Robin Williams And The 'O Captain' Scene That Inspired A Generation

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When Robin Williams died on Monday, August 11, the world looked back on his most memorable roles from his diverse and iconic career. His performance as John Keating, an influential and empowering high school teacher, in 1989's "Dead Poets Society" stood out among the rest.

The scene in which his students recite "O Captain! My Captain," an homage to Walt Whitman's poem, has become an indelible part of pop culture. It's an onscreen moment that honors Williams as a fictional teacher and a metaphorical one to the young actors in the movie. Ethan Hawke and Josh Charles stand on top of desks and take Keating's side at the prep school. Together, they honor his intellect and compassion.

After Williams' death, fans and actors recalled the scene, citing lines from the poem and "Dead Poets Society" in general. It's a film in which Williams' ability to display both humor and pain is showcased in fine, fine form.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article listed Robert Sean Leonard as one of the actors in the scene. He does not appear.

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