Dead Poets Society

This study guide will help you analyze the film Dead Poets Society (1989) directed by Peter Weir. You can also find a summary of the events, as well as inspiration for interpreting the film and putting it into perspective

Presentation of the text

Title: Dead Poets Society (1989)
Director: Peter Weir
Genre: Film

Peter Weir is an Australian film director. He has directed several well-known movies of various genres and was nominated six times for the Academy Awards. In 2022, he was awarded the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement for this entire career. The last movie he released was The Way Back in 2010. Weir confirmed his retirement in 2022. 

The film Dead Poets Society is considered one of his most famous works, along with The Truman Show (1998) and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003). The film was nominated for four Academy Awards and four Golden Globes and won the British Film Awards for Best Film and Best Original Film Score. The film was very well received at the box office but received mixed reviews by the critics. The acting was generally praised but some criticized the plot for being melodramatic and unconvincing. 

Robin Williams was nominated for several awards, including Oscars and Bafta for his portrayal of English teacher John Keating. Upon Williams’ death in 2014, fans paid tribute to him by re-enacting the last scene of this movie where the students show their allegiance to their former teacher. 

Excerpt from the study guide:



Poetry plays a central role in the film. The Dead Poets Society members meet to read poetry. In the beginning, reading poetry has the attraction of the forbidden, and to the boys it represents another way to rebel. Eventually, it makes the boys think and discover their own values and how to better express themselves. Poetry is used as a means of escapism for the boys, as well as a way to broaden their horizons and discover their own identities. 

The lines of poetry quoted by each student seems to fit their personalities. For instance, Charlie recites a short, cheeky poem that he wrote on the back of an erotic poster. Neil recites “Ulysses” by Alfred Lord Tennyson, a poem which is about ...

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Dead Poets Society

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