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Awakenings (1990)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 78,020 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 163 user | 28 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

The victims of an encephalitis epidemic many years ago have been catatonic ever since, but now a new drug offers the prospect of reviving them.

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Title: Awakenings (1990)

Awakenings (1990) on IMDb 7.7/10

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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Ruth Nelson ...
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Paula
...
Lucy
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Rose
Barton Heyman ...
Bert
George Martin ...
...
Miriam
...
Sidney
Laura Esterman ...
Lolly
Dexter Gordon ...
Rolando
Jayne Haynes ...
Frances
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Storyline

A new doctor finds himself with a ward full of catatonic patients. He is disturbed by them and the fact that they have been catatonic for decades with no hope of any cure. When he finds a possible chemical cure he gets permission to try it on one of them. When the first patient awakes, he is now an adult having gone into a catatonic state in his early teens. The film then delights in the new awareness of the patients and then on the reactions of their relatives to the changes in the newly awakened. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There is no such thing as a simple miracle.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 January 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Despertares  »

Box Office

Gross:

$52,096,475 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Prior to filming, the actors portraying patients studied films of Dr. Oliver Sacks's actual post-encephalitis patients, and Robert De Niro and Robin Williams spent time with Sacks in the hospital observing him and his patients. See more »

Goofs

When Doctor Sayer and Leonard are driving through the streets, the New York City Buses are GMC RTSs which were not produced until 1979. The film takes place in the 1960s. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Sayer: Where are my glasses?
Eleanor: They're on your face.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Peep Show: Sectioning (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

You Made Me Love You
Written by Joseph McCarthy and James V. Monaco
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Fascinating and Moving Story
18 February 2005 | by (Atlanta) – See all my reviews

Awakenings is the most emotionally moving film I have ever seen. It delves deeply into one of the worst human fears, losing the ability to move and function, but it's never forced or manipulative, and there's no heavy-handed message or moral. It's just a fascinating story that's beautifully told.

The acting is as good as you will ever see. Robert DeNiro deftly handles all the emotional and physical challenges of his role, and Robin Williams demonstrates convincingly that he is an actor, not just a comedian. Williams is perhaps a bit too nerdy at first, but he captures perfectly all the hope, fear, exhilaration, and anguish that a doctor in that situation must be experiencing. Awakenings is based on actual people and events, and, to me at least, real events are always more powerful than even the best fiction.

Awakenings had big-name talent and Oscar nominations, but I don't think it ever had a big box office or became a popular video rental. That's a shame. I like escapist fare as much as the next guy, but once in a while, everyone should see a movie that you will remember and think about for a very long time. Awakenings deserves to be at the top of your list of movies to see.


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