Yesterday in my AVID class, we finished watching a movie we had started the class before that honestly left an impression on me that very few movies have been able to do, and the name of that movie is Dead Poets Society. A movie that deserves to win every award it was ever nominated for and should be shown in every high school English class at least once a year.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The movie wasn’t without its flaws. There were some cringe-worthy scenes and others that I found downright confusing, but there were also scenes that made laugh, made me cry (harder than I think I ever have in response to a movie), but most importantly, scenes that were so memorable, they made me think about life, and how some themes can be so universal and so timeless that they still ring true after the nearly 27 years that have passed since the movie came out.
Before I had watched Dead Poets Society, I’d only ever heard of it, but didn’t know or care to find out what it was. In fact, I think at one point I thought it was a classic novel or an actual organization of poets, not an 80’s movie starring Robin Williams (God bless his soul) that would come to change my view and perspective on life (not to mention leave me bawling for hours after the movie’s end).
While watching the first half of the movie on Tuesday, I immediately recognized a specific scene that took place in the classroom of Mr. Keating (Robin Williams’ character) because I had seen a photo-set on tumblr several months ago that was apparently from the same movie. In fact, as I write this, I’m actually searching through my main blog’s archive, trying to pinpoint the specific post, which I recall was about an important message Keating was sharing with the boys in his class about poetry. (Update: I searched through my entire archive and apparently I didn’t reblog it. -_- I must have only liked it.)
Point being, there was so much to take away from the movie that I’m probably going to look up the dead poets society tag on tumblr after I’m done posting this and go on a reblog frenzy of all my favorite scenes.
And since I’m such a sucker for memorable movie quotes (or just quotes I think are nice in general), I thought I’d share my favorite ones from the movie here:
First, the quote that started it all for me. The one that was included in the photo-set I saw on tumblr that I am now kicking myself for not reblogging the first time I saw it.
“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.”
“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.”
“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. 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.”
~ Mr. Keating
* * *
“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. To put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived.”
~ Neil (quoting Henry David Thoreau)
Will probably seem very out of place in comparison to the other quotes here, but still one of my favorites because of the context of the scene in which the quote was made:
“Damn it, Neil. The name is Nuwanda.”
And finally, who could forget the two quotes that made the movie what it was and to me had the potential to inspire a generation:
“O Captain! My Captain!”
“Carpe diem—seize the day boys! Make your lives extraordinary.”
I don’t think I’ll ever forget this movie. It’s one that, although I can’t say changed my life, definitely inspired me to change it for myself, and as a senior in high school who is soon to embark on a new journey in her own life, I couldn’t have asked for a better movie to give me that motivation.