Dead Poet’s Society (1989) – Encore Review


“There’s a time for daring and there’s a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for.” – John Keating

Number of Times Seen – Too many to count (Theater in ’89, cable, video, DVD, 3 Jul 2014 and 15 Aug 2019)

Link to original reviewHere

Brief Synopsis – At a private prep school during the 1950’s, an influential teacher tries to get his pupils to find more meaning in their lives.

My Take on it – This is a film that I fell in love with the first time I saw it in the theater 30 years ago when I was 15.

It remains one of the best films about the way that a teacher can be influential and help his students in both school and in life.

The choice to set this film in the 1950’s is a great one since it was a time where they were less tolerant with people who act or behave differently and were much more conservative in their choices in life.

Robin Williams shines in the lead role and a case can be made for the fact that he is a better dramatic actor than comedic one since he is super in this role.

In the darker and more serious scenes of the film, his brilliance is even more accentuated.

The way that he plays this character is exquisite and I’m quite sure I am not the only viewer who wishes that I had such an influential and charismatic teacher as a kid.

The actors who play the kids are also great and I love seeing familiar faces among them especially Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles.

The film has a clear message about the way we all should look at life and make our mark.

It’s presented in a great way and despite a small bump in the plot towards the end, it’s extremely effective.

Loved seeing Norman Lloyd as the Strict Headmaster of the school.

Bottom Line – Amazing film about the effect and influence a teacher can have on students. The 1950’s setting helps make the story even more engaging since it was a much less tolerant and more conservative time. Williams shines as Keating and once again shows how great a dramatic actor he could be especially when the story line gets darker and more serious. The way that he plays Keating makes most people wish that they had a teacher as charismatic and influential as he could be.  The actors playing the kids are also superb and its nice to see some familiar faces among them especially Leonard, Hawke and Charles. The film’s message is quite clear and they present things in a great way (despite a slight bump towards the end). Lloyd is great as the strict Headmaster of the school. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – What attracted Robin Williams to the role of John Keating more than anything else was that John Keating was the type of teacher he, in his school days, always wished he had. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10) (no change from original review)

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One thought on “Dead Poet’s Society (1989) – Encore Review

  1. Not sure if I’ve told this story before. But in 1988, I was at a small Oscar party at the home of Bruce Evans (who was Oscar nominated with his partner Ray Gideon for the screenplay of “Stand By Me” a couple of years before -and met another of their guests – Tom Schulman. We all watched the Oscars – talking about the show, breaking balls on some of the presenters etc. One year later – Schulman was AT the Oscars – winning Best Screenplay for his script for “Dead Poets Society”.

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