A hospital's chief-of-staff struggles to find meaning in his life during a spate of staff deaths.


Arthur Hiller


Paddy Chayefsky (by)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
George C. Scott ... Dr. Herbert Bock
Diana Rigg ... Barbara Drummond
Barnard Hughes ... Drummond / Dr. Mallory
Richard Dysart ... Dr. Welbeck (as Richard A. Dysart)
Stephen Elliott ... Dr. Sundstrom
Donald Harron ... Milton Mead
Andrew Duncan ... William Mead
Nancy Marchand ... Mrs. Christie
Jordan Charney ... Hitchcock
Roberts Blossom ... Guernsey
Lenny Baker ... Dr. Schaefer
Richard Hamilton ... Dr. Ronald Casey
Arthur Junaluska Arthur Junaluska ... Mr. Blacktree
Kate Harrington Kate Harrington ... Nurse Dunne
Katherine Helmond ... Marilyn Mead


Dr. Herbert Bock (George C. Scott), the chief of medicine in a New York City teaching hospital, is contemplating suicide. He's impotent, his wife has left him, and his children aren't speaking to him. His hospital is also suffering from a recent spate of inexplicable deaths. In the midst of these setbacks, Bock is romantically drawn to the much younger Barbara Drummond (Dame Diana Rigg), whose father is a patient. As Barbara restores Bock's will to live, it turns out that the hospital deaths are murders. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Comedy | Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual content and drug references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


When Dr. Herbert Bock rants, "We have established the most enormous, medical...entity ever conceived and people are sicker than ever!" the slight pause, searching for the word "entity", was spontaneously ad-libbed by George C. Scott to save the take. The scripted line was, "we have ASSEMBLED the most enormous medical ESTABLISHMENT ever conceived." Scott heard his slip in mid-sentence, so he reworded the line so as to not make it repetitive. Director Arthur Hiller loved the save so much he used that take in the movie. See more »


About ten minutes into the movie, as the characters walk down a hospital hallway, followed by the camera, a technician and his microphone are revealed behind a nurse's cart. The camera then tightens the shot around the actors. See more »


Herbert Bock: You know, when I say impotent, I don't mean merely limp. When I say impotent, I mean I've lost even my desire to work. That's a hell of a lot more primal passion than sex. I've lost my reason for being... my purpose. The only thing I ever truly loved.
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Crazy Credits

Although Barnard Hughes played two distinct roles, the end credits lists Hughes as playing the role of Drummond but not Dr. Mallory. See more »

User Reviews

Well-written and scathingly funny
10 March 2015 | by Mr-FusionSee all my reviews

"The Hospital" is pretty much what you'd expect from a Paddy Chayefsky movie on healthcare. Its Manhattan Hospital Center is a Gothic horror funhouse in which patients are killed either due to neglect, the wrong diagnosis or any other manner of bureaucratic nightmare. All of this is played to the ridiculous extremes and it makes for some hilarious dark comedy.

George C. Scott is the film's fiery main attraction (the man is incomparable, really), and his frustrated character is both energizing and exhausting. And his one-on-one dialogues with Diana Rigg help give this movie its emotional core. But the outlandishness of this hospital is what makes this movie memorable for me. Which honestly isn't supposed to subtract in any way from Scott's contribution (seriously, watch this for him), but there's also Barnard Hughes' tirade in the OR, Mrs. Cushing's badgering of despondent patients for their Blue Cross numbers, and the kind of farcical healthcare environment that really hits a little too close to home, these days.

This is riveting absurdity.


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Release Date:

11 May 1972 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Right Smack Into the Wind See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Simcha Productions. See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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