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Awakenings (1990)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  11 January 1991 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 81,852 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 167 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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(book) (as Oliver Sacks M.D.) , (screenplay)
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Title: Awakenings (1990)

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
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Ruth Nelson ...
...
...
Paula
...
Lucy
...
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
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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

Dr Sayer puts on a record saying "This is one of the most beautiful arias ever written...". The record is clearly an LP (you can even see "Long Playing" on the label) but it starts turning at 78rpm - and the music is heard at normal speed. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Sayer: His vision, from the constantly passing bars, has grown so weary that it cannot hold anything else. It seems to him there are a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world. As he paces in cramped circles, over and over, the movement of his powerful soft strides is like a ritual dance around a center in which a mighty will stands paralyzed. Only at times, the curtain of the pupils lifts, quietly - . An image enters in, rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles, plunges into the heart and...
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

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

Robin Williams Should Do Films Like This More Often
25 October 2002 | by (Las Vegas, Nevada) – See all my reviews

"Awakenings" is a positively surprising career change of pace for its two leads, Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro. Based on a true story, the film is about the experimental drug invented by Dr. Oliver Sacks (Williams) and how it successfully awakened many paitents from catatonic states which had lasted as long as 30 years. DeNiro gives an especially moving performance as one of the paitents who also turns out to be one of the drug's biggest success stories. It's a real shame how overlooked this film turned out to be for Williams' career. He should be getting praised for his quality dramatic performances in films that matter like this one rather than for his inferior comedies. This film proves that Williams can successfully expand his range and be a great dramatic actor. The same goes for DeNiro and his performance here as well.


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