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Walt Whitman Movies & TV

Dead Poets Society (1989)

O Captain! My Captain! In this schmaltzy classic, Robin Williams is an inspiring English teacher at a stuffy boys' boarding school, who uses the words of classic authors to break through his students' boredom and touch their hearts. A young Ethan Hawke's dramatic recitation of Whitman in the final scene would have made the old poet proud.

The Civil War (1990)

Ken Burns' documentary on the American crisis is not only the best movie ever made about the Civil War, it's one of the best documentaries ever made. Period. Whitman was deeply touched by the war, serving as a military nurse in Washington D.C. and tending to his brother who was fighting for the Union. In this documentary, Garrison Keillor gives voice to Whitman.

Beautiful Dreamers (1990)

This film is a dramatized account of the true friendship between Whitman and Dr. Maurice Bucke, a Canadian psychologist. Bucke advocated mental health care that treated patients with dignity and compassion. He was a great fan of Whitman's poems, and the two men offered each other valuable insights.

Leaves of Grass (2009)

This indie movie starring Ed Norton is not really about poetry, more about ... well ... a different type of grass. We're just warning you, so that you don't rent it the night before an English quiz, thinking it will get you out of reading the book.

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