Oh Captain! My Captain! 14 Facts You Never Knew About Dead Poets Society

Dead Poets Society saw Robin Williams star in a more dramatic role than we often associated him with, and he proved to be a versatile and talented actor.

The film sees Williams as a newly appointed English teacher, and has some extremely powerful and moving scenes.

Let’s take a look back at this classic film with some facts you probably never knew about Dead Poets Society….

1. The director made the cast sleep in dorms together to make them bond

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To try and make sure the young stars were bonding and had a chemistry when performing together on screen, director Peter Weir made them sleep in rooms and dorms together.


2. Robin Williams played John Keating as the teacher he always wished he’d had

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Robin Williams was very keen to play the character of John Keating as the character was the kind of teacher Williams always wished he had had himself.

3. The movie was filmed in chronological order

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Peter Weir took the fairly unusual step of filming the movie in chronological order, which can make a movie more difficult to film.

4. There was a good reason for this

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Weir decided he wanted to film the movie chronologically to help the cast to bond with each other and the students bond with their teacher as the characters develop.

5. The film was quoted posthumously

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Following the sad passing of Robin Williams in 2014, many media outlets used the phrase from Dead Poets Society, “Oh Captain! My Captain!” in his obituaries.

6. Liam Neeson was originally cast as Keating

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Initially, Dead Poets Society was set to be directed by Jeff Kanew and Liam Neeson had already been cast as Mr. Keating.

7. The original director was replaced

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Jeff Kanew was then removed from the project and the director’s chair was given to Peter Weir instead, which ended up being a great move for the finished movie.

8. Weir’s first move was to replace Neeson with Williams

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On gaining directorship of the film, one of Peter Weir’s first moves was to replace Liam Neeson with Robin Williams. The rest, as they say, is history!

9. Dustin Hoffman was originally going to direct and star

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Before Peter Weir, and before Jeff Kanew were involved in the movie, Dustin Hoffman was originally going to star as Mr. Keating and also direct the film as well, but he then withdrew from the film.

10. One famous scene was changed last minute

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The scene where Todd cries in the snow was originally supposed to be filmed inside, but then it started snowing and Peter Weir thought it would have more impact if filmed outside in the snow.

11. Ethan Hawke was given only one take to get the scene right

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Relocating the scene to the snowy outside meant that they had to act fast, especially as the snow was already starting to slow down, so Ethan Hawke was given just one take to get the scene right and he nailed it!

12. The film was one of Williams’ favourites of his own

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Dead Poets Society was one of Robin Williams’ favourite films of his own, and he also said that Peter Weir was probably the best director he ever worked with.

13. The film was a huge sleeper hit

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Dead Poets Society never managed to hit the number one spot at the box office, but still went on to take more than $235 million worldwide!

14. Sometimes, first time is all it takes

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When writer Tom Schulman sent his draft of the film to the studios to pitch the movie to them, it was the very first draft he had written, not a revised, and re-revised version as writers often do!