Dead Poets Society

8.12 h 8 min1989X-RayPG
For generations, Welton Academy students have been groomed to live lives of conformity and tradition-until a charismatic new professor, John Keating, inspires them to think for themselves, live life to the fullest and "Carpe Diem."
Peter Weir
Robin WilliamsRobert Sean LeonardEthan Hawke
English [CC]Español
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Josh Charles
Steven HaftPaul Junger WittTony Thomas
The Walt Disney Studios
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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4.8 out of 5 stars

12014 global ratings

  1. 87% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 8% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 3% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on December 10, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Legitimately Life Saving
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What is your passion? What is your life? It is short but ripe with possibilities.

This is the guidance of the phrase, "Carpe Diem", from which the wellspring of inspiration emanates from with this film. Each student is both a product of his impressions of the life is he supposed to life, what his parents want for them, and what the school enforces. But somewhere in the mix of all that is the wise sage waking us up to the possibilities of what life truly is.

Robin Williams plays such a role with grace and class. He is both . Sadly, I was in tears at the simultaneous thoughts that his guidance is so beautiful and that he, the actor, has passed. Each of the student actors are also marvelous in their roles. They are at one point guarded, free, anxious, unsure, and exhilarating. You cry, cheer, feel so deeply for their journey through the story. You would expect that "Make You Life Extraordinary" would result in a type of youthful fantasy where all those who adhere to it are rewarded and enter paradise. But this couldn't be further from the truth.

The film makes a great point of saying life also happens with its tribulations. I used to suffer with existential depression and, after this film, picked up reading poetry and philosophy. Throughout my first watching, Mr. Keating was like a surrogate teacher and father I'd learn from and the Dead Poet's Society are friends I cheer for during their successes. This movie is a masterclass in ideas, performance, and truth.

This is a MUST-WATCH for anyone struggling with life purpose, pressure from parents, or of whom just want to (I quote) "live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."
25 people found this helpful
Stephen E ShoesmithReviewed in the United States on March 9, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Amazing in all regards...
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I gave this movie 5 stars because it deserves it. Before my review of the movie, however, I must caution potential buyers of this DVD version. The description Amazon gives for this DVD lists various Special Features such as director commentary and cast/crew interviews and a "Making Of..." featurette. The DVD I received did NOT have any of these features and simply contained the movie itself.

On the movie itself. I remember seeing this movie at a very opportune time in my life. It was summer of 1990 and I was months away from entering an all-boys high school. Nothing like this in which you have dorm rooms and such but still all-boy, Catholic with a dress code of casual suit attire. I remember not believing the absurd conformity rules the school in this movie (Welton) expected its students to adhere to.

Of course I was rudely awakened my first half year of school. Thankfully this movie allowed me to keep my sanity in such an environment. The acting in this movie is so free and natural you forget you are watching a movie and think more of just watching normal kids going through their high-school years. Schools need more teachers like Mr. Keating no matter how infuriating they may be to the "main stream" faculty.

Watch this movie to set your heart and mind free of society's norms and let yourself imagine the eternal question, "What if?"
79 people found this helpful
EdmundReviewed in the United States on November 15, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Not as good as I remembered it upon its release!
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I saw this movie when it was released in the theaters and it was a good movie (not terrific) in terms of story, acting and production, however, watching it on Amazon Prime circa the year 2020, I could barley watch the movie, so boring and slow was the storyline and plot. I think that it was such a highly rated movie only because it showed and moved Robin Williams from the terribly silly 'More & Mindy' TV show to a more mature and serious role.
22 people found this helpful
Kindle CustomerReviewed in the United States on September 25, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
O Captain My Captain
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This is easily one of the greatest movies of all time. The acting is top-notch. Robin Williams was a spectacular Mr. Keating. I watched this for the first time in high school many moons ago. The ending grips me every time, giving me goosebumps. I highly recommend this movie, especially for high schoolers. We need more clean wholesome movies with a storyline that convicts and pulls us in. I will always remember the description of the sweaty-tooth madman!
37 people found this helpful
teacherlady04Reviewed in the United States on June 10, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Favorite!
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I always show this film to my high school juniors after we study Walt Whitman and the the Transcendentalists. There was a time when students were familiar with it already, but they still loved watching it. I love experiencing it again with students who have never seen it each year. It's difficult to keep students attention, even with a movie day at school, but this one always does it. It's the only movie I show, and it never disappoints.
30 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on November 6, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
A challenge to the conformist WASP culture of 1950s America
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Dead Poets Society takes place within Welton Academy an elite, upper class WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) boarding school where tradition and being proper are the most important attributes. Into this mix comes John Keating (Robin Williams) the new English teacher who actually graduated from Welton. His students include Todd (Ethan Hawke), Neil (Robert Sean Leonard), Knox (Josh Charles), and others. Keating introduces them to the beauty of the word, poetry and literature using unconventional methods which endears him to his pupils but gets him in trouble with the administration. The theme is the conflict between discipline and routine vs free thought and individualism.

The movie begins by laying down the culture at Welton with an opening ceremony and then how dry the faculty is compared to Keating. He takes them out of their class and into the hallway where he makes some self-deprecating jokes and then gives them a lesson about the need to live their lives the best they can and seize the day. Later he tells his class to rip out the introduction to their poetry textbook because the author wrote that you can judge poetry like a math problem. Keating is offended by the idea and wants it to be expunged from the book. Instead he tells the kids that words and language matter and ideas can change the world. They can actually set people free. Here is Keating’s style and the reason why his kids are drawn to him. He’s the exact opposite of the stuffy style of Welton. That will eventually lead to trouble because the school is an institution set upon maintaining its tradition and conformity to its rules. What happens in this conflict is the dilemma of the film.

Dead Poets Society was one of those rare movies where Robin Williams was actually contained. Even when he was teaching he didn’t go as crazy as he usually did in his other films. The story has strong hints of books like Catcher in the Rye. It hints at the conflicts that arose in America in the 1950s with things like Rock N Roll, the Beats, and the Civil Rights movement which would lead to culture and society to crack in the 1960s. The movie isn’t for everyone because it is really WASPy but it’s a strong tale.
8 people found this helpful
Michael GriswoldReviewed in the United States on May 17, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Life Lessons From Dead Poets
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Dead Poet’s Society is not about a bunch of dead poets or the words they left behind. Rather it stands out to me as a call to question the direction of and how we are living our lives. Often times, it is easier to conform to what our parents and institutions want, rather than follow our hearts and realize the thing or things that will bring us the greatest personal satisfaction and happiness in our lives. I feel that is the ultimate takeaway from Dead Poet’s Society-chase your dreams and think for yourself.

To people like myself who are not living the life that exists in their dreams every scene with the eccentric Mr. Keating and the young boys of this private school serves as a canvas of self-examination for this viewer because I saw myself in each of these young people. Many of them wanted something other than the status quo, but struggled to break free from the roles that their immediate society cast upon them.

If this personal examination takes place, certain questions emerge such as: what are we so afraid of? If we died tomorrow would we be happy with the life that we have lead. In the two-three weeks since I watched this film, I can tell you that if you answer a resounding no to the above questions, you need to reexamine your life and if a movie can start the process, then it must be a powerful experience.
65 people found this helpful
Brian ZenReviewed in the United States on September 27, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Sieze the day
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This is absolutely one of my favorite Robin Williams movies. Robin is as usual showcasing some of his insane, semi manic, brilliant comedy but the movie has some very serious life lessons to pass along as well. Robin is an English teacher at a stuffy old school prep school. He has a passion for the romantic poetic writers and the film does a great job touching upon the passion and brilliance of some of the greatest writers ever to put pen to paper. Robin passes along some of their profound wisdom's while putting a comic spin on them. Some people may be put off by the serious edge this film has, but I think it is a brilliant lesson in finding the passion in life and the dangers of absolute conformism.
27 people found this helpful
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