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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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(book) (as Oliver Sacks M.D.), (screenplay)
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2,386 ( 32)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Oliver Sacks has been fictionalized into an American neurosurgeon named Malcolm Sayer. However, Robin Williams's portrayal actually bears a very close physical resemblance to the real Dr. Sacks, as he was in the 1960s. (Contributed on the day of Dr. Sacks's passing.) See more »

Goofs

At one point Dr. Sayers describes L-DOPA as synthetic dopamine. It is in fact a precursor to dopamine, i.e. a substance used by the body to synthesize dopamine. See more »

Quotes

Nurse Beth: Dr. Sayer
Dr. Sayer: What is it?
Nurse Beth: It's a fucking miracle
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Manhunt 2 (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Time of the Season
Written by Rod Argent
Performed by The Zombies
Courtesy of Marquis Enterprises Ltd.
by arrangment with Celebrity Licensing Inc.
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User Reviews

 
Amazing
13 June 1999 | by (North Bay, Ontario) – See all my reviews

Simply put, this is one of the greatest movies ever. This is easily the most powerful tearjerker that I've ever seen, thanks in large part to the brilliant performances by Williams and De Niro. But to be fair, the whole cast was excellent, and they were helped by a script that was nearly perfect. For me, the scenes with Miller proved to be the most emotional, but really, the whole film was heartwarming or heartbreaking on some level. I don't tend to get emotional when watching movies, but this film managed to find a way into my heart, and I can't possibly recommend this movie enough to those of you who haven't been lucky enough to see it yet.


53 of 64 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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