Genre : Drama
Director : Peter Weir
Starring : Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke
Age : 14+
Dead Poets Society is set at the Welton Academy, an elite preparatory school for boys. The four pillars of the school’s philosophy are: tradition, honour, discipline and excellence.The Welton Academy is a staid but well-respected prep school where education is a pragmatic and rather dull affair. Several of the students, however, have their thoughts on the learning process (and life itself) changed when a new teacher comes to the school. John Keating (played by Robin Williams) is an ex-pupil of the school and its new English teacher. He believes that the purpose of education is to teach students to think for themselves. This belief brings him into conflict with the school’s administration.
On the first day of classes, they are surprised by the unorthodox teaching methods of their new English teacher, who encourages his students to “make your lives extraordinary”, a sentiment he summarizes with the Latin expression carpe diem (“seize the day”). His subsequent lessons include standing on his desk to teach the boys how they must look at life in a different way, telling them to rip out the introduction of their poetry books which explains a mathematical formula used for rating poetry, and inviting them to make up their own style of walking in a courtyard to encourage them to be individuals.
His free-thinking attitude and the liberating philosophies of the authors he introduces to his class have a profound effect on his students, especially Todd who would like to be a writer; Neil, who dreams of being an actor, despite the objections of his father; Knox, a hopeless romantic; Steven, an intellectual who learns to use his heart as well as his head; Charlie, who begins to lose his blasé attitude; unconventional Gerard; and practical Richard . Keating urges his students to seize the day and live their lives boldly; His methods attract the suspicious attention of the strict Headmaster, Gale Nolan. when his philosophy leads to an unexpected tragedy, headmaster Mr. Nolan fires Keating, and his students leap to his defense.
Once Keating is fired , Nolan takes over teaching the class. Keating interrupts the class to collect some personal articles, but before he leaves Todd stands on his desk and salutes Keating with the words “O Captain!My Captain!“. Knox, Meeks, Pitts and over half the rest of the class does the same, despite Nolan’s threats to expel them. Deeply touched by their gesture, Keating thanks the boys.