User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 155 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 9 out of 155

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  1. Dec 21, 2014
    9
    There are two sides to Dead Poets Society ,and one of them makes me want to call it one of the greatest films ever made. The other makes it seem shallow and unimportant.
    Robin Williams gives a good performance as the teacher who liberates the students, and teaches them to stand up to authority, but sometimes the direction of the film forces him to do his typical comedy routine, when that
    There are two sides to Dead Poets Society ,and one of them makes me want to call it one of the greatest films ever made. The other makes it seem shallow and unimportant.
    Robin Williams gives a good performance as the teacher who liberates the students, and teaches them to stand up to authority, but sometimes the direction of the film forces him to do his typical comedy routine, when that type of humor has no place in this film. Sometimes the film is just too stereotypical and cliche to appreciate properly, and other times it does an excellent job conveying a message we haven't all seen before. So if there's such a balance of good and bad, why the high rating?
    The ending of this film brings a tragedy, which I won't spoil. It is this tragedy, this unexpected, shocking, unusually brutal tragedy that makes Dead Poets Society more than just another Robin Williams comedy. It becomes an echo of the cry for help from American teenagers, and embodies that desperation, that struggle so brilliantly that I have to love this film. Regardless of its shortcomings and cliches early on, it takes such a drastic measure to burn its message in the viewers mind that it sets itself far apart from the image it has on the surface. The film's climax truly pushes it over the edge towards greatness.
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  2. Nov 26, 2014
    8
    An incredibly emotional and inspirational film, Dead Poets Society stands tall as a great film in the coming of age category. Robin Williams is absolutely brilliant. Truly a great performance on his part and his charisma really shines through. He is entirely believable and the inspirational and caring teacher. The performances from the younger actors is also good. The direction from PeterAn incredibly emotional and inspirational film, Dead Poets Society stands tall as a great film in the coming of age category. Robin Williams is absolutely brilliant. Truly a great performance on his part and his charisma really shines through. He is entirely believable and the inspirational and caring teacher. The performances from the younger actors is also good. The direction from Peter Weir, writing from Tom Schulman, and cinematography from John Seale, are also all great and all increase the impact this drama has on its viewers. It can get a little sentimental at times and it gets dark pretty quick at times, but overall, Dead Poets Society is a smash success that needs to be watched by all. If anyone ever says that Robin Williams is not a great actor, this in particular is a great film to show them to prove them wrong, because dammit is he great. His performance is one that stays with you for a while. Expand
  3. Oct 24, 2014
    8
    Although it may be a little overrated as a whole, Dead Poets Society is still one of Peter Weir's best films, and an important if abstract look at the pressures of being a teenager and the transition into making one's own decisions.
  4. Oct 21, 2014
    8
    This was one of those movies I hadn't seen, but had kind of seen. I've seen snippets aired on TV, and mostly new the plot. However, this was the first time I sat down and watched it beginning to end. I liked it. Sometimes it's message felt trite, but it's saved by wonderful acting performances. The best thing I can say about this film is that it holds up.
  5. Sep 30, 2014
    7
    Dead Poets Society is considered by many to be the crowning achievement of Robin Williams career. There is no dispute over Williams performance, as it is considered to be one of the best of all time, and the film is so revivered, that it's require viewing in many education classes, but just how good a film was it? Robin Williams stars as Professor John Keating, an unconventional teacherDead Poets Society is considered by many to be the crowning achievement of Robin Williams career. There is no dispute over Williams performance, as it is considered to be one of the best of all time, and the film is so revivered, that it's require viewing in many education classes, but just how good a film was it? Robin Williams stars as Professor John Keating, an unconventional teacher who inspired his students to push the boundaries of the way they think. Keating's students worship him and reform the old club he was a founding member of as a student, The Dead Poets Society. Keating's unconventional thinking pushes his students, but the question is will it push some of them too far from the norm, at their strict boarding school? The performances makes this film, as you will see some amazing things. As for the story, it really isn't anything more than a means to present the characters. When you take away the performances, the truth is that this film is about a traditional boarding school, an English class, and a poetry club, not the most interesting of stories. Dead Poets Society is rather slow moving and one begins to question just how meaningful a club like this would be, especially in today's digital world. When it comes to Dead Poets Society, I loved the performances, but wasn't crazy about the film as a whole. I think the storyline is lacking, the characters aren't as unconventional as they could have been, and things move much too slowly for mainstream audiences. That being said, if you are a movie lover, this film is like It's A Wonderful Life and Citizen Kane in that it may not be the best of films, but it is a part of cinematic history that must be scene for it's undeniably outstanding performances and it's contribution to the history of film. Expand
  6. Aug 15, 2014
    6
    It is indeed hard to judge a film made 25 years before today, when plots like the one in "Dead Poets Society" have become commonplace. I don't know exactly how innovative was to talk about such issues back then, so I cannot value its originality. In terms of plot and performances, the film is exceptional. Robin Williams matches perfectly his character's tragicomic figure, and most of theIt is indeed hard to judge a film made 25 years before today, when plots like the one in "Dead Poets Society" have become commonplace. I don't know exactly how innovative was to talk about such issues back then, so I cannot value its originality. In terms of plot and performances, the film is exceptional. Robin Williams matches perfectly his character's tragicomic figure, and most of the cast are pretty decent, too. It is amazing how fresh it looks, even by today's standards, and how enjoyable the result is.

    The weakness - in my opinion - is how it tries to communicate its message. It is true that the film addresses a lot of issues, dreams, conformity, suppression and reaction, family, education, limits, and so much more. It is unclear, however, what it attempts to say about those issues. A motif present throughout the film is the school's and the parents' repression of the students' acting and thinking. This repression is what leads to Neil's suicide near the end of the film. However, what follows this turning point is hardly credible. No one seems really shocked about the death and no one seems willing to change his point of view. Neil's parents lose their son after forcing him to give up his dreams and after his death consider his teacher responsible? Teachers at school do not even seem to care about this? All students think after their friend's death is how to handle responsibility? Does this mean that repression is OK? What is considered right here is Keating 's teachings. Mainly these about living your own life and about authenticity against conformity. In spite of the film's aspiration to present Keating's way of teaching as a proper and effective one, it is unfortunately true that all of his attempts to teach his students these two things fail immensely. The students explain "seize the day" as fulfilling every single desire, one of them being hanging out with girls, and this is the reason they re-establish the "society". They believe that "seize the day" means to do what's deemed inappropriate. But when it comes to their true chance to realize "carpe diem" they do not do it. This is mostly proven by Neil's decision to end his life, after acting secretly and not speaking of this openly to his parents, without ever attempting to support his dreams and desires. Instead of living life and making everything possible to make it worth, he ends it. But his friends are hardly better. They succumb to their parents' pressure to deem Keating responsible, while knowing this is not what they want and having seen how disastrous this pressure is. They decide to do what is expected of them, and not what it is right for them. Even the ending proves their commitment to conformity. They stand up one after the other mimicking themselves and their teacher's "improper" behavior. Well, it is true, "carpe diem" is extremely difficult, but what's the point of making a film to prove that it is impossible and that even "good" educational ways cannot be successful in communicating it?

    It is overall a good film, and thought-provoking if you choose to see behind what the film seems to stand for. Greatly balanced, except for the poor ending, it features touchingly convincing performances. But it fails to communicate whatever it is supposed to suggest.
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  7. 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
    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.
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  8. Jul 26, 2013
    9
    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.
  9. Jun 2, 2013
    9
    Influential, beautiful, and powerful. This film will stay in my heart forever. The acting and plot are unmatched by films of its kind, and the message will hold you tight.
  10. Jan 11, 2013
    8
    This is a film whose very fibers engender truly moving sentiments through what is Williams' best performance to date, an illustrious script and an overall gorgeous portrayal of honest human emotions. 'Dead Poet's Society' is packed with memorable one-liners that are consistently quoted in the film world, and can proudly be called a film classic.
  11. 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.
  12. Jun 25, 2012
    7
    Dead Poet's Society is an easy to watch coming-of-age / youth-against-the-man flick which espouses the beauty and meaning of literature. It's well acted and written, with a nice lightness of touch. Dead Poets Society is in no way revelatory or profound but it is entertaining.
  13. Feb 4, 2012
    7
    I must admit, Dead Poets Society has been slightly ruined for me by the numerous parodies and references to it both on TV and in films over the years. I guess it's my own fault for not seeing it sooner. It hinges on a fantastic central performance by Robin Williams, playing Mr. Keating, the physical embodiment of everyone's perfect teacher. He teaches a subject many would find dull,I must admit, Dead Poets Society has been slightly ruined for me by the numerous parodies and references to it both on TV and in films over the years. I guess it's my own fault for not seeing it sooner. It hinges on a fantastic central performance by Robin Williams, playing Mr. Keating, the physical embodiment of everyone's perfect teacher. He teaches a subject many would find dull, poetry, in unorthodox ways, not through reading from textbooks and note-taking, but through fun exercises and physical activity, and unlike the rest of the prep school teachers, he genuinely cares for his students. The cast of young actors playing Keating's students that re-form the titular Dead Poets Society that Keating founded in his youth, all do their part, but of particular note is Ethan Hawke's captivating break-out role as the painfully shy and troubled Todd Anderson. His characterisation results in one of the best scenes in the film, where Mr. Keating puts Todd on the spot and forces him to improvise a poem in front of his class, and through doing so, cures Todd of his crippling lack of confidence. The story does take a little while to get going, and the overall running time of the film feels a little gruelling, though the final act is superb. What surprised, and disappointed me the most about Dead Poets Society, considering how etched into popular culture it has become, is how little it actually had to say. There's only so far you can take the "seize the day" moral - Keating's students may be encouraged to have fun and enjoy life, but what happens when they all sit their exams, when they realise their teacher has taught them much about life, but not a whole lot they than actually apply to their studies? (Unless they plan to stand on their desk as a protest to archaic teaching methods for the rest of their education). It's a pleasant fantasy that you can get through school and university, and achieve your ambitions simply by living life to the full, but not a realistic one. Though if you're just looking for a pleasant bit of fantasy escapism with good performances, plenty of humour and heart, then look no further than Dead Poets Society. Though director Peter Weir has done far more intelligent, brilliant films since (The Truman Show, Master and Commander), it was this twee little comedy-drama that introduced him to the mainstream, and allowed his Hollywood career to blossom. Expand
  14. Sep 18, 2011
    8
    Although "Dead Poets Society" copies the original book with no prominent changes, It still lives as a classic movie.
  15. Sep 15, 2011
    9
    There's absolutely no question as to why DEAD POETS SOCIETY was nominated for Best Picture in 1989. Truly, if it weren't for the fact that a few critics thought Robin Williams should have just gone back to comedies (an absolutely idiotic statement, in my opinion, though I can see a slight bit of their reasoning), this would have easily won the award. "Carpe diem; seize the day, boys!" IfThere's absolutely no question as to why DEAD POETS SOCIETY was nominated for Best Picture in 1989. Truly, if it weren't for the fact that a few critics thought Robin Williams should have just gone back to comedies (an absolutely idiotic statement, in my opinion, though I can see a slight bit of their reasoning), this would have easily won the award. "Carpe diem; seize the day, boys!" If that one quote is remembered centuries from now, don't expect me to be at all surprised. DEAD POETS SOCIETY was like a tragic, sometimes witty drama that is one of Robin Williams' best yet. Expand
  16. Sep 7, 2010
    5
    For me this film works until the final 10 minutes were it descends into an implausible maelstrom of madness.

    If you decide to watch this, maybe take the ending with a grain of salt. This way you might get more enjoyment from the experience.
  17. Aug 23, 2010
    7
    Man returns to teach at the school where he studied, gets his students to speak & express themselves from within, students stumble upon secret society that teacher was in, school tradition, discipline & parents disapprove.
    Well written film with a great performance by Robin Williams & a very young Ethan Hawke. It is quite predictable but the iconic scene at the end is very powerful.
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. 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.
  2. Nothing about this film sounds, as described, novel. Yet it grips, because it has been made with plentiful feeling and vigor. [June 26, 1989]
  3. 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]