Board Doctor: What if one of your patients had died?
Patch Adams: What’s wrong with death, sir? What are we so mortally afraid of? Why can’t we treat death with a certain amount of humanity and dignity and decency and, God forbid, maybe even humor? Death is not the enemy, gentlemen. If we’re gonna fight a disease, let’s fight one of the most terrible diseases of all–indifference. Now, I’ve sat in your schools and heard people lecture on transference and professional distance. Transference is inevitable, sir. Every human being has an impact on another. Why don’t we want that in a patient/doctor relationship? That’s why I’ve listened to your teachings, and I believe they’re wrong. A doctor’s mission should be not just to prevent death but also to improve the quality of life. That’s why you treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you win, no matter what the outcome.
I’m trying to remember the first time I saw this film and I have a vague recollection of seeing it on TBS when I was in middle school. I do know that when I was a freshman or sophomore in high school one of my teachers showed it and we had an in-depth discussion of the film’s themes (well, as in-depth as you can in a podunk small town high school class filled with asshole 14 years old – I include myself in that description). A lot of what I’ll write about here is based on that discussion of the film, actually. I guess it was sophomore year because I think it was the class where the teacher who normally taught geography/history had to take over our English class, so mostly instead of reading books we watched films and discussed them. It was kind of a wonderful class if memory serves. At least, for me it was, because, well, movies. Dead Poets Society was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning one: Best Original Screenplay (won), Best Actor Robin Williams, Best Director and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were Born on the Fourth of July, Field of Dreams, My Left Foot and winner Driving Miss Daisy.
Jack Lucas: You know, I mean, women are great. They make homes and they kill the livestock so the knights can go and get Grails. Slaughter villages with a clear head. Where would King Arthur be without Guinevere?
Parry: Happily married, probably.
Jack Lucas: Well, that’s a bad example. But trust me on this. A woman who loves you keeps you going, gives you strength. Makes you feel like you can do anything.