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The English Patient (1996)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance, War  |  6 December 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 134,122 users   Metascore: 87/100
Reviews: 454 user | 115 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

At the close of WWII, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Won 9 Oscars. Another 48 wins & 64 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sgt. Hardy
Clive Merrison ...
Nino Castelnuovo ...
Hichem Rostom ...
Peter Rühring ...
Geordie Johnson ...


Beginning in the 1930's, "The English Patient" tells the story of Count Almásy who is a Hungarian map maker employed by the Royal Geographical Society to chart the vast expanses of the Sahara Desert along with several other prominent explorers. As World War II unfolds, Almásy enters into a world of love, betrayal, and politics that is later revealed in a series of flashbacks while Almásy is on his death bed after being horribly burned in a plane crash. Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In memory, love lives forever. See more »


Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality, some violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





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Release Date:

6 December 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El paciente inglés  »

Box Office


$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$278,439 (USA) (15 November 1996)


$78,651,430 (USA) (5 September 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film has two Christ actors. Willem Dafoe played Jesus Christ in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), while Ralph Fiennes was the voice of Jesus in The Miracle Maker (2000), an animated TV movie. See more »


The sky shifts between sunlight and overcast in scenes throughout the movie. See more »


Katharine Clifton: I wanted to meet the man who could write such a long paper with so few adjectives.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Disclaimer in end credits: "While a number of the characters who appear in this film are based on historical figures, and while many of the areas described - such as the Cave of Swimmers and its surrounding desert - exist and were explored in the 1930s, it is important to stress that this story is a fiction and that the portraits of the characters who appear in it are fictional, as are some of the events and journeys." See more »


References Top Hat (1935) See more »


One O'Clock Jump
Music by Count Basie (as William "Count" Basie)
Published by EMI Feist Catalog Inc.
Performed by Benny Goodman
Courtesy of RCA Records Label of BMG Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A reader's movie.
7 September 2003 | by (canada) – See all my reviews

I can understand why some people think this movie is boring. I think it appeals much more to people who are used to the pacing of classic books.

I'm sure many of those who hated it are much like a co-worker of mine who said "Books? I haven't a book since I had to in high school." I checked some of the names of the people who reviled this movie and sure enough it seems many of them think Armaggedon was an "awesome" movie and Chris Farley was a "Comic genius". And that's O.K. Taste is an individual thing.

My sensibilities tell me that the english patient is a very good movie that takes effort to appreciate. Much in this movie is very subtle. It is not a vacation for the brain.(Hey, sometimes the brain NEEDS a vacation, and stupid movies provide that!) Also, it is not a cynic's movie. It's about idealism, tragedy and regret. About how people can want the best but have it all fall apart because of bad choices, and have to go on with the regret of never being able to remedy the situation. Not so much a love story as a tragic one. So many people destroyed because of the selfishness of two people couldn't(wouldn't?) control themselves.

I would ask those who thought the movie boring to watch it again when you feel able to pay full attention to what's going on in the film and how different bits of dialogue dovetail into subtle suggestions of how the characters are feeling and thinking. This movie takes an investment of time, thought and emotion. If this investment is made, I think most people who watch it will feel rewarded.

130 of 180 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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