Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. 50
    Not the worst of the countless recent movies about good kids and hidebound, authoritatian older people. It may, however, be the most shameless in its attempt to pander to an adolescent audience.
  2. Sure, the heroes and villains are arranged in a convenient moral gallery. But the performances, Weir's adroit direction and John Seale's superb cinematography take care of that banality.
  3. Beneath the polished surface, Dead Poets Society is moribund at the core - too pat, too safe and too hypocritical, as conformist as the conformity it so easily decries.
  4. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    75
    Williams is impressively restrained as well as funny, so fans need not fret. It only means that instead of Good Morning, Preppies, we're given a bittersweet, even eerie Goodbye, Mr. Hip. [2 June 1989, Life, p.1D]
  5. 80
    It's a literate though strained uplifter.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    70
    Williams, who has comparatively little screen time, has come to act, not to cut comic riffs, and he does so with forceful, ultimately compelling, simplicity. [June 5, 1989]
  7. Nothing about this film sounds, as described, novel. Yet it grips, because it has been made with plentiful feeling and vigor. [June 26, 1989]
  8. 75
    A refreshing if obvious drama. [9 June 1989, Friday, p.A]
  9. Commands respect and affection. [2 June 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
  10. 100
    The picture draws out the obvious and turns itself into a classic. [26 June 1989]
  11. Reviewed by: Judy Stone
    100
    Hurrah! Poetry and passion, comedy and tragedy are fused into one absolutely marvelous affirmation of independent spirit in Dead Poets Society. [2 June 1989, Daily Notebook, p.E1]
  12. Reviewed by: Rick Schultz
    100
    One of Australian director Peter Weir's most sensitive films.
  13. Reviewed by: Staff (not credited)
    50
    Nicely shot with a good youthful cast.
  14. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    90
    Sings whenever Williams is onscreen.
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 126 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 48
  2. Negative: 1 out of 48
  1. Sep 18, 2011
    8
    Although "Dead Poets Society" copies the original book with no prominent changes, It still lives as a classic movie.
  2. Sep 1, 2012
    9
    One of the best movies I watched. It helped me through a lot in my life. Williams was pretty good in that movie - his character made me rethink everything. I enjoyed the movie from the beginning until the end. And even though I'm a male, I cried at the ending. Full Review »
  3. Aug 15, 2013
    10
    This movie is a great movie, containing many different film techniques and themes which can be elaborated for further detail. The main themes; conformity, free of mind, belonging, complexity of life, individuality, and most importantly discovery, which can make this film a great secondary source for the HSC students learning the discovery content.
    The Dead Poet's Society is about a group of boys bounded together from experience and friendship. There are many different quotes from famous poets, such as Robert Frost's "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I...I took the one less travelled by and that made all the difference". The use of allusion has allowed the director to communicate effectly the idea of the scene.
    A story of many different boys and from many different perspectives, the boys and the world, revolve together around poetry, enhanced by the use of literary allusion and film techniques.
    The film is a excellent story which speaks of the balance of life and experiences of it. It teaches us how the schools' systems worked in the past and what you get for insubordinate behaviour.

    Overall, the film is an outstanding success, and portrayed the themes and ideas fabulously.
    Full Review »