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.
Dead Poets Society & Good Morning, Vietnam are very important movies to me. Thank you for your grind and your talent.— jake johnson (@MrJakeJohnson) August 12, 2014
O captain my captain #RIPRobinWilliams— Bret Taylor (@btaylor) August 12, 2014
"O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done." Robin McLaurin Williams, 1951-2014 pic.twitter.com/5Fq0LqyysC— Yale Film Study Ctr (@YaleFilmCenter) August 12, 2014
Somewhere, Robert Sean Leonard, Josh Charles and Ethan Hawke step up on a table.— writer (@LAcrush) August 11, 2014
O Captain! My Captain!— Johanna Fuentes (@jfuentes) August 12, 2014
O'Captain my Captain - says it all. http://t.co/4mcv6XqVJd— Natalie Jamieson (@Nat_Jamieson) August 11, 2014
I was 19 when it came out, affected me profoundly, I felt it in my soul.August 11, 2014
O'Captain my Captain. pic.twitter.com/2gfTSC1ncb— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) August 11, 2014
O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done. The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won. #RIPRobinWilliams— CJ Johnson (@cjjohnsonjr) August 11, 2014
O Captain, my captain.— Eric Sundermann (@ericsundy) August 11, 2014
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article listed Robert Sean Leonard as one of the actors in the scene. He does not appear.