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. 75
    A refreshing if obvious drama. [9 June 1989, Friday, p.A]
  3. Commands respect and affection. [2 June 1989, Calendar, p.6-1]
  4. Reviewed by: Rick Schultz
    One of Australian director Peter Weir's most sensitive films.
  5. Reviewed by: Judy Stone
    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]
  6. 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.
  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. 100
    The picture draws out the obvious and turns itself into a classic. [26 June 1989]
  9. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    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]
  10. Reviewed by: Staff (not credited)
    Nicely shot with a good youthful cast.
  11. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    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]
  12. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    Sings whenever Williams is onscreen.
  13. 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.
  14. 80
    It's a literate though strained uplifter.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 153 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 53
  2. Negative: 1 out of 53
  1. Sep 18, 2011
    Although "Dead Poets Society" copies the original book with no prominent changes, It still lives as a classic movie.
  2. Sep 1, 2012
    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. Jul 26, 2013
    An excellent film with great writing and great acting by the entire cast. The film has a great message and it is in no way predictable. Also the story line is extremely gripping. That is what makes this film truly great. Full Review »