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The English Patient (1996)

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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)
1,547 ( 179)
Won 9 Oscars. Another 49 wins & 66 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 ...


October 1944 in war torn Italy. Hana, a French-Canadian nurse working in a mobile army medical unit, feels like everything she loves in life dies on her. Because of the difficulty traveling and the dangers, especially as the landscape is still heavily booby-trapped with mines, Hana volunteers to stay behind at a church to care solely for a dying semi-amnesiac patient, who is badly burned and disfigured. She agrees to catch up to the rest of the unit after he dies. All the patient remembers is that he is English and that he is married. Their solitude is disrupted with the arrival at the church of fellow Canadian David Caravaggio, part of the Intelligence Service, who is certain that he knows the patient as a man who cooperated with the Germans. Caravaggio believes that the patient's memory is largely in tact and that he is running away from his past, in part or in its entirety. The patient does open up about his past, all surrounding his work as a cartographer in North Africa, which ... Written by Huggo

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:






| | |

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
See  »

Did You Know?


At a charity auction in New York in 2001, a shirt worn by Ralph Fiennes in the film fetched over $1900. See more »


The music that Hanna plays on the bomb-rigged piano does not correspond with the keys that she is actually playing. See more »


Almásy: I am a just a bit of toast, my friend.
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 »


Referenced in Mafia! (1998) See more »


Cheek to Cheek
Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
Irving Berlin Music Company
Performed by Fred Astaire
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By arrangement of Sony Music Licensing and Mrs. Fred Astaire
Performed by Ella Fitzgerald
Courtesy of Verve Records By arrangement with Polygram Film & TV Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The greatest romance movie of all time? Probably...
7 May 2001 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

I've seen a few movies in my time, but this one is exceptional. You'll have to watch it more than once to truly appreciate it, it is emotionally very complex, it explores love and passion at it's most extreme and it's cinematography is just breathtaking. The character of the Count is intensely passionate and tragic without him having to raise his voice or indeed leave his bed, the film is perfectly cast and perfectly acted. The film has a sort of mathematical precision and perfection to it which is rare these days. It combines action, love, tragedy, drama and politics all in one. This movie is unmissable, all the hype surrounding it and all the awards cannot begin to do it any justice. Hats off to Michael Ondaatje for writing the incredible book on which it is based.

142 of 213 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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