"Dead Poets Society" is a film starring Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, ethan Hawke, Josh Charles, Gale Hansen, Dylan Kussman, Allelon Ruggiero, and James Waterston. It was released in the year 1989. In the film, director Peter Weir tells the story of an english teacher at a boy's school, in the 1950s. The teacher inspires his students to overcome their reluctance to make changes in their life and stirs up their interests in poetry and literature. The film was shot at St. Andrew's School in Middletown, Delaware and the story is set in Welton Academy in Vermont. The script of the film had been penned by Tom Schulman. It was largely based on his own life at Montgomery Bell Academy, an all-boys preparatory school in Nashville.
Painfully shy Todd Anderson (ethan Hawke) has been sent to the school, where his popular older brother was valedictorian. It is a prestigious preparatory school, based on four core principles: Tradition, Honor, Discipline and excellence. His roommate, Neil Perry (Robert Sean Leonard), is under the thumb of his overbearing father. The two, along with their other friends, meet Professor Keating (Robin Williams), their new english teacher who is an unorthodox and experimental teacher.
During his classes, Professor Keating encourages the boys to go against the status quo and find one's own identity within oneself. each, in their own way, does this, and is changed for life. He also tells the kids about Dead Poets Society, an old literary club of which Mr. Keating, himself, was a member. The boys decide to recreate the Society, for which later Keating is later held responsible by the school and fired. Neil commits suicide in the movie, unable to cope up with his father's dreams for him. Keating is blamed for his death as well.
The character of Professor Keating is inspired by english professor Samuel F. Pickering Jr. from the University of Connecticut. He was a former teacher of famous author Thomas Schulman at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville. Robin Williams also drew part inspiration for the character from late John C. Campbell, his history teacher at Detroit Country Day School. The introductory essay that Keating asks his students to read in the movie has been borrowed without any major changes from the book Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry by Laurence Perrine, a best selling author and college Professor.
"Dead Poets Society" was appreciated by the critics for its uplifting message and was well received by the audience. The movie won the Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay and the BAFTA Award for Best Film. It was nominated for Best Picture of 1989. Peter Weir also received a nomination for Best Director. It is positioned at 20th place in entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Best High School Movies.