D E A D P O E T'S S O C I E T Y
1 INT WELTON ACADAMY DINING HALL - DAY - VARIOUS SHOTS 1
On the left is a life-sized mural depicting a group of young
school boys looking up adoringly at a woman who represents
liberty. On the right is a mural showing young men gathered
around an industrialist in a corporate boardroom. Between the
murals stands a boy.
An odd, blaring MUSICAL SOUND starts and stops, interrupted
by the noise of pumping. A teacher hurries to the boy,
adjusts his tie, and leads him off.
On another wall is a full-sized portrait of a 19th century
Scotsman in a kilt. In front at this, young boys carrying
banners, and several elderly men in old-fashioned costumes
assembling into a processional formation. Nervous younger
boys (7th graders) are shown their places in line and handed
candles. They light each others.' candles until all their
candles are lit.
Suddenly the MUSIC BLASTS FORTH in its full splendor. It is
a BAGPIPE. The bagpiper, in a kilt like the one in the
portrait, begins a processional march.
2 INT CORRIDOR ADJACENT THE DINING ROOM - SAME 2
The bagpiper enters a long slate and stone hallway. The
haunting timbre of his antiquated instrument reverberates
through the building. Momentarily, he is followed by the
other processional marchers. He leads them down the corridor
and down a threshold staircase into:
3 INT. WELTON'S OLD, STONE CHAPEL - CONTINUOUS 3
Where two hundred high school-aged boys--most of whom wear
black blazers--sit on either side of the central aisle
watching the procession move onto the dais in front. Beside
most of these boys are their parents.
VARIOUS ANGLES ON THE PROCESSION
FOUR 16-YEAR-OLD Boys CARRY BANNERS.
Each boy is dressed in an archaic, turn-of-the-century
outfit. On each banner is emblazoned a different word. One
reads "TRADITION," another reads "HONOR",' a third reads
DISCIPLINE, the last reads 'EXCELLENCE."
THE ELDERLY MEN
in their 70s and SOS, obviously the school's oldest alumni,
each wearing a name tag and the uniform of his day, make their
way toward the stage.
THE SEVENTH GRADERS
carrying candles are nervous and self-conscious. Most
concentrate intently on keeping their candles lit while they
march. One young boy's candle has gone cut and he can barely
keep from crying.
The bagpiper stands at the corner of the dais, marching in
place. Behind him, in black robes, sit the school's 30-odd
teachers. The processional's elderly alumni fill the chairs
of honor on the dais.
The four young BANNER CARRIERS peel off from the main aisle
and take seats beside their parents in the audience. The 7th
graders take seats with their parents too. A purple and black
robed man who brings up the rear of the procession walks up to
the podium. Me is HEADMASTER GALE NOLAN, a big man, in his
mid-60s. The music stops.
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished
alumni, and students: This year marks
the one hundredth year that Welton
Academy has been in existence.
Applause begins. Soon the whole room is standing in a
thunderous ovation. After an appropriate amount of time,
Nolan motions for everyone to be seated.
One hundred years ago, in 1859, forty-one boys sat in this
room and were asked the same question that now greets you at
the start of each semester: Gentlemen, what are the four
All of the students stand at attention. Find TODD ANDERSON
sitting between his parents. Todd is 16, good looking, but he
seems beaten down, lacking confidence, unhappy. He wears a
name tag and no Welton blazer. When the others stand, Todd's
mother nudges him. Todd stands. He watches as the other
ALL THE BOYS IN UNISON
Tradition! Honor! Discipline!
All the boys sit. Todd sits too. All is silent again.
In her first year, Welton Academy
graduated five students. Last year we
graduated fifty-one and over seventy-five
percent of those went to the Ivy League!
Applause. During it we rind KNOX OVERSTREET and CHARLIE
DALTON, both 16, and both in Welton blazers. Knox (sitting
between his parents) carries a banner. He has curly hair,
looks outgoing, is short but well built. Charlie, also with
his parents, has a handsome yet friendly face. He carries no
banner but, when Nolan mentions Ivy League, both these boys
fit the bill.
This kind of accomplishment is the
result of fervent dedication to the
principles taught here. This is why you
parents have been sending us your sons,
and this is why we are the best
preparatory school in the United States.
All turn to look at the new students the 7th graders and
transfer students. Todd Anderson is among them and he looks
The key to your success rests on our
four pillars. These are the bywords of
this school and they will become the
cornerstones of your lives. Welton
Society candidate Richard Cameron...
In the audience, not far from Todd is Richard CAMERON, one of
the banner carriers, 16, his father's little clone. He stands
eagerly to attention. Too eagerly.
What is Tradition?
Tradition, Mr. Nolan, is love of school,
country, and family. Our tradition at
Welton is to be the best!
Good, Mr. Cameron. Welton Society
Candidate George Hopkins. Honor.
Cameron sits. His father beams smugly.
Honor is dignity and the fulfillment of
Good, Mr. Hopkins. Honor Society
Candidate, Knox Overstress
Knox, as mentioned, is a banner-holder. He stands.
What is discipline?
Discipline is respect for parents,
teachers, headmaster. Discipline comes
Thank you, Mr. Overstress. Honor
Candidate Neil Perry.
Knox sits. Knox's proud father and mother give him pats of
encouragement. NEIL PERRY stands. Whereas some boys have two
or three achievement pins an the lapels of their coats, Neil
has a huge cluster of them on the pocket of his jacket. Neil
is 16, intense, a born leader. However, there is more than a
hint of anger and dissatisfaction in his eyes. Beside him
sits his unsmiling father, MR. PERRY.
Excellence, Mr. Perry.
Excellence is the result of hard work.
Excellence is the key to all success, in
school and everywhere.
Neil sits. He doesn't look at his father nor does his father
look at him.
Gentlemen, at Welton you will work
harder than you have ever worked in your
lives, and your reward will be the
success that all of us expect of you. I
would now like to call to the podium
Welton's oldest living graduate- Mr.
Alexander Carmichael, Jr., Class of 1866.
An octogenarian on stage shuns help from those beside him and
makes his way slowly--excruciatingly slowly--to the podium As
the audience rises to another standing ovation
4 EXT. THE WELTON ACADEMY - MAIN LAWN - DAY 4
Welton Academy is a cluster of traditional weathered stone
buildings. The time is 1959 but at Welton this is irrelevant.
This school with its traditions is completely isolated from
the politics or trends of the outside world.
The students stand with their parents under a giant tent.
Finger food, coffee, tea and punch are laid cut on white
Charlie's mother stands dotingly fixing Charlie's hair. Then
she kisses him.
Knox's father has his hand affectionately around his son.
Mr. Perry stands adjusting the achievement pins on Neil's
Todd Anderson's parents stand chatting with another couple,
paying no attention to Todd who looks very much alone.
Mr.Nolan walks by and looks at Todd's name tag.
Ah, Mr. Anderson. You have some big
shoes to fill, young man. Your brother
was one of our best.
(faint, almost inaudible)
Neil's father, Neil in tow, approaches Nolan and interrupts.
Gale. what's this I hear about a new
junior English teacher?
Mr. Gladden took the Headmaster's post
at Malford, so we've hired John Keating.
A former student, I hear?
A star student, Mr. Perry. And he's
spent the last ten years teaching at the
McMillan School in Edinburgh.
Nolan looks around. He finds, then indicates:
ACROSS THE LAWN a black-robed teacher stands with his back to
us, staring at the beautiful Welton LAKE. As if he sensed he
was being watched, he turns and faces us. This is JOHN
KEATING, late 30s, sparkling eyes.
Nolan puts his arm on Mr. Perry's shoulder and leads him off.
Come meet him. You'll like him.
We watch Nolan escort Mr. Perry across the lawn and introduce
him to Mr. Keating who walks up to greet them. Todd stands
alone, looking around. Neil Perry, now left alone, does the
same. Both watch the other students saying good-byes to their
5 EXT. THE WELTON ACADEMY PARKING LOT - DAY 5
The 7th graders are saying good-bye to their parents. Chins
quiver. Young eyes hold back tears. Some boys sob. For most
of these young boys this is the first time in their lives that
they will be away from their parents and their homes, and it
is a devastating experience.
LONG SHOT, WELTON ACADEMY - SAME
Welton Academy sits in a lonely and isolated valley in woods
of Vermont. Though the setting is beautiful, its isolation
only highlights the loneliness that most of the 7th graders
feel at this moment.
6 OMIT 6
7 INT. THE WELTON ACADEMY OAK PANELED HONOR ROOM - DAY 7
The 50 or so members of the junior class sit in chairs or
stand around the room. The students that were featured
earlier are here: Todd Anderson, Neil Perry, Knox Overstress,
Charlie Dalton, Richard Cameron. All except Todd wear Welton
blazers. Todd sticks out and he knows it.
A staircase against a wall leads to a 2nd-floor door. That
door opens and down the stairs file five boys. An old teacher
(DR. HAGER) comes to the door and calls out five names.
Overstreet, Perry, Dalton, Anderson,
These boys file up the staircase. As they do, a seated boy
(PITTS) leans to the boy next to him (STEVEN MEEKS). Meeks
has sweet egghead looks and very short hair. He wears a
pocket watch and chain.
Who's the new boy?
Old Hager sees this conversation.
Misters Pitts and Meeks. Demerits.
Pitts and Meeks look down. Pitts glances at Necks and rolls
That's another demerit, Mr. Pitts.
Pitts' smile vanishes. Hager closes the door.
8 INT THE HEADMASTER'S OFFICE - SAME 8
The five boys take seats in a row of chairs facing Mr. Nolan.
Nolan sits behind his desk, a HUNTING DOG on the floor beside
Welcome. back, Mr. Dalton. How's your
Doing fine, sir.
Your family move into that new house,
Yes sir, about a month ago.
Wonderful. I hear It's beautiful. (he
gives the dog a snack)
Mr. Anderson, since. you're new here,
let me explain that at Welton, I assign
extracurricular activities on the basis
of merit and desire. These activities
are taken every bit as seriously as your
class work... right, boys?
CHARLIE, CAMERON, KNOX
Failure to attend required meetings will
result in demerits. Mr. Dalton the
school paper, the Service Club, soccer,
rowing. Mr. Overstress Welton Society
Candidates, the school paper, soccer,
Sons of Alumni Club. Mr. Perry Welton
Society Candidates, Chemistry Club,
Mathematics Club, school annual, soccer.
Mr. Cameron Welton Society Candidates,
Debate Club, rowing, Service Club,
forensics, Honor Council. Mr. Anderson
based on your record at Balincrest,
soccer, Service Club, school annual.
Anything else I don't know about?
Todd struggles. He looks like he is trying to speak but
nothing is coming out of his mouth.
Speak up, Mr. Anderson.
I would prefer rowing sir.
It is apparent that Todd's fear of speaking is overwhelming.
Nolan looks at him.
Rowing? Did he say rowing? It says here
you played soccer at Balincrest.
(again barely audible)
Sweat breaks out on Todd's brow. He clinches his hands,
turning his knuckles white. He looks like he is going to
burst into tears. The other boys look at him.
You'll like soccer here, Anderson.
The boys stand and exit. Todd looks absolutely miserable.
The teacher at the door calls out more names.
9 EXT. WELTON CAMPUS - DAY 9
The Welton students walk toward their dorms. Neil Perry
approaches Todd Anderson who walks alone. Neil offers his
I hear we're going to be roommates.
Todd keeps walking. There is an awkward silence.
Why'd you leave Balincrest?
My brother went here.
Oh, so you're that Anderson.
10 INT. THE JUNIOR DORM LOBBY - CONTINUOUS 10
Neil and Todd have walked into the dorm lobby.
My parents wanted me here all along but
my grades weren't good enough. I had to
go to Balincrest to pull them up.
Well, you've won the booby prize. Don't
expect to like it here.
11 INT. THE WELTON JUNIOR CLASS DORMITORY ROOM - DAY 11
Each small room contains two single beds, two closets, and
two desks. Suitcases sit on the floor. Neil enters. Richard
Cameron sticks in his head.
Heard you got the new boy. He's a hell
of a speaker, huh? Oops.
Todd Anderson walks in. Cameron ducks out. Todd has heard
Cameron s comment, but he ignores it. He puts his suitcase on
his bed and begins unpacking.
Don't mind Cameron. He's an asshole.
There is a knock on the door. Knox Overstress, Charlie
Dalton, and Steven Meeks enter. Charlie speaks to Neil.
Hey, I heard you went to summer school?
Yeah, chemistry. My father thought I
should get ahead.
Well, Meeks aced Latin and I didn't
quite flunk English so if you want, we've
got our study group.
Sure, but Cameron asked me too. Anybody
mind including him?
What's his specialty, brown-nosing?
Hey, he's your roommate.
That's not my fault.
Nobody is excited about Cameron but no one objects.
I don't think we've met. I'm Steven
(shyly extending his hand)
Knox and Charlie offer Todd handshakes.
Todd shakes their hands.
Todd's brother is Jeffrey Anderson.
Oh yeah. Sure. Valedictorian, National
Todd nods affirmative.
Well, welcome to "Hell"ton.
It's every bit as hard as they say.
Unless you're a genius like Meeks.
He flatters me so I'll help him with
And English, and trig
Meeks smiles. There is a knock on the door.
Neil's father enters. Neil is surprised.
Father. I thought you'd... gone.
All the boys stand.
MEEKS, CHARLIE, KNOX
Keep your seats, boys. How's it going?
Fine, sir. Thank you.
Neil, I've decided that you're taking
too many extracurricular activities.
I've spoken to Mr. Nolan about it and you
can work on the school annual next year.
But father, I'm assistant editor.
I'm sorry, Neil.
But father, it's not fair.
Fellows, would you excuse us a minute?
Mr. Perry walks into the hall, Neil follows.
12 INT. THE JUNIOR DORMITORY HALLWAY - SAME 12
I will not be disputed in public, do you
Father, I wasn't disputing you.
When you've finished medical school and
you're on your own, you can do as you
please. Until then, you will listen to
Yes sir. I'm sorry.
You know what this means to your mother,
Using the pressures of guilt and punishment, Mr. Perry is the
most subtle of bullies. Neil's resolve crumbles in front of
his authoritarian father. Neil fills the pause.
You know me, always taking on too much.
Good boy. Call us if you need anything.
He turns and walks off.
13 INT. NEIL'S ROOM 13
The others wait in silence. A chastened Neil enters.
Why doesn't he let you do what you want?
Yeah! Tell him off! It couldn't get
Oh that's rich. Like you tell your
parents off, Mr. Future Lawyer and Mr.
Neil takes the school annual achievement pin off his shirt
and hurls it at his desk.
Wait a minute. I don't let my parents
walk on me.
Yeah, you just do everything they say!
You'll be in daddy's law firm as sure as
I'm standing here.
And you'll be approving loans till you
Okay, so I don't like it any more than
you do. I'm just saying
Then don't tell me how to talk to my
father when you're the same way. All
All right. Jesus, what are you gonna
What I have to do. Screw the annual.
I certainly wouldn't lose any sleep over
it. It's just a bunch of people trying
to impress Nolan.
Screw it all. I don't give a damn about
any of it.
He slams his hand into his pillow and lies back silently.
Everyone is quiet, sensing Neil's disappointment. Finally,
Charlie breaks the silence.
I don't know about anyone else, but I
could use a refresher in Latin. Eight
o'clock in my room?
You're welcome to join us, Todd.
Yeah, come along.
The boys leave. Neil lies in silence. He sees the
achievement pin that he threw and picks it up. Todd continues
to unpack. He unpacks a photo of his mother and father with
their arms around an older boy who is obviously Todd's brother
Jeffrey. Todd stands to one side, slightly apart from the
family group. Todd unpacks an engraved leather desk set
(pens, blotter, etc.) and puts it on his desk.
So what do you think of my father?
(softly, to himself)
I'll take him over mine.
Todd, if you're gonna make it around
here, you've gotta speak up. The meek
might inherit the earth but they don't
get into Harvard. know what I mean?
The goddamn bastard!
He presses the metal point of the pin into his thumb, drawing
blood. Todd winces. Neil doesn't. Neil hurls the pin again.
14 INT. A CHEMISTRY CLASSROOM - DAY 14
The classroom is a laboratory: filled with flasks, etc.
Neil, Todd, Knox, Charlie, Cameron, Meeks and other members of
the junior class sit around the room. A bespectacled teacher
stands in front, passing out thick textbooks.
In addition to the assignments in the
text, you will each pick three lab
experiments from the project list and
report on one every five weeks. The
first twenty problems at the end of
chapter one are due: tomorrow.
ANGLE ON CHARLIE DALTON as the thick textbooks arrive at his
desk. He shoots a disbelieving glance at Knox Overstreet who
can only acknowledge with a shake of his head. Todd takes his
books without reacting.
15 INT. LATIN CLASS - DAY 15
The same students sit before a Latin teacher in his early
60's He declines a Latin noun with a thick Scottish brogue.
LATIN TEACHER (McALLISTER)
Agricola, agricolae, agricolas,
Agricolas, agricolatis, agricolatus
ANGLE FAVORING TODD, NEIL, KNOX AND THE OTHERS as they
struggle to follow along with McAllister's lesson.
16 INT. A MATHEMATICS CLASS - DAY 16
Mathematical charts hang on the walls. The elderly bald
teacher (the one from Nolan's doorway), Dr. Hager, passes out
books. The students' work load is huge.
Your study of trigonometry requires
absolute precision. Anyone failing to
turn in any homework assignment will be
penalized one point off his final grade.
Let me urge you now not to test me on
this point. Who would like to begin by
defining a cosine?
Richard Cameron stands.
A cosine is the sin of the compliment of
an angle or arc. If we define an angle
17 INT. ENGLISH CLASSROOM - DAY 17
The junior students--Todd, Neil, Knox, Charlie, Cameron,
Meeks and some of the others we've seen--enter. They are
loaded down with books and look weary. Sitting in the front
of the room, staring out the window is JOHN KEATING, the
teacher we glimpsed earlier. He wears a collared shirt, tie,
The boys take seats and settle in. Keating stares out the
window a long time. The students start to shuffle
uncomfortably. Finally Keating stands, picks up a yardstick,
and begins slowly strolling the aisles. He stops and stares
into the face of one of the boys.
(to the blushing boy)
Don't be embarrassed.
He moves off, then stops in front of Charlie Dalton.
(as if discovering
something known only to
(he moves to Todd Anderson)
(he moves to Neil Perry)
Keating slaps his free hand with the yardstick, then strides
to the front of the room.
Nimble young minds!
He steps up onto the desk, turns and faces the class.
Oh Captain, My Captain. Who knows where
No one raises a hand.
It was written by a poet named Walt
Whitman about Mr. Abraham Lincoln. In
this class you may refer to me as either
Mr. Keating, or Oh Captain, My Captain.
Keating steps down and starts. strolling the aisles.
So that I become the source of as few
rumors as possible, let me tell you that
yes, I was a student at this institution
many moons ago, and no, at that time I
did not possess this charismatic
personality. However, should you choose
to emulate my manner, it can only help
your grade. Pick up a textbook from the
back, gentlemen, and let's retire to the
He steps off the desk and walks out. The students sit, not
sure what to do, then realize they are to follow him. They
quickly gather their books, pick up texts, and follow.
18 INT. THE WELTON OAK PANELED HONOR ROOM - DAY 18
This is the room where the boys waited earlier. The walls
are lined with class pictures: dating back into the 1800s.
School trophies of every description fill trophy cases and
shelves. Keating leads the students in, then faces the class.
(Keating looks at his roll)
Pitts. An unfortunate name. Stand up,
Open your text, Pitts, to page forty and read for us the
first stanza of the poem.
Pitts looks through his book. He finds the poem.
To The Virgins to Make Much Of Time?
That's the one.
Giggles in the class. Pitts reads.
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
Old time is still a flying
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. The
Latin term for that sentiment is "Carpe
Diem." Anyone know what that means?
Carpe Diem... seize the day.
Very good, Mr._?
Seize the day while you're young, see
that you make use of your time. Why does
the poet write these lines?
Because he's in a hurry?
Because we're food for worms, lads!
Because we're only going to experience a
limited number of springs, summers, and
falls. One day, hard as it is to
believe, each and every one of us is
going to stop breathing, turn cold, and
die! Stand up and peruse the faces of
the boys who attended this school sixty
or seventy years ago. Don't be timid, go
look at them.
The boys get up. Todd, Neil, Knox, Meeks, etc. go over to
the class pictures that line the honor room walls.
ANGLES ON VARIOUS PICTURES ON THE WALLS. Faces of young men
stare at us from out of the past.
They're not that different than any of
you, are they? There's hope in their
eyes, just like in yours. They believe
themselves destined for wonderful things,
just like many of you. Well, where are
those smiles now, boys? What of that
THE BOYS are staring at the pictures, sobered by what Keating
Did most of them not wait until it was
too late before making their lives into
even one iota of what they were capable?
In chasing the almighty deity of success
did they not squander their boyhood
dreams? Most of those gentlemen are
fertilizing daffodils! However, if you
get very close, boys, you can hear them
whisper. Go ahead, lean in. near it?
'Carpe Diem, lads. Seize the day. Make
your lives extraordinary. -
Todd, Neil, Knox, Charlie, Cameron,
Meeks, Pitts all stare into the pictures
on the wall. All are lost in thought.
19 EXT. THE WELTON CAMPUS - DAY 19
The class files out of the honor room. Todd, Neil, Knox,
Charlie, Cameron, Necks, and Pitts walk together, books in
hand. All thinking about what just happened in class.
Spooky if you ask me.
You think he'll test us on that stuff?
Oh come on, Cameron, don't you get
EXT. THE WELTON CAMPUS - CONTINUOUS
How about a trig study group? Right
Good by me. Sure. Great.
I can't make it. I got a sign-out to
have dinner at the Danburrys' house.
Who are the Danburrys?
Big alum,. How'd you pull that?
They're friends of my dad. Probably in
their nineties or something.
Listen, anything's, better than mystery
I'll second that.
The group disperses. Neil finds himself walking near Todd
who has been silent through this whole discussion.
Want to come to the study group?
Thanks but I'd better do history.
20 INT. TODD AND NEIL'S DORM ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON 20
Todd enters alone. He puts down his books and sits at his
desk. Flipping through the stack of books in front of him, he
sighs at the work load that is piling up.
Todd takes out his notebook and opens his history book. He
stares at his notebook for a moment, then writes "SEIZE THE
DAY" in big letters. He looks at the words that he's written,
sighs, tears the page off, then plunges into his homework.
A21 EXT. THE WELTON CAMPUS - DUSK - WIDE SHOT A21
The autumnal colors are muted by the onset of nightfall. Old
Dr. Hager drives the school "woody" station wagon out of the
B21 EXT. WALTON VILLAGE (NEW CASTLE) - DUSK - WOODY DRIVE-BY B21
21 EXT./INT. A LARGE MANSION - DUSK 21
Knox Overstreet gets out of the woody. Dr. Hager pulls away.
Knox walks to the door of the home and is admitted by a maid.
Knox is amazed by this palatial home.
22 INT. THE DANBURRY MANSION LIBRARY - DUSK 22
JOE DANBURRY is a sharp looking man of about 40, well
dressed, friendly. His wife, an attractive blonde about the
same age, sits beside him.
Knox, come in. Joe Danburry. This is
my wife, Janette.
Nice to meet you.
You're the spitting image of your
father. How is he?
Great. Just did a big case for GM.
Ah. I know where you're headed. Like
father like son, eh?
(looking off screen)
Ginny. Come meet Knox.
GINNY DANBURRY--15, cute, shy, a shock of misplaced hair--
Knox, this is our daughter, Virginia.
Knox shakes her hand. His "hello" is polite. Her "hi" is
CHET DANBURRY--a tall jock of a guy a couple of years older
than Knox--enters. With him is a lovely teenage brunette,
CHRIS NOEL, in a short tennis dress. Soft glowing eyes,
athletic figure, this girl is stunning.
Dad, can I take the Buick?
What's wrong with your car?
Chet, where are your manners? Knox,
this is my son Chet and his girlfriend
Chris Noel. This is Knox Overstreet.
Excuse me while I check on dinner.
Knox shakes Chet's hand. Knox is THUNDERSTRUCK by Chris.
Chris offers Knox her hand and a smile. Knox shakes her hand1
his mouth practically hanging open.
Pleased to meet you.
The pleasure is mine.
Come on, Dad, why is this always a big
Because I bought you a sports car and
suddenly you want my car all the time.
Chris' mom feels safer when we're in a
bigger car. Right, Chris?
Chet shoots her a wicked smile. Chris blushes.
It's all right, Chet.
It's not all right. Come on, Dad
Joe Danburry walks out of the room. Chet follows him.
Come on, Dad.
Knox, Ginny, and Chris remain in the room. Knox smiles at
So, uh, where are you in school?
Ridgeway High. How's Henley Hall, Gin?
That's your sister school, right?
You going out for the Henley Hall play?
They're doing "A Midsummer Night's
How did you meet Chet?
(both girls look at him)
I mean... Er...
He plays on the Ridgeway football team
and I'm a cheerleader. He used to go to
Welton but he flunked out.
You should do it, Gin. You'd be great.
Ginny looks down, shyly. Chet comes to the door.
Chris. We got it. Let's go.
Nice meeting you, Knox. Bye, Gin.
Nice meeting you. Chris.
Chris and Chet exit. Through the window, we see Chet and
Chris walk out and put their arms around each other.
(confiding to Knox)
Chet just wants the Buick so they can go parking.
Outside, Chris and Chet get in the Buick and kiss. Knox
stares with envy.
23 EXT. DANBURRY HOUSE - DUSK 23
Chet and Chris drive off.
24 INT. THS JUNIOR CLASS LOUNGE - NIGHT 24
The dorm is quiet. Neil, Cameron, Weeks, Charlie and Pitts
are gathered studying math. As they do, Pitts works to
assemble a small crystal radio. Todd is in his room, studying
alone. Knox, looking shell-shocked, shuffles into the lobby.
How was dinner?
Terrible. Awful! I met the most
beautiful girl I've ever seen in my life!
Are you crazy? What's wrong with that?
She's practically engaged to Chet
Danburry. Mr. Mondo Jocko himself.
It's not too bad. It's a tragedy! Why
does she have to be in love with a jerk?!
All the good ones go for jerks, you know
that. Forget her. Take out your trig
book and figure out problem twelve.
I can't just forget her, Pitts. And I
certainly can't think about math!
Sure you can. You're off on a tangent--
so you're halfway into trig already
I thought it was clever.
You really think I should forget her?
You have another choice.
Knox drops to his knee like he is proposing.
Only you, Pittsie.
Pitts pushes Knox away. Knox sits back down but despair is
beginning to wash over him.
25/26 OMIT 25/26
26A EXT: WELTON CAMPUS - MORNING 26A
The Welton bagpiper marches on the lawn, practicing. Students
emerge from their dorms and head to breakfast.
27 INT. KEATING'S ENGLISH CLASS - DAY 27
The lights are out and shades are drawn. Keating sits in a
chair beside the teacher's desk. He looks solemn. All is
(soft and soothing voice)
Boys, quietly open your texts to page
The boys follow instructions. Keating reads the following in
a tone of quiet reverence.
Little Boy Blue, by Eugene Field:
The little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and staunch he stands.
And the little toy soldier is red with rust,
And his musket moulds in his hands;
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue,
Kissed them and put them there.
'Now don't you go till I come,' he said,
'And don't you make any noise!'
So toddling off to his trundle bed
He dreampt of pretty toys;
And as he was dreaming, an angel song,
Awakened our Little Boy Blue--
Oh the years are many, the years are
But the little toy friends are true.
Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
Each in the same old place--
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
The smile of a little face.
And they wonder, as waiting the long years thru,
In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue,
Since he kissed them and put them there.
Keating is a masterful reader. With his marvelous voice, he
has milked this sentimental poem for everything it is worth.
Many of the boys are on the verge of tears. Suddenly Keating
The students jump halfway out of their seats.
Treacle! Mawkish treacle! Rip it out
of your books. Rip out the entire page!
I want this sentimental rubbish in the
trash where it belongs!
He marches down the aisles with the trash can and waits for
each boy to deposit the page from his textbook. The boys,
having been led down the sentimental path, cannot help but
laugh at this sudden change of mood.
Make a clean tear. I want nothing left
of it! Eugene Field! Disgraceful.
27A INT.MCALLISTER'S CLAS5RDOM - DAY 27A
Mr. McAllister, the Scottish Latin teacher, exits his room
and walks across the hall to Keating's classroom. He peeks in
the door window and sees boys ripping pages out of their
books. Alarmed, McAllister opens the door and enters
27B INT. KEATING'S CLASSROOM - SAME 27B
McAllister is about to reprimand the boys when suddenly he
What the... Sorry, I didn't think you
were in here, Mr. Keating.
Baffled and embarrassed, McAllister exits. Keating strides
back to the front of the room, Flits the trash can on the
floor, and jumps into it. He stomps the trash a few times,
then kicks the can away.
This is battle, boys. War! You are
souls at a critical juncture. Either you
will succumb to the will of hoi polloi
and the fruit will die on the vine--or
you will triumph as individuals. It may
be a coincidence that part of my duties
are to teach you about Romanticism, but
let me assure you that I take the task
quite seriously. You will learn what
this school wants you to learn in my
class, but if I do my job properly, you
will also learn a great deal more. You
will learn to savor language and words
because they are the stepping stones to
everything you might endeavor to do in
life and do well. A moment ago I used
the term 'hoi polloi.' Who knows what it
means? Come on, Overstreet, you twirp.
Anderson, are you a man or a boil?
More laughter. All eyes are on Todd. He visibly tenses all
over. He cannot bring himself to speak. He shakes his head
jerkily "no.'. Meeks raises his hands and speaks:
The hoi polloi. Doesn't it mean the
Precisely, Meeks. Greek for the herd.
However, be warned that, when you say
"the hoi polloi" you are actually saying
the the herd. Indicating that you too
are "hoi polloi."
Keating grins wryly. Meeks smiles. More chuckles. Keating
paces to the back of the room.
Now, many will argue that nineteenth--
century literature has nothing to do with
business school or medical school. They
think we should I read our Field and
Pipple, learn our rhyme and meter, and
quietly go about it our business of
achieving other ambitions.
He slams his hand on the wall behind him. The wall booms
like a drum. The boys jump and turn around.
Well, I say drivel! One reads poetry
because he is a member of the human race
and the human race is filled with
passion! Medicine, Law, Banking-these
are necessary to sustain life-but poetry,
romance, love, beauty! These are what we
stay alive for. I read from Whitman.
Oh me, Oh life of the questions of these
recurring. OF the endless trains of the
faithless of cities filled with the
foolish... skipping... 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."
Keating pauses. The class sits, taking this in.
"That the powerful play goes on, and you
may contribute a verse." Incredible.
Poetry is rapture, lads. Without it we are doomed.
Keating waits a long moment.
What will your verse be?
CLOSE ON the faces of NEIL, KNOX, CHARLIE, MEEKS, CHAMERON,
PITTS, and TODD as they contemplate this question. Softly,
Keating breaks the mood:
Let's open our textbooks to page sixty
and learn about Wordsworth notion of
25 INT. THE WELTON DINING ROOM - DAY 25
On the dais in the front of the room is the teacher's dining
table. Below them are the students' tables. Mr. McAllister
sits to Keating's right.
Quite an interesting class you had
today, Mr. Keating.
Sorry if I shocked you.
No need to apologize. It was quite
fascinating, misguided though it was.
You heard it all?
You're hardly a Trappist monk.
McAllister smiles. So does Keating.
You take a big risk encouraging them to
be artists, John. When they realize
they're not Rembrants or Shakespeares or
Picassos, they'll hate you for it.
Not artists, George, free thinkers. And
I hardly pegged you as a cynic.
A cynic? A realist! Show me the heart
unfettered by foolish dreams and I'll
show you a happy man.
He chews a bite.
But I will enjoy listening to your
Keating grins with amusement
ANOTHER ANGLE - THE DINNING ROOM - SAME
Todd, Knox, Charlie, Cameron, Pitts, and Meeks sit at a table
eating. Neil enters and joins them.
I found his senior annual in the
Neil opens the annual and reads.
Captain of the soccer team, editor of
the annual, Cambridge bound, Man most
likely to do anything, Thigh man, Dead
Hands grab the old annual away from Neil.
Thigh man? Mr. "K" was a hell raiser.
What is the Dead Poets Society?
Any group pictures in the annual?
Nothing. No mention of it.
Mr. Nolan approaches the boys' table. Under the table,
Cameron insistently hands the annual to Todd. Todd looks at
Cameron, then takes it.
Enjoying your classes, Mr. Perry?
Yes sir. Very much.
And our Mr. Keating. Finding him
Yes sir. We were just talking about
Good. We're very excited about him. He
was a Rhodes Scholar, you know.
Nolan exits. Todd looks at the annual that he hides in his
lap under the table, then continues eating.
29 EXT. THE CAMPUS - LATER 29
Keating walks across the school lawn wearing his sport coat
and a scarf, carrying his books. Pitts, Neil, Cameron, Knox,
Charlie, Meeks and Todd approach him.
Mr. Keating? Sir? Oh Captain My Captain.
What was the Dead Poets Society?
Ah, so you boy's have been snooping.
I was just looking in an old annual and...
Nothing wrong with research.
The boys wait for more.
But what was it?
Keating checks around to be sure they are unwatched.
The Dead Poets was a secret
organization. I don't know how the
present administration would look upon it
but I doubt the reaction would be
favorable. Can you keep a secret?
An instant sea of nods.
The Dead Poets Society was dedicating to
sucking the marrow out of life. That
phrase is by Thoreau and was invoked at
every meeting. A small group of us would
meet at a cave and there we would take
turns reading Shelley, Thoreau, Whitman,
our own verse-any number of poets-and, in
the enchantment of the moment, let them
work their magic on us.
You mean it was a bunch of guys sitting
around reading poetry?
Both sexes participated, Mr. Overstreet.
And, believe me, we did not simply read,
we let it drip from our tongues like
honey. Women swooned, spirits soared...
Gods were created, gentlemen.
The boys think a minute.
What did the name mean. Did you only
read dead poets.
All poetry was acceptable. The name
simply referred to the fact, that to join
the organization, you had to be dead.
Full membership required a lifetime of
apprenticeship. The living were simply
pledges. Alas, even I am still a lowly
The boys don't quite know what to say.
The last meeting must have been 25 years
ago. Hasn't been another since.
Keating exits. The boys stand watching. Neil turns to them.
I say we go tonight. Everybody in?
Where is this cave he's talking about?
Beyond the stream. I think I know.
Sounds boring to me.
You know how many demerits we're
So don't goddam come! Please.
All I'm saying is we have to be careful.
We can't get caught.
Well, no shit, Sherlock
Neil looks at Knox, Pitts, and Weeks.
Oh come on, Pitts...
His grades are hurting, Charlie.
Then you can help him.
What is this, a midnight study group?
Forget it, Pitts, you're coming. Meeks,
your grades hurting too?
All right. I'll try anything once.
More laughter. Meeks blushes.
I'm in as long as we're careful.
I don't know. I don't get it.
Come on. It'll help you get Chris.
It will? How do you figure?
The group walk off. Knox holds, then follows,
Why do they swoon?! Charlie, tell me
why they swoon!
Knox moves off after the others. Todd remains behind. No one
asked Todd and he moves off by himself.
30 INT. THE STUDY HALL - LATE AFTERNOON 30
Students study. Neil sits near Todd.
Listen, I'm inviting you. You can't
expect everybody to think of you all the
time. Nobody knows you.
Thanks but it's not a question of that.
What is it then?
I... I just don't want to come.
But why? Don't you understand what
Keating is saying? Don't you want to do
something about it?
Put what? Goddamn it, tell me.
I don't want to read.
Keating said everybody took turns
reading. I don't want to do it.
God, you really have a problem, don't
you? How can it hurt you to read? I
mean isn't that what this is all about?
31 INT. THE DORM - LATE NIGHT 31
Old Dr. Hager, the resident dorm marshal, putters in his
room, door ajar, making tea. Neil, Charlie, Knox, Meeks,
Pitts, Cameron, and Todd sneak silently past his door and out.
32 EXT. THE WELTON CAMPUS - NIGHT 32
The school hunting dog comes up and growls at the boys. Pitts
slips the dog a piece of food and it goes away.
33 EXT. THE SCHOOL GROUNDS - NIGHT 33
The stars are out and the wind is blowing. A SERIES of SHOTS
show the boys crossing the campus. They reach a stone wall
with an old iron gate that is chained shut. The boys squeeze
through the gate and disappear into the woods beyond.
34 EXT. THE WELTON WOODS AND STREAM - NIGHT 34
The boys make their way through the eerie forest searching
for the cave. They reach the bank of the stream and begin
looking for an appropriate spot amongst the tree roots and
erosion. Charlie suddenly looms out of the cave entrance.
Yaa, I'm a dead poet!
Eat it, Dalton!
This is it.
SHORT DISSOLVE TO:
34A INT. THE CAVE - A BIT LATER 34A
A newly lit fire comes to life The boys huddle around the
I hereby reconvene the Welton Chapter of
the Dead Poets Society. These meetings
will be conducted by myself and by the
rest of the new initiates now present.
Todd Anderson, because he prefers not to
read, will keep minutes of the meetings.
Todd is unhappy with this role but he tries not to show it.
I will now read the traditional opening
message from society member Henry David
Neil opens Keating's copy of Thoreau's Walden, and reads.
I went to the woods because I wanted to
(skips thru the text)
I wanted to live deep and suck out all
the marrow of life!"
All right. I'll second that.
To put the rout all that was not life.
(skips thru the text)
And not, when I came to die, discover
that I had not lived. Pledge Overstreet.
Knox steps up. Neil hands him Walden. Knox flips thru the
book until he finds another underlined passage. He reads.
The millions are awake enough for
Physical labor; but only one in a million
is awake enough for effective
intellectual exertion, only one in a
hundred millions to a poetic or divine
life. To be awake is to be alive.
Hey, this is great.
Knox hands the bock to Cameron. Cameron reads.
If one advances confidently in the
direction of his dreams and endeavors to
live the life which he has imagined, he
will meet with a success unexpected in
Yes! I want success with Chris!
Cameron hands the book to Todd. Todd holds the book, frozen.
Before the others notice Todd's fear, Neil takes the book from
Todd and hands it to Meeks.
If you have built castles in the air,
your work need not be lost. That is
where they should be. Now put
foundations under them.
God, I want to do everything! I'm going
Neil looks imbued with the desire to break out of his mold.
He slams the palms of his hands together with an expression of
determination. Charlie opens a book he brought and flips
Listen to this: Out of the night that
covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to
pole, I thank whatever gods may be for my
PULL BACK from this small band of boys standing huddled in
the night. Something is swirling their heads, something alive
and exciting like the wind and the swaying trees that surround
them. Charlie raises his hands in the air.
I here and now commit myself to daring!
35 INT. KEATING'S CLASSROOM - DAY 35
So avoid using the word 'very' because
it's lazy. A man is not very tired, he
is exhausted. Don't use very sad, use
morose. Language was invented for one
reason, boys--to woo women--and, in that
endeavor, laziness will not do. It also
won't do in your essays.
The class laughs appreciatively. Keating closes his book,
then walks over and raises a map that covers the blackboard in
the front of the room. On the board is a quote, which Keating
Creeds and schools in abeyance I
permit to speak at every hazard, Nature
without check, with original energy. --
Walt Whitman. Ah, but the difficulty of
ignoring those creeds and schools,
conditioned as we are by our parents, our
traditions, by the modern age. How do
we, like Whitman, permit our own true
natures to speak? How do we strip
ourselves of prejudices, habits,
influences? The answer, my dear lads, is
that we must constantly endeavor to find
a new point of view.
He leaps onto his desk.
Why do I stand here? To feel taller
than you? I stand on my desk to remind
myself that we must constantly force
ourselves to look at things differently.
The world looks different from up here.
If you don't believe it, stand up here
and try it. All of you. Take turns.
Keating jumps off. The boys, with the notable exception of
Todd, go to the front of the room and a few at a time take
turns standing on Keating's desk. As they do, Keating strolls
up and down the aisles.
Try never to think about anything the
same way twice. If you're sure about
something, force yourself to think about
it another way, even if you know it's
wrong or silly. When you read, don't
consider only what the author thinks, but
take the time to consider what you think.
You must strive to find your own voice,
boys, and 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." I ask, why be
resigned to that? Risk walking new
ground. Now. A flame in your hearts
could change the world, lads. Nurture
Keating goes to the door. He locks at the class, then
flashes the room lights on and off over and over. He makes a
noise like crashing thunder.
In addition to your essays, I want you
each to write a poem--something your own
to be delivered aloud in class. See
He exits. Momentarily, he pops his head back in.
And don't think I don't know this
assignment scares you to death, Mr.
Anderson, you mole.
Keating holds out his hands and pretends he is sending
lightning bolts at Todd. The class laughs. Todd forces a
hint of a smile.
A36 INT./EXT. WELTON CAMPUS, AFTERNOON - VARIOUS LOCATIONS A36
Pitts and Meeks climb up the inside of the bell tower that
sits atop the Welton Chapel. They affix Pitts' crystal radio
antenna to the chapel cross. momentarily, they tune in a
fuzzy rock 'n roll station.
Radio Free America.
They try to tune in the music but it soon dissolves into
static. They jiggle the radio in frustration.
Some of the Welton students run on the green, kicking soccer
Down at the lake, the Welton crew team is practicing. Mr.
Nolan sits in a rowboat, smoking a pipe, watching.
Knox rides down a wooded lane on his bike. He comes to
RIDGEWAY HIGH SCHOOL. Beyond a fence, uniformed boys practice
football. Not far from them, cheerleaders practice. Knox
stops. He sees:
Among the cheerleaders is Chris. She laughs as she practices
the cheers with the other girls. Knox watches her with
intense longing in his eyes.
Chet Danburry catches a pass in front of Chris, struts for
her amusement, then moves on. Chris laughs.
Knox gets back on his bike and pedals away
39 INT. TODD AND NEIL'S ROOM - AFTERNOON 39
Todd sits at his bed, a pad of paper beside him. He starts
to write something, scratches it out, then covers his face in
frustration. The door opens. Neil enters, looking like he's
just seen God. He lets his books fall to his desk.
I've found it.
What I want to do! Right now. What is
really inside of me.
He hands Todd a piece of paper. Todd reads it.
A Midsummer Night's Dream. What is it?
A play, dummy.
I know that. What's it got to do with
They're putting it on at Henley Hall.
See, open try-outs.
So I'm gonna act! Ever since I can
remember I've wanted to try it. Last
summer I even tried to go to summer stock
auditions but of course my father
wouldn't let me.
And now he will?
Hell no, but that's not the point. The
point is for the first time in my whole
goddamned life, I know what I want, and
for the first time I'm gonna do it
whether my father wants me to or not!
Carpe diem, goddamn it!
Neil picks up the play and reads a coupe of lines aloud. They
delight him. He clenches his fists in the air with joy.
Neil, how are you gonna be in a play if
your father won't let you?
First I gotta get the part, then I'll
worry about that.
Won't he kill you if you don't let him
know you're auditioning?
As far as I'm concerned, he won't have
to know about any of it.
Come on, that's impossible.
Horseshit. Nothing's impossible.
Why don't you ask him first? Maybe
he'll say yes.
That's a laugh. If I don't ask, at
least I won't be disobeying him.
But if he said no before then...
Jesus Christ, whose side are you on? I
haven't even gotten the part yet. Can't
I enjoy the idea even for a little while?
Todd turns back to his work. Neil sits on the bed and starts
reading the play.
By the way, there's a meeting this
afternoon. You coming?
Neil puts down his play and looks at Todd.
None of what Mr. Keating has to say
means shit to you, does it?
What is that supposed to mean?
Being in the club means being stirred up
by things. You look about as stirred up
as a cesspool.
You want me out... is that what you're
No, I want you in. But being in means
you gotta do something. Not just say
Listen Neil, I appreciate your interest
in me but I'm not like you. When you say
things, people pay attention. People
follow you. I'm not like that.
Why not? Don't you think you could be?
No! I don't know, I'll probably never
know. The point is, there's nothing you
can do about it so butt out, all right?
I can take care of myself just fine. All
No? What do you mean 'no'?
Neil opens his play. Todd waits for Neil to relent. He
40 OMIT 40
A41 EXT. CAVE - AFTERNOON A41
The boys enter the cave.
41 INT. THE CAVE - AFTERNOON 41
It is a clear, crisp fall afternoon. Charlie, Knox, Todd,
Necks, Neil, Cameron, and Pitts sit around. Neil recites from
"I went to the woods because I wished to
live deliberately. I wanted to live deep
and suck out all the marrow of life."
God, I want to suck all the marrow out
of Chris. I'm so in love, I feel like
I'm going to die!
You know what the dead poets would say:
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may...
But she's in love with: the moron son of
my father's best friend. What would the
dead poets say about that?
Knox walks away from the group. Despair is washing over him.
I feel like I've never been alive. For
years I've been risking nothing. I have
no idea what I am or what I want to do!
Neil, you know you want to act. Knox
Needs Chris! Must have Chris!
Meeks, you're the brain here. What do
the dead poets say about somebody like
The romantics were passionate
experimenters, Charles. They dabbled in
many things before settling, if ever.
There aren't too many places to be an
experimenter at Welton, Meeks.
Charlie paces a moment, then gets an idea. He addresses the
I hereby declare this the Charles Dalton
Cave for Passionate Experimentation. In
the future, anyone wishing entry must
have permission from me.
Wait a minute, Charlie. This should
belong to the club.
It should, but I found it and now I
claim it. carpe cavern, guys. Seize the
Charlie grins. The boys look at each other and shake their
heads. Neil heads out.
I gotta get to the tryouts. Wish me
Neil exits. Charlie finds a rock and begins carving his name
on a wall of the cave. Pitts shakes his head.
42 EXT. SOCCER FIELD - AFTERNOON 42
Gusts of wind blow across the field. About 50 boys stand in
their sweats, moving around, trying to keep warm. Among them
are Todd, Charlie, Pitts, and Knox who is in a state of
lovesick despair. Keating walks up, carrying same soccer
balls under one arm and a case under the other.
Say, look who's the soccer instructor.
Here here, there are quite a few of us
so we have to be quiet if we're to get
anything accomplished. Who has the roll?
I do, sir.
Keating takes the three-page roll and examines it.
Answer "present." please. Chapman?
Perry? (no answer) Neil Perry?
Keating glances at Todd. Todd doesn't know what to say.
Hmmmm. Watson? (no answer) Richard
Watson? Absent too, eh?
Watson's sick, sir.
Hmm. Sick indeed. I suppose I should
give Watson demerits. But if I give
Watson demerits, I will also have to give
Perry demerits and I like Perry.
He crumples the roll up and tosses it away.
Boys, you don't have to be here if you
don't want to. Anyone who wants to play,
Keating marches off. Astonished and delighted by this
capriciousness, most of the boys excitedly follow.
43 NEW ANGLE - FAR SOCCER FIELD - LATER 43
Most of the boys from earlier sit on the ground. Keating
stands before them.
Devotees may argue that one game or
sport is inherently better than another.
For me the most important thing in all
sport is the way other human beings can
push us to excel. Plato, a gifted man
like myself, said, "Only the contest made
me a poet, a sophist, an orator." Each
person take a slip of paper and line up
He passes out slips of paper to the curious students.
44 EXT. THE SOCCER FIELD - LATER 44
The boys form a long line. Todd stands listlessly at the
rear. Ten feet in front of the boy at the head of the line, a
soccer ball rests on the ground.
You know what to do... Now go!
McAllister walks past the soccer field. He watches in
fascination as the boy at the head of the line steps out and
reads loudly from his slip of paper.
Oh to struggle against great odds, To
meet enemies undaunted!
He runs and kicks the ball at the goal, missing. Keating
puts down another ball, then puts a record on a portable
record player. Classical music starts. The second boy, Knox,
Rhythm, boy! Rhythm is important.
SECOND BOY (KNOX)
To be entirely alone with them, to find
out how much one can stand!
Knox too runs and kicks the ball. Just before he smashes it
with his foot, he yells: "CHET!" ball. Keating puts down
THIRD BOY (MEEKS)
To look strife, torture, prison, popular
odium face to face!
Meeks runs and kicks the ball with great intent. Next,
Charlie steps out and reads.
To indeed be a God!
With determination, Charlie kicks the ball through the goal.
McAllister smiles and walks on.
45 OMIT 45
46 INT. NEIL AND TODD'S ROOM - NIGHT 46
Todd sits at his desk, a half-composed poem before him. He
adds a line, then breaks the pencil in frustration. He paces,
sighs, then picks up another pencil and tries to again.
47 INT. THE DORM HALLWAY - SAME 47
Neil enters, looking stunned.
I got it. Hey, everybody, I got the
part! I'm going to play Puck. Hey, I'm
VOICE FROM A ROOM
Puck you! Pipe down.
CHARLIE AND OTHERS
All right, Neil. Congratulations!
48 INT. NEIL AND TODD'S ROOM - NIGHT 45
Neil enters and closes the door. Incredibly excited, he
pulls out an old typewriter and begins to type. Todd watches.
Neil, how are you gonna do this?
Sssh. That's what I'm taking care of.
They need a letter of permission.
From my father and Nolan.
Neil, you're not gonna...
Quiet. I have to think.
Neil mumbles lines from the play, giggles to himself, then
keeps typing. Todd shakes his head in disbelief.
49 INT. KEATING'S CLASSROOM - DAY 49
Knox stands before class reading the poem he wrote.
I see a sweetness in her smile
Bright light shines from her eyes
But life is complete: contentment mine
Just knowing that she--
Knox stops. He lowers his paper.
I'm sorry. It's stupid.
Knox walks back to his seat.
It's fine, Knox. Good effort.
(to the class)
What Knox has done demonstrates an
important point, not only in writing
poetry, but in every endeavor. That is,
deal with the important things in life
love, beauty, truth, justice.
And don't limit poetry to the word.
Poetry can be found in a work of art,
music, a photograph, in the way a meal is
prepared--anything with the stuff of
revelation in it. It can exist in the
most everyday things but it must never,
never be ordinary By all means, write
about the sky or a girl's smile but when
you do, let your poetry conjure up
salvation day, doomsday, any day, I don't
care, as long as it enlightens us,
thrills us and--if it's inspired--makes
us feel a bit immortal.
Oh, Captain, My Captain. Is there poetry
Chuckles from the class.
Absolutely, Mr. Dalton, there is
elegance in mathematics. If everyone
wrote poetry, the planet would starve,
for God's sake. But there must be
poetry--and we must stop to notice it--in
even the simplest acts of living, or we
will have wasted the truly wonderful
opportunity that life as human beings
offers us. That said, who wants to
recite next? Come on. I'll get to
Keating looks around. No one volunteers. Keating grins.
Look at Mr. Anderson. In such agony.
Step up, lad, and let's put you out of
All eyes are on Todd. He is dying inside. He stands and
walks slowly to the front of the class like a condemned man on
his way to his execution.
Todd, have you prepared your poem?
Todd shakes his head no.
Mr. Anderson believes that everything he
has inside of him is worthless and
embarrassing. Correct, Todd? Isn't that
Todd nods jerkedly yes.
Then today you will see that what is
inside of you is worth a great deal.
Keating strides to the blackboard. Rapidly, he writes:
"I SOUND MY BARBARIC YAWP? OVER THE ROOFTOPSOF THE WORLD.--
A yawp, for those who don't know, is a
loud cry or yell. Todd, I would like you
to give us a demonstration of a barbaric
A barbaric yawp.
Keating pauses, then suddenly moves fiercely at Todd.
Good god, boy! Yell!
All right! Very good! There's a
barbarian in there after all!
Keating claps. The class claps too. Todd, red-faced, swells
Todd, there's a picture of Whitman over
the door. What does he remind you Of?
Quickly, Anderson, don't think about it.
A madman. Perhaps he was. What kind of
madman? Don't think! Answer.
A crazy madman.
Use your imagination! First thing that
pops to your mind, even if it's
A... A sweaty-toothed madman.
Now there's the poet speaking! Close
your eyes and think of the picture.
Describe what you see. NOW!
I... I close my eyes. His image floats
A sweaty-toothed madman
A sweaty-toothed madman with a stare
that pounds my brain.
Excellent! Have him act. Give it
His hands reach out and choke me All the
time he mumbles slowly. Truth... Truth is
like a blanket that always leaves your
This brings chuckles from the class. This angers Todd.
To hell with them, most about the
Todd opens his eyes and addresses the class in defiant
Stretch it, pull it, it will never cover
any of us. Kick at it, beat at it, it
will never be enough-
(struggling, but getting it
From the moment we enter crying to the
moment we leave dying, It will cover
just your head as you wail and cry and
Todd stands still for a long time. Both he and the students
have felt the magic or what has just taken place. Neil starts
applauding. Others join in. Todd swells and, for the first
time, there is a hint of confidence in him. The applause
stops. Keating walks to Todd.
Don't forget this.
49A EXT. THE SOCCER FIELD - DAY 49A
A soccer ball careens off a kicking foot. Beethoven's Ninth
symphony, fourth movement, "Ode To Joy," blares forth. Keating
stands on the sidelines beside his portable record player,
watching the boys play soccer, waving his arms like an
orchestra conductor. In front of Keating the boys play soccer
to this spectacular music. They run, kick, pass, fall, block,
head, dribble, take--all to the overpowering chorus of one of
the most inspirational pieces of music ever written.
50A EXT DEAD POETS CAVE - AFTERNOON 50A
Boys enter the cave.
50 INT. DEAD POETS CAVE - AFTERNOON 50
Neil hurries in carrying a small, broken statue. The other
pledges of the Dead Poets Society are assembled around
Charlie who sits silently cross-legged before them. His eyes
are closed and, in one hand, he holds an old saxophone.
Look at this.
What is it?
The god of the cave.
The statue has a stake sticking cut of its head with a candle
stuck in it. Neil plants the statue in ground and lights the
candle. It illuminates a red and blue drummer boy, face
pitted from exposure, yet noble in its visage. Charlie, who
hasn't moved, clears his throat. All turn to him and settle
Gentlemen, "Poetrusic" by Charles
He blows scattered notes on the saxophone. Random, blaring,
they sound like bad John Cage. Suddenly Charlie stops.
Laughing, crying, tumbling, mumbling,
gotta do more. Gotta be more
He plays more notes on the sax, then:
(more rapid than before)
Chaos screaming, chaos dreaming, crying,
flying, gotta be more!! Gotta be more!!
Charlie plays a simple but absolutely gorgeous melody. The
skeptical looks on the faces of the boys disappear. As
Charlie gets lost in the music, so do the others. The melody
ends with a long, beautiful, haunting note.
Charlie, That was great! Where did you
learn to play like that?
My parents made me take clarinet but I
(putting on a mock British
The sax is more sonorous.
Knox stands. He backs away, full of torment and frustration.
God, I can't take it anymore! If I
don't have Chris, I'll kill myself.
Knox, you gotta calm down.
No, I've been calm all my life! If I
don't do something, it's gonna kill me.
Where are you going?
I'm calling her!
51 INT. THE DORM PHONE ROOM - LATER 51
All of the boys stand around. Knox picks up the phone,
boldly dials some numbers, then waits.
52 INT. CHRIS' HOUSE - AFTERNOON 52
Chris is in wet hair and a damp towel, but she looks
stunning. She enters and answers the phone.
53 INT. THE DORM PHONE ROOM/STAIRWELL - AFTERNOON 53
Knox hears Chris' voice. He starts to speak, then hangs up
She's gonna hate me! The Danburrys will
hate me. My parents will kill me!
He looks at the faces of the others. No one says a word.
All right, goddamn it, you're right!
'Carpe diem' even if it kills me.
He picks up the phone and dials again.
54 INT. CHRIS~ HOUSE - SAME 54
Again the phone rings. Again Chris enters and answers.
55 INT. THE DORM - SAME 55
Hello Chris, this is Knox Overstress.
56 INT. CHRIS' HOUSE - SAME 56
Knox. Oh yes, Knox. I'm glad you
57 INT. THE DORM - SAME
(excitedly to his friends)
She's glad I called!
58 INT. CHRIS' HOUSE - SAME 58
I wanted to call you but I didn't have
the number. Chet's parents are going out
of town this weekend so Chet's having a
party. Would you like to come?
59 INT. THE DORM - SAME 59
60 INT. CHRIS' HOUSE - SAME 60
Chet's parents don't know about it, so
please keep it quiet. But you can bring
someone if you like.
61 INT. DORM - SAME 61
I'll be there. The Danburrys. Friday
night. Thank you, Chris.
He hangs up the phone. He is thunderstruck. He lets out a
Can you believe it? She was gonna call
me! She invited me to a party with her!
At Chet Danburry's house.
So you really think she means you're
going with her?
Well hell no, Charlie, but that's not
the point. That's not the point at all!
What is the point?
The point is she was thinking about me!
I've only met her once and already she's
thinking about me. Damn it, it's gonna
happen! I feel it. She's going to be
He exits the phone room, his head in a cloud. The others
look at each other, not sure what to think.
62 EXT. THE HENDLY HALL AUDITOMUM - DAY 62
The buildings at this school are white brick. Neil parks his
bicycle and enters the auditorium.
63 INT. THE AUDITORIUM STAGE - LATER 63
High school actors are on stage rehearsing Shakespeare's "A
Midsummer Night's Dream." Neil stands center stage, playing
Puck. He holds a stick with a bell accoutered jester's head
on one end of it.
NEIL (AS PUCK)
Yet but three? Come one more.
Two of both kinds makes up four.
Here she comes, curst and sad.
Cupid is a knavish lad
Thus to make poor females mad.
Enter Ginny Danburry playing Hermia, crawling on stage,
looking exhausted. As she starts her lines, the DIRECTOR of
the play, a woman in her 40s, interrupts.
Good, Neil. I really get the feeling
your Puck knows he's in charge. Remember
that he takes great delight in what he's
(broadly, boldly impish)
Cupid is a knavish lad Thus to make poor
Excellent. Continue, Ginny.
As Ginny re-enters and starts her lines-
GINNY (AS HERMIA)
Never so weary, never so in woe,
Bedabbled with the dew, and torn with
briars I can no further crawl, no further
64 EXT. THLE WELTON DORMS - NIGHT 64
Neil rides up on his bike and parks it. As he starts into
the dorm, he spots a figure sitting motionless on a wall.
Neil walks over to get a better look. It is Todd, sitting in
the dark without a coat.
What's going on?
Todd doesn't answer.
Todd, what's the matter?
It's my birthday.
It is? Happy Birthday. You get
Todd is motionless. Then he points to a box. Neil looks. In
the box seems to be the monogrammed desk set that we've seen
on Todd's desk.
This is your desk set.
I don't get it.
They gave me the exact same thing as
Well, maybe they thought you'd need
another one. Maybe they thought...
Maybe they don't think at all unless
it's about my brother! His birthday's
always a big to-do.
(pause: looks at the desk
The stupid thing is, I didn't even like
the first one.
He puts the desk set down.
Look, Todd, you're obviously under-
estimating the value of this desk set.
I mean, this is one special gift! Who
would want a football or a baseball bat
or a car when they could get a desk set
as wonderful as this one!
Yeah! And just look at this ruler!
They laugh. A silence falls.
You know what Dad called me when I was
growing up? "Five ninty-eight." That's
what all the chemicals in the human body
would be worth if you bottled them raw
and sold them. He told me that was all
I'd ever be worth unless I worked every
day to improve myself. "Five ninety-
Neil shakes his head.
When I was little, I thought all parents
automatically loved their kids. That's
what my teachers told me. That's what I
read in the books they gave me. That's
what I believed. Well, my parents might
have loved my brother but they did not
He takes a deep, anguished breath. Neil is groping for
something to say. Todd walks into the dorm.
65 EXT. A WELTON BRICK COURTYARD - DAY 65
The class pours into the courtyard expectantly. Another
Keating stunt? Keating addresses them.
People, I am delighted with your
progress as reflected in your essays and
poems. However, I know the school policy
is to encourage study groups and I
believe that a dangerous though
inevitable element of conformity has been
seeping into your work. Misters Pitts,
Cameron, Overstreet, and Chapman line up
please over here.
Keating indicates for the four boys to stand near him.
On the count of four, begin walking
together around the courtyard. Nothing
to think about. No grade here. One,
two, three, go.
The boys begin walking. They go down one side of the
courtyard, across the back, up the other side, then across the
That's the way. Please continue.
As the boys walk around the courtyard again, they begin to
walk together in step. Soon it becomes like a march,
producing a one-two-three-four cadence. Keating begins to
There it is Hear it?
(clapping louder in time)
One two, one two, one two, one two
ANGLE THROUGH A WINDOW
McAllister sits in his empty classroom, reading a book. He
sees the commotion in the courtyard and watches.
ANGLE FROM ABOVE
The marching boys get into it. The class joins in clapping.
Soon the tour boys are marching vigorously to the rhythmic
clapping of the entire class.
Inside his second-story office, Nolan is looking out his
window at the marching boys below.
ANGLE ON KEATING
All right, stop. You way have noticed
how at the beginning Mister Overstress
and Pitts: seemed to have a different
stride than the others, but soon they
were all walking in the same cadence.
Our encouragement made it even more
marked. Now this experiment was not to
single out Pitts or Overstress. What it
demonstrates is how difficult it is for
any of us to listen to our own voice or
maintain our own beliefs in the presence
of others. If any of you believe you
would have marched differently, then ask
yourself why you participated in the
clapping. Lads, there is a great need in
all of us to be accepted. However, that
need can be like a nasty current,
whisking us away unless we're strong and
determined swimmers. Don't insist on the
separate path simply to be different or
contrary, but trust what is unique about
yourselves even if it's odd or unpopular.
As Mr. Robert Frost said, "Two roads
diverged in a wood, and I... I took the one
less traveled by, And that has made all
A bell rings, signifying the end of class. Keating walks
ANGLE ON NOLAN IN HIS OFFICE
Nolan moves away from the window.
ANGLE ON McALLISTER IN HIS CLASSROOM
Amused at Keating's antics, he turns back to his book.
66 INT. ENTRANCE TO THE DEAD POETS CAVE - NIGHT 66
Todd. Neil, Cameron, Pitts, and Meeks sit around. A fog has
moved in and the trees sway in the breeze.
Getting ready for that party.
What about Charlie? He's the one who
insisted on this meeting.
I went to the woods because I wanted to
live deliberately. To live deep and suck
out all the marrow of life-~
In the woods there is a noise the sound of girls' laughter.
I can't see a thing.
It's just over here.
Charlie and TWO GIRLS arrive at the cave. One is pretty, the
other is plain. The girls are about 20, blonde, beers in
their hands. They aren't the type to be seriously interested
in Charlie or the other boys. They're just here for a good
Hey guys, meet Gloria and...
PLAIN GIRL (TINA)
Tina and Gloria, this is the pledge
class of the Dead Poets society.
It's such a strange name! Won't you
tell us what it means?
I told you, that's a secret.
Isn't he precious?
Gloria gives Charlie an affectionate hug. The other members
or the club are flabbergasted. These girls are wild, exotic
creatures, the kind whose unashamed love of men causes young
boys' hearts to come to rest in young boys'
The girls giggle.
I can't call you Charlie anymore?
(Puts her arm around
What does Numama mean, honey?
It's Nuwanda, and I made it up.
Charlie puts his arm around Gloria.
Let's build a fire.
Charlie shoots Meeks a look. As the boys move off to gather
wood, Charlie scrapes some mud off the wall of the cave and
wipes it on his face like an Indian brave. Me shoots Gloria
his sexiest stare, then goes off with the other boys. The
girls whisper and giggle together.
67 EXT. THE DANBURRY HOUSE - NIGHT 67
Knox parks his bicycle along the side of the house. He takes
off his overcoat, and stuffs it in the bike saddle bag. He
straightens his tie, then goes to the front door. He knocks.
He can hear music inside. He knocks again. Finally, since no
one comes to the door, Knox opens it.
68 INT. THE DANBURRY HOUSE - SAME 68
Knox enters. "Open the Door to Your Heart" by Darrell Banks
is playing on the Hi-Fi. On the entrance hall couch is a
couple, making out like crazy. Up and down the stairs are
other couples doing the same. Knox stands there, not knowing
what to do. Momentarily, Chris walks through, her hair an
Chris turns and sees Knox.
Oh, hi. I'm glad you made it. Did you
Ginny Danburry's here. Look for her.
I gotta find Chet. Make yourself at
She exits. Knox watches her. He slumps in dejection.
69 EXT. THE WOODS AROUND THE CAVE 69
Charlie is gathering wood. Neil, Pitts, Todd and the other
boys surround him.
Nuwanda, what is going on?
Nothing, unless you object to having
Well, of course not. It's just that...
You could have warned us.
I thought I'd be spontaneous. I mean,
that's the point of this whole thing,
Where'd you find them?
They were walking along the fence past
the soccer field. Said they were curious
about the school so I invited them to the
Do they go to Henley Hall?
I don't think they're in school.
Cameron, what is the matter with you.
You act like they're your mother or
something. You afraid of them?
Hell no, I'm not afraid of them just, if
we get caught with them, we're dead.
Say, what's going on out there?
Just gathering wood.
(low, to Cameron)
You just keep your mouth shut, jerkoff,
and there's nothing to worry about.
Watch who you call a jerkoff.
Oh calm down, Cameron.
Charlie gives Cameron an expression of mock fear, then heads
off. The others follow. Cameron watches Charlie and Neil for
a moment, then walks after them.
70 INT. THE DANBURRY PANTRY - NIGHT 70
Knox, looking suicidal, wanders through the crowded party and
ends up in the pantry. Kids stand talking. A couple in the
corner is involved in a long kiss. His hand keeps wandering
to her knee and her hand keeps pushing his away, yet the kiss
never breaks. This happens over and over through the entire
Ginny Danburry is in the corner and she and Knox exchange
smiles. At the sink a guy stands making bourbon and Cokes.
The guy eyes Knox.
You Mutt Sanders' brother?
Knox shakes his head no.
BUBBA is a big, drunk jock leaning on the refrigerator.
This guy look like Mutt Sanders?
You his brother?
No relation. Never heard of him.
Say Steve, where's your manners? Here's
Mutt's brother and you don't offer him a
drink? Want some bourbon?
Actually I don't
Steve puts a glass in Knox's hand and fills it with bourbon,
adding only a hint of Coke. Bubba clinks the glass with him.
Bubba and Steve drain their glasses. Knox follows their
lead, then bursts into a coughing fit. Steve pours everyone
So what the hell's Mutt been up to?
Actually I don't really know Mutt.
To fucking Mutt.
To fucking Mutt.
They drain their glasses again. Knox continues coughing.
Well, I'd better find Patsy.
(slaps Knox on the back)
Say hello to Mutt for me.
Knox and Ginny exchange knowing smiles. Bubba leaves Knox,
who is still coughing. Ginny wanders out. Steve pours him
and Knox more bourbon.
71 INT. THE CAVE - NIGHT 71
The boys have lit a fire and the girls are warming their
hands. The candle on the head of the "cave god" FLUTTERS.
Tina notices the pitted statue.
I heard you guys were weird but not this
She takes out a pint of whiskey and offers some to Neil. He
takes it and sips. He obviously hasn't had much whiskey in
his life but he tries to act like he has. He hands it back.
Go ahead, pass it around.
Neil does. It goes from boy to boy. Each boy tries to act
like he likes the terrible bitterness he tastes. Unlike most
of the others, Todd manages to keep from coughing as he
swallows the whiskey. Everyone is impressed.
Yeah! (to the others) Don't you guys
miss having girls here?
Miss it? It drives us crazy. That's
part of what this club is about. In
fact, I'd like to announce that I've
published an article in the school paper,
in the name of the Dead Poets society,
demanding girls be admitted to Welton, so
we can all stop beating off.
You what?! How did you do that?
I'm one of the proofers. I slipped the
Oh God, it's over now!
Why? Nobody knows who we are.
Don't you think they'll figure out who
did it?! Don't you know they'll come to
you and demand to know what the Dead
Poets Society is? Charlie, you had no
right to do something like that!
It's Nuwanda, Cameron.
(putting her arm around
That's right, it's Nuwanda.
And are we just playing around out here
or do we mean what we say? If all we do
is come and read a bunch of poems to each
other, what the hell are we doing?
You still shouldn't have done it,
Charlie. You don't speak for the club.
Hey, would you not worry about your
precious little necks? If they catch me,
I'll tell them I made it up. All your
asses are safe. Look, Gloria and Tina
didn't come here to listen to us argue.
Are we gonna have a meeting or what?
Yeah, how do we know if we want to join
if you don't have a meeting?
(casts a surprised lock at
Charlie ignores this. He turns to Tina.
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate..."
In his recital, Charlie has aimed these words directly at
Tina. She melts into warm goo.
Oh, that's so sweet!
Tina hugs Charlie. The other boys look at each other, trying
unsuccessfully to hide their incredible jealousy.
I wrote that for you.
I'll write one for you too, Gloria.
(closes his eyes then)
"She walks in beauty like the night.."
Charlie's eyes open. He has forgotten the words to this
poem. Covering, he walks across the cave.
"She walks in beauty like the night..."
Charlie turns his back, opens a book, and reads quickly to
himself. He closes it, puts the bock down, and turns back to
'of cloudless climes and starry skies;
All that's best of dark and bright Meet
in her aspect and her eyes.'
Gloria squeals with delight.
Isn't he wonderful?!
The other boys are absolutely appalled, but desperately
jealous that Charlie is getting away with this. Gloria hugs
72 INT. THE DANBURRY LIVING ROOM - NIGHT 72
Music by the Drifters is playing loudly. Every light in the
room is out. The only illumination is moonlight through the
windows. Only after our eyes get adjusted to the dark can we
see that the room is filled with couples making out.
Knox, carrying another drink and looking tipsy, enters. He
walks a bit, then trips over a couple on the floor.
ANGRY GUY'S VOICE
Knox falls onto the sofa. To his left sit a couple making
out heavily. Their breathing is like that of some giant
beast. To Knox' right is another couple, making out too. Knox
tries to get up but the couple he tripped aver has now rolled
against his shins, pinning him. Knox tries to get comfortable
in his little spot on the sofa.
The music stops. The room sounds like an artificial
respiration ward. The couple to Knox' right look and sound as
if they are going to chew each other's lips off. Knox glances
at the couple to his left. He hears:
Oh Chris, you're so beautiful.
The couple are Chris and Chet. Chris is sitting right next
to Knox. Music starts again. It's "This Magic Moment" by the
Drifters. Chris and Chet continue petting heavily. Knox
tries to look away but can't keep his eyes off Chris.
Chris, you are so gorgeous.
Chet kisses Chris hard and she leans against Knox. In the
moonlight-filled room, Knox sees the outline of Chris' face,
the nape of her neck, the curves of her breasts. He downs the
rest of his drink and tries to look away.
Oh my God help me.
Chris obliviously continues to lean against Knox. Knox is
struggling with temptation--trying not to even look--but he's
losing. Suddenly, he turns and looks at Chris again. Every
rational thing inside of him says "no" but his emotions are
carpe breastum. Seize the breast.
I didn't say anything.
Chet and Chris continue to kiss. As though his hand were
being drawn by a magnet too powerful to resist, Knox' hand
reaches out and begins to ever so lightly stroke the nape of
Chris' neck down toward her breast. Chris obviously thinks
that the hand is Chet's and she lets it continue. Knox moves
his hand up and down her, sensuously. He closes his eyes,
CHRIS (IN THE DARK)
Oh Chet, that feels fabulous,
CHET (IN THE DARK)
CHRIS (IN THE DARK)
Knox pulls his hand away. Chet thinks a moment, then kisses
CHRIS (IN THE DARK)
CHET (IN THE DARK)
CHRIS (IN THE DARK)
Knox puts his hand back on Chris' neck. Again he starts
rubbing her, ever so gently, moving down toward her breast.
CHRIS (IN THE DARK)
We can see Chet's silhouette pausing over Chris, trying to
figure out what she is talking about. Giving up, he goes back
to kissing her. Chris continues to show her pleasure.
Knox leans his head back on the sofa and his breathing
becomes heavy. The music builds. Unable to resist, he rubs
Chris' chest, getting dangerously close to her breast. Chris
is breathing hard. Knox is slipping into ecstasy. His drink
falls out of his hand.
Suddenly Chet's hand grabs Knox's hand and a lamp light
flicks on. Knox is face to face with a furious Chet and a
What are you doing?!
Chet! Chris! What are you doing here?
Chet smashes Knox in the face with his fist. Chet grabs Knox
by the shirt, throws him to the floor, and jumps on him. He
begins swinging at Knox's face which Knox is doing his best to
You fucked up little prick!
(beginning to feel sorry
Chet, you don't have to hurt him.
Chet's fists hit Knox over and over.
Chet, stop! He didn't mean anything.
She pushes Chet off. Knox rolls over, holding his face.
Chet stands over Knox, who is holding his bloody nose and
I'm sorry, Chris. I'm sorry!
You want some more, you little son of a
bitch? Huh?! Get the hell out of here!!
He moves at Knox again, but Chris and some others hold him
back. Others lead Knox out of the room.
Chris, I'm sorry!
Next time I see you, you're dead!
73 OMIT 73
74 INT. THE CAVE - NIGHT 74
The fire casts warm light on the wall of the cave. Gloria
sits with her arm around Charlie, staring adoringly. The
bottle passes between Tina and the others.
Hey guys, why don't you show Tina the
Dead Poets garden?
Charlie silently motions with his eyes for Pitts and the
others to vamoose. Neil elbows Pitts and makes a motion
outside with his head. Suddenly Pitts gets it.
Oh. Right. That garden. Come on, guys.
The boys head out with Tina.
This is so strange! You guys even have
Meeks stands in the cave, still not getting it.
What are you guys talking about?
All of the others are gone. Meeks looks at Charlie, who
stares daggers at him.
Charles, uh, Nuwanda, we don't have a
Neil comes back in and pulls Meeks out. Charlie waits for
them to go.
God, for a smart guy, he's so stupid.
Gloria stares into Charlie's eyes. Charlie smiles.
I think he's sweet.
I think you're sweet.
Charlie looks at her. He closes his eyes and leans slowly in
to kiss her. Just as he is about to, she stands.
You know what really excites me about
Every guy that I meet wants me for one
thing my body. You're not like that.
No! Anybody else would have jumped my
bones by now but you're after my soul.
Make me up some more poetry.
Please! It's so wonderful to be
appreciated for my mind!
She gets up and starts pacing. Charlie puts his hand over
his face. Gloria turns and looks at him.
All right! I'm thinking!
"Let me not to the marriage of true
Admit impediments; love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds
Or bends with the remover to remove."
Gloria emits sensual moans.
(more and more rapidly and
punctuated by Gloria's moans)
"O, no, it is an ever-fixed mark That
looks on tempests and is never shaken; It
is the star to every wandering bark whose
worth's unknown, although his height be
This is better than sex any day. This
As a frustrated Charlie continues reciting
75 INT. WELTON ACADEMY CHAPEL - DAY 75
There is a buzz in the student body as they move to their
seats, passing school newspapers amongst themselves. Knox's
face is marked with bruises. Neil, Todd, Pitts, Necks,
Cameron and especially Charlie's faces are marked with
Pitts hands Charlie a briefcase.
Charlie nods. Mr. Nolan enters. All put away the newspapers
and stand. Nolan strides to the podium and motions for
everyone to sit. All obey.
In this week's issue of Walter Honor,
there appeared an unauthorized and
profane article about the need for girls
at Welton. Rather than spend my valuable
time ferreting out the guilty parties--
and let me assure you I will find them--I
am asking any and all students who know
anything about this article to make
themselves known here and now. Whoever
the guilty persons are, this is your only
chance to avoid expulsion from this
Suddenly, somewhere in the room there is the sound of a
TELEPHONE RINGING. Charlie briskly lifts the briefcase into
his lap and opens it. Inside the briefcase is a ringing
telephone. Everyone in assembly is astounded. No one has
ever done something this outrageous here. Charlie, undaunted,
seemingly serious, answers the phone.
CHARLIE (INTO PHONE)
(for all to hear)
Welton Academy, hello? Yes, he is, just
a moment. Mr. Nolan, it's for you.
Charlie places the receiver back to his ear.
CHARLIE (INTO PHONE)
It is? You do? I'll tell him. Mr.
Nolan, it's God. He says we should have
girls at Welton.
There is a blast of laughter from the students. On stage
with the teachers, Keating is surprised and amused, but
worried. He and McAllister exchange concerned looks. Blood
red, furious, Nolan strides down the aisle to Charlie. He
sweeps the phone off of Charlie's lap.
I will not be mocked, Mr. Dalton!
He takes Charlie by the arm and jerks him out of the
assembly. Keating watches with concern.
76 INT. NOLAN'S OFFICE - DAY 76
Charlie stands in the middle of the room. Nolan paces
Who else was involved in this?
No one, sir. It was just me. I did the
proofing so I inserted my article in
place of Rob Crane's.
Mr. Dalton, if you think you're the
first to try to get thrown out of this
school, think again. Others have had
similar actions and they have failed just
as surely as you will fail. Bend over
and grab your shins.
Charlie obeys and Nolan produces a paddle. The paddle has
holes drilled in it to speed its progress. Nolan takes off his
jacket and moves behind Charlie.
Count aloud, Mr. Dalton.
He slams the paddle into Charlie's buttocks.
Nolan swings the paddle again. This time he gets more power
into it. Charlie winces.
Nolan delivers and Charlie counts. By the fourth lick, the
pain is so intense that Charlie is barely audible. By the
seventh lick, tears are flowing down Charlie's cheeks. The
ninth and tenth licks have Charlie choking on his words,
speechless. Nolan stops after ten licks.
Do you still insist that this was your
idea and your idea alone?
(choking back pain)
What is this "Dead Potts Society"? I
(still in agony)
It's only me, Mr. Nolan. I swear. I
made it up.
If I find that there are others, Mr.
Dalton, they will be expelled and you
will remain enrolled. Stand up.
Charlie obeys. His face is blood red. He fights back tears
of pain and humiliation.
Welton can forgive, Mr. Dalton, provided
you have the courage to admit your
mistakes. When you are ready to make
your apology to the entire school, let me
77 INT. THE JUNIOR DORM - AFTERNOON 77
The boys are milling in their rooms, waiting for Charlie's
return. Someone sees him coming. All pretend to be studying.
Charlie enters, moving slowly, trying not to show his pain.
As he walks toward his room, Neil, Todd, Knox (bruised face),
Pitts, and Necks approach him.
What happened? Were you kicked out?
(not looking at anyone)
I'm supposed to turn everybody in,
apologize to the school and all will be
Charlie heads into his room. The others look at each other.
What are you going to do? - Charlie?
Damn it, Neil, the name is Nuwanda.
Charlie gives the boys a pregnant look, then goes into his
room and slams his door. Smiles of admiration cross the boys'
faces. Charlie has not been broken.
78 INT. WELTON CLASSROOM BUILDING - AFTERNOON 78
Keating walks down the corridor. He is just about to stop
and talk to McAllister when Nolan passes.
Mr. Keating, could we have a word?
79 INT. KEATING'S EMPTY CLASSROOM - DAY 79
Keating and Nolan enter. Keating turns on the light. Nolan
This was my first classroom, John, did
you know that?
(looks at Keating's desk)
My first desk.
I didn't know you taught.
English. Way before your time. It was
hard giving it up, I'll tell you.
I'm hearing rumors, John, of some
unusual teaching methods in your
classroom. I'm not saying they have
anything to do with the Dalton boy's
outburst, but I don't think I have to
warn you that boys his age are very
Your reprimand made quite an impression
(letting this pass)
What was going on in the courtyard the
Boys marching. Clapping in unison.
Oh that. That was an exercise to prove a
point. About the evils of conformity.
John, the curriculum here is set. It's
proven. It works. If you question it,
what's to prevent them from doing the
I always thought education was learning
to think for yourself.
At these boys' age? Not on your life!
Tradition, John. Discipline.
(pats Keating on the
Prepare them for college, and the rest
will take care of itself.
Mr. Nolan smiles and leaves. Keating stands, thinking. After
a beat, McAllister sticks his head in the door.
I wouldn't worry about the boys being
too conformist if I were you.
Why is that?
Well, you yourself graduated from these
hallowed halls, did you now?
So if you want to raise a confirmed
atheist, give him a rigid religious
upbringing. Works every time.
Keating stares at McAllister. He suddenly lets cut a laugh.
McAllister smiles, then disappears down the hall.
79A INT. THE JUNIOR CLASS DORM - AFTERNOON 79A
Boys are walking out on the way to their activities. Keating
enters and approaches Charlie, who is exiting with his
I don't know what misguided impulse
caused you to pull that ridiculous stunt,
Mr. Dalton, but, whatever it was, I hope
you've learned your lesson.
You're siding with Mr. Nolan?! What
about carpe diem and sucking all the
marrow out of life and all that?
Sucking out the marrow doesn't mean
getting the bone stuck in your throat,
Charles. You still have responsibilities
to yourself and those who care about you.
But I thought-
There is a place for daring and a place
for caution as well, Charles, and a wise
person understands which one is called
for. Getting expelled from this school
is not an act of wisdom. It's far from
perfect but there are still opportunities
to be had here.
Yeah? Like what?
Like, if nothing else, the opportunity
to attend my classes, understand?
So keep your head about you--the lot of
NEIL, TODD, PITTS, MEEKS, CAMERON, KNOX
Keating gives then' a slight smile, then exits.
80 OMIT 80
81 INT. KEATING'S CLASSROOM - DAY 81
The boys are seated. Keating walks to the blackboard and in
a big scrawl writes: "COLLEGE".
Gentlemen, today we will consider a
skill which I consider indispensable for
getting the most out of college analyzing
books you haven't read. College will
probably destroy your love for poetry.
Hours of boring analysis, dissection and
criticism will see to that. College will
also expose you to all manner of
literature--much of it transcendent works
of magic which you must devour; some of
it utter drek which you must avoid like
Suppose you are taking a course entitled
"Modern Novels." All semester you have
been reading masterpieces such as the
touching PERE GORIER by Balzac and the
moving FATHERS and SONS by Turgenev, but
when you receive your assignment for your
final paper, you discover that you are to
write an essay on the theme of parental
love in The Doubtful Debutante, a novel--
and I use that term generously here--by
none other than the professor himself.
Keating looks at the boys with a raised eyebrow, then
After reading the first three pages of
the book, you realize that you would
rather volunteer for combat than waste
your precious earthly time infecting your
mind with this sewage, but do you
despair? Take an "F." Absolutely not
because you are prepared.
Open The Doubtful Deb and learn from the jacket that the book
is about Frank, a farm equipment salesman who sacrifices
everything to provide his social climbing daughter Christine
with the debut she so desperately desires. Begin your essay
by disclaiming the need to restate the plot while at the same
time regurgitating enough of it to convince the professor that
you've read his book. Next shift to something pretentious and
familiar. For instance, you might write, "What is remarkable
to note are the similarities between the author's dire picture
of parental love and modern Freudian theory. Christine is
Electra, her father is a fallen Oedipus.' Finally, skip to
the obscure and elaborate like this:
Keating pauses, then...
what is most remarkable is the novel's
uncanny connection with Hindu Indian
philosopher Avesh Rahesh Non. Rahesh Non
discussed in painful detail the
discarding of parents by children for the
three headed monster of ambition, money,
and social success. Go on to discuss
Rahesh Non's theories about what feeds
the monster, how to behead it, etcetera
etcetera. End by praising the
professor's brilliant writing and
consummate courage in introducing The
Doubtful Deb to you.
Meeks raises his hand.
Oh Captain, My Captain. What if we
don't know anything about someone like
Rahesh Non never existed, Mr. Meeks.
You make him or someone like him up. No
self important college professor such as
this one would dare admit ignorance of
such an obviously important figure and
you will probably receive a comment
similar to the one I received:
Keating finds a paper on his desk and reads from it:
Your allusions to Rahesh Non were
insightful and well presented. Glad to
see that someone besides myself
appreciates this great but forgotten
Eastern master. A plus.
He drops the paper.
Gentlemen, analyzing dreadful books you
haven't read will be on your final exam,
so I suggest you practice on your own.
Now for some traps of college exams. Take
cut a blue book and pencil, boys. This is
a pop quiz.
The boys obey. Keating passes out tests. He sets up a
screen in the front Of the room, then goes to the back of the
room and sets up a slide projector.
Big universities are crowded Sodoms and
Gomorrahs filled with those delectable
beasts we see so little of here: females.
The level of distraction is dangerously
high, but this quit is designed to
prepare you. Let me warn you, this test
will count. Begin.
The boys begin their tests. Keating puts a slide in the
projector. On the screen in the front of the room appears a
blow-up of a beautiful girl, college age, leaning over to pick
up a pencil. Her figure is quite remarkable, and, bending
over as she is, you can see her panties. The boys glance up
from their tests, then most do a double-take on the photo.
Concentrate on your tests, boys. You
have twenty minutes.
Keating changes the slide. This time we see a beautiful
woman in scanty lingerie (an ad from "Vogue" or a similar
magazine). The boys find it extremely difficult to
concentrate on their tests. The slide show continues with
slide after slide of beautiful women in revealing and
provocative poses, tight blow-ups of naked female Greek
statues, etc. The boys try in vain to take their tests. Knox
writes "Chris, Chris, Chris" over and over on his paper.
82-85 OMITTED 82-85
86A EXT. THE WELTON CAPGUS - DUSK 86A
Boys in heavy-hooded jackets and winter mufflers move from
building to building. The wind blows leaves around in
ANGLE ON A PATH where Todd and Neil walk together. Todd
holds a copy of "A Midsummer's Night's Dream." Neil is using
his Puck jester's stick like a sword while practicing his
Here, villain, draw and ready. where art
I will be with thee straight.
Follow me then to plainer ground. God,
I love this!
Yes, and acting! It's got to be one of
the most wonderful things in the world.
Most people, if they're lucky, live about
half an exciting life! If I could get the
parts, I could live dozens of lives.
With a theatrical flourish, he runs and leaps onto a wall.
To be or net to be, that is the
question! God, for the first time in my
whole life, I feel completely alive! You
have to try it.
Neil jumps down from the wall.
You should come to rehearsals. I know
they need people to work the lights and
Lots of girls. The girl who plays
Hermia is incredible.
I'll come to the performance.
Chicken shit. Where were we?
Yea, art thou there?
Put more into it!
YEA, ART THOU THERE?!
That's it! "Follow my voice. We'll try
no manhood here." See you at dinner.
Neil and Todd have arrived at their dorm. Neil runs in. Todd
shakes his head and walks off.
86 INT. TODD AND NEIL'S DORM ROOM - DUSK 86
Neil enters in a whirlwind of excitement, fencing the air
with the Jester's stick. Neil turns and sees his father,
sitting at his desk. Neil is shocked.
Neil, you are going to quit this
ridiculous play immediately.
Mr. Perry jumps to his feet and pounds his hand on the desk.
Don't you dare talk back to me! It's
bad enough that you've wasted your time
with this absurd acting business. But
you deliberately deceived me!
Who put this in your head? How did you
expect to get away with it? Answer me!
Nobody- I thought I'd surprise you.
I've got all As and-
Did you really think I wouldn't find
out?! "My niece is in a play with your
son," Mrs. Marks says. "You must be
mistaken," I say. "My son isn't in a
play." You made a liar out of me, Neil!
Now you will go tomorrow and tell them
you are quitting.
Father, I have the main part. The
performance is tomorrow night. Father,
(moves at Neil)
I don't care if the world is coming to
an end tomorrow night, you are through
with that play! Is that clear? Is that
Mr. Perry stops. He stares hard at his son.
I've made great sacrifices to get you
here, Neil. You will not let me down.
He turns and exits. Neil stands there for a long time. He
goes to his desk, then suddenly begins pounding his fist on
it. He pounds and pounds as tears roll down his face.
87 INT. THE WELTON DINING ROOM - EVENING 87
All of the society "pledges" except Neil sit eating. It
could be noticed that the boys--Charlie, Knox, Todd, Weeks,
and Pitts--seem to be having difficulty eating. They look
awkward. Old Hager approaches.
Mr. Dalton, what is wrong, son? Are you
having difficulty with your meal?
Hager watches the boys.
Misters Necks and Overstreet and
Anderson, are you normally left-handed?
Then why are you eating with your left
The boys look at each other. Knox speaks for the group:
We thought it would be good to break old
What is wrong with old habits, Mr.
They perpetuate mechanical living, sir.
They limit your mind.
Mr. Overstreet, I suggest you worry less
about breaking old habits and more about
developing good study habits. Do you
That goes for all of you. Now eat with
your correct hands.
Hager watches. The boys obey. After he moves away, Charlie
switches hands and begins eating with his left hand again.
One by one, the others do the same.
Neil enters, looking solemn and upset. He silently takes his
seat at the table.
Visit from my father.
Do you have to quit the play?
I don't know.
Why don't you talk to Mr. Keating about
What good will that do?
Maybe he'll have some advice. Maybe
he'll even talk to your father.
Are you kidding? Don't be ridiculous.
88 EXT. KEATING'S ROOM - EVENING 88
Keating's quarters are on the second floor of a dorm, but
they are entered from the outside. Charlie, Todd, Pitts1 and
Neil stand outside the door. Charlie knocks.
This is stupid.
It's better than doing nothing.
No one comes to the door.
He's not here.
Charlie tries the door and it opens.
Let's wait for him.
Charlie goes in.
Charlie doesn't come out. Curiosity gets the best of the
others, who reluctantly follow Charlie in.
89 INT. KEATINGS ROOM - SAME 89
The furniture is simple and spartan and the room looks almost
lonely. The boys stand around looking uncomfortable.
Nuwanda, we shouldn't be in here.
Charlie and the boys survey the room. There is a suitcase on
the floor by the door. A few books lay by the bed. Charlie
walks to the desk.
Whoa, look at her!
On the desk is a framed picture of a beautiful girl in her
20s. Lying next to the picture is a half-written letter.
Charlie picks it up and reads.
CHARLIE (CONT'D) (reading)
My darling Jessica. It's so lonely at
times without you bla bla bla. All I can
do to put myself at ease is study your
beautiful picture or close my eyes and
imagine your radiant smile--but my poor
imagination is a dim substitute for you.
Oh, how I miss you and wish--
The other boys have sensed an extra presence in the room.
They back away from Charlie. Suddenly Charlie stops and sees
Keating calmly takes the letter from Charlie and folds it.
A woman is a cathedral, boys. Worship
at one every chance you get.
He OPENS a drawer.
Anything else you'd care to rifle
through, Mr. Dalton?
I'm sorry. I, we
Keating puts the letter in the drawer and closes it. Charlie
looks around for help. Neil steps forward.
Oh Captain, My Captain, we came here so
I could talk to you about something.
Actually, I'd like to talk to you alone.
Charlie and the others are glad to be let out.
I gotta go study.
Yeah. See you, Kr. Keating.
They hurry to leave.
Drop by any time.
Thank you, sir.
(low, while exiting)
Damn it, Nuwanda. You idiot.
I couldn't stop myself.
Keating can't help but smile to himself. Neil and Mr.
Keating are alone. Neil paces, looking around.
Gosh, they don't give you much room
around here, do they?
Maybe they don't want worldly things
distracting me from my teaching.
Why do you do it? I mean, with all this
seize-the-day business, I'd have thought
you'd be out seeing the world or
Ah, but I am seeing the world, Neil.
The new world. Seeing a student like you
take root and bloom. It's worth
everything. That's why I came back here.
A place like this needs at least one
teacher like me.
(smiles at his joke, then:)
Did you come here to talk about my
Mr. Keating, my father is making me quit
the play at Henley Hall. When I think
about carpe diem and all that, I feel
like I'm in prison! I mean, I can see
his point. We're not a rich family like
Charlie's. But he's planned the rest of
my life for me and he's never even asked
me what I want!
You can't live a life for someone else,
Neil. You can only live for yourself.
Have you told your father what you just
told me? Have you shown him your passion
Are you kidding? He'd kill me!
Then you're playing a part for him too,
aren't you? A dangerously self-
Keating watches Neil pace anxiously.
Neil, I know this seems impossible but
you have to go to your father and show
him what you're feeling. You have to let
him see who you are- It's your only
I know what he'll say. He'll say that
acting is just a whim and that it's
frivolous and that I should forget about
it. He'll tell me how they're counting
on me and to put it out of my mind "for
my own good."
Well, if it's more than a whim, then
you'll have to prove that to him. You'll
have to show him with your passion and
commitment that it's what you really want
to do. If that doesn't work, at least by
then you'll be eighteen and able to do
what you want.
Eighteen! That's two years! What about
the play? The performance is tomorrow
Give your father the benefit of the
doubt. Talk to him. Let him see who you
Isn't there an easier way?
Not if you're going to stay true to
Neil sits there for a long time.
90/91 OMITTED 90/91
92 INT. CHARLIE'S CAVE - NIGHT 92
The boys sit in the candle-lit room. Charlie blows notes on
his saxophone. Knox sits in the corner, mumbling to himself,
working on a love poem to Chris. Todd sits writing something
too. Cameron is studying. Pitts is scratching a quote out of
a book into the wall. Knox looks at his watch.
Ten minutes to curfew.
Nobody responds. Knox looks at Todd.
What are you writing?
I don't know. A poem.
I don't know.
Charlie keeps playing the sax. Todd keeps writing. Knox
looks at his love poem to Chris. He slaps it on the side of
Damn. Damn! If I could just get Chris
to read this poem!
Why don't you read it to her? It worked
She won't even see me, Pitts.
Nuwanda recited poetry to Gloria and she
jumped all over him... right, Nuwanda?
Charlie stops blowing on his sax. He thinks a moment about
He starts blowing notes again. Off in the distance, we hear
a bell ring. Charlie finishes his melody, puts his sax in its
case, and moves out. Todd, Cameron, and Pitts exit too. Knox
stands there, alone, looking at his poem. then exits
Damn! Goddam! If it worked for him,
it'll work for me.
93A EXT. THE WELTON GROUNDS - EARLY MORNING 93A
The dawn rises over the frozen Welton campus. Snow covers
the ground. The school bagpiper stands, playing a haunting
93 EXT. THE JUNZOR DORMZTORY - SAME 93
Knox comes out of the dorm building, bundled against the
freezing weather. Be hurries onto his bike and speeds away.
94 EXT. RIDGEWAY HIGH SCHOOL 94
A large sign proclaims Ridgeway High School. Knox bikes up
to the school at full speed. He now carries a bouquet of
flowers. Out of breath, he quickly discards the bike and runs
into the school.
95 INT. THE HALLWAYS OF RIDGEWAY HIGH - MORNING 95
Students of both sexes move through the hallways of this
public school. Students are at their lockers, putting up
their coats and getting out their books. Knox runs through,
erratically looking around. He hurries down one hallway,
stops and asks a student something, then runs up a flight of
A96 INT. ANOTHER RIDGEWAY HIGH HALLWAY - SAME A96
Chris stands in front of her locker, chatting with a couple
of girlfriends1 taking out some books. Knox spots her and
Knox! what are you doing here?
She pulls Knox away from her girlfriends.
I came to apologize for the other night.
I brought you these and a poem I wrote.
He holds out the flowers and the poem. Chris sees them, but
doesn't take them.
If Chet sees you, he'll kill you, don't
you know that?
I don't care. I love you, Chris. You
deserve better than Chet and I'm it.
Please accept these.
Knox, you're crazy.
A bell rings. People clear the halls.
Please. I acted like a jerk and I know
She looks at the flowers as if she's thinking about accepting
No! And stop bugging me.
She walks into the classroom and closes the door. The
hallway clears. Knox stands holding his flowers and his poem.
There is a moment's hesitation, then he opens the door and
walks into the classroom.
96 INT. CHRIS' CLASSROOM - SAME 96
Class hasn't started but students are taking their seats. The
teacher leans over a student's desk, helping her with her
homework. Knox enters and walks to Chris' desk.
Knox, I don't believe this!
All I'm asking you to do is listen.
(he opens his poem and
"The heavens made a girl named Chris,
With hair and skin of gold
To touch her would be paradise To kiss
her glory untold."
Chris turns red with embarrassment. Her friends restrain
giggles. Knox continues reading.
They made a goddess and called her
Chris, How? I'll never know. But though
my soul is far behind, My love can only
The rest of the class has now seen what is happening and all
eyes are on Knox. Chris covers her face but Knox continues.
I see a sweetness in her smile, Bright
light shines from her eyes, But life is
complete--contentment is mine, just
knowing that she's alive."
Knox lowers the poem. Chris looks up at him, utterly
embarrassed. Knox puts the poem and the flowers on her desk.
I love you, Chris.
He turns and leaves.
97 INT. KEATING'S ENGLISH CLASSROOM - DAY 97
The boys sit. Keating hasn't arrived. Momentarily, Knox
enters and hurries to his desk.
How'd it go? Did you read it to her?
All right! What'd she say?
I don't know.
What do you mean you don't know?
I'll tell you later.
The door to the room opens. In walks Keating, wearing his
usual scarf and jacket. He puts his books on his desk, then
looks out over the class.
Neil, could I see you a moment.
He walks into the hallway.
98 INT. THE HALLWAY OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM - SAME 98
The corridor is empty except for Neil and Keating. Keating
closes the door to the classroom.
What did your father say? Did you talk
Really? You told your father what you
told me? You let him see your passion for
Yeah. He didn't like it one bit but at
least he's letting me stay in the play. Of
course, he won't be able to come. He'll
be in Chicago on business. But I think he's
gonna let me stay with acting. As long as
I keep my grades up.
Neil heads back into the classroom. Keating watches.
99 INT. THE DORM PHONE ROOM/STAIRWELL - NIGHT 99
Todd, Knox, Cameron, Pitts, and Meeks all wear coats and ties.
They mill in the dorm lobby. Knox is off to himself, still
Where's Nuwanda? We're gonna miss Neil's
He said something about getting red before
What the hell does that mean?
You know Charlie.
Charlie scampers down the stairs.
What's this getting red?
Charlie checks around, then opens his shirt, revealing that he
has painted a red lightning bolt on his chest.
What's it for?
It's an Indian warrior symbol for virility.
Makes me feel potent. Like I can drive girls
But what if they see it, Nuwanda?
So much the better.
The others shoot each other looks, confirming their mutual
suspicion that Charlie has finally lost his marbles. As they
head out of the lobby, they pass Chris who is entering.
Knox, why are you doing this to me?
You can't be in here.
He leads her out of the dorm.
99A EXT. THE DORM BUILDING - NIGHT 99A
It is snowing. Knox ushers Chris out of the building and down
the sidewalk away from the others.
If they catch you here, we'll both be in
Oh, but it's fine for you to come barging
into my school and make a complete fool out
I didn't mean to make a fool of you.
Well, you did! Chet found out and he's
nuts. It took everything I could do to
keep him from coming here and killing you.
You have to stop this stuff, Knox.
But I love you.
You say that over and over but you don't
even know me!
At the dorm, the others are waiting. Knox waves them on.
Go ahead. I'll catch up.
The others walk on. Knox waits for them to disappear.
Of course I know you! From the first time
I saw you, I knew you had a wonderful soul.
Just like that?! You just knew?
Of course just like that. That's how you
always know when it's right.
And if it so happens that you're wrong? If
it just so happens that I could care less
Then you wouldn't be here warning me
This gives Chris pause.
Look, I've got to go. I'm gonna be
late for the play.
Are you going with Chet?
Chet? To a play? Are you kidding?
Then come with me.
Knox, you are so infuriating!
Just give me one chance. If you don't
like me after tonight, I'll stay away
I promise. Dead Poets honor. Come with me
tonight, then if you don't want to see me
again, I swear I'll bow out.
God, if Chet found out he'd...
Chet won't know anything. We'll sit in
back and sneak away as soon as it's over.
Knox, if you promise that this will be the
end of it-
Dead Poets honor.
What is that?
He crosses his heart with his fingers and looks sincere. He leads
a reluctant Chris off.
I must be losing my mind.
100 INT. HENSLEY HALL AUDITORIUM AND STAGE - NIGHT 100
The auditorium is filled to near capacity with families, teachers
and students. Charlie, Todd, Meeks, Cameron, and Pitts find seats
in the back. They spot Mr. Keating a few rows over and wave at him.
Beside him is Mr. McAllister.
The lights go down. A small musical accompaniment--panpipes,
bongos, triangle--plays. The curtain rises. As the actors make
their entrances, they are applauded by their friends and families.
As the actors begin the play, Charlie notices out of the corner
of his eye Knox entering with Chris. They find seats and sit
down together. Charlie shoots Knox a surprised lock of excitement.
Knox gives a little nod.
SHORT DISSOLVE TO:
101 THE STAGE 101
Neil makes his entrance as Puck, he wears a crown of flowers.
The members of the Dead Poets Society cheer loudly. For a moment
Neil looks lost. Todd crosses his fingers.
NEIL (AS PUCK)
"flow now, spirit. wither wander you?"
HIGH SCHOOL ACTOR (AS FAIRY)
Over hill, over dale, through bush,
Keating glances back at the Dead Poets and gives them the
thumbs up for luck for Neil. They acknowledge with gestures
of their own.
NEIL (AS PUCK)
Thou speakest aright:
I am that merry wanderer of the night.
I jest to Oberon and make him smile
when I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile,
Neighing in likeness of a filly foal
ANGLE ON THE "DEAD POETS"
intently watching the show. As Neil delivers his lines,
getting laughs in the right places, Todd sits mouthing the
lines with him, as if this might help Neil get through it.
Neil clearly needs no help, though, and his performance is
quite winning. Charlie leans to the others.
He's good! He's goddamned good!
Someone from behind whispers '"Sssh." Charlie whispers
"sssh" back at them, then turns back and watches the show.
Suddenly he does a double-take. He sees:
Mr. Perry enters in the rear of the auditorium, and stands
alone beside the door.
Oh my God.
Charlie indicates for the others to lock. Todd and the
others glance back and see Mr. Perry.
All turn back and watch the play, though they are now quite
tense about Mr. Perry's presence.
102 THE PLAY 102
On stage are the characters of Lysander and Hermia. Hermia
is played by Ginny Danburry, who is fetching1y dressed in a
costume of leaves and twigs.
One turf shall serve as pillow for us both, One heart, one
bed, two bosoms, and one troth.
GINNY (AS HERMIA)
Nay good Lysander. For my sake, my
dear, Lie further off yet: do not lie so
ANGLE ON THE DEAD POETS
Charlie is looking through the program.
Hermia's Ginny Danburry. Knox is crazy.
Meeks holds his finger to his lips for Charlie to be quiet.
GINNY (AS HERMIA)
But gentle friend, for love and courtesy
Lie further off, in human modesty.
Such separation as may well be said
Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid,
So far be distant: and goodnight, sweet
Thy love ne'er alter till they sweet
Charlie sits absolutely enraptured by her.
As Ginny and Lysander play their scene, Neil stands in the
wings looking out. He spots his father sitting in the back of
the auditorium. There is no panic on Neil's face, however.
His expression is calm.
Here is my bed. Sleep give thee all his
GINNY (AS HERMIA)
With half that wish the wisher's eyes be
Lysander and Ginny lie down on the stage and their characters
go to sleep. The musical accompaniment plays, beginning a
HERE is where my copy of the script ends. Pages are missing
The section below are just the cut sections from the end of the movie
After the play, the boys (minus Neil) return to the cave.
Cameron is conspicuously missing. Knox brings Chris and Charlie
brings Ginny. Then Mr. Keating himself arrives at the cave,
thanking Charlie for inviting him. Someone brought wine and they
all raise their glasses in a toast to Neil.
Now we mustn't be glum. Neil wouldn't want
it that way. He did something special
tonight and worth celebrating. Let us join
with the howling night.
Keating exits the cave. The others follow. Chris and Ginny look
at Knox and Charlie.
Knox, what exactly is this?
I have to go home. Chet might call.
It's just for a little while. You promised.
Charlie leads Ginny off. Chris reluctantly follows Knox. The
moon is full, the stars are out, the night is clear and cold.
Every tree is covered with icicles. A freeze has turned the
otherwise barren forest into a wintertime marvel. Mother Nature
has covered the world with sparkling diamonds. Keating leads
the group up a wooded path to a spot on a cliff overlooking the
creek. The boys and girls look around. It's an especially scenic
place. All stand in silence for a moment, taking it in.
We used to meet here on special occasions.
Who would like to convene the meeting?
"We went to the woods because we wanted to
suck all the marrow out of life." Anybody
want to read?
Keating begins gathering up some firewood. Others help.
Come on boys, don't be shy.
I have something.
The thing you've been writing?
Todd's volunteering surprises everyone. Todd steps forward and
takes out some papers from his pocket. He passes slips of paper
to each of the others.
Everybody read this between verses.
Todd opens his poem and reads.
"We are dreaming of tomorrow and
tomorrow isn't coming,
We are dreaming of a glory that
we don't really want.
We are dreaming of a new day
when the new day's here already.
We are running from the battle
when it's one that must be fought."
Todd nods. All read:
"And still we sleep."
"We are listening for the calling
but never really heeding,
Hoping for the future
when the future's only plans.
Dreaming of the wisdom
that we are dodging daily,
Praying for a savior
when salvation's in our hands."
"And still we sleep."
"And still we dream.
And still we pray.
And still we fear.
And still we sleep."
Todd closes his poem. There is a big applause.
That was great!
Todd beams, taking it all in. As he steps down, he gets
congratulatory slaps on the back. Keating smiles with great
pride at his student's progress. He plucks a ball-shaped icicle
from a tree.
I hold in my hand a crystal ball. In it I
see great things for Todd Anderson.
Todd faces Mr. Keating, then suddenly, powerfully, they hug.
They break, then Keating strikes a match to light the fire.
The scene with Keating and the boys continues, interspersed with
Neil's final scenes.
And now, "General William Booth Enters Into
Heaven," by Vachel Lindsay. When I pause, you
ask, "Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?"
"Booth led boldly with his big brass drum..."
"Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?"
Reciting loudly, Keating takes off trotting through the woods. All
trot after him:
"The Saints smiled gravely and they said,
"Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?"
The group follows Keating through the woods, past icy trees,
over snow-covered hills, reciting Vachel Lindsay's poem.
"Walking lepers followed rank on rank,
Lurching bravos from the ditches dank,
Drabs from the alleyways and drug fiends pale--
Minds still passion ridden, soul-powers frail:"
"Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?"
Keating stands before a towering, frozen waterfall. This gorgeous,
icy sculpture seems to defy the laws of gravity. The night sky is
incredibly clear. The people in the group are lit by moonlight off
"Christ came gently with a robe and crown,
For Booth the soldier, while the throng knelt down.
He saw King Jesus. They were face to face,
And he knelt a-weeping in that holy place."
"Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?"
Keating stops. He turns and looks at the fields, valley, and
the magnificent sky that surrounds them. All are out of breath,
"We may or may not be the stuff of eternity,
people, but, while we are here, we are part
of a vast, awesome magnificence."
He raises his hands to the heavens.
Don't waste a second of it, people. Exalt in it.
He holds his head back and shouts to the heavens.
The others do the same. Shouts go up, cries of joy and ecstasy.
Knox looks at Chris. Tears are streaming down both their faces.
They turn to each other and kiss.
When Todd learns of Neil's death, he runs to the bathroom
instead of outside into the snow.
After Charlie decks Cameron, there is a scene at the cemetery
for Neil's burial. After everyone places flowers on the coffin,
Mr. Perry walks up to Mr. Keating and says "I hold you responsible
Todd refuses to sign the paper that implicates Mr. Keating in
That's all right! We don't need his signature.
Let him suffer the consequences.
Nolan walks around his desk to Todd.
You think you can save Mr. Keating?
You saw it, boy, we have the signatures
of all the others. But, if you don't sign,
you're on disciplinary probation for the
rest of the year. You'll do work duty every
afternoon and every Saturday. And, if you
set foot off campus, you'll be expelled.