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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 134,178 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
See  »

Did You Know?


Anthony Minghella read the novel in one sitting after completing a previous shoot in New York; when he finished, he was completely disoriented and at first couldn't remember where he was, but he phoned Saul Zaentz the next morning to try and interest him in the project. Saul Zaentz not only read the book but discovered that author Michael Ondaatje was giving a reading near Saul Zaentz's home that weekend. See more »


American flags with 50 stars being waved by those on tanks instead of 48 in 1945. See more »


Almásy: I once heard of a captain who wore a patch over a good eye. The men fought harder for him.
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 »


Featured in Fleadh Report (1997) See more »


The Japanese Sandman
(1920) (uncredited)
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Ray Egan
Played as background music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

An epic tale of doomed love
19 March 2004 | by (Saskatchewan) – See all my reviews

'The English Patient' can rightly be compared to the films of David Lean, whose sweeping epics such as 'Lawrence of Arabia' and 'Bridge on the River Kwai' must have inspired the director Anthony Minghella. The film is beautifully photographed, and like 'Lawrence', is set in Northern Africa, but during the second world war. The story is complex, but it boils down to a forbidden love between an opinionated and often difficult archeologist played by Ralph Fiennes and a married woman played by Kristin Scott Thomas.

The story, based on a novel by Michael Ondaatje, is told in flashbacks by Fiennes' Count Laszlo de Almasy - the titular character. The fact that his name does not sound like he's English plays a key role in what unfolds. He has been badly burned in a plane crash, occurring just as the film opens, and is being cared for back in Europe by Hana, an army nurse played by Juliette Binoche. What makes this story epic is the vast sweep across place and time, and the development of characters beyond that of the two ill-fated lovers. The film makes clear that true love and passion, even with dreaded consequences, can make life worth living, or worth dying for. If you're a romantic at heart, and can appreciate a film without the standard happy endings and simple moral codes, you may find that 'The English Patient' speaks directly to you.

63 of 85 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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