Box art for Dead Poets Society

Dead Poets Society

  • Rated PG

drama


An inspiring story of Carpe Diem and living life to the fullest.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    85%
  • Audience Score
    92%

common sense

ON for kids age 13
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
Language
3 out of 5
Positive messages
4 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
Sex
2 out of 5
Violence
3 out of 5

Inspiring, intense story of a teacher and his students.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has very uplifting messages especially for teens about seizing the day and embracing poetry as a way toward thinking for yourself and positive self-expression. But it also deals with the suicide of one of the main characters (the gunshot isn't shown, but the parents are shown holding their son afterward, hysterical). Everyone smokes a lot (mostly a reflection of the time mixed with teen rebellion) and one main character drinks shots at a high school party.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about poetry. Did this movie inspire you to read more, be more creative, or even "seize the day"?
  • What movies inspire you? Why? What about teachers?
  • Families can also talk about Neil, his oppressive father, and his irreversible decision. What help is out there for those contemplating the same actions? What are the warning signs that someone needs help?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Solid, smart entertainment.

- Desson Thomson, Washington Post, Saturday, January 1, 2000

Rotten: The moral divisions set up between characters are childishly overdrawn; and, worst of all, the behavior shown by the boys and adults frequently reeks of falsity and contrivance.

- Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader, Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fresh: Williams, who has comparatively little screen time, has come to act, not to cut comic riffs, and he does so with forceful, ultimately compelling, simplicity.

- Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine, Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Dead Poets Society grabs a bunch of talented actors, places them in a film where the story is already magnificent, and gives the audience 100% satisfaction. However, that being said, even though the film satisfies and is one of the best scripted films in it's genre, it does feel dull at times, because there aren't enough events occurring. Overall, I loved Dead Poets Society. It has emotion, comedy, life lessons and life decisions. What more can you ask for? The final act of the film is unexpected and brutal, which makes it all the more believable. This film is stunning!

- fb733768972, Saturday, February 19, 2011

5 stars

One of my favorite movies of all-time! A brillant, touching, tragic story. Great performances, too. Great movie all around!

- jamers2011, Saturday, January 15, 2011

4 stars

Set in a picturesque New England boys's prep school in the late 1950s, what we get here is an inspiring story of an unconventional young English teacher who aims to inspire his charges to challenge the confines of structure and seize the day, primarily through the lens of poetry. This was not the most original film at the time of its release, but if it's any consolation, many imitators followed in its wake. I think this is an inspiring and moving film.As the teacher, Robin Williams is restrained for almost all of it, but that's fine-it's one of his best performances. The other performances are also really good, particularly Robert Sean Leonard and Ethan Hawke. As this is a Peter Weir film, the cinematography and overall look of the film are just gorgeous. It is incredibly typical in terms of showcasing New England, but that doesn't really bother me. My only real gripes are how limited the poetry is (no mention of the Beats? in the late 50s? WHAT?) and how much of a downer this film is and becomes. Sometimes the music also seems a tad awkward, but it's mostly quite good. Overall, I do really like this. It's nothing new, but it's done well, has a nice message, and it does push for an appreciation of poetry, so that's cool too.

- cosmo313, Monday, December 2, 2013