The Doctor (1991)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  16 August 1991 (USA)
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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)
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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


An Uplifting Story About Finding New Meaning In Life. 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?


Ed Rosenbaum:  as Himself. See more »


Dr. Eli Blumfield: I've always wanted to slit your throat, and now I get a chance to.
See more »


References Superman (1978) See more »


Big Girls Don't Cry
Written by Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe
Performed by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons
Courtesy of Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli
dba The Four Seasons Partnership
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User Reviews

Well worth the price of a box of hankies.
1 March 1999 | by (Lucas Buck, NC) – See all my reviews

It's not unusual in Hollywood for 2 studios to be working on similar projects at the same time. One obvious example might be Milos Forman's beautiful Valmont, and Stephen Frear's certainly adequate Dangerous Liaisons. The latter featured a ‘bigger' cast by American standards, and did better business, not surprisingly.

About the same time as Randa Haines' beautiful, ‘The Doctor', with William Hurt was delivered, so was Mike Nichols ‘Regarding Henry', starring Harrison Ford. Again, the latter did bigger business, and as a result I feel this film was largely overlooked.

On first look, The Doctor seems a standard tale: icy, successful surgeon finds out what medicine is really like when the tables are turned and he is diagnosed with throat cancer. His redemptive arc is somewhat predictable, as he reconnects with family, redefines his medical practice, and restructures his relationship with his similarly icy partners.

But it's under these, predictable circumstances that a true craftsman like Ms. Haines can make the ordinary extraordinary. The film is genuinely heartfelt and touching, resisting at every turn any self-indulgence, or the gratuitous pulling at heartstrings, relying on a quiet, confidence, a softer emotion instead.

Not that it's not weepy at times.

Hurt has never been better in the title role. Elizabeth Perkins as his soul-mate cancer victim is equally superb.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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