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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 81,685 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 166 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:
...
...
...
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

The name that Leonard spells out on the Ouija board is German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and the poem that Dr. Sayer quotes in the arboretum is "The Panther." See more »

Goofs

When Leonard gets the correct dose of medicine and 'awakens', he walks with almost no difficulty. If he had been catatonic for years, and even if he had been exercised regularly, he would not have been able to just get up and walk around so easily. His muscles would have atrophied. His voice would also have been raspy from disuse. 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 Absolutely Fabulous: Hospital (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
Extraordinary Film
17 December 1999 | by (North Carolina, USA) – See all my reviews

This is a stunningly beautiful and profoundly moving journey, and, amazingly, based on a true story. I never tire of watching this movie; it was one of my all-time favorites. DeNiro's performance totally blows me away every time. And Robin Williams is wonderful as Dr. Sayer. Even simply remembering the movie by reading others' reviews here is once again giving me chills and putting tears into my eyes. After seeing this movie I also became a huge fan of Dr. Oliver Sacks' writing and recommend it to anyone, especially those who enjoyed "Awakenings." His case studies are fascinating. An excellent movie. Do yourself a huge favour and see it.


113 of 123 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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