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10+ Random Facts About 'Dead Poets Society' Fans Didn't Know

Without a doubt, one of the best coming-of-age films of the '90s was Dead Poets Society It forced audiences to turn an introspective eye and showed us how to embrace our lives to the fullest.

It was the launching point for actors like Ethan Hawke and it cemented Robin Williams as an icon.

Get to know what went on off-screen and check out these 10+ random facts about Dead Poets Society fans didn't know!

1. Writer Tom Schulman was inspired by a famous Broadway director.

Harold Clurman is the man to whom we owe our thanks.

It was only after Tom attended a lecture given by Clurman that he became inspired to write the first draft of the screenplay.

2. Robin Williams was hesitant to accept the role at first.

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During a segment on From Script to Screen, Tom Schulman explained that Robin hadn't signed off on working with the film's original director, Jeff Kanew.

“In fact, we prepped the movie, built the sets – it was going to be shot outside of Atlanta – and Robin just didn’t show up for the first day of shooting.”

“After the first day he didn’t show up, they cancelled the production and burned the sets."

According to Schulman, “We actually have daillies [sic] of the sets burning.”

Shortly afterward, Jeff Kanew was let go and Robin showed up to begin filming.

3. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards!

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In all the major categories, no less! Dead Poets Society was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Screenplay (which Tom Schulman won).

This was Robin Williams' second Oscar nomination and launched him into more serious roles.

4. The film was shot in chronological order.

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Weir and Schulman felt that it would better capture the growing relationship between Robin Williams' character and the young boys he was supposed to be teaching.

It certainly is an organic approach to filmmaking, there's no arguing that.

5. The poem "Oh Captain, My Captain" was written as an ode to the passing of Abraham Lincoln.

The man who wrote it was a poet and author by the name of Walt Whitman.

There are several allusions to Whitman's poetry dispersed throughout the film.

6. Disney wanted to turn the movie into a musical!

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If they'd gotten their way, the title would have been The Sultans of Strut. Supposedly, it would have been done it a similar vein as Fame.

Thank god that didn't happen, am I right?

7. All the boys roomed together.

It's a film about a boarding school, so what better way to get your young actors into the proper mindset than to have them board together!?

Clearly, it was the right call because their chemistry feels so organic.

8. World-renowned movie critic Roger Ebert absolutely ripped the film apart in his review.

Roger posted the review via his website RogerEbert.com:

"It is, of course, inevitable that the brilliant teacher will eventually be fired from the school, and when his students stood on their desks to protest his dismissal, I was so moved, I wanted to throw up."

9. They actually did film at a private school.

The school is called St. Andrews and it's located in Delaware. I honestly don't know how it continues to function as a school?

If I were enrolled, I'd be standing up on my desk quoting Walt Whitman until I was blue in the face.

10. Some of the film's movie references don't make any sense.

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According to the timeline, that is. There is one scene in particular where Robin Williams is clearly doing a Marlon Brando impression from The Godfather.

The only problem with that is that Dead Poets Society takes place in the late 1950s and The Godfather wasn't released until 1972!

11. *Dead Poets Society* was Ethan Hawke's breakout role!

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Considering how well Ethan handles himself on screen, you'd think he'd already have been at it for years.

Hawke, like Robin Williams, also has four Oscar-nominations to his name but sadly no wins — at least not yet.

12. In the first draft of the film, John Keating was dying of Leukemia.

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It was the film's director, Peter Weir, who convinced Schulman to make the change.

In an interview published in the book Top Secrets: Screenwriting, Schulman said "[Weir] pointed out that a dying general leading his men into battle isn't a very courageous man - after all, he has nothing to lose."

13. The cave in the film is meant to be an allegory.

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It's one of the oldest pieces of philosophy known to the western world; Plato's "Allegory of the Cave."

In a nutshell, it explains the difference between the nature of belief versus the quest to obtain true knowledge.

14. Ethan Hawke is confident that Robin Williams hated him.

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During an interview with Jian Gomeshi on the CBC Radio show, q, Ethan recalled:

"The more I didn't laugh, the more insane he got. He would make fun of [me]. 'Oh this one doesn't want to laugh.' And the more smoke would come out of my ears. He didn't understand, I was trying to do a good job."