Vital Signs (1990)

R  |   |  Drama  |  13 April 1990 (USA)
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Reviews: 7 user | 8 critic

This movie follows the lives of medical students who are in their third year, which is the time that they have to decide what they intend to specialize in. At the center is Michael Chatham ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Chatham
Gina Wyler
Kenny Rose
Lauren Rose
Suzanne Maloney
Bobby Hayes
Dr. Donald Ballentine
Dr. Chatham
Henrietta Walker
Dr. David Redding
Dean of Students
Leigh C. Kim ...
Dr. Chen
Enid Kent ...


This movie follows the lives of medical students who are in their third year, which is the time that they have to decide what they intend to specialize in. At the center is Michael Chatham son of a respected surgeon, who's trying to be his own man. He has to deal with another third student, Kenny Rose who like Michael wants to be surgeon and the surgical internship at their school. Kenny is also having problems with his marriage because the long hours he puts in his studies. Michael is also butting heads with another doctor, Ballentine over personal and professional issues. Written by

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


During one incredible year, seven friends discover that love is alive and living in the 90's. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 April 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los residentes  »

Box Office


$1,224,605 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Bradley Whitford and Jimmy Smits would later go on to star in The West Wing together. See more »


Dr. David Redding: Third year is like being a rookie pitcher called on to pitch the seventh game of the World Series... blindfolded.
See more »


References The Lone Ranger (1949) See more »


Rescue Me
Written by Carl Smith (as Carl William Smith) and Raynard Miner, also claimed by Fontella Bass
Performed by Fontella Bass
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Prototype third year medical students learn about medicine and life
21 December 1999 | by See all my reviews

Why is it that movies about medical school always have the same formula for their characters (reference this movie, Gross Anatomy, Patch Adams...more)? There always has to be the hot-shot male lead for whom everything comes easy...except the good looking, no-nonsense female student, who feels like she has to work harder than everyone else to make up for the fact that she is a woman (and therefore has no time for men). Then there is the wacky friend, and as always there is the uptight, male student we all hate, who works really hard, but just can't seem to beat the protagonist. Surely there is some other way to develop interesting characters in this setting.

Either way, coming from the perspective of a current medical student, I found this movie to be far more interesting, realistic, and believable than any of the other aforementioned movies (yes, I know P.A. was a true statement stands). Granted, you will be infinitely more likely to find third year medical students transporting stool samples and chasing down fast food for their residents than scrubbing in and performing abdominal surgery.

I found the student/patient, student/student, student/resident relationships to be very well developed and believable. The script was interesting, upbeat, and gave a good look at the tempo and pressure of third year. There were plenty of plot intricacies to keep you "tuned in" throughout the movie. The cast is short on big names, but I believe well cast, and believable as students(I've read that they shadowed medical students before filming).

I wouldn't say that this movie is a must-see, but it is the most accurate depiction of medical school that I have seen, and there probably isn't a physician out there whose stomach won't tense up a bit when the attending physicians begin "pimping" the students on Grand Rounds.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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