Dark Academia: Movies

Published July 13, 2021, 3:38 PM

by Joe Priela

From the ‘Dead Poets Society’ to the Beat Generation

Films hold a remarkable place in our hearts. A medium that can be long-form, short-form, and even without sound itself—picturing and framing characters that we may or may not identify with. The past, the future, and our very own present can be portrayed within the four corners of the film camera.

Without a doubt, “Dark Academia” has been the theme of countless movies. Here are some that might be familiar to you.

J.R.R Tolkien played by Nicholas Hoult


Yes, a biographical movie about the legendary author himself, J.R.R. Tolkien. Written by David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford, the film narrates about the English professor and his budding genius on creating marvels. Having certain experiences occurred, fueling his work such as “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” The film comprises of everything Dark Academia, from their outfits to their daily way of living in college.

The Beat Generation revived

‘Kill Your Darlings’

A film that encompasses the Beat Generation and the lives of poets Allen Ginsberg and Lucien Carr. Attending Columbia University, Ginsberg ends up in an unusual friendship with his charismatic classmate, Lucien Carr. When the group got involved in the murder of one of their acquaintances, William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac took the hit and were arrested. Murder, mystery, and an intellectually-engaging lifestyle—these are just some pieces of the puzzle that bounds Dark Academia.

John Keating and the members of the Dead Poets Society

‘Dead Poets Society’

You might have heard “Carpe Diem” from John Keating, a charismatic English teacher that pushes his students to always seize the day through his unconventional way of teaching. “Poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for” is another famous quote from him, encouraging his students not to dim their burning passion for words. This 1989 film screams Dark Academia, starting from their secret group meetings down to losing one of their co-founders, Neil Perry—a moving point that struck Keating and the members of the Dead Poets Society.