Dead Poets Society (1989) quotes

Director
Peter Weir.

Cast
Robin Williams.
Robert Sean Leonard.
Ethan Hawke.

English teacher John Keating inspires his students to look at poetry with a different perspective of authentic knowledge and feelings.

Oh captain, my captain.
Todd Anderson

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!
– John Keating

“Show me the heart unfettered by foolish dreams and I’ll show you a happy man.”
McAllister
“But only in their dreams can men be truly free. ‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be.”
John Keating
Tennyson?
McAllister
No, Keating.
John Keating

No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.
John Keating

There’s a time for daring and there’s a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for.
– John Keating

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?
– John Keating

[quoting Henry David Thoreau] “I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”
Neil Perry
I’ll second that.
Charlie Dalton
“To put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived.”
Neil Perry

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.
John Keating

[last lines]
[stands up on his desk] O Captain! My Captain!
Todd Anderson
Sit down, Mr. Anderson! Do you hear me? Sit down! Sit down! This is your final warning, Anderson. How dare you? Do you hear me?
Mr. Nolan
[climbs up onto his desk] O Captain! My Captain!
Knox Overstreet
Mr. Overstreet, I warn you! Sit down!
Mr. Nolan
[Pitts climbs onto his desk, followed by Meeks, then over half the class, one by one]

Sit down! Sit down. All of you. I want you seated. Sit down. Leave, Mr. Keating. All of you, down. I want you seated. Do you hear me? Sit down!
Mr. Nolan
Thank you, boys. Thank you.
John Keating

[answering phone] 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.
– Charlie Dalton

Now we all have a great need for acceptance, but you must trust that your beliefs are unique, your own, even though others may think them odd or unpopular, even though the herd may go,
John Keating
[imitating a goat]
“that’s baaaaad.” Robert Frost said, “Two roads diverged in the wood and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
John Keating

Sucking the marrow out of life doesn’t mean choking on the bone.
– John Keating

[the class hesitates to rip out the introduction page] It’s not the Bible, you’re not gonna go to Hell for this.
– John Keating

So what are you going to do? Charlie?
Neil Perry
Dammit, Neil, the name is Nuwanda.
Charlie Dalton

This is a battle, a war, and the casualties could be your hearts and souls.
– John Keating

O Captain, my Captain. Who knows where that comes from? Anybody? Not a clue? It’s from a poem by Walt Whitman about Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Now in this class you can either call me Mr. Keating, or if you’re slightly more daring, O Captain my Captain.
– John Keating

Phone call from God. If it had been collect, that would have been daring!
– John Keating

For the first time in my whole life, I know what I wanna do! And for the first time, I’m gonna do it! Whether my father wants me to or not! Carpe diem!
– Neil Perry

I’m exercising the right not to walk.
– Charlie Dalton

We’re not laughing at you. We’re laughing near you.
– John Keating

Free thinkers at 17?
– Mr. Nolan