The Doctor (1991)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  16 August 1991 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.9/10 from 3,936 users  
Reviews: 22 user | 14 critic

Jack McKee is a doctor with it all: he's successful, he's rich, and he has no problems.... until he is diagnosed with throat cancer. Now that he has seen medicine, hospitals, and doctors ... See full summary »



(book) (as Ed Rosenbaum M.D.) , (screenplay)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

3 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Wit (TV Movie 2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A renowned professor is forced to reassess her life when she is diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Emma Thompson, Christopher Lloyd, Eileen Atkins
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

James is a new speech teacher at a school for the deaf. He falls for Sarah, a pupil who decided to stay on at the school rather than venture into the big bad world. She shuns him at first, ... See full summary »

Director: Randa Haines
Stars: William Hurt, Marlee Matlin, Piper Laurie
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A career woman reassesses her parents' lives after she is forced to care for her cancer-stricken mother.

Director: Carl Franklin
Stars: Meryl Streep, Renée Zellweger, William Hurt
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An emotionally distant writer of travel guides must carry on with his life after his son is killed and his marriage crumbles.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Stars: William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Geena Davis
Something the Lord Made (TV Movie 2004)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A dramatization of the relationship between heart surgery pioneers Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas.

Director: Joseph Sargent
Stars: Alan Rickman, Yasiin Bey, Kyra Sedgwick
Second Best (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Graham, a lonely Welsh postal worker, adopts James, a troubled ten-year-old boy. Graham always wanted a son, but James loves his biological father too much to give Graham a chance. Will the two be able to accept each other as family?

Director: Chris Menges
Stars: William Hurt, Nathan Yapp, Keith Allen
Gross Anatomy (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A smart first-year med student takes nothing seriously, except the pursuit of his Gross Anatomy (human dissection) lab partner. It's up to her and their teacher to find a way to convince ... See full summary »

Director: Thom Eberhardt
Stars: Matthew Modine, Daphne Zuniga, Christine Lahti
Mr. Wonderful (1993)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Electrician Gus gets the chance to fulfill a childhood dream by buying an old bowling-alley with some of his friends. Unfortunately, due to the alimony payments he has to make to his ... See full summary »

Director: Anthony Minghella
Stars: Matt Dillon, Annabella Sciorra, Mary-Louise Parker
Eyewitness (1981)
Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Manhattan janitor Daryll Deever is fixated on hard-charging TV commentator, Tony Sokolow; he tapes her commentary daily to watch after work. When a wealthy Vietnamese man, with many shady ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Yates
Stars: William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver, Christopher Plummer
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Take two rival TV reporters: one handsome, one talented, both male. Add one producer, female. Mix well and watch the sparks fly.

Director: James L. Brooks
Stars: William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Holly Hunter
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

A modernized version of the story which inspired Verdi's opera, "La Forza del Destino".

Director: Gregory Nava
Stars: William Hurt, Timothy Hutton, Melissa Leo
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Enid is horrible, her husband and younger sister are having an affair. When Enid walks in on them 'enjoying' themselves, she is furious. A fight develops and Enid is hit over the head with ... See full summary »

Director: Maurice Phillips
Stars: Elizabeth Perkins, Judge Reinhold, Jeffrey Jones


Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Al Cade
William Marquez ...
Mr. Maris
Nicole Orth-Pallavicini ...
Tony Fields ...


Jack McKee is a doctor with it all: he's successful, he's rich, and he has no problems.... until he is diagnosed with throat cancer. Now that he has seen medicine, hospitals, and doctors from a patient's perspective, he realises that there is more to being a doctor than surgery and prescriptions. Written by Murray Chapman <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He was a doctor who thought he knew it all... until he became a patient. See more »




PG-13 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 August 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le docteur  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$38,120,905 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Producer Scott Mosier's favorite movie. See more »


[regarding Dr. Blumfield, who believes unconscious patients can still hear]
Dr. Jack MacKee: Where E.N.T. meets E.S.P.!
See more »


Referenced in Animaniacs: Video Review/When Mice Ruled the Earth (1993) See more »


Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw
Written and Performed by Jimmy Buffett
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

William Hurt is excellent...
28 June 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film is an involving, serious and important reflection of what changes a doctor goes through when he is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Dr. Jack McKee (William Hurt) is an arrogant self-satisfied surgeon on top of the world. He and his colleagues, Dr. Eli Blumfield (Adam Arkin) and Dr. Kaplan (very well-portrayed by Mandy Patimkin) are all successful surgeons. Some go through character transformation for the better when they learn that Dr. McKee has throat cancer.

An early scene in the film involves Dr. Abbot (great performance by Wendy Crewson as the ENT/throat surgeon who diagnoses his cancer). She is cold and clinical, and Hurt becomes angry. He tells her she is not treating her patients with any compassion or empathy. She basically responds by telling him her patients are basically an assembly line. Hurt used to be similar to Dr. Abbot, as we see in an opening scene he makes a cutting remark to a breast cancer patient.

The transformation also occurs as Hurt is waiting for an MRI. He meets June Ellis (Elizabeth Perkins) who has an advanced brain tumor. She talks with him, and tells him they got to the cancer too late. She is resigned to her death. Hurt is outraged as he notes that she was never treated appropriately for her illness, as an MRI test would have diagnosed the early stages of a cancer. She retorts that her insurance company refused to pay for an MRI.

Hurt's wife is well portrayed by Christine Lahti. She tries to help him, and he finds himself drawn to the patient, June Ellis. Hurt realizes that life is multi-faceted, and being a doctor is not the only thing that matters. Ellis teaches him to appreciate nature, they take a trip to the desert, there are some beautiful scenes and cinematography.

Hurt finally realizes he must first teach compassion and empathy. New surgical interns are trained by him and there are some amusing scenes where he makes them enact a role reversal, and put on hospital gowns; they are to be diagnosed with fictional illness and identify with the patients. My brother is a surgeon and went through similar training.

Overall an excellent and moving film not to be missed. Highly recommended. 9/10

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

Message Boards

Recent Posts
What´s the name of that song? laiz
the song during the heart transplant scene... sothemoe
sympathy and empathy platinum_qt_00
THIS doctor vs House MD? bittermilk
Great movie!!! pdbrat
doctors should WATCH THIS MOVIE ihearthomonids
Discuss The Doctor (1991) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: