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General Information

Poster for Dead Poets Society
  • Directed by

    Peter Weir

  • Screenplay by

    Tom Schulman

  • Music Composed by

    Maurice Jarre

  • World Premiere

    June 2, 1989 (Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City and Toronto)

  • Theatrical Release Date

    June 2, 1989 (limited)

    June 9, 1989 (wide)

  • DVD Release Date

    November 10, 1998 (original release)
    January 10, 2006 (special edition)

  • Blu-ray Release Date

    January 17, 2012

  • Production Companies

    Silver Screen Partners IV, Touchstone Pictures

  • Distribution Company

    Buena Vista Pictures

Main Cast

  • Robin Williams

    John Keating

  • Robert Sean Leonard

    Neil Perry

  • Ethan Hawke

    Todd Anderson

  • Josh Charles

    Knox Overstreet

  • Gale Hansen

    Charlie Dalton/Nuwanda

  • Dylan Kussman

    Richard Cameron

  • Allelon Ruggiero

    Steven Meeks

  • Norman Lloyd

    Mr. Nolan


When charismatic English teacher John Keating arrives at a strict boys' academy, his unconventional teaching methods breathe new life into the curriculum steeped in tradition. With his wit and wisdom, Keating inspires his students to pursue individual passions and make their lives extaordinary.

Festival info

Dead Poets Society screened at the Venice Film Festival and Tokyo International Film Festival in 1989.



  • John Keating

    Why do I stand up here?

  • Dalton

    To feel taller.

  • John Keating

    No. Ding! Thank you for playing. I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way. See, the world looks very different from up here. You don't believe me? Come see for yourselves. Come on. Just when you think you know something, you have to look at it in another way. Even though it may seem silly, or wrong, you must try. Now, when you read, don't just consider what the author thinks. Consider what you think. Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said: "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation." Don't be resigned by that. Break out. Now don't just walk off the edge like lemmings! Look around you! Dare to strike out and find new ground. Now, in addition to your essays, I would like you to compose a poem of your own, an original work.

  • Class


  • John Keating

    Oef! La-ha-ha-ha-hum! That's right. You have to deliver it aloud, in front of the class on Monday.
    Ooh! Bon chance, gentlemen. Mr. Anderson! Don't think that I don't know that this assignment scares the hell out of you, you mole.

  • John Keating

    We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

  • John Keating

    A man is not 'very tired'. He's 'exhausted'. And don't use 'very sad', use--Come on, Mr. Overstreet, you twerp.

  • Todd


  • John Keating

    Exactly! Morose! Now, language was developed for one endeavor, and that is--Mr. Anderson. Come on, are you a man or an amoeba? Mr. Perry?

  • Neil

    Uh... to communicate?

  • John Keating

    No! To woo women. Today we're going to be talking about William Shakespeare. Oh, God. I know, a lot of you look forward to this about as much as you look forward to root canal work. We're gonna talk about Shakespeare as someone who writes something very interesting. Now, many of you have seen Shakespeare done very much like this: "O, Titus, bring your friend hither." But many of you have seen Marlon Brando... you know that Shakespeare can be different. "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears." You can also imagine maybe John Wayne as Macbeth going, "Waaall, is this a dagger I see before me?"

  • John Keating

    Dogs, sir? Oh, not just now. I do enjoy a good dog once in a while, sir. You can have yourself a three-course meal from one dog. Start with a canine croquette. Go to your Fido flambe for main course. And for desert a Pekingese parfait. And you can pick your teeth with the little paw.


He was their inspiration. He made their lives extraordinary.

Filming Info

  • Dates

    November 14, 1988 - January 15, 1989

  • Locations

    Middletown, DE
    Rockland, DE
    New Castle, DE
    Wolf Cave, DE

Shooting in and around Middletown took place at St. Andrew's School and the Everett Theatre.

Shooting in and around New Castle took place in the Westover Hills neighborhood.

International Release Dates

  • Canada

    June 2, 1989 (Toronto)

  • Australia

    July 20, 1989

  • UK

    September 22, 1989

  • Spain

    November 22, 1989

  • Sweden

    January 12, 1990

  • France

    January 17, 1990

  • Denmark

    January 19, 1990

  • West Germany

    January 25, 1990

  • Austria

    January 26, 1990

  • Japan

    March 24, 1990

  • Turkey

    April 1990

  • South Korea

    May 19, 1990

  • Argentina

    August 30, 1990

International Titles

  • Argentina / Mexico

    La sociedad de los poetas muertos

  • Turkey

    Ölü ozanlar dernegi

  • Sweden

    Döda poeters sällskap

  • Denmark

    Døde poeters klub

  • Spain

    El club de los poetas muertos

  • Hungary

    Holt költök társasága

  • Japan

    Ima wo ikiru

  • Finland

    Kuolleiden runoilijoiden seura

  • Italy

    L'attimo fuggente

  • Canada

    La société des poètes disparus (French title)

  • France

    Le cercle des poètes disparus

  • Portugal

    O Clube dos Poetas Mortos

  • Greece

    O kyklos ton hamenon poiiton

  • Brazil

    Sociedade dos Poetas Mortos

  • Poland

    Stowarzyszenie umarlych poetów

DVD Extra Features

The following extra features can be found on the Special Edition DVD:

  • Raw Takes
  • Audio Commentary by Peter Weir, John Seale, and Tom Schulman
  • Alan Splet Tribute
  • John Seale's Masters Class
  • International Theatrical Trailer
  • Scrapbook

RWF Note: There's an extended laserdisc version of this movie available with 10 minutes of extra footage that is not included on the DVD.

Box Office

  • Budget


  • Gross

    $95,860,116 (USA)
    $140,000,000 (international)
    $235,860,116 (total)

  • Opening Weekend

    Limited: $340,456 (8 theaters)
    Wide: $7,540,464 (687 theaters)

  • Widest Release

    1,109 theaters


  • Academy Awards

    Nom - 1990 - Best actor in a leading role (Robin)
    Nom - 1990 - Best Director (Peter Weir)
    Nom - 1990 - Best Picture
    Won - 1990 - Best Screenplay

  • Golden Globes

    Nom - 1990 - Best Actor (Robin)
    Nom - 1990 - Best Film
    Nom - 1990 - Best Director (Peter Weir)
    Nom - 1990 - Best Screenplay

  • British Academy Awards

    Nom - 1990 - Best Actor (Robin)
    Won - 1990 - Best Film
    Nom - 1990 - Best Director (Peter Weir)
    Nom - 1990 - Original Screenplay
    Nom - 1990 - Original Film Score
    Nom - 1990 - Editing Award

  • French Academy of Cinema

    Won - 1991 - Best Foreign Film

Wall of Tributes >