Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.
out of 100
Metascore®Generally favorable reviewsbased on a weighted average of allcritic review scores.
The picture draws out the obvious and turns itself into a classic. [26 June 1989]
Not the worst of the countless recent movies about good kids and hidebound, authoritatian older people. It may, however, be the most shameless in its attempt to pander to an adolescent audience.
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Williams is impressively restrained as well as funny, so fans need not fret. It only means that instead of Good Morning, Preppies, we're given a bittersweet, even eerie Goodbye, Mr. Hip. [2 June 1989, Life, p.1D]
A refreshing if obvious drama. [9 June 1989, Friday, p.A]
Sings whenever Williams is onscreen.
See all Dead Poets Society reviews at Metacritic.com
OK for kids 13+
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.
Messages: Lots of nuggets of wisdom mostly spoken by Professor Keating: think for yourselves, savor words and language, "words and language can change the world," and that you should constantly look at things in a different way.
Role models: Almost goes without saying that kids pushed like crazy to succeed will rebel. The boys here smoke quite a bit and sneak out of the school repeatedly, but they sneak out to read poetry and bond. One boy lies to his seemingly heartless father so he can perform in a play. Professor Keating clearly cares a lot about his students. Authority figures in the school stoop to scapegoating one teacher and pitting students against him in order to keep order after a tragedy.
Violence: One of the lead boys commits suicide off-screen via gun shot; parents are shown afterward hysterical as they hold him. One boy gets beat up, his nose bloodied. One character says of his beau,"if I don't have Chris I'm going to kill myself." One student gets paddled by headmaster as punishment.
Sex: One of the teens shows a (somewhat obscured) Playboy centerfold, plus a few jokes about virginity, and teen couples kissing passionately at a party.
Language: Kids call Welton school "Hell-ton" frequently. "S--t" is said about a half dozen times, plus a smattering of "damn," "Goddamnit," and "Jesus."
Consumerism: Sunmaid Raisins make a cameo.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Period smoking -- lots of it. Both pipes and cigarettes smoked by adults and snuck by teens. A high school party includes plenty of drinking -- Knox does whiskey shots with new acquaintances.
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