31 Poems That Movies Kinda Ruined Forever

Photo: Stephen Morely/Gramercy Pictures/Photofest.
Hey, hey, hey, it's World Poetry Day. (Yes, we totally meant that to rhyme.)

Right now, you're probably thinking of your favorite poem. Maybe it's a Maya Angelou piece you studied in school. Maybe it's a Dr. Seuss rhyme you've loved since childhood. Maybe it's something you stumbled upon in a film and you're not 100% sure who wrote it, but it might be Ryan Gosling.

Hey, it happens. Hollywood's tendency to work poems into movies has given us all a crash course on everyone, from Wordsworth and Whitman. Now, we're like Cher Horowitz in Clueless, schooling people on Shakespeare, all thanks to watching a Mel Gibson movie. A few viewings of The Dead Poets Society or Interstellar and suddenly, we're experts on iambic pentameter.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, so long as everyone remembers not to confuse Cameron Diaz with e.e. cummings.

Behold, 31 famous poems that made it into movies.
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Video: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
The Poem: "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood" by William Wordsworth
The Film: Splendor in the Grass (1961)


The title of this Natalie Wood/Warren Beatty classic refers to a line in Wordsworth's famous poem.
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Video: Courtesy of United Artists.
The Poem: "The Hollow Men" by T. S. Eliot
The Film: Apocalypse Now (1979)


Marlon Brando's Colonel Kurtz reads from this oft-quoted poem, famous for the line "This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper."
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Video: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
The Poem: America a Prophecy by William Blake
The Film: Blade Runner (1982)


This Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) quote was inspired by a similar line in Blake's 1793 book of verse.
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Video: Courtesy of Universal Pictures.
The Poem: "Ample Make This Bed" by Emily Dickinson
The Film: Sophie's Choice (1982)


Stingo (Peter MacNicol) mourns his friends by turning to poetry.
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Video: Courtesy of Warner Brothers.
The Poem: "Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost
The Film: The Outsiders (1983)


The Francis Ford Coppola film stayed true to S. E. Hinton's book by including the scene in which Ponyboy (C. Thomas Howell) tells Johnny (Ralph Macchio) about the Frost poem.
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Video: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures.
The Poem: "O Captain! My Captain!" by Walt Whitman
The Film: Dead Poets Society (1989)


This Whitman tribute was so powerful that some filmgoers may suspect that Robin Williams wrote Leaves of Grass.
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Video: Courtesy of Universal Pictures.
The Poem: "Spring Morning" by A. A. Milne
The Film: Kindergarten Cop (1990)


Contrary to popular belief, being read poetry by Ahnuld can be quite soothing.
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Video: Courtesy of The Samuel Goldwyn Company.
The Poem: "The Dead Woman" by Pablo Neruda
The Film: Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990)


Another reason to adore the late, great Alan Rickman: This scene in which he (playing Juliet Stevenson's dead boyfriend) recites Neruda's work in the original Spanish.
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Video: Courtesy of Miramax.
The Poem: "The Silence" by Thomas Hood
The Film: The Piano (1993)


The film ends with Holly Hunter's mute character connecting this poem to the loss of her beloved piano.
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Video: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
The Poem: "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" by Eugene Field
The Film:
Dennis the Menace (1993)

Field's beloved children's poem got a shoutout in this scene, starring Joan Plowright and Mason Gamble.
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Video: Courtesy of Gramercy Pictures.
The Poem: "Funeral Blues" by W. H. Auden
The Film: Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)


This mournful work is best read aloud in a thick Scottish burr.
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Video: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
The Poem: "As I Walked Out One Evening" by W. H. Auden
The Film: Before Sunrise (1995)


Oh, to be young, blessed with a few hours to kill in Vienna, and besotted with a scruffy American who can quote Auden.
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Video: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
The Poem: "Sonnet 116" by William Shakespeare
The Film: Sense and Sensibility (1995)


Shakespeare's sonnets get a lot of love in this Jane Austen adaptation.
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Video: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures.
The Poem: "Self-Pity" by D. H. Lawrence
The Film: G.I. Jane (1997)

Because "this is the world's tiniest violin and it's playing for you" just doesn't sound as sophisticated.
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Video: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
The Poem: "Epitaph on an Infant" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Film: Finding Forrester (2000)


We humbly request that in our next life, we're able to fire off verses Jamal-style, without sounding like an asshole.
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Video: Courtesy of DreamWorks.
The Poem: "The Stolen Child" by William Butler Yeats
The Film: A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)


Good news! Yeats will still be quoted in the future. Yes, that's Robin Williams speaking.
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Video: Courtesy of Miramax Films.
The Poem: "To Autumn" by John Keats
The Film: Bridget Jones's Diary (2001)


"Ah, fuck me, I love Keats." True that.
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Video: Courtesy of THINKFilm.
The Poem: "The Tyger" by William Blake
The Film: The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002)


Further proof that Hollywood loves a good poem-as-eulogy scene. P.S. Not sure if "The Tyger" is necessarily the best choice when the dearly departed was killed by a big cat.
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Video: Courtesy of Focus Features.
The Poem: "The Earth Turned to Bring Us Closer" by Eugenio Montejo
The Film: 21 Grams (2003)


That one time name-dropping a Venezuelan worked in Sean Penn's favor.
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Video: Courtesy of Buena Vista Distribution.
The Poem: "Annabel Lee" by Edgar Allan Poe
The Film: Holes (2003)


Kissin' Kate Barlow (Patricia Arquette) and Sam the Onion Man bonded over poetry in this Shia LaBeouf favorite.
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Video: Courtesy of Focus Features.
The Poem: "Eloisa to Abelard" by Alexander Pope
The Film: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)


The title of this Jim Carrey/Kate Winslet film is a quote from Pope's 1717 tribute to one of history's most tortured romances.
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Video: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Independent Pictures.
The Poem: "L'Albatros" by Charles Baudelaire
The Film: A Very Long Engagement (2004)


When you're trying to get the deets on your guy and your friend won't quit it with the bird poetry.
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Video: Courtesy of New Line Cinema.
The Poem: "Song of the Open Road" by Walt Whitman
The Film: The Notebook (2004)

Ryan Gosling reciting poetry? We're dead.
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Video: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
The Poem: "[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in]" by e. e. cummings
The Film: In Her Shoes (2005)


Cameron Diaz's character, Maggie, recites this to A. show off her improved reading skills, and B. pay tribute to her sister Rose (Toni Colette).
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Video: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
The Poem: "Brown Penny" by William Butler Yeats
The Film: Must Love Dogs (2005)


Not the most exciting of party tricks, but still impressive.
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Video: Courtesy of Dimension Films.
The Poem: "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost
The Film: Death Proof (2007)


Ah, the lengths to which Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) will go just to get a lap dance. Probably not what Robert Frost had in mind, though.
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Video: Courtesy of Paramount Vantage.
The Poem: "I Go Back To May 1937" by Sharon Olds
The Film: Into the Wild (2007)


The ultimate expression of feeling betrayed by your parents is a fitting choice for this film about suburban angst and the desire to reject it all.
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Video: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
The Poem: "The Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The Film: The Blind Side (2009)


Um, pretty sure Alfred, Lord Tennyson was not writing about college football.
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Video: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
The Poem: "Immortal Beloved" by Ludwig Van Beethoven
The Film: Sex and the City (2008)


Technically, this was a love letter and not a poem, but hey, it rhymes. It also inspired countless SATC fans to buy this book.
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Video: Courtesy of MGM/Columbia Pictures.
The Poem: "Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The Film: Skyfall (2012)


Not sure if quoting Tennyson will work with the HR department at your office, but it's worth a try.
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Video: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
The Poem: "Do not go gentle into that good night" by Dylan Thomas
The Film: Interstellar (2014)


Did Dylan Thomas really deserve to be immortalized in a Matthew McConaughey film?
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