. Every time I watch this it leaves me feeling inspired and ready to grab life by the horns. "Make your lives extraordinary boys" says Robin Williams. It serves as a constant reminder that one day you'll be gone and quite probably...
Published on 5 April 2006 by Harry Parsons

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth watching but has some problems
This is a pretty strong film though it takes a few minutes to start caring about the characters as they initially appear as spoiled little rich kids with rich kids problems but the writers and performances quickly bring out the deeper side and you start to relate to them. A young Ethan Hawke gets to steal the climax of the film and the rest of the performances are good...
Published 16 months ago by Mr Blonde


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57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make your lives extraordinary, 5 April 2006
This review is from: Dead Poets Society [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
I still remember fondly seeing this at the cinema back in 1989. It's as fresh now as it was then and still totally inspiring. Every time I watch this it leaves me feeling inspired and ready to grab life by the horns. "Make your lives extraordinary boys" says Robin Williams. It serves as a constant reminder that one day you'll be gone and quite probably forgotten, so make the most of your life and seize the day. The ending still kills me even now. An often overlooked classic.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars life changing, 17 Nov 2002
By 
MISS D MCKINLAY (EAST RENFREWSHIRE, SCOTLAND United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dead Poets Society [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
This film has to be one of the most inspiring that i have seen in my short lifespan. Robin Williams is fantastic in his portrayal of an english teacher who is so passionate about the world and the poetry the world inspires that he ignites a group of young students with a powerful flame which is not doused even by tragedy .An electric charge runs through body and mind when you encounter this film. I challenge anyone to leave after seeing this film and not want to "seize the day".
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And what will be your verse in the poem of life?, 2 Nov 2008
By 
Themis-Athena (from somewhere between California and Germany) - See all my reviews
"I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden.")

Hands up folks, how many of us discovered Thoreau after having watched this movie? Really discovered I mean, regardless whether you had known he'd existed before. How many believe they know what Thoreau was talking about in that passage about "sucking the marrow out of life," cited in the movie, even if you didn't spend the next 2+ years of your life living in a self-constructed cabin on a pond in the woods? How many bought a copy of Whitman's poems ... whatever collection? (And maybe even read more than "Oh Captain! My Captain!"?) How many went on to read Emerson? Frost? Or John Keats, on whose personality Robin Williams's John Keating is probably loosely based? To many people, this movie has a powerful appeal like few others and has proven inspirational far above and beyond the effect of an ordinary movie experience. And justifiedly so, despite the fact that charismatic Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard), one of the story's main characters, tragically falters in the pursuit of his dreams, in the wake of apparent triumph. Because although Neil's story is one of failure, ultimately this film is a celebration of the triumph of free will, independent thinking and the growth of personality; embodied in its closing scene.

Of course, lofty goals such as these are not easily achieved. Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke) in particular, the last scene's triumphant hero, is literally pushed to the edge of reason before he learns to overcome his inhibitions. And Thoreau warned in "Walden:" "If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; That is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." Anyone who takes this movie's message to heart (and Thoreau's, and Whitman's, and Emerson's, Frost's and Keats's) knows that success too easily won is often no success at all, and most important accomplishments are based on focus, tenacity and hard work as much as anything else. And prudence, too - dashing Charlie Dalton (Gale Hansen) pays a terrible price for his spur-of-the-moment challenges of authority; although of course you just gotta love him for refusing to sign Keatings' indictment. "Carpe diem" - live life to its fullest, but also know what you are doing. You won't enjoy this movie if you are afraid of letting both your mind and your feelings run free.

Shot on the magnificent location of Delaware's St. Andrews Academy, "Dead Poets' Society" is visually stunning, particularly in its depiction of the amazingly beautiful scenery (where the progression of the seasons mirrors the progression of the movie's story line), and as emotionally engaging as it invites you to reexamine your position in life. Robin Williams delivers another Academy Award-worthy performance (he was nominated but unfortunately didn't win). Of course, Robin Williams will to a certain extent always be Robin Williams ... "Aladdin's" Genie, "Good Morning Vietnam's" Adrian Cronauer and "Good Will Hunting's" Professor McGuire (the 1997 role which would finally earn him his long overdue Oscar) all shimmer through in his portrayal of John Keating; and if you've ever seen him give an interview you know that the man can go from hilarious and irreverent to deeply reflective in a split second even when it's not a movie camera that's rolling. Yet, the black sheep among Welton Academy's teachers assumes as distinct and memorable a personality as any other one of Williams's film characters.

Of its many Academy Award nominations (in addition to Robin Williams's nomination for best leading actor, the movie was also nominated in the best picture, best director [Peter Weir] and best original screenplay categories), "Dead Poets' Society" ultimately only won the Oscar for Tom Schulman's script. But more importantly, it has long since won it's viewers' lasting appreciation, and for a reason. - As the Poet said: "Camerado! This is no book; Who touches this, touches a man" (Walt Whitman, "So Long!"), this is no movie; who watches this, watches himself!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspirational Movie!, 29 July 2004
This review is from: Dead Poets Society [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
I am quite a big fan of Robin Williams, and i have to say that this is definately one of his better films, which deals with some quite serious and powerful issues, while still incuding plenty of the Robin Williams humour that we all know and love.
In this film, set in 1959, Williams plays Proffessor John Keating who arrives to teach English in a sedate New England school where he was formerly a pupil. His unconventional and extraordinary teaching methods inspire a group of students to reform a forbidden club where they secretly talk to each other about their dreams and aspirations. However his methods anger the other teachers, and when he encourages a student to follow their dream of acting rather than listening to their parents, he is blamed when the boy comits suicide after his father bans him from acting and withdraws him from the school.
As i have said previously, 'Dead Poets Society' deals with some powerful issues, such as suicide, and therefore does in some cases require parental imput to the younger children, to help them understand the situations.
The acting is brilliant from all of the well-picked cast, and Robin Willaims, as i have said earlier, is supurb in his role as the new English Proffessor whose carisma and love of poetry inspires many of his students. Robert Sean Leonard is also very good in his role as the boy whose parents are trying to control his life.
With a great script, plenty of typical Robin Williams humour, and some very emotional storylines, all woven together, 'Dead Poets Society' is a real winner and has somthing that is sure to satisfy every viewer. Recommended as a film that all the family can sit down and watch, and talk about later.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh Captain, my captain, 30 Jun 2005
By 
Mr. D. A. Cure "Sir Danalot" (Droitwich) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Dead Poets Society [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
This has to have one of the best endings in film history. Robin Williams is brilliant as the rookie English teacher who persuades disillusioned school kids to re-capture their thirst for life and creativity. If you're ever feeling at a loss, or frustrated, just watch this to give you a kick in the right direction!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth watching but has some problems, 12 July 2013
This review is from: Dead Poets Society [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
This is a pretty strong film though it takes a few minutes to start caring about the characters as they initially appear as spoiled little rich kids with rich kids problems but the writers and performances quickly bring out the deeper side and you start to relate to them. A young Ethan Hawke gets to steal the climax of the film and the rest of the performances are good too including Robin Williams who is very funny and entertaining. However, Robin Williams is also the problem. His Captain Keating is like a fun teacher whose classes you enjoy but he doesn't bring the depth to the character to believe that he would be a role model whom these kids believe in. This is not entirely Williams fault but also the script which places too much focus on his comedic scenes and needs a couple more scenes of him quiet, passionate or even angry to believe he'd be the inspiring teacher the kids respect. When you read that Liam Neeson really wanted to play the part you can't help but feel that he would have been so much better in the role.
The film also has some problems with the amount of focus they put on the importance of the school. Both the teacher and the students go through things that should make them realize the importance of character and life but all they worry about is getting kicked out of school making them often come across as hypocrites.
It is still a really good film with some highly memorable scenes especially the climax which even though it has been referenced and parodied to death it still tugs on those heart strings when you see it.

A movie well worth seeing but with a few changes and some more darker moments it could have been a masterpiece.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing short of brilliant, 24 July 2000
By A Customer
Peter Weir must surely be considered with increased cleverness follwing The Truman Show, but hark back over ten years to 1989. There seems to be a lack of compassion given to the sensitive portrayal of a inspirational teaching figure that was Robin Williams. Williams shows depth and awareness way beyond his peers' years of experience, holding out an inch perfect performance as every young lads dream teacher in Dead poets Society. He plays one of those character's who really lights up the screen, like he did in Good Will Hunting. However, the conclusion to Weir's story does end on a bit of an avalanche. Support and hope though shines through in those touched by Williams' character. Despite there being no clear happy ending there is sense that a really special message will live on forever and ever- Carpe Deum!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a real classic, 15 Dec 2008
By 
Su (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dead Poets Society [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
One of the best films ever made

It is a new school term at the very exclusive Welton Academy, and Todd Anderson (Ethan Hawke) arrives for his first term. Also new is teacher Mr Keating (Robin Williams) who's teaching method is somewhat unauthordox (and definitely not OFSTED approved). The film follows a small group of boys out of Mr Keating class, who restart a now defunct Dead Poets Society. Mr Keating teaches the boys to follow their hearts and think independently of their parents, and unfortunately this leads to a great deal of trouble.

The final scene is still, after all this time, one of the most moving I have seen, without being over sentimental.

This should have been a stepping stone for many of the young actors, but quite a few appear to have fallen by the wayside.

Robert Sean Leonard can now be found in the series House MD; Josh Charles who I last remember seeing in the S.W.A.T [2003]; Gale "Nuwanda" Hansen has been relegated to occasional appearances in such as Murder She Wrote, and as a security guard in Beyond Belief Fact or Fiction; and so on, even Ethan Hawke has been reduced to an "also staring" position. Shame that such talent is so underused.

2014 is the 25th anniversary

---

Robin Williams - 21 July 1951 - 11 August 2014 RIP
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seize the opportunity, 10 Aug 2007
By 
I. Thomson "The music, book and film fanatic" (Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dead Poets Society [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
Dead Poet's Society was Peter Weir's third film made in the US and gave the comic Robin Williams-his first Oscar nomination and the second of his paulisable roles that Hollywood really appreciated from the verstabile performer (with a little help from Peter Weir's direction)

A group of boys in a strict 1950s private boys school known as Welton when an English teacher known as John Keating and his unorthodox teaching encourages them to inspire and develop their self-esteems as individuals......

Dead Poet's Society, i've always felt is an attack on thought control, how the pupils are often ill treated, bullied, humilated and percieved to take punishments where they should learn to respect the school life as well as it's fine traditions with dignity and sentenmental values. The bright life of the candle at the beginning is seen as hope of having determination in life of being seperate and developing your own personality by taking neccessary risks to get there-a major theme in the film. There is also a distinct Australian feel in Weir's work of lost adsolents with lost identies. The film has in my opinion, maybe been written could from the perspective of Todd, since he is the first to be introduced to the audience in the first scene; his close bonding with Neil despite backing out of things he wants him to participate in especially The Dead Poet's Society; the sight of the crazy dreams his friends believe they can reach all of a sudden and the unexpected turn of events he experiences in front of his eyes which encourages him to take the step to confront his pain. There is a question that asks you this-is it really Todd that proves to be the strongest and most able of the boys? This is also a major reference to the work of Peter Weir.

The performances from the four main boys including a young Ethan Hawke are mesmening. For example, the role of the timid Todd who grows in strength throughout from the aid of Keating's teaching. The eccentric Williams is perfect-especially during his uprising in Hollywood- gives John Keating a man who has seen enough rejection in his eyes who is eager enough to teach them how to cope as responsible adults able to fit in, but also fight for their rights that Welton would much rather ignore and make a profit from their most elliget student role models. Keatings is also percieved as being straight-forward, ambitious ( acknowledging the importance to teach the boys by the poetry and romance they fall in love with) and his cautious state, where he suspects the devious Latin teacher of interferring deliberately with his teaching, obbessed with pushing allegations of breaking school rules. I also really enjoyed the stern performance of Norman Lloyd who at then 75 years-old played of the headmaster known only as Mr. Nolan to highlight authority who ditates how life should be run in Welton-although absent from a lot of scenes, the ones he does show up in are stunning.

Dead Poet's Society is a good watch and deserves to been seen every so often. Give justice to Tom Schulman who wrote the script and ignore the hostile reception he has been given. The ending gives the film the justice it's deserves for the pain of boys who can no longer take it in.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary 'Poem of Life', 29 Aug 2002
By 
Libretio - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Dead Poets Society [DVD] [1989] (DVD)
DEAD POETS SOCIETY

(USA - 1989)

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Theatrical soundtrack: 6-track Dolby Stereo

The late 1950's: A radical teacher at an ultra-conservative boys' school encourages his pupils to develop an independent mind through poetry, music and literature, setting in motion a chain of events which culminate in triumph... and tragedy.

Beautifully photographed evocation of a time and place, directed by Peter Weir (PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, GALLIPOLI) with a keen eye for character and detail. Tom Schulman's Oscar-winning script - loosely based on the author's own experiences at school - uses the arts as a launching pad for a new way of looking at our 'ordinary' lives, prompting top-billed Robin Williams (as the teacher) to lead his bright young charges (including Robert Sean Leonard and Ethan Hawke) down unfamiliar pathways and encouraging them to 'Seize the Day!'

Weir indulges his fondness for moments of magical realism to great effect (eg. a lone piper on a jetty at dusk; the bewitching use of slow motion during the film's most heartbreaking passage, etc.), whilst also transforming unpretentious set-pieces into something rare and life-affirming (cf. Williams' first classroom scene; the 'J. Evans Pritchard' episode; Hawke's on-the-spot creation of a very special poem, etc.). Further magic is provided by Maurice Jarre's uplifting music score, which builds upon a number of basic themes before reaching an emotional crescendo during the film's final - and most famous - sequence. Lives have been changed forever by this extraordinary movie.
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