Whether you think for yourself, find your tribe, or discover the beauty in everyday life, Dead Poets Society is the perfect portrayal of the importance of thinking for yourself, finding your tribe, and discovering the beauty in everyday life.
Thoughtful, emotional, and genuinely rousing, it is the gold standard for inspirational teacher dramas. Several young actors, including Robert Sean Leonard, Josh Charles, and Ethan Hawke, launched their careers with this film, which became a huge critical and commercial success.
In this film, Robin Williams plays the unconventional teacher John Keating, who has returned to his former school to break the repressed students out of the confines of their rigid upbringings and encourage them to embrace creativity and passion for leading extraordinary lives instead of being restricted by rigid upbringings.
The film is both an affecting coming-of-age story and a tribute to the art that only humans can create, and it will haunt you long after you finish watching it, similarly to the dead poets whose profound and beautiful words still haunt us today.
This is the list of movies similar to ‘Dead Poets Society’: from ‘Good Will Hunting’ to ‘School of Rock.
1: Good Will Hunting
Greetings, Captain! Greetings, Captain! In his legendary career, Robin Williams has played numerous roles in which he acts as a mentor to young people, a position he perfected during his Oscar-winning role as a therapist to Matt Damon’s troubled character Will.
Throughout both films, Williams contributes his trademark warmth, humor, and empathy to his characters while also adding a touch of the bold and zany character we are accustomed to seeing in his other roles.
As a result of the film, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were challenged to achieve their full potential as screenwriters.
When they were young actors and were rejected from auditions for Poets, they wrote their films to star in, using similar themes which earned them the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, which Dead Poets Society had already won many years earlier.
Few would have expected the table-standing tribute to Good Will Hunting to be the response Keating asked his students when he asked, “What will your verse be?”
2: Freedom Writers
There needs to be a comparison between the at-risk students in the Freedom Writers classroom and the stuffy prep schoolers in the school of Dead Poets Society.
Both of these films feature teachers trying to help their students become the best individuals they can be by assisting them to rise above the expectations placed upon them to succeed.
Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank), the teacher in Freedom Writers, encourages her students to find their voices by writing diaries, which are eventually compiled into The Freedom Writer’s Diary.
3: School of Rock
An intelligent young student at an uptight prep school is transformed into a rock band under the tutelage of Jack Black, who teaches the true meaning of what it means to be a rock star and the fundamentals of what it takes to be a singer.
There is no doubt that this is a much more kid-friendly version of the teacher-who-changes-lives trope, but it is no less effective at thrilling audiences of all ages out of their doldrums once again.
You will find yourself cheering and singing along with Black’s infectiously spirited performance, singing along to lyrics like “I was on the honor roll, got good grades, and got no soul,” as if you were a teenager all over again.
4: Mona Lisa Smile
As a female-led version of Poets, Mona Lisa Smile trades poetry on pinups for paintings and pinafores in a biannual event.
Many bright students (including Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Julia Stiles) are challenged by the free-thinking teacher Katherine Watson to reevaluate their rigid expectations when she challenges them to strive for more than the societal norm of finding a husband.
There is no doubt that this film is a must-see because of the enduringly relevant messages that a woman is more than who she marries and that there are many paths a woman can take to pursue happiness.
5: About Time
If you are thinking of a match between Dead Poets Society and a rom-com, you might not immediately think of something like a romantic comedy.
The film does, however, rise above the usual tropes to deliver a powerful message about living every day to its fullest, telling your family and friends that you love them, and reading as many books as possible to find fulfillment.
Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) strives to find and keep the love of his life through the use of his newly discovered time-traveling powers in About Time, a comedy-drama featuring Tim’s (Domhnall Gleeson) quest.
Richard Curtis, who wrote and directed the film, starring Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, and Margot Robbie, is a film that will make you laugh, cry, and feel endless hope for a better future as you watch it. There is no time like the present.
6: Dangerous Minds
There are unruly students and a conformist ex-marine disciplinarian teacher in Dangerous Minds (Michelle Pfeiffer).
As a teacher, she initially struggles to gain the respect of her students, but by employing unconventional methods such as giving out candy and reciting song lyrics, she eventually succeeds.
Similarly, Louanne encounters an ambivalent school administration that is more concerned with archaic rules than the actual well-being of the students. This tragedy almost causes Louanne to give up teaching.
Despite being critically panned for its formulaic story and stereotypical characters, the film was a surprise hit with audiences upon its release, buoyed by a compelling lead performance and the distinctive soundtrack featuring Coolio’s Gangster’s Paradise.
7: The Emperor’s Club
One of the primary motivations for teachers is to expand their students’ minds and open up new possibilities for their lives.
As a professor of history at a private boarding school for privileged young men, William Hundert (Kevin Kline) enjoys his role as a professor of history at this school. His students are asked the same question as Keating:
“What will you contribute? How will history remember you?” To inspire his students to become morally and dignified men, he runs into a rebellious teenager (Emile Hirsch) whose wealth and privilege overshadow virtue and knowledge.
It is clear from The Emperor’s Club that not all students are receptive to a teacher’s power over them.
It is a feat to behold to find your tribe and build a group of peers who are going through the same thing as you. In his youth, J.R.R. Tolkien formed the Tea Club and Barrovian Society with his brilliant group of outcasts.
Like the society formed in Poets, their brotherhood grows until tragedy strikes, and they must cope with the severe effects of lives cut short. Considering this history, it is unsurprising that one of the most famous examples of male friendship in literature can be found in The Lord of the Rings.
9: Boyz N The Hood
Coming of age can be complicated when bullets are flying around, as we learn in this story about three friends growing up in inner-city Los Angeles.
In the film, Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), Ricky (Morris Chestnut), and Doughboy (Ice Cube) each approach their harsh lives differently by finding salvation in academics, sports, and gangs, respectively.
While Furious Styles (Laurence Fishburne) tries to raise Tre to be a forward-thinking and respectful citizen, the trio of friends still endure gang violence and shootings around them. While emotionally charged, the film opts for realism over sentimentality despite its thematic richness.
10: Mr. Holland’s Opus
Several films have been made where teachers have dramatically changed the lives of their students, but Mr. Holland’s Opus flips the trope by showing us a man whose students have significantly changed his life instead of the reverse.
It will be shown that Glenn Holland (Richard Dreyfuss) initially takes up a teaching job just to make ends meet, while at the same time, he works on his true goal: the composition of a truly great symphony in his spare time.
Then, as time goes on, he discovers that the real work he is destined to do isn’t collecting but rather teaching his students about the magic of music and sharing his passion for it.
11: The Belier Family
The Belier Family, a French-language film recently remade as the Best Picture-winning Coda also fascinates audiences.
As our young protagonist finds her voice both literally and metaphorically, the film transcends what could have been a formulaic entry into the coming-of-age genre.
She is the only member of her family who can easily communicate with the outside world, as she is the translator for her deaf parents and brother.
Having relied heavily on Paula’s mother to run the family’s business and get by in the world, she is torn between her duties and her passion when her teacher suggests she audition for an elite choir far from home. At the film’s end, the audience is left with a tear in their eye and a song in their heart.
12: To Sir, With Love
Having received an Academy Award for his role as Mark Thackeray, Sidney Poitier plays a desperation-driven engineer who takes a position as a teacher. His new work is not what he envisioned, and he soon discovers that the students he teaches are wild and rebellious.
He treats the students with respect and demands that they do the same in return, even though they come from the slums of London. Teenagers will relate to the film’s portrayal of what it is like to be a teenager and how hopeless it can feel when the world is against them.
13: Stand and Deliver
An Academy Award-nominated actor, Edward James Olmos, plays the role of Jaime Escalante, a high school math teacher who uses unconventional methods to help students who the system has written off.
Despite being a gang member himself, he inspires his would-be dropout and gang member students to achieve excellent marks on the Advanced Placement Tests in Calculus.
Despite their marked increase in grades and similar errors, the Educational Testing Service accuses them of cheating. In the same manner, as John Keating, Jaime Escalante is a rousing teacher and role model who can have a lasting impact on the lives of his students after they leave the classroom.
The character of the teacher does not matter in the end. Someone who inspires us can be a blessing, challenging us to make our lives extraordinary by sucking out all the marrow of life.