One of the earlier drafts of Dead Poets Society, this shows quite a number of differences from the final film. Have a look and see whether the changes were for the better or for the worse. If you don't have the time to go through all this, check out a summarized comparison. NOTE: I obtained this script from the web and have not had the opportunity to go through the script and check for typos and such. (I know there are a number.) I will try to remedy this as soon as possible.
1 INT WELTON ACADAMY DINING HALL - DAY - VARIOUS SHOTS 1 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. 2 INT CORRIDOR ADJACENT THE DINING ROOM - SAME 2 The bagpiper enters a long slate and stone hallway. The haunting timbre of his antiquated instrument reverberates through the building. Momentarily, he is followed by the other processional marchers. He leads them down the corridor and down a threshold staircase into: 3 INT. WELTON'S OLD, STONE CHAPEL - CONTINUOUS 3 Where two hundred high school-aged boys--most of whom wear black blazers--sit on either side of the central aisle watching the procession move onto the dais in front. Beside most of these boys are their parents. VARIOUS ANGLES ON THE PROCESSION FOUR 16-YEAR-OLD Boys CARRY BANNERS. Each boy is dressed in an archaic, turn-of-the-century outfit. On each banner is emblazoned a different word. One reads "TRADITION," another reads "HONOR",' a third reads DISCIPLINE, the last reads 'EXCELLENCE." THE ELDERLY MEN in their 70s and SOS, obviously the school's oldest alumni, each wearing a name tag and the uniform of his day, make their way toward the stage. THE SEVENTH GRADERS carrying candles are nervous and self-conscious. Most concentrate intently on keeping their candles lit while they march. One young boy's candle has gone cut and he can barely keep from crying. The bagpiper stands at the corner of the dais, marching in place. Behind him, in black robes, sit the school's 30-odd teachers. The processional's elderly alumni fill the chairs of honor on the dais. The four young BANNER CARRIERS peel off from the main aisle and take seats beside their parents in the audience. The 7th graders take seats with their parents too. A purple and black robed man who brings up the rear of the procession walks up to the podium. Me is HEADMASTER GALE NOLAN, a big man, in his mid-60s. The music stops. 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 (CONT'D) 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 rind KNOX OVERSTREET and CHARLIE DALTON, both 16, and both in Welton blazers. Knox (sitting between his parents) carries a banner. He has curly hair, looks outgoing, is short but well built. Charlie, also with his parents, has a handsome yet friendly face. He carries no banner but, when Nolan mentions Ivy League, both these boys fit the bill. NOLAN (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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: 4 EXT. THE WELTON ACADEMY - MAIN LAWN - DAY 4 Welton Academy is a cluster of traditional weathered stone buildings. The time is 1959 but at Welton this is irrelevant. This school with its traditions is completely isolated from the politics or trends of the outside world. The students stand with their parents under a giant tent. Finger food, coffee, tea and punch are laid cut on white 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. 5 EXT. THE WELTON ACADEMY PARKING LOT - DAY 5 The 7th graders are saying good-bye to their parents. Chins quiver. Young eyes hold back tears. Some boys sob. For most of these young boys this is the first time in their lives that they will be away from their parents and their homes, and it is a devastating experience. LONG SHOT, WELTON ACADEMY - SAME Welton Academy sits in a lonely and isolated valley in woods of Vermont. Though the setting is beautiful, its isolation only highlights the loneliness that most of the 7th graders feel at this moment. 6 OMIT 6 7 INT. THE WELTON ACADEMY OAK PANELED HONOR ROOM - DAY 7 The 50 or so members of the junior class sit in chairs or stand around the room. The students that were featured earlier are here: Todd Anderson, Neil Perry, Knox 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 Necks and rolls his eyes. HAGER (CONT'D) That's another demerit, Mr. Pitts. Pitts' smile vanishes. Hager closes the door. 8 INT THE HEADMASTER'S OFFICE - SAME 8 The five boys take seats in a row of chairs facing Mr. Nolan. Nolan sits behind his desk, a HUNTING DOG on the floor beside 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 (CONT'D) 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. 9 EXT. WELTON CAMPUS - DAY 9 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. 10 INT. THE JUNIOR DORM LOBBY - CONTINUOUS 10 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. 11 INT. THE WELTON JUNIOR CLASS DORMITORY ROOM - DAY 11 Each small room contains two single beds, two closets, and two desks. Suitcases sit on the floor. Neil enters. Richard Cameron sticks in his head. 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 (CONT'D) 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. 12 INT. THE JUNIOR DORMITORY HALLWAY - SAME 12 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 (CONT'D) You know me, always taking on too much. MR. PERRY Good boy. Call us if you need anything. He turns and walks off. 13 INT. NEIL'S ROOM 13 The others wait in silence. A chastened Neil enters. 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 (CONT'D) The goddamn bastard! He presses the metal point of the pin into his thumb, drawing blood. Todd winces. Neil doesn't. Neil hurls the pin again. 14 INT. A CHEMISTRY CLASSROOM - DAY 14 The classroom is a laboratory: filled with flasks, etc. Neil, Todd, Knox, Charlie, Cameron, Meeks and other members of the junior class sit around the room. A bespectacled teacher stands in front, passing out thick textbooks. 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. 15 INT. LATIN CLASS - DAY 15 The same students sit before a Latin teacher in his early 60's He declines a Latin noun with a thick Scottish brogue. LATIN TEACHER (McALLISTER) Agricola, agricolae, agricolas, Agricolas, agricolatis, agricolatus ANGLE FAVORING TODD, NEIL, KNOX AND THE OTHERS as they struggle to follow along with McAllister's lesson. 16 INT. A MATHEMATICS CLASS - DAY 16 Mathematical charts hang on the walls. The elderly bald teacher (the one from Nolan's doorway), Dr. Hager, passes out books. The students' work load is huge. 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... 17 INT. ENGLISH CLASSROOM - DAY 17 The junior students--Todd, Neil, Knox, Charlie, Cameron, Meeks and some of the others we've seen--enter. They are loaded down with books and look weary. Sitting in the front of the room, staring out the window is JOHN KEATING, the teacher we glimpsed earlier. He wears a collared shirt, tie, 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 (CONT'D) (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 (CONT'D) Nimble young minds! He steps up onto the desk, turns and faces the class. KEATING (CONT'D) (energetically) Oh Captain, My Captain. Who knows where that's from? No one raises a hand. KEATING (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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. 18 INT. THE WELTON OAK PANELED HONOR ROOM - DAY 18 This is the room where the boys waited earlier. The walls are lined with class pictures: dating back into the 1800s. School trophies of every description fill trophy cases and shelves. Keating leads the students in, then faces the class. KEATING Mister... (Keating looks at his roll) Pitts. An unfortunate name. Stand up, Mister Pitts. Pitts stands. KEATING (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) Did most of them not wait until it was too late before making their lives into even one iota of what they were capable? In chasing the almighty deity of success did they not squander their boyhood dreams? Most of those gentlemen are fertilizing daffodils! However, if you get very close, boys, you can hear them whisper. Go ahead, lean in. near it? (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. 19 EXT. THE WELTON CAMPUS - DAY 19 The class files out of the honor room. Todd, Neil, Knox, Charlie, Cameron, Necks, and Pitts walk together, books in hand. All thinking about what just happened in class. 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. 20 INT. TODD AND NEIL'S DORM ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON 20 Todd enters alone. He puts down his books and sits at his desk. Flipping through the stack of books in front of him, he sighs at the work load that is piling up. Todd takes out his notebook and opens his history book. He stares at his notebook for a moment, then writes "SEIZE THE DAY" in big letters. He looks at the words that he's written, sighs, tears the page off, then plunges into his homework. A21 EXT. THE WELTON CAMPUS - DUSK - WIDE SHOT A21 The autumnal colors are muted by the onset of nightfall. Old Dr. Hager drives the school "woody" station wagon out of the campus. B21 EXT. WALTON VILLAGE (NEW CASTLE) - DUSK - WOODY DRIVE-BY B21 21 EXT./INT. A LARGE MANSION - DUSK 21 Knox Overstreet gets out of the woody. Dr. Hager pulls away. Knox walks to the door of the home and is admitted by a maid. Knox is amazed by this palatial home. 22 INT. THE DANBURRY MANSION LIBRARY - DUSK 22 JOE DANBURRY is a sharp looking man of about 40, well dressed, friendly. His wife, an attractive blonde about the same age, sits beside him. 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 hand1 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 (CONT'D) 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. 23 EXT. DANBURRY HOUSE - DUSK 23 Chet and Chris drive off. 24 INT. THS JUNIOR CLASS LOUNGE - NIGHT 24 The dorm is quiet. Neil, Cameron, Weeks, Charlie and Pitts are gathered studying math. As they do, Pitts works to assemble a small crystal radio. Todd is in his room, studying alone. Knox, looking shell-shocked, shuffles into the lobby. 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. 25/26 OMIT 25/26 26A EXT: WELTON CAMPUS - MORNING 26A The Welton bagpiper marches on the lawn, practicing. Students emerge from their dorms and head to breakfast. 27 INT. KEATING'S ENGLISH CLASS - DAY 27 The lights are out and shades are drawn. Keating sits in a chair beside the teacher's desk. He looks solemn. All is 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) AHHGGGG!! The students jump halfway out of their seats. KEATING (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) Make a clean tear. I want nothing left of it! Eugene Field! Disgraceful. 27A INT.MCALLISTER'S CLAS5RDOM - DAY 27A Mr. McAllister, the Scottish Latin teacher, exits his room and walks across the hall to Keating's classroom. He peeks in the door window and sees boys ripping pages out of their books. Alarmed, McAllister opens the door and enters Keating's room. 27B INT. KEATING'S CLASSROOM - SAME 27B 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, Flits 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) (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 (CONT'D) (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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) Let's open our textbooks to page sixty and learn about Wordsworth notion of romanticism... 25 INT. THE WELTON DINING ROOM - DAY 25 On the dais in the front of the room is the teacher's dining table. Below them are the students' tables. Mr. McAllister sits to Keating's right. 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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. 29 EXT. THE CAMPUS - LATER 29 Keating walks across the school lawn wearing his sport coat and a scarf, carrying his books. Pitts, Neil, Cameron, Knox, Charlie, Meeks and Todd approach him. 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) Why do they swoon?! Charlie, tell me why they swoon! Knox moves off after the others. Todd remains behind. No one asked Todd and he moves off by himself. 30 INT. THE STUDY HALL - LATE AFTERNOON 30 Students study. Neil sits near Todd. 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 Put 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? 31 INT. THE DORM - LATE NIGHT 31 Old Dr. Hager, the resident dorm marshal, putters in his room, door ajar, making tea. Neil, Charlie, Knox, Meeks, Pitts, Cameron, and Todd sneak silently past his door and out. 32 EXT. THE WELTON CAMPUS - NIGHT 32 The school hunting dog comes up and growls at the boys. Pitts slips the dog a piece of food and it goes away. 33 EXT. THE SCHOOL GROUNDS - NIGHT 33 The stars are out and the wind is blowing. A SERIES of SHOTS show the boys crossing the campus. They reach a stone wall with an old iron gate that is chained shut. The boys squeeze through the gate and disappear into the woods beyond. 34 EXT. THE WELTON WOODS AND STREAM - NIGHT 34 The boys make their way through the eerie forest searching for the cave. They reach the bank of the stream and begin looking for an appropriate spot amongst the tree roots and erosion. Charlie suddenly looms out of the cave entrance. CHARLIE Yaa, I'm a dead poet! MEEKS (frightened) Ahh! (then recovering) Eat it, Dalton! CHARLIE This is it. SHORT DISSOLVE TO: 34A INT. THE CAVE - A BIT LATER 34A A newly lit fire comes to life The boys huddle around the 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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 bock 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 (CONT'D) I here and now commit myself to daring! DISSOLVE TO: 35 INT. KEATING'S CLASSROOM - DAY 35 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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 locks at the class, then flashes the room lights on and off over and over. He makes a noise like crashing thunder. KEATING (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) (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. A36 INT./EXT. WELTON CAMPUS, AFTERNOON - VARIOUS LOCATIONS A36 Pitts and Meeks climb up the inside of the bell tower that sits atop the Welton Chapel. They affix Pitts' crystal radio antenna to the chapel cross. momentarily, they tune in a fuzzy rock 'n roll station. PITTS Radio Free America. They try to tune in the music but it soon dissolves into static. They jiggle the radio in frustration. 36 36 Some of the Welton students run on the green, kicking soccer balls. 37 37 Down at the lake, the Welton crew team is practicing. Mr. Nolan sits in a rowboat, smoking a pipe, watching. 38 38 Knox rides down a wooded lane on his bike. He comes to RIDGEWAY HIGH SCHOOL. Beyond a fence, uniformed boys practice football. Not far from them, cheerleaders practice. Knox stops. He sees: Among the cheerleaders is Chris. She laughs as she practices the cheers with the other girls. Knox watches her with intense longing in his eyes. Chet Danburry catches a pass in front of Chris, struts for her amusement, then moves on. Chris laughs. Knox gets back on his bike and pedals away 39 INT. TODD AND NEIL'S ROOM - AFTERNOON 39 Todd sits at his bed, a pad of paper beside him. He starts to write something, scratches it out, then covers his face in frustration. The door opens. Neil enters, looking like he's just seen God. He lets his books fall to his desk. 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 (CONT'D) By the way, there's a meeting this afternoon. You coming? TODD (blase) 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. 40 OMIT 40 A41 EXT. CAVE - AFTERNOON A41 The boys enter the cave. 41 INT. THE CAVE - AFTERNOON 41 It is a clear, crisp fall afternoon. Charlie, Knox, Todd, Necks, Neil, Cameron, and Pitts sit around. Neil recites from 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. 42 EXT. SOCCER FIELD - AFTERNOON 42 Gusts of wind blow across the field. About 50 boys stand in their sweats, moving around, trying to keep warm. Among them are Todd, Charlie, Pitts, and Knox who is in a state of lovesick despair. Keating walks up, carrying same soccer balls under one arm and a case under the other. 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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. 43 NEW ANGLE - FAR SOCCER FIELD - LATER 43 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. 44 EXT. THE SOCCER FIELD - LATER 44 The boys form a long line. Todd stands listlessly at the rear. Ten feet in front of the boy at the head of the line, a soccer ball rests on the ground. 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!" ball. 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. 45 OMIT 45 46 INT. NEIL AND TODD'S ROOM - NIGHT 46 Todd sits at his desk, a half-composed poem before him. He adds a line, then breaks the pencil in frustration. He paces, sighs, then picks up another pencil and tries to again. 47 INT. THE DORM HALLWAY - SAME 47 Neil enters, looking stunned. 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! 48 INT. NEIL AND TODD'S ROOM - NIGHT 45 Neil enters and closes the door. Incredibly excited, he pulls out an old typewriter and begins to type. Todd watches. 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. 49 INT. KEATING'S CLASSROOM - DAY 49 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) Todd, have you prepared your poem? Todd shakes his head no. KEATING (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) Then today you will see that what is inside of you is worth a great deal. Keating strides to the blackboard. Rapidly, he writes: "I SOUND MY BARBARIC YAWP? OVER THE ROOFTOPSOF THE WORLD.-- Walt Whitman KEATING (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) Good god, boy! Yell! TODD (frightened) Yawp! KEATING (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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. 49A EXT. THE SOCCER FIELD - DAY 49A A soccer ball careens off a kicking foot. Beethoven's Ninth symphony, fourth movement, "Ode To Joy," blares forth. Keating stands on the sidelines beside his portable record player, watching the boys play soccer, waving his arms like an orchestra conductor. In front of Keating the boys play soccer to this spectacular music. They run, kick, pass, fall, block, head, dribble, take--all to the overpowering chorus of one of the most inspirational pieces of music ever written. 50A EXT DEAD POETS CAVE - AFTERNOON 50A Boys enter the cave. 50 INT. DEAD POETS CAVE - AFTERNOON 50 Neil hurries in carrying a small, broken statue. The other pledges of the Dead Poets Society are assembled around Charlie who sits silently cross-legged before them. His eyes are closed and, in one hand, he holds an old saxophone. 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 (CONT'D) (trance-like, run-on delivery) Laughing, crying, tumbling, mumbling, gotta do more. Gotta be more He plays more notes on the sax, then: CHARLIE (CONT'D) (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! 51 INT. THE DORM PHONE ROOM - LATER 51 All of the boys stand around. Knox picks up the phone, boldly dials some numbers, then waits. 52 INT. CHRIS' HOUSE - AFTERNOON 52 Chris is in wet hair and a damp towel, but she looks stunning. She enters and answers the phone. CHRIS Hello? 53 INT. THE DORM PHONE ROOM/STAIRWELL - AFTERNOON 53 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 (CONT'D) All right, goddamn it, you're right! 'Carpe diem' even if it kills me. He picks up the phone and dials again. 54 INT. CHRIS~ HOUSE - SAME 54 Again the phone rings. Again Chris enters and answers. CHRIS Hello? 55 INT. THE DORM - SAME 55 KNOX Hello Chris, this is Knox Overstreet. 56 INT. CHRIS' HOUSE - SAME 56 CHRIS Knox. Oh yes, Knox. I'm glad you called. 57 INT. THE DORM - SAME KNOX You are? (excitedly to his friends) She's glad I called! 58 INT. CHRIS' HOUSE - SAME 58 I wanted to call you but I didn't have the number. Chet's parents are going out of town this weekend so Chet's having a party. Would you like to come? 59 INT. THE DORM - SAME 59 KNOX Well, sure! 60 INT. CHRIS' HOUSE - SAME 60 CHRIS Chet's parents don't know about it, so please keep it quiet. But you can bring someone if you like. 61 INT. DORM - SAME 61 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 (CONT'D) 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. 62 EXT. THE HENDLY HALL AUDITOMUM - DAY 62 The buildings at this school are white brick. Neil parks his bicycle and enters the auditorium. 63 INT. THE AUDITORIUM STAGE - LATER 63 High school actors are on stage rehearsing Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Neil stands center stage, playing Puck. He holds a stick with a bell accoutered jester's head on one end of it. NEIL (AS PUCK) Yet but three? Come one more. Two of both kinds makes up four. Here she comes, curst and sad. Cupid is a knavish lad Thus to make poor females mad. Enter Ginny Danburry playing Hermia, crawling on stage, looking exhausted. As she starts her lines, the DIRECTOR of the play, a woman in her 40s, interrupts. 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." 64 EXT. THLE WELTON DORMS - NIGHT 64 Neil rides up on his bike and parks it. As he starts into the dorm, he spots a figure sitting motionless on a wall. NEIL Todd? Neil walks over to get a better look. It is Todd, sitting in the dark without a coat. NEIL (CONT'D) What's going on? Todd doesn't answer. NEIL (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) (thoughtful) You know what Dad called me when I was growing up? "Five ninty-eight." That's what all the chemicals in the human body would be worth if you bottled them raw and sold them. He told me that was all I'd ever be worth unless I worked every day to improve myself. "Five ninety- eight." Neil shakes his head. TODD (CONT'D) 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. 65 EXT. A WELTON BRICK COURTYARD - DAY 65 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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. 66 INT. ENTRANCE TO THE DEAD POETS CAVE - NIGHT 66 Todd. Neil, Cameron, Pitts, and Meeks sit around. A fog has moved in and the trees sway in the breeze. 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. Me shoots Gloria his sexiest stare, then goes off with the other boys. The girls whisper and giggle together. 67 EXT. THE DANBURRY HOUSE - NIGHT 67 Knox parks his bicycle along the side of the house. He takes off his overcoat, and stuffs it in the bike saddle bag. He straightens his tie, then goes to the front door. He knocks. He can hear music inside. He knocks again. Finally, since no one comes to the door, Knox opens it. 68 INT. THE DANBURRY HOUSE - SAME 68 Knox enters. "Open the Door to Your Heart" by Darrell Banks is playing on the Hi-Fi. On the entrance hall couch is a couple, making out like crazy. Up and down the stairs are other couples doing the same. Knox stands there, not knowing what to do. Momentarily, Chris walks through, her hair an 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. 69 EXT. THE WOODS AROUND THE CAVE 69 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. 70 INT. THE DANBURRY PANTRY - NIGHT 70 Knox, looking suicidal, wanders through the crowded party and ends up in the pantry. Kids stand talking. A couple in the corner is involved in a long kiss. His hand keeps wandering to her knee and her hand keeps pushing his away, yet the kiss never breaks. This happens over and over through the entire 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 (CONT'D) Bubba... BUBBA is a big, drunk jock leaning on the refrigerator. GUY (CONT'D) 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. 71 INT. THE CAVE - NIGHT 71 The boys have lit a fire and the girls are warming their hands. The candle on the head of the "cave god" FLUTTERS. Tina notices the pitted statue. 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) "She walks in beauty like the night..." Charlie turns his back, opens a book, and reads quickly to himself. He closes it, puts the bock down, and turns back to Gloria. CHARLIE (CONT'D) '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. 72 INT. THE DANBURRY LIVING ROOM - NIGHT 72 Music by the Drifters is playing loudly. Every light in the room is out. The only illumination is moonlight through the windows. Only after our eyes get adjusted to the dark can we see that the room is filled with couples making out. Knox, carrying another drink and looking tipsy, enters. He walks a bit, then trips over a couple on the floor. ANGRY GUY'S VOICE 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 (CONT'D) (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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) Chet, stop! He didn't mean anything. She pushes Chet off. Knox rolls over, holding his face. CHRIS (CONT'D) 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! 73 OMIT 73 74 INT. THE CAVE - NIGHT 74 The fire casts warm light on the wall of the cave. Gloria sits with her arm around Charlie, staring adoringly. The bottle passes between Tina and the others. 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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: 75 INT. WELTON ACADEMY CHAPEL - DAY 75 There is a buzz in the student body as they move to their seats, passing school newspapers amongst themselves. Knox's face is marked with bruises. Neil, Todd, Pitts, Necks, Cameron and especially Charlie's faces are marked with 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 (INTO PHONE) It is? You do? I'll tell him. Mr. Nolan, it's God. He says we should have girls at Welton. There is a blast of laughter from the students. On stage with the teachers, Keating is surprised and amused, but worried. He and McAllister exchange concerned looks. Blood red, furious, Nolan strides down the aisle to Charlie. He sweeps the phone off of Charlie's lap. 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. 76 INT. NOLAN'S OFFICE - DAY 76 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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 Potts 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 (CONT'D) 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. 77 INT. THE JUNIOR DORM - AFTERNOON 77 The boys are milling in their rooms, waiting for Charlie's return. Someone sees him coming. All pretend to be studying. Charlie enters, moving slowly, trying not to show his pain. As he walks toward his room, Neil, Todd, Knox (bruised face), Pitts, and Necks approach him. 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. 78 INT. WELTON CLASSROOM BUILDING - AFTERNOON 78 Keating walks down the corridor. He is just about to stop and talk to McAllister when Nolan passes. NOLAN Mr. Keating, could we have a word? 79 INT. KEATING'S EMPTY CLASSROOM - DAY 79 Keating and Nolan enter. Keating turns on the light. Nolan 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. 79A INT. THE JUNIOR CLASS DORM - AFTERNOON 79A Boys are walking out on the way to their activities. Keating enters and approaches Charlie, who is exiting with his 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- 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. 80 OMIT 80 81 INT. KEATING'S CLASSROOM - DAY 81 The boys are seated. Keating walks to the blackboard and in a big scrawl writes: "COLLEGE". 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) Gentlemen, analyzing dreadful books you haven't read will be on your final exam, so I suggest you practice on your own. Now for some traps of college exams. Take cut a blue book and pencil, boys. This is a pop quiz. The boys obey. Keating passes out tests. He sets up a screen in the front Of the room, then goes to the back of the room and sets up a slide projector. KEATING (CONT'D) Big universities are crowded Sodoms and Gomorrahs filled with those delectable beasts we see so little of here: females. The level of distraction is dangerously high, but this quit is designed to prepare you. Let me warn you, this test will count. Begin. The boys begin their tests. Keating puts a slide in the projector. On the screen in the front of the room appears a blow-up of a beautiful girl, college age, leaning over to pick up a pencil. Her figure is quite remarkable, and, bending over as she is, you can see her panties. The boys glance up from their tests, then most do a double-take on the photo. KEATING (CONT'D) 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: 82-85 OMITTED 82-85 86A EXT. THE WELTON CAPGUS - DUSK 86A Boys in heavy-hooded jackets and winter mufflers move from building to building. The wind blows leaves around in 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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. 86 INT. TODD AND NEIL'S DORM ROOM - DUSK 86 Neil enters in a whirlwind of excitement, fencing the air with the Jester's stick. Neil turns and sees his father, sitting at his desk. Neil is shocked. NEIL 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 As 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. 87 INT. THE WELTON DINING ROOM - EVENING 87 All of the society "pledges" except Neil sit eating. It could be noticed that the boys--Charlie, Knox, Todd, Weeks, and Pitts--seem to be having difficulty eating. They look awkward. Old Hager approaches. Mr. Dalton, what is wrong, son? Are you having difficulty with your meal? CHARLIE No. Hager watches the boys. HAGER Misters Necks 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. 88 EXT. KEATING'S ROOM - EVENING 88 Keating's quarters are on the second floor of a dorm, but they are entered from the outside. Charlie, Todd, Pitts1 and Neil stand outside the door. Charlie knocks. 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. 89 INT. KEATINGS ROOM - SAME 89 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 (CONT'D) (reading) My darling Jessica. It's so lonely at times without you bla bla bla. All I can do to put myself at ease is study your beautiful picture or close my eyes and imagine your radiant smile--but my poor imagination is a dim substitute for you. Oh, how I miss you and wish-- The other boys have sensed an extra presence in the room. They back away from Charlie. Suddenly Charlie stops and sees Mr. Keating. CHARLIE (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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, Kr. 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 (CONT'D) 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. 90/91 OMITTED 90/91 92 INT. CHARLIE'S CAVE - NIGHT 92 The boys sit in the candle-lit room. Charlie blows notes on his saxophone. Knox sits in the corner, mumbling to himself, working on a love poem to Chris. Todd sits writing something too. Cameron is studying. Pitts is scratching a quote out of a book into the wall. Knox looks at his watch. KNOX Ten minutes to curfew. Nobody responds. Knox looks at Todd. KNOX (CONT'D) 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. 93A EXT. THE WELTON GROUNDS - EARLY MORNING 93A The dawn rises over the frozen Welton campus. Snow covers the ground. The school bagpiper stands, playing a haunting melody. 93 EXT. THE JUNZOR DORMZTORY - SAME 93 Knox comes out of the dorm building, bundled against the freezing weather. Be hurries onto his bike and speeds away. 94 EXT. RIDGEWAY HIGH SCHOOL 94 A large sign proclaims Ridgeway High School. Knox bikes up to the school at full speed. He now carries a bouquet of flowers. Out of breath, he quickly discards the bike and runs into the school. 95 INT. THE HALLWAYS OF RIDGEWAY HIGH - MORNING 95 Students of both sexes move through the hallways of this public school. Students are at their lockers, putting up their coats and getting out their books. Knox runs through, erratically looking around. He hurries down one hallway, stops and asks a student something, then runs up a flight of stairs. A96 INT. ANOTHER RIDGEWAY HIGH HALLWAY - SAME A96 Chris stands in front of her locker, chatting with a couple of girlfriends1 taking out some books. Knox spots her and 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. 96 INT. CHRIS' CLASSROOM - SAME 96 Class hasn't started but students are taking their seats. The teacher leans over a student's desk, helping her with her homework. Knox enters and walks to Chris' desk. 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) I love you, Chris. He turns and leaves. 97 INT. KEATING'S ENGLISH CLASSROOM - DAY 97 The boys sit. Keating hasn't arrived. Momentarily, Knox enters and hurries to his desk. 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. 98 INT. THE HALLWAY OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM - SAME 98 The corridor is empty except for Neil and Keating. Keating closes the door to the classroom. 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. 99 INT. THE DORM PHONE ROOM/STAIRWELL - NIGHT 99 Todd, Knox, Cameron, Pitts, and Meeks all wear coats and ties. They mill in the dorm lobby. Knox is off to himself, still 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. 99A EXT. THE DORM BUILDING - NIGHT 99A It is snowing. Knox ushers Chris out of the building and down the sidewalk away from the others. 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 (CONT'D) 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. 100 INT. HENSLEY HALL AUDITORIUM AND STAGE - NIGHT 100 The auditorium is filled to near capacity with families, teachers and students. Charlie, Todd, Meeks, Cameron, and Pitts find seats in the back. They spot Mr. Keating a few rows over and wave at him. Beside him is Mr. McAllister. The lights go down. A small musical accompaniment--panpipes, bongos, triangle--plays. The curtain rises. As the actors make their entrances, they are applauded by their friends and families. As the actors begin the play, Charlie notices out of the corner of his eye Knox entering with Chris. They find seats and sit down together. Charlie shoots Knox a surprised lock of excitement. Knox gives a little nod. SHORT DISSOLVE TO: 101 THE STAGE 101 Neil makes his entrance as Puck, he wears a crown of flowers. The members of the Dead Poets Society cheer loudly. For a moment Neil looks lost. Todd crosses his fingers. NEIL (AS PUCK) "flow now, spirit. wither wander you?" HIGH SCHOOL ACTOR (AS FAIRY) Over hill, over dale, through bush, 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 (AS PUCK) Thou speakest aright: I am that merry wanderer of the night. I jest to Oberon and make him smile when I a fat and bean-fed horse beguile, Neighing in likeness of a filly foal ANGLE ON THE "DEAD POETS" intently watching the show. As Neil delivers his lines, getting laughs in the right places, Todd sits mouthing the lines with him, as if this might help Neil get through it. Neil clearly needs no help, though, and his performance is quite winning. Charlie leans to the others. 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 (CONT'D) Jesus All turn back and watch the play, though they are now quite tense about Mr. Perry's presence. 102 THE PLAY 102 On stage are the characters of Lysander and Hermia. Hermia is played by Ginny Danburry, who is fetching1y dressed in a costume of leaves and twigs. LYSANDER One turf shall serve as pillow for us both, One heart, one bed, two bosoms, and one troth. GINNY (AS HERMIA) Nay good Lysander. For my sake, my dear, Lie further off yet: do not lie so 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 (AS HERMIA) But gentle friend, for love and courtesy Lie further off, in human modesty. Such separation as may well be said Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid, So far be distant: and goodnight, sweet 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: 103 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: 104 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. 105 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. 106 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! 107 OMITTED 108 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? 109 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. 110 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 (CONT'D) (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. 111 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. 112 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. 113 EXT. THE CLIFF ABOCE 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?" 114 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. 115 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. Neuil takes the crown of flowers he wore as Puck and puts it on his head. 116 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?" 117 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. 118 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. 119 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?" 120 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 attentionis cuaght 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! 121 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. 122-3 OMITTED 124 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. 125 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 (CONT'D) Even if Mr. Perry didn't shoot him, he killed him. They have to know that! He runs across the room. TODD (CONT'D) NEIL! NEIL!!! He falls against the wall, sobbing uncontrollably. 126 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. 127 INT. THE CHAPEL - LATER The entire school is assembled. Standing along the walls are the teachers. Keating, looking solumn, 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. 128 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) (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! 129/130 OMITTED 130A EXT. A CEMETARY IN THE VERMONT HILLS - MORNING It is a bleak winter's dayGusts 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. 131/131A 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. 132 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 (FROM WITHIN) Expelled. Todd stands stunned. TODD What'd you tell them? MEEKS (FROM WITHIN) Nothing they didn't know already. Todd turns away. DISSOLVE TO: 133/133A 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. 134 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. 135 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. 136 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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: 137 OMITTED 137A 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. 138 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 (CONT'D) 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 (CONT'D) 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.