Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that Dead Poets Society has very uplifting messages especially for teens about seizing the day and embracing poetry as a way toward thinking for yourself and positive self-expression. But it also deals with the suicide of one of the main characters (the gunshot isn't shown, but the parents are shown holding their son afterward, hysterical). Everyone smokes a lot (mostly a reflection of the time mixed with teen rebellion) and one main character drinks shots at a high school party.
One of the teens shows a (somewhat obscured) Playboy centerfold, plus a few jokes about virginity, and teen couples kissing passionately at a party.
One of the boys commits suicide off-screen via gun shot; parents are shown afterward hysterical as they hold him. One boy gets beaten up, his nose bloodied. One character says of his beau,"if I don't have Chris I'm going to kill myself." One student gets paddled by headmaster as punishment.
Kids call Welton school "Hell-ton" frequently. "S--t" is said about a half dozen times, plus a smattering of "damn," "Goddamnit," and "Jesus."
Lots of nuggets of wisdom mostly spoken by Professor Keating: Think for yourselves, savor words and language, "words and language can change the world," and you should constantly look at things in a different way.
Sunmaid Raisins make a cameo.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Period smoking -- lots of it. Both pipes and cigarettes smoked by adults and snuck by teens. A high school party includes plenty of drinking -- Knox does whiskey shots with new acquaintances.