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Awakenings (1990)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama | 11 January 1991 (USA)
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.

Director:

Writers:

(book) (as Oliver Sacks M.D.), (screenplay)
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Popularity
2,928 ( 251)

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ON DISC
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ruth Nelson ...
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Rose
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Bert
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Sidney
Laura Esterman ...
Lolly
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Rolando
Jayne Haynes ...
Frances
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Storyline

1969. Dr. Malcolm Sayer is hired as a clinical physician at a psychiatric hospital in the Bronx, despite he only having a research background. The job is not ideal on his side as he has difficulties relating to people which is the reason he has focused on research projects not involving human subjects, while the hospital hires him somewhat out of desperation in not finding anyone else with the qualifications who wants the job. Most of his patients are in a semi-catatonic state and are housed in what some of the orderlies coin the "garden" ward, where all they can do for the patients is water and feed them. He notices that some of the patients, despite their generally catatonic state, respond in unusual ways to certain stimuli. In doing some research, he also finds that some common bonds between these patients are that they suffered from encephalitis in the 1920s or 1930s, and that their physical states are like they have Parkinson's disease frozen in time. As such, he is able to ... Written by Huggo

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  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$417,076, 25 December 1990, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$52,096,475
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At one point, this was a film Steven Spielberg considered directing, before passing it on to Penny Marshall. The time he spent on the project did yield one useful outcome for him: Steven Zaillian's script took several short chapters, each about different patients, and put them together into a linear whole. This brought Zaillian to Spielberg's attention, and he offered Zaillian the similar task of adapting Schindler's List (1993), which ended up winning Oscars for both of them. See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Sayer takes Leonard out into the city for the first time, they see (among other things) an aircraft landing - a Boeing 747. The movie takes place in 1969 and the first revenue flight of the Boeing 747 was January 21st, 1970. Additionally, the 747 is in El Al livery that was used around 1990. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Sayer: You told him I was a kind man. How kind is it to give life, only to take it away?
Eleanor: It's given to and taken away from all of us.
Dr. Sayer: Why does that not comfort me?
Eleanor: Because you are a kind man. Because he's your friend.
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Soundtracks

Purple Haze
Written & Performed by Jimi Hendrix
Courtesy of Elber B.V.
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User Reviews

 
A great film.
16 November 1998 | by See all my reviews

Penny Marshall's Awakenings is a very emotional movie and heartwarming to say the least. Marshall has out done herself with this picture. The movie is a masterpiece. Robin Williams is great and Robert De Niro should have won the Oscar for his performance in this movie. De Niro hits every note perfectly and shows why he is the greatest actor of his generation. The movie is well written by Steven Zaillian and Penny Marshall did a super job. Bring a hankerchief to this one.


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