Dead Poets Society


2h 8m 1989
Dead Poets Society

Brief Synopsis

An English teacher inspires his students to seize the day with sometimes disastrous results.

Film Details

Also Known As
Attimo Fuggente, L', Cercle des poetes disparus, Le, Dead Poets' Society, Döda poeters sällskap, L' Attimo Fuggente, Le Cercle des poetes disparus
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Biography
Period
Release Date
1989
Production Company
Paul Murphey
Distribution Company
Walt Disney Studios Distribution
Location
St. Andrew's School, Middletown, Delaware, USA; New Castle, Delaware, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 8m

Synopsis

Set in an exclusive boys preparatory school in 1959, a newly appointed English teacher uses unconventional techniques to inspire his students in classic poetry.

Crew

John Anderson

Set Decorator

William Anderson

Executive Editor

C J Appel

Adr Editor

Brian W Armstrong

Assistant Camera Operator

Lori A Balton

Production Assistant

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Music

Lisa Birnbach

Technical Advisor

Charles Brown

Dolly Grip

Susan Cabral

Makeup

Dan Carlin

Music Editor

Patricia Carlin

Music Editor

Michael Carrillo

Property Master Assistant

Stan Cockerell

Property Master Assistant

Rob Cohen

Sound

Luis Colina

Adr Editor

Al Curry

Song

Katharine Curtis

Production Coordinator

Alan B. Curtiss

Assistant Director

Gloria D'alessandro

Dialogue Editor

Carlos Delarios

Sound

Elina Desantos

Casting

Cal Divalerio

Construction Coordinator

Jimmie Driftwood

Song

Willie Lee Duckworth

Song

Francois Duhamel

Photography

John Ellingwood

Assistant Camera Operator

Frank Eulner

Sound Effects Editor

Tina Fallani

Foley

Leigh Feitelberg

Production Assistant

Kathryn Fenton

Assistant Editor

Howard Feuer

Casting

Louis S Fleming

Property Master

Brian Fong

Assistant Director

George C Fouche

Foreman

Walter Freitas

Transportation Captain

Leigh French

Adr

Marlene Fuentes

Assistant

Marsha Garces

Assistant

Hank Giardina

Other

Jay Gibson

Production Assistant

Robert M Gonzales

Accounting Assistant

Robert Grahamjones

Post-Production Sound

Lee Grubin

Apprentice

Steven Haft

Producer

Allen L Hall

Special Effects Coordinator

George Frederick Handel

Music

Charles Harrington

Assistant

Norman Harris

Lighting Technician

T J Healy Ii

Liaison

Duncan Henderson

Associate Producer

Duncan Henderson

Unit Production Manager

Polly Holmes

Assistant

Gillian Hutshing

Assistant Editor

David Hykes

Song

David Hykes

Song Performer

Louise A Innes

Associate Editor

Bette Iverson

Hairdresser

Wanda Jackson

Song Performer

Maurice Jarre

Music

James Johnson

Song

Phil Judd

Sound

Gary L Karas

Special Effects Foreman

Ron Kenyon

Electrician

Tracy L Kettler

Assistant

Yvonne Kingon

Assistant

Robin Knight

Key Grip

Ann Kroeber

Sound Effects Editor

Daniel S Kudart

Production Assistant

Mary Helen Leasman

Foley Editor

Robin Lee

Foley

Ferdinand Leitner

Music Conductor

Bernard Lentz

Song

Louis Mann

Assistant Art Director

Eddie Marks

Costume Supervisor

Robert Marty

Post-Production Sound

Marilyn Matthews

Set Costumer

Barbara Mcbane

Dialogue Editor

Robo Mccarthy

Rigging Gaffer

Marilyn Mccoppen

Adr Editor

Russell Mcentyre

Transportation Coordinator

Michael John Meehan

Location Manager

David L Merrill

Dolly Grip

Thomas E Miligan

Assistant Camera Operator

Armen Minasian

Assistant Editor

Joel Moss

Music

Karl Munchinger

Music Conductor

Paul Murphey

Cable Operator

Priscilla Nedd-friendly

Editor

Julie Offer

Projectionist

Bruce Pearson

Color Timer

Tom Peitzman

Production Assistant

E Jeane Putnam

Assistant

Jerry Rehberg

Song

Carleton E Reynolds

Set Designer

Jessie Mase Robinson

Song

Aaron Rochin

Sound

Howard Rose

Assistant Camera Operator

Kim Roth

Assistant

John Rusk

Assistant Director

Anthony J Scarano

Set Costumer

Tom Schulman

Screenplay

Alexander Scutti

Construction

Derin Seale

Assistant

John Seale

Director Of Photography

John Seale

Dp/Cinematographer

B Thomas Seidman

Assistant Director

Stephen G Shank

Camera Operator

Jacqueline A Shea

Assistant

George Sheanshang Esq.

Production

Robert Shoup

Foley Editor

Robert Shoup

Sound Effects Editor

Michael Silvers

Dialogue Editor

Ernestine Smith

Song

Lee Smith

Editor

Karen Spangenberg

Dialogue Editor

Alan Splet

Sound Editor

Delaware) St Andrew's School (middletown

Assistant

Pete St John

Song

Wendy Stites

Production Designer

Wayne Stone

Transportation Captain

Allen E Taylor

Production Accountant

Tony Thomas

Producer

Neal Thompson

Titles

Jack Tice

Other

Peter Townsend

Sound Editor

Plummy Tucker

Liaison

Sandy Veneziano

Art Director

John Verbeck

Sound Effects Editor

Kimberly Walls

Apprentice

Jeff Watts

Foley Editor

Gordon Webb

Boom Operator

Andy Weltman

Assistant

Noelleen Westcombe

Assistant Editor

Charles Wilborn

Sound Mixer

Hope Williams

Script Supervisor

Wally Williams

Assistant

Paul Junger Witt

Producer

Gwendolyn Yates Whittle

Assistant

Deborah Zeitman

Associate Editor

Film Details

Also Known As
Attimo Fuggente, L', Cercle des poetes disparus, Le, Dead Poets' Society, Döda poeters sällskap, L' Attimo Fuggente, Le Cercle des poetes disparus
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Biography
Period
Release Date
1989
Production Company
Paul Murphey
Distribution Company
Walt Disney Studios Distribution
Location
St. Andrew's School, Middletown, Delaware, USA; New Castle, Delaware, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 8m

Award Wins

Best Original Screenplay

1989

Award Nominations

Best Actor

1989
Robin Williams

Best Director

1989
Peter Weir

Best Picture

1989

Articles

Dead Poets' Society


Tom Schulman won an Oscar® for Best Screenplay for Dead Poets' Society (1989), his first script to be produced as a feature film. The movie, starring Robin Williams as a brilliant, unconventional English teacher at a boys' prep school, is a sensitive study of the value - and the price - of nonconformity. The year is 1959; the setting is Welton Academy, a tradition-bound boarding school where the unorthodox teaching methods of Professor Keating (Williams) inspire his students as much as they alarm the conservative school administration. Keating, who inspires the young men to revive a secret society of poetry readers to which he belonged when he was a student at Welton, tells them, "Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys - make your lives extraordinary!" His philosophy proves both liberating and dangerous, leading one of the students to a drastic decision.

Interviewed in the Jurgen Wolff/Kerry Cox book Top Secrets: Screenwriting, Schulman said he never attended prep school but was inspired to write Dead Poets Society after hearing a lecture by the "unbelievably dynamic and inspiring" Broadway director Harold Clurman, who could "light a fire under you that was incredible." Other influences were Schulman's own English teachers and a father who was "always quoting poetry to me, little kernels of wisdom."

After director Peter Weir was assigned to direct Dead Poets Society, he persuaded Schulman to make one major change in the screenplay. In the original version, the Williams character is dying of leukemia. Schulman said that Weir "pointed out that a dying general leading his men into battle isn't a very courageous man - after all, he has nothing to lose." The revised screenplay allowed the focus to remain on the struggles of the students, who include aspiring writer Todd (Ethan Hawke), would-be actor Neil (Sean Robert Leonard), intellectual Steven (Allelon Ruggiero) and romantic Knox (Josh Charles).

Produced by Disney's Touchstone Pictures and filmed at St. Andrews, a private boarding school in Delaware, Dead Poets Society was shot in chronological order because Weir felt that was the best way to capture the growing rapport between Williams and the young actors cast as his students.

The film marked a breakthrough for Williams, moving him in a more disciplined and humanistic direction as an actor and winning him a second Best Actor Oscar nomination. (The first was for Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), which gave free reign to his brilliance at comic improvisation.) He would continue to show his sensitive side in The Fisher King (1991), which earned him a third Best Actor nomination; and Good Will Hunting (1997), which brought the award itself as Best Supporting Actor. Dead Poets Society, which set Leonard and Hawke on the road to stardom, also won Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Director (Weir).

Despite its overall seriousness, Williams' performance as Keaton contains flashes of his comic persona, including impersonations of John Wayne and - in an amusing goof in chronology -- Marlon Brando in The Godfather. (While Dead Poets Society is set in the late 50s, the Brando movie wasn't released until 1972.)

Producers: Steven Haft, Paul Junger Witt, Tony Thomas, Duncan Henderson (associate)
Director: Peter Weir
Screenplay: Tom Schulman
Production Design: Wendy Stites
Cinematography: John Seale
Costume Design: Marilyn Matthews
Editing: William M. Anderson, Lee Smith
Original Music: Maurice Jarre, David Hykes
Principal Cast: Robin Williams (John Keating), Robert Sean Leonard (Neil Perry), Ethan Hawke (Todd Anderson), Josh Charles (Knox Overstreet), Gale Hansen (Charles Dalton), Dylan Kussman (Richard Cameron), Allelon Ruggiero (Steven Meeks).
C-129m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Roger Fristoe

Dead Poets' Society

Dead Poets' Society

Tom Schulman won an Oscar® for Best Screenplay for Dead Poets' Society (1989), his first script to be produced as a feature film. The movie, starring Robin Williams as a brilliant, unconventional English teacher at a boys' prep school, is a sensitive study of the value - and the price - of nonconformity. The year is 1959; the setting is Welton Academy, a tradition-bound boarding school where the unorthodox teaching methods of Professor Keating (Williams) inspire his students as much as they alarm the conservative school administration. Keating, who inspires the young men to revive a secret society of poetry readers to which he belonged when he was a student at Welton, tells them, "Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys - make your lives extraordinary!" His philosophy proves both liberating and dangerous, leading one of the students to a drastic decision. Interviewed in the Jurgen Wolff/Kerry Cox book Top Secrets: Screenwriting, Schulman said he never attended prep school but was inspired to write Dead Poets Society after hearing a lecture by the "unbelievably dynamic and inspiring" Broadway director Harold Clurman, who could "light a fire under you that was incredible." Other influences were Schulman's own English teachers and a father who was "always quoting poetry to me, little kernels of wisdom." After director Peter Weir was assigned to direct Dead Poets Society, he persuaded Schulman to make one major change in the screenplay. In the original version, the Williams character is dying of leukemia. Schulman said that Weir "pointed out that a dying general leading his men into battle isn't a very courageous man - after all, he has nothing to lose." The revised screenplay allowed the focus to remain on the struggles of the students, who include aspiring writer Todd (Ethan Hawke), would-be actor Neil (Sean Robert Leonard), intellectual Steven (Allelon Ruggiero) and romantic Knox (Josh Charles). Produced by Disney's Touchstone Pictures and filmed at St. Andrews, a private boarding school in Delaware, Dead Poets Society was shot in chronological order because Weir felt that was the best way to capture the growing rapport between Williams and the young actors cast as his students. The film marked a breakthrough for Williams, moving him in a more disciplined and humanistic direction as an actor and winning him a second Best Actor Oscar nomination. (The first was for Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), which gave free reign to his brilliance at comic improvisation.) He would continue to show his sensitive side in The Fisher King (1991), which earned him a third Best Actor nomination; and Good Will Hunting (1997), which brought the award itself as Best Supporting Actor. Dead Poets Society, which set Leonard and Hawke on the road to stardom, also won Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Director (Weir). Despite its overall seriousness, Williams' performance as Keaton contains flashes of his comic persona, including impersonations of John Wayne and - in an amusing goof in chronology -- Marlon Brando in The Godfather. (While Dead Poets Society is set in the late 50s, the Brando movie wasn't released until 1972.) Producers: Steven Haft, Paul Junger Witt, Tony Thomas, Duncan Henderson (associate) Director: Peter Weir Screenplay: Tom Schulman Production Design: Wendy Stites Cinematography: John Seale Costume Design: Marilyn Matthews Editing: William M. Anderson, Lee Smith Original Music: Maurice Jarre, David Hykes Principal Cast: Robin Williams (John Keating), Robert Sean Leonard (Neil Perry), Ethan Hawke (Todd Anderson), Josh Charles (Knox Overstreet), Gale Hansen (Charles Dalton), Dylan Kussman (Richard Cameron), Allelon Ruggiero (Steven Meeks). C-129m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Roger Fristoe

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States October 8, 1989

Released in United States on Video March 28, 1990

Released in United States September 1989

Released in United States Summer June 2, 1989

Wide Release in United States June 9, 1989

Shown at Deauville Film Festival September 1-11, 1989.

Shown at Tokyo International Film Festival October 8, 1989.

Shown at Venice Film Festival (out of competition) September 4-15, 1989.

Began shooting November 14, 1988.

Completed shooting January 15, 1989.

Released in United States on Video March 28, 1990

Released in United States Summer June 2, 1989

Wide Release in United States June 9, 1989

Released in United States September 1989 (Shown at Deauville Film Festival September 1-11, 1989.)

Released in United States September 1989 (Shown at Venice Film Festival (out of competition) September 4-15, 1989.)

Released in United States October 8, 1989 (Shown at Tokyo International Film Festival October 8, 1989.)