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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 love, there are no boundaries. 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?


The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Juliette Binoche and Colin Firth; and three Oscar nominees: Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas and Willem Dafoe. See more »


In the first scene with the plane flying over sand dunes: the shadow of the wing on the plane, the shadow of the plane on the dunes, and the shadows cast by the dunes themselves suggest three different positions for the sun. The shadows of the dunes also change length and direction when the camera angle changes to behind the plane in the next shot. See more »


Almásy: Could I have a cigarette?
Hana: [laughing] Are you crazy?
Almásy: Why... why are you so determined to keep me alive?
Hana: Because I'm a nurse.
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 Film 2016: Episode dated 30 January 2014 (2014) See more »


It's Only a Paper Moon
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by Billy Rose and E.Y. Harburg
Published by Warner Bros., Inc. & Chappell & Co., and Glocca Morra Music Corp.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Absolute Perfection!
8 December 1998 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

TEP is like a long cool drink of water after crawling across the Sahara to classic film buffs who have been too long deprived of that certain cinematic magic! Not only is it beautifully photographed, but the characters are perfectly portrayed. If you're looking for the film to be a mirror of the book, you will be seriously disappointed. Instead, it is an excellent "companion" to the book, and I think that is what Anthony Minghella intended. Ralph Fiennes is probably the most beautiful man in the world; not to mention a brilliant actor. Juliette Binoche is the posterchild for vulnerability and childlike enthusiasm. And, of course, I'll go see any film in which Kristin Scott Thomas is featured. She simply must be THE best actress since the likes of Deborah Kerr. So much was promised with this film, and so much is delivered!

109 of 171 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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