* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: Did Nolan fire Keating [[spoiler: after Neil's suicide]] because he honestly believed he was responsible for it? Or was it an act of damage control to save the school's reputation? Or did he just use the incident as an excuse to get rid of him and his unorthodox teaching methods?
** Was Keating an irresponsible teacher for going against the school's values and rules despite the consequences, or was he doing the students a favor by trying to open their minds and broaden their perspectives?
* BrokenBase: Some viewers feel Keating ''was'' an irresponsible teacher, encouraging the students to break the school rules when in so doing it could get them in trouble but would be unlikely to rebound on him and he tried to censor ideas that he didn't agree with, ripping out the book introduction. Others feel that the value of broadening the students' perspective and encouraging them to enter adult life with a different attitude than that endorsed by the school was in the long run worth the short-term risk of being disciplined by the school.
* DesignatedVillain: Principal Nolan has some of this, the movie setting him up as the uber-conformist, stuffy-conservative [[StopHavingFunGuys "Stop Having Fun" Guy]] opposite Mr. Keating's free-spirited CoolTeacher. While he ''is'' a jerk from time to time, most of the time he's just doing his job as principal of the school; the rest of the time, he's espousing beliefs or values that clash with the message of "Carpe Diem", which is hardly ''his'' fault. On the other hand, he clearly believes that the authoritarian structure of the school should be maintained, considers the ridiculous essay about drawing graphs to analyze poetry that Keating condemned as "excrement" to be "excellent" and disciplines Charlie for his silly prank by ''paddling'' him (though it was deemed much more acceptable in 1950s than it is now).
* HarsherInHindsight:
** Mr. Keating breaking down in tears after he discovers that [[spoiler:Neil killed himself]] is a thousand times worse to watch since Creator/RobinWilliams committed suicide. It also makes Mr. Keating's speeches about "carpe diem" and seizing the day before it's gone ''heartbreaking''.
** The film's final scene has Keating's students giving him a touching send-off, showing their appreciation for everything he's taught them. This is now almost impossible to watch without feeling like a send-off for Williams rather than his character. However, it could be considered HeartwarmingInHindsight, since they're showing how much he meant to them.
* HoYay: Neil and Todd. It's virtual canon, to the point that most of the fanfiction circles on them.
* HilariousInHindsight:
** Neil does, in fact, [[Series/{{House}} end up as a doctor]].
** A [[RetroactiveRecognition young]] [[Series/TheGoodWife Will Gardner]] vying for the affection of a girl in a serious relationship with a popular guy. (Got somewhat HarsherInHindsight after [[spoiler:[[McLeaned Willís death]], by ''gunshot'', to boot]], in season 5.)
* ItWasHisSled: [[spoiler:Neil]]'s death.
** Keating gets fired because of it.
* LauncherOfAThousandShips: Charlie is paired with nearly everyone in fanfiction, mostly under the logic that he probably wouldn't object.
* MemeticMutation: The "carpe diem" speech got a ''lot'' of play on Tumblr in the wake of Robin Williams' death.
** Not to mention "O, Captain! My Captain!"
* MoralEventHorizon:
** Neil's father [[spoiler:driving his son to suicide, albeit inadvertently]].
** Cameron was always TheFriendNobodyLikes, but [[spoiler:selling out the whole club just to save his own skin?]]
* {{Narm}}:
** The BigNo is ruined by the slow motion and [[spoiler:Neil's father being played by Creator/KurtwoodSmith from ''Series/That70sShow'']]. You can ''almost'' hear him screaming "[[spoiler:NEIL, YOU DUMBASS!!!]]"
** John Keating's name being... well, John Keating. The sheer level of MeaningfulName is rather laughable.
* RetroactiveRecognition: Those who watched ''{{Series/House}}'' before seeing this movie might be surprised to see Wilson as a 17-year-old prep school student.
* SignatureScene: The ending where the students stand on their desks to salute Keating.
* TheWoobie: Both Neil and Todd.
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