"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]

"DEAD POET'S SOCIETY"

Screenplay by

Tom Schulman

Final Draft



INT. WELTON ACADAMY DINING HALL - DAY - VARIOUS SHOTS

CREDITS ROLL

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.

INT. CORRIDOR ADJACENT THE DINING ROOM - SAME

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:

INT. WELTON'S OLD, STONE CHAPEL - CONTINUOUS

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. He is HEADMASTER GALE NOLAN, a big man, in
his mid-60s. The music stops.

NOLAN
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.

NOLAN
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 pillars?

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
students:

ALL THE BOYS IN UNISON

Tradition! Honor! Discipline! Excellence!

All the boys sit. Todd sits too. All is silent again.

NOLAN
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 find 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.

NOLAN
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.
(more applause)

NEW STUDENTS

All turn to look at the new students the 7th graders and
transfer students. Todd Anderson is among them and he looks
incredibly self-conscious.

NOLAN
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.

CAMERON
Yes sir!

NOLAN
What is Tradition?

CAMERON
Tradition, Mr. Nolan, is love of
school, country, and family. Our
tradition at Welton is to be the
best!

NOLAN
Good, Mr. Cameron. Welton Society
Candidate George Hopkins. Honor.

Cameron sits. His father beams smugly.

HOPKINS (O.S.)
Honor is dignity and the fulfillment
of duty!

NOLAN
Good, Mr. Hopkins. Honor Society
Candidate, Knox Overstreet.

Knox, as mentioned, is a banner-holder. He stands.

KNOX
Yes sir.

NOLAN
What is discipline?

KNOX
Discipline is respect for parents,
teachers, headmaster. Discipline
comes from within.

NOLAN
Thank you, Mr. Overstreet. 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.

NOLAN
Excellence, Mr. Perry.

NEIL (ROTE)
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.

NOLAN
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

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. THE WELTON ACADEMY - MAIN LAWN - DAY

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
clothed tables.

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
jacket.

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.

NOLAN
Ah, Mr. Anderson. You have some big
shoes to fill, young man. Your brother
was one of our best.

TODD
(faint, almost
inaudible)
Thank you.

Neil's father, Neil in tow, approaches Nolan and interrupts.

MR. PERRY
(somewhat disturbed)
Gale. what's this I hear about a new
junior English teacher?

NOLAN
Mr. Gladden took the Headmaster's
post at Malford, so we've hired John
Keating.

MR. PERRY
(suspicious)
A former student, I hear?

NOLAN
A star student, Mr. Perry. And he's
spent the last ten years teaching at
the McMillan School in Edinburgh.

MR. PERRY
(acting impressed)
Oh. McMillan.

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.

NOLAN
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
parents.

EXT. THE WELTON ACADEMY PARKING LOT - DAY

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.

INT. THE WELTON ACADEMY OAK PANELED HONOR ROOM - DAY

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 Overstreet, 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.

HAGER
Overstreet, Perry, Dalton, Anderson,
Cameron.

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.

PITTS
Who's the new boy?

MEEKS
(shrugs)
Anderson.

Old Hager sees this conversation.

HAGER
Misters Pitts and Meeks. Demerits.

Pitts and Meeks look down. Pitts glances at Meeks and rolls
his eyes.

HAGER
That's another demerit, Mr. Pitts.

Pitts' smile vanishes. Hager closes the door.

INT. THE HEADMASTER'S OFFICE - SAME

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
him.

NOLAN
Welcome back, Mr. Dalton. How's your
father?

CHARLIE
Doing fine, sir.

NOLAN
Your family move into that new house,
Mr. Overstreet?

KNOX
Yes sir, about a month ago.

NOLAN
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
Yes sir!

NOLAN
Failure to attend required meetings
will result in demerits. Mr. Dalton
the school paper, the Service Club,
soccer, rowing. Mr. Overstreet 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.

NOLAN
Speak up, Mr. Anderson.

TODD
(barely audible)
I would prefer rowing sir.

It is apparent that Todd's fear of speaking is overwhelming.
Nolan looks at him.

NOLAN
Rowing? Did he say rowing? It says
here you played soccer at Balincrest.

TODD
(again barely audible)
I... did... but...

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.

NOLAN
You'll like soccer here, Anderson.
Dismissed.

The boys stand and exit. Todd looks absolutely miserable.
The teacher at the door calls out more names.

EXT. WELTON CAMPUS - DAY

The Welton students walk toward their dorms. Neil Perry
approaches Todd Anderson who walks alone. Neil offers his
handshake.

NEIL
I hear we're going to be roommates.
Neil Perry.

TODD
(softly)
Todd Anderson.

Todd keeps walking. There is an awkward silence.

NEIL
Why'd you leave Balincrest?

TODD
(overlap)
My brother went here.

NEIL
Oh, so you're that Anderson.

INT. THE JUNIOR DORM LOBBY - CONTINUOUS

Neil and Todd have walked into the dorm lobby.

TODD
My parents wanted me here all along
but my grades weren't good enough.
I had to go to Balincrest to pull
them up.

NEIL
Well, you've won the booby prize.
Don't expect to like it here.

TODD
I don't.

INT. THE WELTON JUNIOR CLASS DORMITORY ROOM - DAY

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.

CAMERON
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.

NEIL
Don't mind Cameron. He's an asshole.

There is a knock on the door. Knox Overstreet, Charlie Dalton,
and Steven Meeks enter. Charlie speaks to Neil.

CHARLIE
Hey, I heard you went to summer
school?

NEIL
Yeah, chemistry. My father thought I
should get ahead.

CHARLIE
Well, Meeks aced Latin and I didn't
quite flunk English so if you want,
we've got our study group.

NEIL
Sure, but Cameron asked me too.
Anybody mind including him?

CHARLIE
What's his specialty, brown-nosing?

Some chuckles.

NEIL
Hey, he's your roommate.

CHARLIE
That's not my fault.

Nobody is excited about Cameron but no one objects.

MEEKS
(to Todd)
I don't think we've met. I'm Steven
Meeks.

TODD
(shyly extending his
hand)
Todd. Anderson.

Knox and Charlie offer Todd handshakes.

CHARLIE
Charlie Dalton.

KNOX
Knox Overstreet.

Todd shakes their hands.

NEIL
Todd's brother is Jeffrey Anderson.

CHARLIE
Oh yeah. Sure. Valedictorian, National
Merit Scholar

Todd nods affirmative.

MEEKS
Well, welcome to "Hell"ton.

CHARLIE
It's every bit as hard as they say.
Unless you're a genius like Meeks.

MEEKS
He flatters me so I'll help him with
Latin.

CHARLIE
And English, and trig.

Meeks smiles. There is a knock on the door.

NEIL
It's open.

Neil's father enters. Neil is surprised.

NEIL
Father. I thought you'd... gone.

All the boys stand.

MEEKS, CHARLIE, KNOX
Mr. Perry.

MR. PERRY
Keep your seats, boys. How's it going?

THE BOYS
Fine, sir. Thank you.

MR. PERRY
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.

NEIL
But father, I'm assistant editor.

MR. PERRY
I'm sorry, Neil.

NEIL
But father, it's not fair.

MR. PERRY
Fellows, would you excuse us a minute?

Mr. Perry walks into the hall, Neil follows.

INT. THE JUNIOR DORMITORY HALLWAY - SAME

MR. PERRY
I will not be disputed in public, do
you understand me?

NEIL
Father, I wasn't disputing you.

MR. PERRY
When you've finished medical school
and you're on your own, you can do
as you please. Until then, you will
listen to me.

NEIL
Yes sir. I'm sorry.

MR. PERRY
You know what this means to your
mother, don't you?

NEIL
Yes sir.

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.

NEIL
You know me, always taking on too
much.

MR. PERRY
Good boy. Call us if you need
anything.

He turns and walks off.

INT. NEIL'S ROOM

The others wait in silence. A chastened Neil enters.

CHARLIE
Why doesn't he let you do what you
want?

KNOX
Yeah! Tell him off! It couldn't get
any worse.

NEIL
Oh that's rich. Like you tell your
parents off, Mr. Future Lawyer and
Mr. Future Banker!

Neil takes the school annual achievement pin off his shirt
and hurls it at his desk.

KNOX
Wait a minute. I don't let my parents
walk on me.

NEIL
Yeah, you just do everything they
say! You'll be in daddy's law firm
as sure as I'm standing here.
(to Charlie)
And you'll be approving loans till
you croak.

CHARLIE
Okay, so I don't like it any more
than you do. I'm just saying

NEIL
Then don't tell me how to talk to my
father when you're the same way.
All right?!

KNOX
All right. Jesus, what are you gonna
do?

NEIL
What I have to do. Screw the annual.

MEEKS
I certainly wouldn't lose any sleep
over it. It's just a bunch of people
trying to impress Nolan.

NEIL
(bitterly)
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.

CHARLIE
I don't know about anyone else, but
I could use a refresher in Latin.
Eight o'clock in my room?

NEIL
Sure.

CHARLIE
You're welcome to join us, Todd.

KNOX
Yeah, come along.

TODD
Thank you.

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.

NEIL
So what do you think of my father?

TODD
(softly, to himself)
I'll take him over mine.

NEIL
What?

TODD
Nothing.

NEIL
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?

Todd nods.

NEIL
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.

INT. A CHEMISTRY CLASSROOM - DAY

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.

CHEMISTRY TEACHER
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.

INT. LATIN CLASS - DAY

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.

INT. A MATHEMATICS CLASS - DAY

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.

HAGER
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.

CAMERON
A cosine is the sin of the compliment
of an angle or arc. If we define an
angle A, then...

INT. ENGLISH CLASSROOM - DAY

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,
no jacket.

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.

KEATING
(to the blushing boy)
Don't be embarrassed.

He moves off, then stops in front of Charlie Dalton.

KEATING
(as if discovering
something known only
to himself)
Uh-huh.
(he moves to Todd
Anderson)
Uh-huh.
(he moves to Neil
Perry)
Ha!

Keating slaps his free hand with the yardstick, then strides
to the front of the room.

KEATING
Nimble young minds!

He steps up onto the desk, turns and faces the class.

KEATING
(energetically)
Oh Captain, My Captain. Who knows
where that's from?

No one raises a hand.

KEATING
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.

KEATING
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
honor room.

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.

INT. THE WELTON OAK PANELED HONOR ROOM - DAY

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
Mister...
(Keating looks at his
roll)
Pitts. An unfortunate name. Stand
up, Mister Pitts.

Pitts stands.

KEATING
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.

PITTS
To The Virgins to Make Much Of Time?

KEATING
That's the one.

Giggles in the class. Pitts reads.

PITTS
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may
Old time is still a flying
And this same flower that smiles
today
Tomorrow will be dying.

KEATING
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.
The Latin term for that sentiment is
"Carpe Diem." Anyone know what that
means?

MEEKS
Carpe Diem... seize the day.

KEATING
Very good, Mr.?

MEEKS
Meeks.

KEATING
Seize the day while you're young,
see that you make use of your time.
Why does the poet write these lines?

A STUDENT
Because he's in a hurry?

KEATING
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.

KEATING
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 hope?

THE BOYS are staring at the pictures, sobered by what Keating
is saying.

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. Hear it?
(loud whisper)
'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.

EXT. THE WELTON CAMPUS - DAY

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.

PITTS
Weird.

NEIL
But different.

KNOX
Spooky if you ask me.

CAMERON
You think he'll test us on that stuff?

CHARLIE
Oh come on, Cameron, don't you get
anything?

EXT. THE WELTON CAMPUS - CONTINUOUS

MEEKS
How about a trig study group? Right
after dinner.

VARIOUS BOYS
Good by me. Sure. Great.

KNOX
I can't make it. I got a sign-out to
have dinner at the Danburrys' house.

PITTS
Who are the Danburrys?

CAMERON
Big alum. How'd you pull that?

KNOX
They're friends of my dad. Probably
in their nineties or something.

NEIL
Listen, anything's better than mystery
meat.

CHARLIE
I'll second that.

The group disperses. Neil finds himself walking near Todd
who has been silent through this whole discussion.

NEIL
Want to come to the study group?

TODD
Thanks but I'd better do history.

INT. TODD AND NEIL'S DORM ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON

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.

EXT. THE WELTON CAMPUS - DUSK - WIDE SHOT

The autumnal colors are muted by the onset of nightfall.
Old Dr. Hager drives the school "woody" station wagon out of
the campus.

EXT. WALTON VILLAGE (NEW CASTLE) - DUSK - WOODY DRIVE-BY

EXT./INT. A LARGE MANSION - DUSK

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.

INT. THE DANBURRY MANSION LIBRARY - DUSK

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.

JOE DANBURRY
Knox, come in. Joe Danburry. This is
my wife, Janette.

KNOX
(surprised)
Nice to meet you.

MRS. DANBURRY
You're the spitting image of your
father. How is he?

KNOX
Great. Just did a big case for GM.

JOE DANBURRY
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--
enters.

MRS. DANBURRY
Knox, this is our daughter, Virginia.

GINNY
Ginny, mom.

Knox shakes her hand. His "hello" is polite. Her "hi" is
shy.

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.

CHET
Dad, can I take the Buick?

JOE DANBURRY
What's wrong with your car?

MRS. DANBURRY
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.

CHET
(perfunctorily)
Hi.

Knox shakes Chet's hand. Knox is THUNDERSTRUCK by Chris.
Chris offers Knox her hand and a smile. Knox shakes her hand,
his mouth practically hanging open.

CHRIS
Pleased to meet you.

KNOX
The pleasure is mine.

CHET
Come on, Dad, why is this always a
big deal?

JOE DANBURRY
Because I bought you a sports car
and suddenly you want my car all the
time.

CHET
Chris' mom feels safer when we're in
a bigger car. Right, Chris?

Chet shoots her a wicked smile. Chris blushes.

CHRIS
It's all right, Chet.

CHET
It's not all right. Come on, Dad

Joe Danburry walks out of the room. Chet follows him.

CHET
Come on, Dad.

Knox, Ginny, and Chris remain in the room. Knox smiles at
Chris.

KNOX
So, uh, where are you in school?

CHRIS
Ridgeway High. How's Henley Hall,
Gin?

GINNY
(flat)
Okay.

CHRIS
(to Knox)
That's your sister school, right?

KNOX
Sort of.

CHRIS
(to Ginny)
You going out for the Henley Hall
play?
(to Knox)
They're doing "A Midsummer Night's
Dream."

GINNY
Maybe.

KNOX
How did you meet Chet?
(both girls look at
him)
I mean... Er...

CHRIS
He plays on the Ridgeway football
team and I'm a cheerleader. He used
to go to Welton but he flunked out.
(to Ginny)
You should do it, Gin. You'd be great.

Ginny looks down, shyly. Chet comes to the door.

CHET
Chris. We got it. Let's go.

CHRIS
Nice meeting you, Knox. Bye, Gin.

KNOX
(dying inside)
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.

GINNY
(confiding to Knox)
Chet just wants the Buick so they
can go parking.

KNOX
Oh.

Outside, Chris and Chet get in the Buick and kiss. Knox stares
with envy.

GINNY
Something wrong?

KNOX
Nah.

EXT. DANBURRY HOUSE - DUSK

Chet and Chris drive off.

INT. THE JUNIOR CLASS LOUNGE - NIGHT

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.

CHARLIE
How was dinner?

KNOX
Terrible. Awful! I met the most
beautiful girl I've ever seen in my
life!

NEIL
Are you crazy? What's wrong with
that?

KNOX
She's practically engaged to Chet
Danburry. Mr. Mondo Jocko himself.

PITTS
Too bad.

KNOX
It's not too bad. It's a tragedy!
Why does she have to be in love with
a jerk?!

PITTS
All the good ones go for jerks, you
know that. Forget her. Take out your
trig book and figure out problem
twelve.

KNOX
I can't just forget her, Pitts. And
I certainly can't think about math!

MEEKS
Sure you can. You're off on a tangent--
so you're halfway into trig already

CAMERON
Duh, Meeks!

MEEKS
(sheepishly)
I thought it was clever.

KNOX
(sitting down)
You really think I should forget
her?

PITTS
You have another choice.

Knox drops to his knee like he is proposing.

KNOX
Only you, Pittsie.

Pitts pushes Knox away. Knox sits back down but despair is
beginning to wash over him.

EXT. WELTON CAMPUS - MORNING

The Welton bagpiper marches on the lawn, practicing. Students
emerge from their dorms and head to breakfast.

INT. KEATING'S ENGLISH CLASS - DAY

The lights are out and shades are drawn. Keating sits in a
chair beside the teacher's desk. He looks solemn. All is
still.

KEATING
(soft and soothing
voice)
Boys, quietly open your texts to
page 54

The boys follow instructions. Keating reads the following in
a tone of quiet reverence.

KEATING
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 long, 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
shouts

KEATING
AHHGGGG!!

The students jump halfway out of their seats.

KEATING
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.

KEATING
Make a clean tear. I want nothing
left of it! Eugene Field! Disgraceful.

INT. MCALLISTER'S CLASSROOM - DAY

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 Keating's
room.

INT. KEATING'S CLASSROOM - SAME

McAllister is about to reprimand the boys when suddenly he
sees Keating.

MCALLISTER
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, flips the trash can on the
floor, and jumps into it. He stomps the trash a few times,
then kicks the can away.

KEATING
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.
(laughter)
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:

MEEKS
The hoi polloi. Doesn't it mean the
herd?

KEATING
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.

KEATING
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.

KEATING
(defiant whisper)
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.

KEATING
(awestruck tone)
"That the powerful play goes on, and
you may contribute a verse."
Incredible.
(pause)
Poetry is rapture, lads. Without it
we are doomed.

Keating waits a long moment.

KEATING
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:

KEATING
Let's open our textbooks to page
sixty and learn about Wordsworth
notion of romanticism...

INT. THE WELTON DINING ROOM - DAY

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.

MCALLISTER
Quite an interesting class you had
today, Mr. Keating.

KEATING
Sorry if I shocked you.

MCALLISTER
No need to apologize. It was quite
fascinating, misguided though it
was.

KEATING
You heard it all?

MCALLISTER
You're hardly a Trappist monk.

McAllister smiles. So does Keating.

MCALLISTER
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.

KEATING
Not artists, George, free thinkers.
And I hardly pegged you as a cynic.

MCALLISTER
A cynic? A realist! Show me the heart
unfettered by foolish dreams and
I'll show you a happy man.

He chews a bite.

MCALLISTER
But I will enjoy listening to your
lectures.

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.

NEIL
I found his senior annual in the
library.

Neil opens the annual and reads.

NEIL
Captain of the soccer team, editor
of the annual, Cambridge bound, Man
most likely to do anything, Thigh
man, Dead Poets Society.

Hands grab the old annual away from Neil.

CHARLIE
Thigh man? Mr. "K" was a hell raiser.

KNOX
What is the Dead Poets Society?

MEEKS
Any group pictures in the annual?

NEIL
Nothing. No mention of it.

CHARLIE
Nolan.

Mr. Nolan approaches the boys' table. Under the table, Cameron
insistently hands the annual to Todd. Todd looks at Cameron,
then takes it.

NOLAN
Enjoying your classes, Mr. Perry?

NEIL
Yes sir. Very much.

NOLAN
And our Mr. Keating. Finding him
interesting, boys?

CHARLIE
Yes sir. We were just talking about
that.

NOLAN
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.

EXT. THE CAMPUS - LATER

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.

NEIL
Mr. Keating? Sir? Oh Captain My
Captain.
(Keating stops)
What was the Dead Poets Society?

KEATING
Ah, so you boy's have been snooping.

NEIL
I was just looking in an old annual
and...

KEATING
Nothing wrong with research.

The boys wait for more.

NEIL
But what was it?

Keating checks around to be sure they are unwatched.

KEATING
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.

KEATING
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.

KNOX
You mean it was a bunch of guys
sitting around reading poetry?

KEATING
(amused)
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.

NEIL
What did the name mean. Did you only
read dead poets.

KEATING
All poetry was acceptable. The name
simply referred to the fact, that to
join the organization, you had to be
dead.

SEVERAL
What?

KEATING
Full membership required a lifetime
of apprenticeship. The living were
simply pledges. Alas, even I am still
a lowly initiate.

The boys don't quite know what to say.

KEATING
The last meeting must have been 25
years ago. Hasn't been another since.

Keating exits. The boys stand watching. Neil turns to them.

NEIL
I say we go tonight. Everybody in?

PITTS
Where is this cave he's talking about?

NEIL
Beyond the stream. I think I know.

PITTS
That's miles.

CAMERON
Sounds boring to me.

CHARLIE
Don't come.

CAMERON
You know how many demerits we're
talking?

CHARLIE
So don't goddam come! Please.

CAMERON
All I'm saying is we have to be
careful. We can't get caught.

CHARLIE
(sarcastic)
Well, no shit, Sherlock

NEIL
Who's in?

CHARLIE
I'm in.

Neil looks at Knox, Pitts, and Weeks.

PITTS
Well...

CHARLIE
Oh come on, Pitts...

MEEKS
His grades are hurting, Charlie.

NEIL
Then you can help him.

PITTS
What is this, a midnight study group?

NEIL
Forget it, Pitts, you're coming.
Meeks, your grades hurting too?

Laughter.

MEEKS
All right. I'll try anything once.

CHARLIE
Except sex.

More laughter. Meeks blushes.

CAMERON
I'm in as long as we're careful.

CHARLIE
Knox?

KNOX
I don't know. I don't get it.

CHARLIE
Come on. It'll help you get Chris.

KNOX
It will? How do you figure?

CHARLIE
Women swoon!

KNOX
But why?

The group walk off. Knox holds, then follows,

KNOX
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.

INT. THE STUDY HALL - LATE AFTERNOON

Students study. Neil sits near Todd.

NEIL
(hushed voice)
Listen, I'm inviting you. You can't
expect everybody to think of you all
the time. Nobody knows you.

TODD
Thanks but it's not a question of
that.

NEIL
What is it then?

TODD
I... I just don't want to come.

NEIL
But why? Don't you understand what
Keating is saying? Don't you want to
do something about it?

TODD
Yes. But...

NEIL
But what? Goddamn it, tell me.

TODD
I don't want to read.

NEIL
What?

TODD
Keating said everybody took turns
reading. I don't want to do it.

NEIL
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? Expressing yourself?

INT. THE DORM - LATE NIGHT

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.

EXT. THE WELTON CAMPUS - NIGHT

The school hunting dog comes up and growls at the boys. Pitts
slips the dog a piece of food and it goes away.

EXT. THE SCHOOL GROUNDS - NIGHT

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.

EXT. THE WELTON WOODS AND STREAM - NIGHT

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.

CHARLIE
Yaa, I'm a dead poet!

MEEKS
(frightened)
Ahh!
(then recovering)
Eat it, Dalton!

CHARLIE
This is it.

SHORT DISSOLVE TO:

INT. THE CAVE - A BIT LATER

A newly lit fire comes to life The boys huddle around the
flames.

NEIL
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.

NEIL
I will now read the traditional
opening message from society member
Henry David Thoreau.

Neil opens Keating's copy of Thoreau's Walden, and reads.

NEIL
"I went to the woods because I wanted
to live deliberately."
(skips thru the text)
"I wanted to live deep and suck out
all the marrow of life!"

CHARLIE
All right. I'll second that.

NEIL
"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.

KNOX
"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."

CHARLIE
Hey, this is great.

Knox hands the book to Cameron. Cameron reads.

CAMERON
"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 common hours."

KNOX
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.

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."

NEIL
God, I want to do everything! I'm
going to explode.

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
through it.

CHARLIE
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 unconquerable
soul!"

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.

CHARLIE
I here and now commit myself to
daring!

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. KEATING'S CLASSROOM - DAY

KEATING
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 reads aloud:

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.

KEATING
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.

KEATING
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 it.

Keating goes to the door. He looks at the class, then flashes
the room lights on and off over and over. He makes a noise
like crashing thunder.

KEATING
In addition to your essays, I want
you each to write a poem--something
your own to be delivered aloud in
class. See you Monday.

He exits. Momentarily, he pops his head back in.

KEATING
(impish grin)
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.

INT./EXT. WELTON CAMPUS, AFTERNOON - VARIOUS LOCATIONS

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.

PITTS
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
balls.

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

INT. TODD AND NEIL'S ROOM - AFTERNOON

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.

NEIL
I've found it.

TODD
Found what?

NEIL
What I want to do! Right now. What
is really inside of me.

He hands Todd a piece of paper. Todd reads it.

TODD
A Midsummer Night's Dream. What is
it?

NEIL
A play, dummy.

TODD
I know that. What's it got to do
with you?

NEIL
They're putting it on at Henley Hall.
See, open try-outs.

TODD
So?

NEIL
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.

TODD
And now he will?

NEIL
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.

TODD
Neil, how are you gonna be in a play
if your father won't let you?

NEIL
First I gotta get the part, then
I'll worry about that.

TODD
Won't he kill you if you don't let
him know you're auditioning?

NEIL
As far as I'm concerned, he won't
have to know about any of it.

TODD
Come on, that's impossible.

NEIL
Horseshit. Nothing's impossible.

TODD
Why don't you ask him first? Maybe
he'll say yes.

NEIL
That's a laugh. If I don't ask, at
least I won't be disobeying him.

TODD
But if he said no before then...

NEIL
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.

NEIL
By the way, there's a meeting this
afternoon. You coming?

TODD
(blasť)
I guess.

Neil puts down his play and looks at Todd.

NEIL
None of what Mr. Keating has to say
means shit to you, does it?

TODD
What is that supposed to mean?

NEIL
Being in the club means being stirred
up by things. You look about as
stirred up as a cesspool.

TODD
You want me out... is that what you're
saying?

NEIL
No, I want you in. But being in means
you gotta do something. Not just say
you're in.

TODD
(turns angrily)
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.

NEIL
Why not? Don't you think you could
be?

TODD
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 right?

NEIL
Er, no.

TODD
No? What do you mean 'no'?

NEIL
(shrugs matter-of-
factly)
No.

Neil opens his play. Todd waits for Neil to relent. He
doesn't.

EXT. CAVE - AFTERNOON

The boys enter the cave.

INT. THE CAVE - AFTERNOON

It is a clear, crisp fall afternoon. Charlie, Knox, Todd,
Necks, Neil, Cameron, and Pitts sit around. Neil recites
from Thoreau.

NEIL
"I went to the woods because I wished
to live deliberately. I wanted to
live deep and suck out all the marrow
of life."

KNOX (MOANS)
God, I want to suck all the marrow
out of Chris. I'm so in love, I feel
like I'm going to die!

NEIL
You know what the dead poets would
say: Gather ye rosebuds while ye
may...

KNOX
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.

CHARLIE
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 wants Chris.

KNOX
Needs Chris! Must have Chris!

CHARLIE
Meeks, you're the brain here. What
do the dead poets say about somebody
like me?

MEEKS
The romantics were passionate
experimenters, Charles. They dabbled
in many things before settling, if
ever.

CAMERON
There aren't too many places to be
an experimenter at Welton, Meeks.

Charlie paces a moment, then gets an idea. He addresses the
group.

CHARLIE
I hereby declare this the Charles
Dalton Cave for Passionate
Experimentation. In the future, anyone
wishing entry must have permission
from me.

PITTS
Wait a minute, Charlie. This should
belong to the club.

CHARLIE
It should, but I found it and now I
claim it. Carpe cavern, guys. Seize
the cave.

Charlie grins. The boys look at each other and shake their
heads. Neil heads out.

NEIL
I gotta get to the tryouts. Wish me
luck.

MEEKS
Good luck.

Neil exits. Charlie finds a rock and begins carving his name
on a wall of the cave. Pitts shakes his head.

EXT. SOCCER FIELD - AFTERNOON

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.

PITTS
Say, look who's the soccer instructor.

KEATING
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?

SENIOR STUDENT
I do, sir.

SENIOR STUDENT
Keating takes the three-page roll
and examines it.

KEATING
Answer "present." please. Chapman?

STUDENT (CHAPMAN)
Present.

KEATING
Perry?
(no answer)
Neil Perry?

Keating glances at Todd. Todd doesn't know what to say.

KEATING
Hmmmm. Watson?
(no answer)
Richard Watson? Absent too, eh?

SOMEONE
Watson's sick, sir.

KEATING
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.

KEATING
Boys, you don't have to be here if
you don't want to. Anyone who wants
to play, follow me.

Keating marches off. Astonished and delighted by this
capriciousness, most of the boys excitedly follow.

NEW ANGLE - FAR SOCCER FIELD - LATER

Most of the boys from earlier sit on the ground. Keating
stands before them.

KEATING
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 single file.

He passes out slips of paper to the curious students.

EXT. THE SOCCER FIELD - LATER

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.

KEATING
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.

FIRST BOY
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,
steps out.

KEATING
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!" Keating puts down another
ball

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.

CHARLIE
To indeed be a God!

With determination, Charlie kicks the ball through the goal.
McAllister smiles and walks on.

INT. NEIL AND TODD'S ROOM - NIGHT

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.

INT. THE DORM HALLWAY - SAME

Neil enters, looking stunned.

NEIL
I got it. Hey, everybody, I got the
part! I'm going to play Puck. Hey,
I'm Puck!

VOICE FROM A ROOM
Puck you! Pipe down.

CHARLIE AND OTHERS
All right, Neil. Congratulations!

INT. NEIL AND TODD'S ROOM - NIGHT

Neil enters and closes the door. Incredibly excited, he pulls
out an old typewriter and begins to type. Todd watches.

TODD
Neil, how are you gonna do this?

NEIL
Sssh. That's what I'm taking care
of. They need a letter of permission.

TODD
From you?

NEIL
From my father and Nolan.

TODD
Neil, you're not gonna...

NEIL
Quiet. I have to think.

Neil mumbles lines from the play, giggles to himself, then
keeps typing. Todd shakes his head in disbelief.

INT. KEATING'S CLASSROOM - DAY

Knox stands before class reading the poem he wrote.

KNOX
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.

KNOX
I'm sorry. It's stupid.

Knox walks back to his seat.

KEATING
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.

Keating paces.

KEATING
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.

MEEKS
Oh, Captain, My Captain. Is there
poetry in math?

Chuckles from the class.

KEATING
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 everyone
eventually.

Keating looks around. No one volunteers. Keating grins.

KEATING
Look at Mr. Anderson. In such agony.
Step up, lad, and let's put you out
of your misery.

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.

KEATING
Todd, have you prepared your poem?

Todd shakes his head no.

KEATING
Mr. Anderson believes that everything
he has inside of him is worthless
and embarrassing. Correct, Todd?
Isn't that your fear?

Todd nods jerkedly yes.

KEATING
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 ROOFTOPS OF THE WORLD.--
Walt Whitman

KEATING
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 yawp.

TODD
(barely audible)
A yawp?

KEATING
A barbaric yawp.

Keating pauses, then suddenly moves fiercely at Todd.

KEATING
Good god, boy! Yell!

TODD
(frightened)
Yawp!

KEATING
Again! Louder!

TODD
YAWP!

KEATING
LOUDER!

TODD
AHHHHHH!

KEATING
All right! Very good! There's a
barbarian in there after all!

Keating claps. The class claps too. Todd, red-faced, swells
a bit.

KEATING
Todd, there's a picture of Whitman
over the door. What does he remind
you of? Quickly, Anderson, don't
think about it.

TODD
A madman.

KEATING
A madman. Perhaps he was. What kind
of madman? Don't think! Answer.

TODD
A crazy madman.

KEATING
Use your imagination! First thing
that pops to your mind, even if it's
gibberish!

TODD
A... A sweaty-toothed madman.

KEATING
Now there's the poet speaking! Close
your eyes and think of the picture.
Describe what you see. NOW!

TODD
I... I close my eyes. His image floats
beside me.

KEATING
(prompting)
A sweaty-toothed madman.

TODD
A sweaty-toothed madman with a stare
that pounds my brain.

KEATING
Excellent! Have him act. Give it
rhythm!

TODD
His hands reach out and choke me All
the time he mumbles slowly. Truth...
Truth is like a blanket that always
leaves your feet cold.

This brings chuckles from the class. This angers Todd.

KEATING
To hell with them, most about the
blanket!

Todd opens his eyes and addresses the class in defiant
cadence.

TODD
Stretch it, pull it, it will never
cover any of us. Kick at it, beat at
it, it will never be enough--

KEATING
Don't stop!

TODD
(struggling, but
getting it out)
From the moment we enter crying to
the moment we leave dying. It will
cover just your head as you wail and
cry and scream!

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.

KEATING
Don't forget this.

EXT. THE SOCCER FIELD - DAY

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.

EXT DEAD POETS CAVE - AFTERNOON

Boys enter the cave.

INT. DEAD POETS CAVE - AFTERNOON

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.

NEIL
Look at this.

PITTS
What is it?

NEIL
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 in.

CHARLIE
Gentlemen, "Poetrusic" by Charles
Dalton.

He blows scattered notes on the saxophone. Random, blaring,
they sound like bad John Cage. Suddenly Charlie stops.

CHARLIE
(trance-like, run-on
delivery)
Laughing, crying, tumbling, mumbling,
gotta do more. Gotta be more.

He plays more notes on the sax, then:

CHARLIE
(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.

NEIL
Charlie, That was great! Where did
you learn to play like that?

CHARLIE
My parents made me take clarinet but
I hated it.
(putting on a mock
British accent)
The sax is more sonorous.

Knox stands. He backs away, full of torment and frustration.

KNOX
God, I can't take it anymore! If I
don't have Chris, I'll kill myself.

CHARLIE
Knox, you gotta calm down.

KNOX
No, I've been calm all my life! If I
don't do something, it's gonna kill
me.

NEIL
Where are you going?

KNOX
I'm calling her!

INT. THE DORM PHONE ROOM - LATER

All of the boys stand around. Knox picks up the phone, boldly
dials some numbers, then waits.

INT. CHRIS' HOUSE - AFTERNOON

Chris is in wet hair and a damp towel, but she looks stunning.
She enters and answers the phone.

CHRIS
Hello?

INT. THE DORM PHONE ROOM/STAIRWELL - AFTERNOON

Knox hears Chris' voice. He starts to speak, then hangs up
the phone.

KNOX
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.

KNOX
All right, goddamn it, you're right!
'Carpe diem' even if it kills me.

He picks up the phone and dials again.

INT. CHRIS HOUSE - SAME

Again the phone rings. Again Chris enters and answers.

CHRIS
Hello?

INT. THE DORM - SAME

KNOX
Hello Chris, this is Knox Overstreet.

INT. CHRIS' HOUSE - SAME

CHRIS
Knox. Oh yes, Knox. I'm glad you
called.

INT. THE DORM - SAME

KNOX
You are?
(excitedly to his
friends)
She's glad I called!

INT. CHRIS' HOUSE - SAME

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?

INT. THE DORM - SAME

KNOX
Well, sure!

INT. CHRIS' HOUSE - SAME

CHRIS
Chet's parents don't know about it,
so please keep it quiet. But you can
bring someone if you like.

INT. DORM - SAME

KNOX
I'll be there. The Danburrys. Friday
night. Thank you, Chris.

He hangs up the phone. He is thunderstruck. He lets out a
yelp.

KNOX
Can you believe it? She was gonna
call me! She invited me to a party
with her!

CHARLIE
At Chet Danburry's house.

KNOX
Yeah.

CHARLIE
Well?

KNOX
So?

CHARLIE
So you really think she means you're
going with her?

KNOX
Well hell no, Charlie, but that's
not the point. That's not the point
at all!

CHARLIE
What is the point?

KNOX
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 mine!

He exits the phone room, his head in a cloud. The others
look at each other, not sure what to think.

EXT. THE HENLEY HALL AUDITORIUM - DAY

The buildings at this school are white brick. Neil parks his
bicycle and enters the auditorium.

INT. THE AUDITORIUM STAGE - LATER

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.

DIRECTOR
Good, Neil. I really get the feeling
your Puck knows he's in charge.
Remember that he takes great delight
in what he's doing.

NEIL
(broadly, boldly impish)
Cupid is a knavish lad Thus to make
poor females mad!"

DIRECTOR
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 go."

EXT. THE WELTON DORMS - NIGHT

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
Todd?

Neil walks over to get a better look. It is Todd, sitting in
the dark without a coat.

NEIL
What's going on?

Todd doesn't answer.

NEIL
Todd, what's the matter?

TODD
It's my birthday.

NEIL
It is? Happy Birthday. You get
anything?

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.

NEIL
This is your desk set.
(pause)
I don't get it.

TODD
They gave me the exact same thing as
last year!

NEIL
Oh...

TODD
Oh.
(mocking)

Long pause.

NEIL
Well, maybe they thought you'd need
another one. Maybe they thought...

TODD
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 set)
The stupid thing is, I didn't even
like the first one.

He puts the desk set down.

NEIL
Look, Todd, you're obviously under-
estimating the value of this desk
set.

TODD
What?

NEIL
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!

TODD
Yeah! And just look at this ruler!

They laugh. A silence falls.

TODD
(thoughtful)
You know what Dad called me when I
was growing up? "Five ninety-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-eight."

Neil shakes his head.

TODD
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 love me.

He takes a deep, anguished breath. Neil is groping for
something to say. Todd walks into the dorm.

EXT. A WELTON BRICK COURTYARD - DAY

The class pours into the courtyard expectantly. Another
Keating stunt? Keating addresses them.

KEATING
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.

KEATING
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 front.

KEATING
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 clap.

KEATING
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.

NEW ANGLE

Inside his second-story office, Nolan is looking out his
window at the marching boys below.

ANGLE ON KEATING

KEATING
All right, stop. You way have noticed
how at the beginning Mister
Overstreet 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 Overstreet. 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 the difference."

A bell rings, signifying the end of class. Keating walks
off.

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.

INT. ENTRANCE TO THE DEAD POETS CAVE - NIGHT

Todd. Neil, Cameron, Pitts, and Meeks sit around. A fog has
moved in and the trees sway in the breeze.

MEEKS
Where's Knox?

PITTS
Getting ready for that party.

CAMERON
What about Charlie? He's the one who
insisted on this meeting.

NEIL
"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.

GIRL'S VOICE
I can't see a thing.

CHARLIE'S VOICE
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
time.

CHARLIE
Hey guys, meet Gloria and...

PLAIN GIRL (TINA)
Tina.

CHARLIE
Tina and Gloria, this is the pledge
class of the Dead Poets society.

GLORIA
It's such a strange name! Won't you
tell us what it means?

CHARLIE
I told you, that's a secret.

GLORIA
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.

TINA
I can't call you Charlie anymore?
(Puts her arm around
Charlie)
What does Numama mean, honey?

CHARLIE
It's Nuwanda, and I made it up.

GLORIA
I'm cold.

Charlie puts his arm around Gloria.

MEEKS
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. He shoots Gloria
his sexiest stare, then goes off with the other boys. The
girls whisper and giggle together.

EXT. THE DANBURRY HOUSE - NIGHT

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.

INT. THE DANBURRY HOUSE - SAME

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
uncombed mass.

KNOX
Chris!

Chris turns and sees Knox.

CHRIS
Oh, hi. I'm glad you made it. Did
you bring anybody?

KNOX
No.

CHRIS
Ginny Danburry's here. Look for her.

KNOX
But, Chris...

CHRIS
I gotta find Chet. Make yourself at
home.

She exits. Knox watches her. He slumps in dejection.

EXT. THE WOODS AROUND THE CAVE

Charlie is gathering wood. Neil, Pitts, Todd and the other
boys surround him.

NEIL
Charlie...

CHARLIE
It's Nuwanda.

NEIL
Nuwanda, what is going on?

CHARLIE
Nothing, unless you object to having
girls here.

PITTS
Well, of course not. It's just that...
You could have warned us.

CHARLIE
I thought I'd be spontaneous. I mean,
that's the point of this whole thing,
isn't it?

NEIL
Where'd you find them?

CHARLIE
They were walking along the fence
past the soccer field. Said they
were curious about the school so I
invited them to the meeting.

CAMERON
Do they go to Henley Hall?

CHARLIE
I don't think they're in school.

CAMERON
They're townies?!

CHARLIE
Cameron, what is the matter with
you. You act like they're your mother
or something. You afraid of them?

CAMERON
Hell no, I'm not afraid of them just,
if we get caught with them, we're
dead.

GLORIA (O.S.}
Say, what's going on out there?

CHARLIE
Just gathering wood.
(low, to Cameron)
You just keep your mouth shut,
jerkoff, and there's nothing to worry
about.

CAMERON
Watch who you call a jerkoff.

NEIL
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.

INT. THE DANBURRY PANTRY - NIGHT

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 next scene.

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.

GUY
You Mutt Sanders' brother?

Knox shakes his head no.

GUY
Bubba...

BUBBA is a big, drunk jock leaning on the refrigerator.

GUY
This guy look like Mutt Sanders?

BUBBA
You his brother?

KNOX
No relation. Never heard of him.
Sorry.

BUBBA
Say Steve, where's your manners?
Here's Mutt's brother and you don't
offer him a drink? Want some bourbon?

KNOX
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
To Mutt.

STEVE
To Mutt.

KNOX
To Mutt.

Bubba and Steve drain their glasses. Knox follows their lead,
then bursts into a coughing fit. Steve pours everyone more
bourbon.

BUBBA
So what the hell's Mutt been up to?

KNOX
(coughing fitfully)
Actually I don't really know Mutt.

BUBBA
(toasting)
To fucking Mutt.

STEVE
To fucking Mutt.

KNOX
Fucking Mutt

They drain their glasses again. Knox continues coughing.

BUBBA
Well, I'd better find Patsy.
(slaps Knox on the
back)
Say hello to Mutt for me.

KNOX
Will do.

Knox and Ginny exchange knowing smiles. Bubba leaves Knox,
who is still coughing. Ginny wanders out. Steve pours him
and Knox more bourbon.

INT. THE CAVE - NIGHT

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.

TINA
I heard you guys were weird but not
this weird.

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.

TINA
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.

GLORIA
(to Todd)
Yeah!
(to the others)
Don't you guys miss having girls
here?

CHARLIE
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.

NEIL
You what?! How did you do that?

CHARLIE
I'm one of the proofers. I slipped
the article in.

PITTS
Oh God, it's over now!

CHARLIE
Why? Nobody knows who we are.

PITTS
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!

CHARLIE
It's Nuwanda, Cameron.

GLORIA
(putting her arm around
Charlie)
That's right, it's Nuwanda.

CHARLIE
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?

NEIL
You still shouldn't have done it,
Charlie. You don't speak for the
club.

CHARLIE
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?

GLORIA
Yeah, how do we know if we want to
join if you don't have a meeting?

NEIL
(casts a surprised
lock at Charlie)
Join?

Charlie ignores this. He turns to Tina.

CHARLIE
"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.

TINA
Oh, that's so sweet!

Tina hugs Charlie. The other boys look at each other, trying
unsuccessfully to hide their incredible jealousy.

CHARLIE
I wrote that for you.

TINA
You did?

CHARLIE
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.

CHARLIE
"She walks in beauty like the
night..."

Charlie turns his back, opens a book, and reads quickly to
himself. He closes it, puts the book down, and turns back to
Gloria.

CHARLIE
"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.

GLORIA
Isn't he wonderful?!

The other boys are absolutely appalled, but desperately
jealous that Charlie is getting away with this. Gloria hugs
Charlie.

INT. THE DANBURRY LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

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
Hey!

KNOX
Sorry.

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:

BOY'S VOICE
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.

CHET
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.

KNOX
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 saying yes.

KNOX
(to himself)
carpe breastum. Seize the breast.

CHRIS
(to Chet)
Huh?

CHET
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,
breathing heavily.

CHRIS
(in the dark)
Oh Chet, that feels fabulous.

CHET
(in the dark)
It does?
(pause)
What?

CHRIS
(in the dark)
You know.

Knox pulls his hand away. Chet thinks a moment, then kisses
Chris again.

CHRIS
(in the dark)
Don't stop.

CHET
(in the dark)
Stop what?

CHRIS
(in the dark)
Chet...

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)
Oh... oh...

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 confused
Chris.

CHET
What are you doing?!

CHRIS
Knox?!

KNOX
(feigning surprise)
Chet! Chris! What are you doing here?

CHET
Why you...

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 protect.

CHET
You fucked up little prick!

CHRIS
(beginning to feel
sorry for Knox)
Chet, you don't have to hurt him.

Chet's fists hit Knox over and over.

CHRIS
Chet, stop! He didn't mean anything.

She pushes Chet off. Knox rolls over, holding his face.

CHRIS
That's enough!

Chet stands over Knox, who is holding his bloody nose and
bruised face.

KNOX
I'm sorry, Chris. I'm sorry!

CHET
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.

KNOX
(drunk)
Chris, I'm sorry!

CHET
Next time I see you, you're dead!

INT. THE CAVE - NIGHT

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.

CHARLIE
Hey guys, why don't you show Tina
the Dead Poets garden?

MEEKS
Garden?

PITTS
What 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.

PITTS
Oh. Right. That garden. Come on,
guys.

The boys head out with Tina.

TINA
This is so strange! You guys even
have a garden?

Meeks stands in the cave, still not getting it.

MEEKS
What are you guys talking about?

All of the others are gone. Meeks looks at Charlie, who stares
daggers at him.

MEEKS
Charles, uh, Nuwanda, we don't have
a garden.

Neil comes back in and pulls Meeks out. Charlie waits for
them to go.

CHARLIE
(to Gloria)
God, for a smart guy, he's so stupid.

Gloria stares into Charlie's eyes. Charlie smiles.

GLORIA
I think he's sweet.

CHARLIE
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.

GLORIA
You know what really excites me about
you?

CHARLIE
(blinking)
What?

GLORIA
Every guy that I meet wants me for
one thing my body. You're not like
that.

CHARLIE
I'm not?

GLORIA
No! Anybody else would have jumped
my bones by now but you're after my
soul. Make me up some more poetry.

CHARLIE
But...

GLORIA
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.

GLORIA
Nuwanda? Please?

CHARLIE
All right! I'm thinking!
(pause)
"Let me not to the marriage of true
minds Admit impediments; love is not
love Which alters when it alteration
finds Or bends with the remover to
remove."

Gloria emits sensual moans.

GLORIA
Don't stop.

CHARLIE
(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 taken."

GLORIA
This is better than sex any day.
This is romance!

As a frustrated Charlie continues reciting

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. WELTON ACADEMY CHAPEL - DAY

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 exhaustion.

Pitts hands Charlie a briefcase.

PITTS
(low)
All set.

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.

NOLAN
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 school.

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.

NOLAN
What?!

Charlie places the receiver back to his ear.

CHARLIE
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.

NOLAN
I will not be mocked, Mr. Dalton!

He takes Charlie by the arm and jerks him out of the assembly.
Keating watches with concern.

INT. NOLAN'S OFFICE - DAY

Charlie stands in the middle of the room. Nolan paces
furiously.

NOLAN
Who else was involved in this?

CHARLIE
No one, sir. It was just me. I did
the proofing so I inserted my article
in place of Rob Crane's.

NOLAN
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.

NOLAN
Count aloud, Mr. Dalton.

He slams the paddle into Charlie's buttocks.

CHARLIE
One.

Nolan swings the paddle again. This time he gets more power
into it. Charlie winces.

CHARLIE
Two.

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.

NOLAN
Do you still insist that this was
your idea and your idea alone?

CHARLIE
(choking back pain)
Yes... sir.

NOLAN
What is this "Dead Poets Society"?
I want names.

CHARLIE
(still in agony)
It's only me, Mr. Nolan. I swear. I
made it up.

NOLAN
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.

NOLAN
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 know.

INT. THE JUNIOR DORM - AFTERNOON

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.

NEIL
What happened? Were you kicked out?

CHARLIE
(not looking at anyone)
No.

NEIL
What happened?

CHARLIE
I'm supposed to turn everybody in,
apologize to the school and all will
be forgiven.

Charlie heads into his room. The others look at each other.

NEIL
What are you going to do? -- Charlie?

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.

INT. WELTON CLASSROOM BUILDING - AFTERNOON

Keating walks down the corridor. He is just about to stop
and talk to McAllister when Nolan passes.

NOLAN
Mr. Keating, could we have a word?

INT. KEATING'S EMPTY CLASSROOM - DAY

Keating and Nolan enter. Keating turns on the light. Nolan
looks around.

NOLAN
This was my first classroom, John,
did you know that?
(looks at Keating's
desk)
My first desk.

KEATING
I didn't know you taught.

NOLAN
English. Way before your time. It
was hard giving it up, I'll tell
you.
(pause)
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 impressionable.

KEATING
Your reprimand made quite an
impression I'm sure.

NOLAN
(letting this pass)
What was going on in the courtyard
the other day?

KEATING
Courtyard?

NOLAN
Boys marching. Clapping in unison.

KEATING
Oh that. That was an exercise to
prove a point. About the evils of
conformity.

NOLAN
John, the curriculum here is set.
It's proven. It works. If you question
it, what's to prevent them from doing
the same?

KEATING
I always thought education was
learning to think for yourself.

NOLAN
(almost laughs)
At these boys' age? Not on your life!
Tradition, John. Discipline.
(pats Keating on the
shoulder)
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.

MCALLISTER
I wouldn't worry about the boys being
too conformist if I were you.

KEATING
Why is that?

MCALLISTER
Well, you yourself graduated from
these hallowed halls, did you now?

KEATING
Yes?

MCALLISTER
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.

INT. THE JUNIOR CLASS DORM - AFTERNOON

Boys are walking out on the way to their activities. Keating
enters and approaches Charlie, who is exiting with his
friends.

CHARLIE
(surprised)
Mr. Keating!

KEATING
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.

CHARLIE
You're siding with Mr. Nolan?! What
about carpe diem and sucking all the
marrow out of life and all that?

KEATING
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.

CHARLIE
But I thought--

KEATING
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.

CHARLIE
Yeah? Like what?

KEATING
Like, if nothing else, the opportunity
to attend my classes, understand?

CHARLIE
(smiling)
Yes sir.

KEATING
So keep your head about you--the lot
of you--understood?

NEIL, TODD, PITTS, MEEKS, CAMERON,
KNOX
Yes, Sir.

Keating gives then' a slight smile, then exits.

INT. KEATING'S CLASSROOM - DAY

The boys are seated. Keating walks to the blackboard and in
a big scrawl writes: "COLLEGE".

KEATING
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 the plague.

Keating pauses.

KEATING
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
continues.

KEATING
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.

Keating paces.

KEATING
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...

KEATING
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.

MEEKS
Oh Captain, My Captain. What if we
don't know anything about someone
like Rahesh Non?

KEATING
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:

KEATING
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.

KEATING
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 out 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.

KEATING
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 quiz 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.

KEATING
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.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. THE WELTON CAMPUS - DUSK

Boys in heavy-hooded jackets and winter mufflers move from
building to building. The wind blows leaves around in swirling
torrents.

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 lines.

NEIL
Here, villain, draw and ready. Where
art thou?

TODD
(reading)
I will be with thee straight.

NEIL
(from memory)
Follow me then to plainer ground.
God, I love this!

TODD
This play?

NEIL
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.

NEIL
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.

NEIL
You should come to rehearsals. I
know they need people to work the
lights and stuff.

TODD
No thanks.

NEIL
Lots of girls. The girl who plays
Hermia is incredible.

TODD
I'll come to the performance.

NEIL
Chicken shit. Where were we?

TODD
Yea, art thou there?

NEIL
Put more into it!

TODD
YEA, ART THOU THERE?!

NEIL
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.

INT. TODD AND NEIL'S DORM ROOM - DUSK

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
Father!

MR. PERRY
Neil, you are going to quit this
ridiculous play immediately.

NEIL
Father, I--

Mr. Perry jumps to his feet and pounds his hand on the desk.

MR. PERRY
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!
(paces furiously)
Who put this in your head? How did
you expect to get away with it? Answer
me!

NEIL
Nobody--I thought I'd surprise you.
I've got all A's and--

MR. PERRY
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.

NEIL
Father, I have the main part. The
performance is tomorrow night.
Father, please.

MR. PERRY
(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 clear!

NEIL
Yes sir.

Mr. Perry stops. He stares hard at his son.

MR. PERRY
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.

INT. THE WELTON DINING ROOM - EVENING

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?

CHARLIE
No.

Hager watches the boys.

HAGER
Misters Meeks and Overstreet and
Anderson, are you normally left-
handed?

BOYS
No sir.

HAGER
Then why are you eating with your
left hands?

The boys look at each other. Knox speaks for the group:

KNOX
We thought it would be good to break
old habits, sir.

HAGER
What is wrong with old habits, Mr.
Overstreet?

KNOX
They perpetuate mechanical living,
sir. They limit your mind.

HAGER
Mr. Overstreet, I suggest you worry
less about breaking old habits and
more about developing good study
habits. Do you understand?

KNOX
Yes sir.

HAGER
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.

NEIL
Visit from my father.

TODD
Do you have to quit the play?

NEIL
I don't know.

CHARLIE
Why don't you talk to Mr. Keating
about it?

NEIL
What good will that do?

CHARLIE
Maybe he'll have some advice. Maybe
he'll even talk to your father.

NEIL
Are you kidding? Don't be ridiculous.

EXT. KEATING'S ROOM - EVENING

Keating's quarters are on the second floor of a dorm, but
they are entered from the outside. Charlie, Todd, Pitts and
Neil stand outside the door. Charlie knocks.

NEIL
This is stupid.

CHARLIE
It's better than doing nothing.

No one comes to the door.

NEIL
He's not here.

Charlie tries the door and it opens.

CHARLIE
Let's wait for him.

Charlie goes in.

OTHERS
Charlie! Nuwanda!

Charlie doesn't come out. Curiosity gets the best of the
others, who reluctantly follow Charlie in.

INT. KEATING'S ROOM - SAME

The furniture is simple and spartan and the room looks almost
lonely. The boys stand around looking uncomfortable.

PITTS
(low)
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.

CHARLIE
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
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
Mr. Keating.

CHARLIE
Hello!

Keating calmly takes the letter from Charlie and folds it.

KEATING
A woman is a cathedral, boys. Worship
at one every chance you get.

He OPENS a drawer.

KEATING
Anything else you'd care to rifle
through, Mr. Dalton?

CHARLIE
I'm sorry. I, we...

Keating puts the letter in the drawer and closes it. Charlie
looks around for help. Neil steps forward.

NEIL
Oh Captain, My Captain, we came here
so I could talk to you about
something.

KEATING
Okay.

NEIL
Actually, I'd like to talk to you
alone.

Charlie and the others are glad to be let out.

PITTS
I gotta go study.

OTHERS
Yeah. See you, Mr. Keating.

They hurry to leave.

KEATING
Drop by any time.

BOYS
Thank you, sir.

PITTS
(low, while exiting)
Damn it, Nuwanda. You idiot.

CHARLIE
(also exiting)
I couldn't stop myself.

Keating can't help but smile to himself. Neil and Mr. Keating
are alone. Neil paces, looking around.

NEIL
Gosh, they don't give you much room
around here, do they?

KEATING
(wryly)
Maybe they don't want worldly things
distracting me from my teaching.

NEIL
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 something?

KEATING
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
teaching?

NEIL
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!

KEATING
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 about acting?

NEIL
Are you kidding? He'd kill me!

KEATING
Then you're playing a part for him
too, aren't you? A dangerously self-
destructive one.

Keating watches Neil pace anxiously.

KEATING
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 chance.

NEIL
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."

KEATING
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.

NEIL
Eighteen! That's two years! What
about the play? The performance is
tomorrow night!

KEATING
Give your father the benefit of the
doubt. Talk to him. Let him see who
you are.

NEIL
Isn't there an easier way?

KEATING
Not if you're going to stay true to
yourself.

Neil sits there for a long time.

INT. CHARLIE'S CAVE - NIGHT

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.

KNOX
Ten minutes to curfew.

Nobody responds. Knox looks at Todd.

KNOX
What are you writing?

TODD
I don't know. A poem.

KNOX
For class?

TODD
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 his
leg.

KNOX
Damn. Damn! If I could just get Chris
to read this poem!

PITTS
Why don't you read it to her? It
worked for Nuwanda.

KNOX
She won't even see me, Pitts.

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
his answer.

CHARLIE
Absolutely.

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
determinedly.

KNOX
Damn! Goddam! If it worked for him,
it'll work for me.

EXT. THE WELTON GROUNDS - EARLY MORNING

The dawn rises over the frozen Welton campus. Snow covers
the ground. The school bagpiper stands, playing a haunting
melody.

EXT. THE JUNIOR DORMITORY - SAME

Knox comes out of the dorm building, bundled against the
freezing weather. Be hurries onto his bike and speeds away.

EXT. RIDGEWAY HIGH SCHOOL

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.

INT. THE HALLWAYS OF RIDGEWAY HIGH - MORNING

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
stairs.

INT. ANOTHER RIDGEWAY HIGH HALLWAY - SAME

Chris stands in front of her locker, chatting with a couple
of girlfriends taking out some books. Knox spots her and
approaches.

KNOX
Chris!

CHRIS
Knox! What are you doing here?

She pulls Knox away from her girlfriends.

KNOX
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.

CHRIS
If Chet sees you, he'll kill you,
don't you know that?

KNOX
I don't care. I love you, Chris. You
deserve better than Chet and I'm it.
Please accept these.

CHRIS
Knox, you're crazy.

A bell rings. People clear the halls.

KNOX
Please. I acted like a jerk and I
know it. Please?

She looks at the flowers as if she's thinking about accepting
them.

CHRIS
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.

INT. CHRIS' CLASSROOM - SAME

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.

CHRIS
Knox, I don't believe this!

KNOX
All I'm asking you to do is listen.
(he opens his poem
and reads)
"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.

KNOX
They made a goddess and called her
Chris, How? I'll never know. But
though my soul is far behind, My
love can only grow.

The rest of the class has now seen what is happening and all
eyes are on Knox. Chris covers her face but Knox continues.

KNOX
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.

KNOX
I love you, Chris.

He turns and leaves.

INT. KEATING'S ENGLISH CLASSROOM - DAY

The boys sit. Keating hasn't arrived. Momentarily, Knox enters
and hurries to his desk.

CHARLIE
How'd it go? Did you read it to her?

KNOX
Yep.

PITTS
All right! What'd she say?

KNOX
I don't know.

CHARLIE
What do you mean you don't know?

KNOX
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.

KEATING
Neil, could I see you a moment.

He walks into the hallway.

INT. THE HALLWAY OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM - SAME

The corridor is empty except for Neil and Keating. Keating
closes the door to the classroom.

KEATING
What did your father say? Did you
talk to him?

NEIL
(lying)
Yeah.

KEATING
Really? You told your father what
you told me? You let him see your
passion for acting?

NEIL
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.

INT. THE DORM PHONE ROOM/STAIRWELL - NIGHT

Todd, Knox, Cameron, Pitts, and Meeks all wear coats and
ties. They mill in the dorm lobby. Knox is off to himself,
still looking morose.

MEEKS
Where's Nuwanda? We're gonna miss
Neil's entrance.

PITTS
He said something about getting red
before he left.

CAMERON
What the hell does that mean?

PITTS
You know Charlie.

Charlie scampers down the stairs.

MEEKS
What's this getting red?

Charlie checks around, then opens his shirt, revealing that
he has painted a red lightning bolt on his chest.

TODD
What's it for?

CHARLIE
It's an Indian warrior symbol for
virility. Makes me feel potent.
Like I can drive girls crazy.

PITTS
But what if they see it, Nuwanda?

CHARLIE
(winks)
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
Chris!

CHRIS
Knox, why are you doing this to me?

KNOX
(looking around)
You can't be in here.

He leads her out of the dorm.

EXT. THE DORM BUILDING - NIGHT

It is snowing. Knox ushers Chris out of the building and
down the sidewalk away from the others.

KNOX
If they catch you here, we'll both
be in big trouble.

CHRIS
Oh, but it's fine for you to come
barging into my school and make a
complete fool out of me?

KNOX
I didn't mean to make a fool of you.

CHRIS
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.

KNOX
But I love you.

CHRIS
You say that over and over but you
don't even know me!

At the dorm, the others are waiting. Knox waves them on.

KNOX
Go ahead. I'll catch up.

The others walk on. Knox waits for them to disappear.

KNOX
Of course I know you! From the first
time I saw you, I knew you had a
wonderful soul.

CHRIS
Just like that?! You just knew?

KNOX
Of course just like that. That's how
you always know when it's right.

CHRIS
And if it so happens that you're
wrong? If it just so happens that I
could care less about you?

KNOX
Then you wouldn't be here warning me
about Chet.

This gives Chris pause.

CHRIS
Look, I've got to go. I'm gonna be
late for the play.

KNOX
Are you going with Chet?

CHRIS
Chet? To a play? Are you kidding?

KNOX
Then come with me.

CHRIS
Knox, you are so infuriating!

KNOX
Just give me one chance. If you don't
like me after tonight, I'll stay
away forever.

CHRIS
Uh-huh.

KNOX
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.

CHRIS
God, if Chet found out he'd...

KNOX
Chet won't know anything. We'll sit
in back and sneak away as soon as
it's over.

CHRIS
Knox, if you promise that this will
be the end of it--

KNOX
Dead Poets honor.

CHRIS
What is that?

KNOX
My word.

He crosses his heart with his fingers and looks sincere. He
leads a reluctant Chris off.

CHRIS
I must be losing my mind.

INT. HENLEY HALL AUDITORIUM AND STAGE - NIGHT

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:

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
"flow now, spirit. wither wander
you?"

HIGH SCHOOL ACTOR (AS FAIRY)
Over hill, over dale, through bush,
through brier...

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
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.

CHARLIE
(excited whisper)
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.

CHARLIE
Oh my God.

TODD
What?

Charlie indicates for the others to lock. Todd and the others
glance back and see Mr. Perry.

TODD
Jesus

All turn back and watch the play, though they are now quite
tense about Mr. Perry's presence.

THE PLAY

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.

LYSANDER
One turf shall serve as pillow for
us both, One heart, one bed, two
bosoms, and one troth.

GINNY
Nay good Lysander. For my sake, my
dear, Lie further off yet: do not
lie so near.

ANGLE ON THE DEAD POETS

Charlie is looking through the program.

CHARLIE
Hermia's Ginny Danburry. Knox is
crazy. She's beautiful!

Meeks holds his finger to his lips for Charlie to be quiet.

THE STAGE

GINNY
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 friend. Thy love
ne'er alter till they sweet life
end.

Charlie sits absolutely enraptured by her.

ANGLE BACKSTAGE

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.

ON STAGE

LYSANDER
Here is my bed. Sleep give thee all
his rest!

GINNY (AS HERMIA)
With half that wish the wisher's
eyes be pressed!

Lysander and Ginny lie down on the stage and their characters
go to sleep. The musical accompaniment plays, beginning a
musical interlude.

DISSOLVE TO:

THE MUSICAL INTERLUDE

The panpipes and bongos weave a haunting spell. In SLOW
MOTION, without words, we watch Neil on stage, playing Puck.
Neil moves in a lyrical revelry, unblushingly joyful,
enchanted and enchanting. It is Neil in the full flower of
his youth.

The other characters appear in this slow motion interlude
too... Ginny, as Hermia, glowing as we never knew she could;
Charlie, spellbound by her; Keating, Todd, and the boys awed
and delighted by everything they see. Knox stares at Chris
in complete rapture. Chris is starting to be caught up with
Knox, though she tries hard not to show it.

DISSOLVE TO:

THE STAGE

The interlude is over. Neil stands on stage alone as Puck.
He addresses the audience but these next words are
particularly for his father.

NEIL (AS PUCK)
If we shadows have offended, Think
but this and all is mended--That you
have but slumb'red here While these
visions did appear. And this weak
and idle theme, No more yielding but
a dream, Gentle, do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend. And as
I am an honest Puck, If we have
unearned luck Now to scrape the
serpent's tongue. We will make amends
ere long; Else the Puck a liar call.
So, good night unto you all. Give me
your hands, if we be friends, And
Robin will restore amends.

If there were any doubts about Neil's talent as an actor,
they are gone. The curtain falls. The audience breaks into
enthusiastic applause.

ANGLE ON THE AUDIENCE

The boys, Keating, everybody, rising to a standing ovation.

ANGLE ON THE STAGE

Actors take their bows. Ginny receives great applause. She
acknowledges Charlie, who applauds and shouts bravos like a
boy struck by a thunderbolt. Knox smiles at Chris as they
applaud. He takes her hand and she lets him.

Neil re-enters and takes his bow. The members of the Dead
Poets Society cheer. Neil bows. There are some more cheers
from other members of the audience, including Keating.

Neil's father is gone.

INT. WINGS AND BACKSTAGE AREA - NIGHT

The area is a madhouse, full of excited actors, proud parents,
well-wishers, etc. As the members of the Dead Poets Society
and Mr. Keating enter, Charlie spots Ginny, who is surrounded
by congratulators.

BOY KNOX'S AGE
You were great.

A boy cast member Charlie's age puts his arm around her.

BOY CAST MEMBER
Congratulations!

Ginny is the center of a sea of adulation. Charlie waits his
turn and thinks. Finally he faces her. With total sincerity
he says:

CHARLIE
Bright light shines from your eyes.

Ginny sees that he means it. They stare into each other's
eyes.

INT. THE BOYS' DRESSING ROOM - SAME

The excited actors enter, jubilant about how well the play
went. Neil, in a daze touched by art, is carried in on the
shoulders of his fellow actors. After a moment of celebration,
Neil's father enters, holding back his fury.

MR. PERRY
Neil, come with me.

Neil gets off the shoulders of his friends.

NEIL
(surrendering)
Yes sir.

Mr. Perry leads Neil toward the dressing room door.

MR. PERRY
You lied to me!

EXT. THE AUDITORIUM PARKING LOT - NIGHT

Mr. Perry leads Neil like a prisoner out of the auditorium
and toward the cars. Other actors and members of the audience
yell congratulations at Neil. Todd is behind the throng,
trying to reach his friend.

TODD
Neil, that was great! Neil!

CHARLIE
We're having a party!

MR. PERRY
NEIL.

NEIL
It's no use.

Mr. Keating reaches Neil and takes him by the shoulders.

KEATING
Neil, you were brilliant!

Mr. Perry pushes Keating's hands away.

MR. PERRY
Keep away from him!

This stuns everybody. Mr. Perry leads Neil away. Todd,
Keating, Charlie, Pitts, etc. watch as Mr. Perry puts Neil
into his car. Charlie starts to go after him, Keating stops
Charlie.

KEATING
Don't make it any worse than it is.

Mr. Perry starts the car and pulls off. Neil's face through
the window is like a prisoner being taken to his execution.

TODD
Neil!

Stunned, the members of the Dead Poets Society gather.

PITTS
We still having the meeting?

INT. MR. PERRY'S STUDY - NIGHT

Neil's mother sits in the corner of the room, her eyes red
from crying. Neil's father sits at his desk. Neil enters,
still wearing his Puck costume. He looks at his crying mother.
He starts to speak, then:

MR. PERRY
Son, I am trying very hard to
understand why you insist on defying
us, but, whatever the reason, I am
not going to let you ruin your life.
Tomorrow I am withdrawing you from
Welton and enrolling you in Braden
Military School. You are going to
Harvard and you are going to be a
doctor.

Fresh tears well in Neil's already bloodshot eyes.

NEIL
(pleading)
Father, that's ten more years. Don't
you see, that's a lifetime.

MR. PERRY
You have opportunities I never dreamed
of! I won't let you squander them.

Mr. Perry walks out of the room. Neil's mother looks like
she's going to say something, then doesn't. She exits. Neil
stands alone.

INT. THE CAVE - NIGHT

PULL BACK FROM the lit candle of the god of the cave, past a
half-empty bottle of wine and some unused glasses to:

Todd, Meeks, and Pitts sitting huddled for warmth. Each holds
a half empty glass of wine and stares morosely into the flame,
aware that it is the symbol of Neil. After a pause, Todd
pounds the wall with his fist.

TODD
Next time I see Neil's father I'm
gonna smash him. I don't care what
happens to me!

He paces.

MEEKS
Where's Cameron?

PITTS
Who knows? Who cares?

Charlie enters with Ginny.

CHARLIE
Guys, this is Ginny Danburry. Ginny,
this is Todd, Meeks, and Pitts.

PITTS
(to Ginny)
You were wonderful!

The other boys second this.

GINNY
(shyly)
Thank you.

Charlie looks at Ginny adoringly. Knox enters with Chris.
Charlie looks excited for him.

KNOX
Hey everybody, this is Chris.

MEEKS
Whoa, we've heard a lot about you!
(Knox stares at him)
I mean... You know... I mean...

Keating appears in the entrance of the cave. The moonlight
bounces off the snow from outside, illuminating him from
behind.

MEEKS, KNOX, TODD
(surprised)
Mr. Keating!

KEATING
(to Charlie)
Thanks for inviting me.

Keating sees the wine and pours some into a glass.

KEATING
(toasting)
To Neil.

THE BOYS
To Neil.

All drink some wine. Outside, the wind howls through the
silence.

KEATING
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.

GINNY
Knox, what exactly is this?

CHARLIE
You'll see.

CHRIS
I have to go home. Chet might call.

KNOX
It's just for a little while. You
promised.

Charlie leads Ginny off. Chris reluctantly follows Knox.

CHRIS
You're so infuriating.

EXT. THE HILLS NEAR WELTON - NIGHT

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.

KEATING
We used to meet here on special
occasions. Who would like to convene
the meeting?

MEEKS
"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.

KEATING
Come on boys, don't be shy.

TODD
I have something.

CHARLIE
The thing you've been writing?

TODD
Yeah.

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.

TODD
Everybody read this between verses.

Todd opens his poem and reads.

TODD
"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:

ALL
"And still we sleep."

TODD
"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."

ALL
"And still we sleep."

TODD
"And still we dream. And still we
pray. And still we fear.
(pause)
And still we sleep."

Todd closes his poem. There is a big applause.

MEEKS
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.

KEATING
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.

INT. NEIL'S ROOM AT HIS PARENT'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Neil sits alone in his darkened room staring out the window.
The emotion is dried and gone from him, and all feeling is
drained from his face.

EXT. THE CLIFF ABOVE THE CREEK - NIGHT

Everybody crouches around the fire, warming themselves. After
a moment, Keating stands.

KEATING
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?"
(recites)
"Booth led boldly with his big brass
drum..."

ALL
"Are you washed in the blood of the
Lamb?"

Reciting loudly, Keating takes off trotting through the woods.
All trot after him:

KEATING
"The Saints smiled gravely and they
said, 'He's come.'..."

ALL
"Are you washed in the blood of the
Lamb?"

INT. THE HALLWAY IN NEIL'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Down the hallway, in their bedroom, Mr. and Mrs. Perry get
into bed and turn off their bedroom light. A door to another
room opens and Neil walks into the hall. Unseen by his
parents, he turns a corner and moves off.

INT. MR. PERRY'S STUDY - NIGHT

Moonlight illuminates the room. Neil walks to his father's
desk. He opens the top drawer and reaches in the back, and
pulls out a key. With this, he unlocks the bottom drawer of
the desk. Neil takes the crown of flowers he wore as Puck
and puts it on his head.

EXT. THE CLIFF ABOVE THE CREEK - NIGHT

The group follows Keating through the woods, past icy trees,
over snow-covered hills, reciting Vachel Lindsay's poem.

KEATING
"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:"

ALL
"Are you washed in the blood of the
Lamb?"

INT. MR. PERRY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

The CAMERA DOLLIES SLOWLY in on Mr. and Mrs. Perry as they
sleep soundly in their beds. The DOLLY comes to a stop on
the face of Mr. Perry. He looks up.

MR. PERRY
What was that?

MRS. PERRY
What?

MR. PERRY
That sound. Didn't you hear it?

MRS. PERRY
What sound?

Mr. Perry gets out of bed.

INT. THE HALLWAY IN NEIL'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Mr. Perry, in his pajamas, strides through the hallway of
his house. He enters Neil's room, then comes back out into
the hall. He heads toward the study. Behind him, putting on
her robe, follows Mrs. Perry.

EXT. NEAR A HILLTOP - NIGHT

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 the snow.

KEATING
"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."

ALL
"Are you washed in the blood of the
Lamb?"

INT. MR. PERRY'S STUDY - NIGHT

Mr. Perry comes in and turns on the light. All seems normal.
He's about to leave when his attention's caught by a black
object on the carpet... a revolver. Alarmed, he moves around
to the back of the desk. He sees a pale white hand and gasps:
Neil lies bloody on the floor, dead.

Mr. Perry kneels down and embraces his son. Mrs. Perry wails
a horrible wail.

MR. PERRY
No!

EXT. THE HILLTOP - SAME

Keating stops. He turns and looks at the fields, valley, and
the magnificent sky that surrounds them. All are out of
breath, but exhilarated.

KEATING
"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.

KEATING
Don't waste a second of it, people.
Exalt in it.

He holds his head back and shouts to the heavens.

KEATING
ALIVE!! ALIVE!!

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.

INT. TODD'S DORM ROOM - MORNING

PULL BACK from a closeup of a HAND, to reveal that it is the
hand of a sleeping Todd. The door opens and in comes Charlie,
Knox, and Meeks. They look shaken. They gently wake Todd.

CHARLIE
Todd. Todd...

Todd opens his eyes. He sits up, looking exhausted. His eyes
adjust to the light, then he closes them and lies back down.
He picks up his clock, squints at it.

TODD
Jesus, it's only eight. I gotta sleep.

He lies back down for a moment, then opens his eyes again.
He sees the other boys, standing there, staring at him. He
senses that something is wrong. He sits up.

CHARLIE
Todd, Neil's dead. He shot himself.

Todd looks at Charlie for a minute. The other faces confirm
what Charlie is saying.

TODD
Oh my God...

He starts to vomit. As he does, he runs out of the room. The
other boys look at each other. Suddenly, Charlie breaks into
tears. He covers his face with his hands.

INT. THE DORM BATHROOM - DAY

Todd is moving back and forth, tears streaming down his face.
He hits the walls with his hand.

TODD
Someone has to know it was his father!
Neil wouldn't kill himself! He loved
living!

KNOX
You don't seriously think his
father...

TODD
Not with the gun! Damn it, even if
the bastard didn't pull the trigger
he--

Todd sobs. Finally he controls himself.

TODD
Even if Mr. Perry didn't shoot him,
he killed him. They have to know
that!

He runs across the room.

TODD
NEIL! NEIL!!!

He falls against the wall, sobbing uncontrollably.

INT. KEATING'S CLASSROOM - SAME

Keating is sitting alone at his desk in the empty classroom,
struggling to hold back emotion. He stands and walks slowly
to Neil's desk. He picks up a book, prominent there:

It's his own battered copy of Thoreau's Walden. He opens it.
Prominent are the words on the fly leaf: "Dead Poets."

Keating sits heavily into Neil's chair. From his throat comes
a sound of utter anguish.

McAllister looks into Keating's classroom from the door in
the back. From this view, Keating looks small and somehow
like a boy himself, sitting alone in the empty classroom.

INT. THE CHAPEL - LATER

The entire school is assembled. Standing along the walls are
the teachers. Keating, looking solemn, is there. Nolan enters.

NOLAN
Gentlemen, the death of Neil Perry
is a tragedy. He was a fine student,
one of Welton's best, and he will be
sorely missed. We have contacted
each of your parents to explain the
situation. Naturally, all are quite
concerned. At the request of Neil's
family, I intend to conduct a thorough
inquiry into this matter. Your
complete cooperation is expected.

INT. THE TRUNK ROOM - DAY

Charlie, Todd, Knox, and Pitts stand waiting in this junk-
filled room. There is a knock at the door, then Meeks enters.

MEEKS
I can't find him.

CHARLIE
You told him about this meeting?

MEEKS
Twice

CHARLIE
Oh shit...

Charlie goes to the window and looks out across the lawn. In
the distance is the administration building.

CHARLIE
That's it guys, we're all fried.

PITTS
You don't know that. Maybe he...

CHARLIE
Cameron's a fink! Why else wasn't he
at the last meeting? He's in Nolan's
office right now, finking!

PITTS
But why? Why would he do that?

CHARLIE
To save himself.

Down the hall there is the sound of a door opening. Knox
goes to the door and looks out. he sees:

Cameron entering the hallway. Knox steps out and motions for
Cameron to come into the trunk room

KNOX
(loud whisper)
Cameron.

Cameron looks at Knox. Cameron hesitates, then enters the
trunk room. Charlie, Todd, Knox, Pitts, and Meeks stare at
him.

CAMERON
What's going on guys?

CHARLIE
You finked, didn't you, Cameron?

CAMERON
Screw you, dumb ass. I don't know
what you're talking about.

CHARLIE
You just told Nolan everything about
the club is what I'm talking about!

CAMERON
In case you hadn't heard, Dalton,
there's something called an Honor
Code at this school. If a teacher
asks you something, you tell the
truth or you're expelled.

Charlie moves at Cameron.

CAMERON
Why you...

Meeks and Knox restrain Charlie.

KNOX
Charlie...

CHARLIE
He's a rat! He's in it up to his
eyes so he ratted to save himself!

KNOX
Don't touch him, Charlie. You do and
you're out!

CHARLIE
I'm out anyway!

KNOX
You don't know that. Not yet!

CAMERON
He's right there, Charlie. And, if
you're smart, every one of you will
do exactly what I did and cooperate.
They're not after us. We're the
victims. Us and Neil.

CHARLIE
What does that mean? Who are they
after?

CAMERON
Why, Mr. Keating, of course. The
"Captain" himself. You didn't really
think he could avoid responsibility,
did you?

CHARLIE
Mr. Keating? Responsible for Neil?
Is that what they're saying?!

He pulls himself free of Meeks and Knox's grips.

CAMERON
Who else do you think, dumb ass? The
administration? Mr. Perry? Keating
put us up to all this crap, didn't
he? If it wasn't for him, Neil would
be cozied up in his room right now,
studying his chemistry and dreaming
of being called doctor.

TODD
That's not true! Mr. Keating didn't
tell Neil what to do. Neil loved
acting.

CAMERON
Believe what you want, but I say let
Keating fry. Why ruin our lives?

CHARLIE
You asshole.

Charlie bolts across the room and strikes Cameron across the
face. Cameron falls to the floor. Charlie stands over him.

KNOX
Charlie!

CAMERON
(at Charlie)
You just signed your expulsion papers,
"Nuwanda."

Cameron covers his bleeding nose. Charlie turns and walks
out. The others walk out too.

CAMERON
(shouting after them)
If you guys are smart, you'll do
exactly what I did! They know
everything anyway. You can't save
Keating but you can save yourselves!

EXT. A CEMETERY IN THE VERMONT HILLS - MORNING

It is a bleak winter's day. Gusts of wind blow bitter cold
as the school bagpiper marches before the procession, playing
a haunting lament. Neil's coffin is carried on the shoulders
of Todd, Charlie, Meeks, Pitts, Knox, and Cameron... then
laid beside a grave. Most of these boys, as well as Mr.
Keating, are having a hard time holding back the tears. Neil's
mother, veiled in black, and Mr. Perry watch, as do Nolan
and some other students and teachers.

Mourners file by and one by one put flowers on Neil's coffin.
Todd and the other boys are red faced with grief. Mr. Perry
walks up to Mr. Keating.

MR. PERRY
I hold you responsible for this!

Mr. Keating is astounded by this accusation. Mr. Perry walks
off, leaving Keating speechless.

INT. TODD'S DORM ROOM - DAY

Neil's bed is stripped and his desk is empty. Todd sits at
his window, looking across the campus at the administration
building. Momentarily, Meeks is escorted out by Dr. Hager.
Hager escorts Meeks across campus, back to the dorm.

INT. THE DORM HALLWAY - SAME

Todd peers out of the door of his room. Meeks and Hager enter
the hallway. Hager stops at the end of the hall.

Meeks walks silently back to his room. As he passes Todd, he
doesn't look at him. But tears stream down Meeks' face. Meeks
enters his room and shuts the door.

HAGER
Knox Overstreet.

Knox comes out of his room and joins Hager at the end of the
hall. The pair exit together. Momentarily, Todd walks across
the hall to Meeks' room. Todd knocks.

TODD
Meeks, it's Todd.

MEEKS (FROM WITHIN)
Go away, I have to study.

Todd pauses, realizing what has happened.

TODD
What happened to Nuwanda?

MEEKS
Expelled.

Todd stands stunned.

TODD
What'd you tell them?

MEEKS
Nothing they didn't know already.

Todd turns away.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. TODD'S ROOM - LATER

Todd watches as Knox is escorted across campus and back to
the dorm by Dr. Hager. Again Todd peers into the hall.

INT. THE DORM HALLWAY - SAME

Knox and Hager enter. Knox's chin is quivering. He is on the
verge of a breakdown. He goes into his room and shuts the
door.

Todd steps back into his room and leans against the wall.
The fact that Knox has been broken clearly shakes him up. He
breathes hard and looks up at the ceiling.

DR. HAGER (FROM WITHOUT)
Todd Anderson.

INT. THE WELTON ACADEMY LOUNGE - DAY

This is the room with the staircase that leads up to Nolan's
office. Hager following, Todd climbs up the stairs like a
man climbing the gallows.

INT. MR. NOLAN'S OFFICE - DAY

Headmaster Nolan sits at his desk. Nearby are Todd's parents.
Todd enters with Dr. Hager and sees his parents. Todd's lip
starts to quiver.

TODD
Dad. Mom.

NOLAN
Have a seat, Mr. Anderson.

There is an empty chair--like the prisoner's chair at an
inquisition--in front of Nolan's desk. Todd sits. He looks
at his parents who sit steely eyed. Perspiration breaks out
all across Todd's brow.

NOLAN
Mr. Anderson, I think we've pretty
well put together what's happened
here. You do admit to being a part
of this Dead Poets Society?

Todd looks at his parents and Nolan. He closes his eyes. He
starts to nod yes. Before he can, his father speaks.

MR. ANDERSON
Answer him.

TODD
Yes...

NOLAN
I can't hear you, Todd.

TODD
(not much louder than
before)
Yes sir.

Nolan looks at Todd, then at the boy's parents. Nolan decides
not to press the issue of Todd's inaudibility. Nolan holds
up a piece of paper.

NOLAN
I have here a detailed description
of what went on at your meetings. It
describes how your teacher encouraged
you boys to organize the club and to
use it as a source of inspiration
for reckless, self-indulgent behavior.
It describes how Mr. Keating, both
in and out of the classroom,
encouraged Neil Perry to follow this
obsession with acting when he knew
it went directly against the explicit
orders of Neil's parents. It is Mr.
Keating's blatant abuse of his
position as a teacher that led
directly to Neil Perry's death.

Nolan hands the paper to Todd.

NOLAN
Read this carefully, Todd. If you
have nothing to add or amend, sign
it.

Todd takes this paper and reads it. He spends a long time
doing so and, by the time he finishes, his hands and the
paper are shaking. Todd looks up.

TODD
(to Nolan, with great
difficulty speaking)
What... what is going to happen...
to Mr. Keating?

MR. ANDERSON
What does that have to do with you?

NOLAN
(to Mr. Anderson)
It's all right. I want him to know.
(to Todd)
We are not yet clear as to whether
Mr. Keating has broken any laws. If
he has, he will be prosecuted. What
we can do--and yours and the others'
signatures will help to guarantee it--
is see to it that Mr. Keating will
never teach again.

TODD
Never... teach...

Todd's father stands and moves toward Todd.

MR. ANDERSON
I've had enough. Sign the paper,
Todd.

MRS. ANDERSON
Please, darling, for our sakes.

TODD
But... teaching is his life! It means
everything to him!

MR. ANDERSON
What do you care?

TODD
What do you care about me?! He cares
about me. You don't.

Todd's father stands over him and picks up the pen.

MR. ANDERSON
Sign the paper, Todd.

Todd shakes his head no.

TODD
I won't sign it.

MRS. ANDERSON
Todd!

TODD
It's not true! I won't sign it.

Todd's father grabs the pen and tries to put it back in Todd's
hand. Nolan stands.

NOLAN
That's all right! We don't need his
signature. Let him suffer the
consequences.

Nolan walks around his desk to Todd.

NOLAN
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.

Todd's parents and Mr. Nolan watch Todd, waiting for him to
change his mind. Todd thinks, then:

TODD
(low)
I won't sign.

NOLAN
Then I'll see you back here after
classes. Leave.

Todd stands and exits. Nolan looks at Todd's parents.

MRS. ANDERSON
I'm sorry, Mr. Nolan. I can't help
feeling this is our fault.

MR. ANDERSON
(to the floor)
We should never have sent him here.

NOLAN
Nonsense. Boys his age are highly
impressionable. We'll bring him
around.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. KEATING'S DORM ROOM - LATER

Keating sits at his desk, staring into nowhere. Out the
window, alone on the hill, the Welton bagpiper practices.
Keating watches the bagpiper for a moment, then stands and
opens his suitcase. From his bookshelf he slowly takes down
his beloved poetry--his Byron, his Whitman, his Wordsworth.

INT. THE ENGLISH CLASSROOM - DAY

Todd, Knox, Meeks, Pitts, and the rest of the class are there.
Conspicuously empty are Neil's desk and Charlie's desk. Todd
looks numb, his gaze downward, reminding us of the way he
looked when we first met him. Knox, Meeks, and Pitts look
humiliated. All of the former club members are too ashamed
of themselves to look at one another. Only Cameron looks
halfway normal. He sits studying at his desk as though nothing
happened.

The door opens. In strides Mr. Nolan. All stand. Nolan sits
at the teacher's desk. All sit down.

NOLAN
I will be taking over this class
through exams. We will find a
permanent English teacher during the
break. Who will tell me where you
are in the Hutton textbook?

Nolan looks around. There are no volunteers.

NOLAN
Mr. Anderson?

TODD
(softly, barely audible)
The... Hutton...

Todd looks through his books. He fumbles nervously.

TODD
(still low)
I... think we...

NOLAN
(exasperated with
this)
Mr. Cameron, kindly inform me.

CAMERON
We skipped around a lot, sir. We
covered the romantics and most of
the chapters on post Civil War
literature.

NOLAN
What about the realists?

CAMERON
I believe we skipped most of that.

Nolan flips through the text. The door to the classroom opens.
Mr. Keating enters.

KEATING
(to Nolan)
I came for my personals. Should I
wait until after class?

NOLAN
Get your things, Mr. Keating.
(to the class)
Now, gentlemen, turn to page fifty-
four. Mr. Cameron, read aloud the
poem by Eugene Field.

CAMERON
Mr. Nolan, that page has been ripped
out.

NOLAN
Then borrow somebody else's book.

CAMERON
They're all ripped out, sir.

NOLAN
(staring at Keating)
What do you mean they're all ripped
out?

CAMERON
Sir, we...

NOLAN
Never mind, Cameron.

Nolan carries his textbook to Cameron's desk.

NOLAN
Read.

CAMERON
"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..."

As Cameron continues reading, Keating, who is at the closet
in the corner of the room, looks out at the students. He
sees Todd, whose eyes are full of tears. He sees Knox, Meeks,
Pitts... still too ashamed to look him in the eye, but
nevertheless full of emotion. The irony of Nolan choosing
the "Little Boy Blue" is too incredible.

Keating finishes his packing. He walks across the room toward
the door. Just as Keating reaches the door, Todd can no longer
hold it in. Todd stands.

TODD
(interrupting Cameron's
reading)
Mr. Keating, they made everybody
sign it!

NOLAN
Quiet, Mr. Anderson!

TODD
Mr. Keating, it's true! You have to
believe me.

KEATING
I believe you, Todd.

NOLAN
Leave, Mr. Keating!

TODD
But it wasn't his fault, Mr. Nolan!

Nolan strides down the aisle and pushes Todd back into his
seat.

NOLAN
Sit down, Mr. Anderson! One more
outburst from you--
(turns to the class)
Or anyone else! And you are out of
this school!

He turns toward Keating, who has taken a few steps back toward
Todd, as though to help.

NOLAN
Leave, Mr. Keating!

The boys stare at Keating. He stares at them, taking them in
for one last time. He turns and walks toward the door.

TODD
Oh Captain!

Keating turns to look at Todd. So does everybody else. Todd
props one foot up on his desk, then stands up on it. He stands
atop his desk, holding back tears, facing Mr. Keating.

NOLAN
(moving at Todd)
Sit down!

As Nolan moves down the aisle toward Todd, Knox (whose seat
is on the other side of the room) calls Mr. Keating's name
and stands up on his desk too. Nolan turns and sees this.
Meeks musters his courage and stands on his desk. Pitts does
the same. One by one and then in groups, many others in the
class follow suit, standing on their desks in silent salute
to Mr. Keating.

Nolan, who started at Todd, then at Knox, stands motionless.
He is amazed by this overwhelming response.

Keating stands at the door, overcome with emotion.

KEATING
Thank you, boys. I... thank you.

Keating looks into Todd's eyes, then into all their eyes. he
gives a nod, then exits.

ANGLE ON THE MEMBERS OF THE DEAD POETS SOCIETY STANDING ON
THEIR DESKS:

MEEKS

PITTS

KNOX

and finally, TODD, who is holding back tears but standing
proud.

BLACKOUT:

THE END

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