Dead Poets Society is a 1989 film, set in 1959, that tells the story of English professor John Keating, who inspires his students at Welton Academy to a love of poetry and teaches them to overcome their reluctance to make changes in their lives.
- 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?
- When you read, don't just consider what the author thinks, consider what you think.
- There's a time for daring and there's a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for.
- Sucking the marrow out of life doesn't mean choking on the bone.
- No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.
- They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.
- 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 to that. Break out! break out now is the time!
- [Last words] Thank you, boys. Thank you.
- Keating: "Seize the day. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may." Why does the writer use these lines?
- Charlie: Because he's in a hurry.
- Keating: No. Ding! Thank you for playing anyway. Because we are food for worms, lads. Because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold and die.
- Keating: Language was developed for one endeavor, and that is - Mr. Anderson? Come on, are you a man or an amoeba? [pause] Mr. Perry?
- Neil: To communicate.
- Keating: No! To woo women!
- Charlie Dalton: Welton Academy. Hello? Yes, he is. Just a moment. Mr. Nolan, it's for you. It's God. He says we should have girls at Welton.
- Keating: Phone call from God. If it had been collect, that would have been daring!
- McAllister: You take a big risk by encouraging them to be artists, John. When they realize they're not Rembrandts, Shakespeares or Mozarts, they'll hate you for it.
- Keating: We're not talking artists, George, we're talking freethinkers.
- McAllister: Freethinkers at seventeen?
- Keating: Funny — I never pegged you as a cynic.
- McAllister: Not a cynic, a realist. "Show me the heart unfettered by foolish dreams, and I'll show you a happy man."
- Keating: "But only in their dreams can man be truly free. 'Twas always thus, and always thus will be."
- McAllister: Tennyson?
- Keating: No, Keating.
- [Keating stands on his desk]
- Keating: Why do I stand up here? Anybody?
- Dalton: To feel taller!
- Keating: No!
- [Dings a bell with his foot]
- Keating: Thank you for playing Mr. Dalton. I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.
KEATING The picture of Uncle Walt up there. What does he remind you of? Don't think. Answer. Go on.
Keating begins to circle around Todd.
TODD A m-m-madman.
KEATING What kind of madman? Don't think about it. Just answer again.
TODD A c-crazy madman.
KEATING No, you can do better than that. Free up your mind. Use your imagination. Say the first thing that pops into your head, even if it's total gibberish. Go on, go on.
TODD Uh, uh, a sweaty-toothed madman.
KEATING Good God, boy, there's a poet in you, after all. There, close your eyes. Close your eyes. Close 'em. Now, describe what you see.
Keating puts his hands over Todd's eyes and they begin to slowly spin around.
TODD Uh, I-I close my eyes.
TODD Uh, and this image floats beside me.
KEATING A sweaty-toothed madman?
TODD A sweaty-toothed madman with a stare that pounds my brain.
KEATING Oh, that's excellent. Now, give him action. Make him do something.
TODD H-His hands reach out and choke me.
KEATING That's it. Wonderful. Wonderful.
Keating removes his hands from Todd but Todd keeps his eyes closed.
TODD And, and all the time he's mumbling.
KEATING What's he mumbling?
TODD M-Mumbling, "Truth. Truth is like, like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold."
The students begin to laugh and Todd opens his eyes. Keating quickly gestures for him to close them again.
KEATING Forget them, forget them. Stay with the blanket. Tell me about that blanket.
TODD Y-Y-Y-You push it, stretch it, it'll never be enough. You kick at it, beat it, it'll never cover any of us. From the moment we enter crying to the moment we leave dying, it will just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream.
Todd opens his eyes. The class is silent. Then they begin to clap and cheer.
KEATING (whispering to Todd) Don't you forget this.
- He was their inspiration. He made their lives extraordinary.
- I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die Discover that I had not lived
- Robin Williams - John Keating
- Robert Sean Leonard - Neil Perry
- Ethan Hawke - Todd Anderson
- Josh Charles - Knox Overstreet
- Gale Hansen - Charlie Dalton
- Norman Lloyd - Headmaster Dean Nolan
- Kurtwood Smith - Mr. Perry
- Dylan Kussman - Richard Cameron
- Allelon Ruggiero - Steven Meeks
- Alexandra Powers - Chris Noel