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Awakenings (1990)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama | 11 January 1991 (USA)
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2:43 | Trailer

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The victims of an encephalitis epidemic many years ago have been catatonic ever since, but now a new drug offers the prospect of reviving them.

Director:

Penny Marshall

Writers:

Oliver Sacks (book) (as Oliver Sacks M.D.), Steven Zaillian (screenplay)
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Popularity
2,963 ( 369)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Leonard Lowe
Robin Williams ... Dr. Malcolm Sayer
Julie Kavner ... Eleanor Costello
Ruth Nelson ... Mrs. Lowe
John Heard ... Dr. Kaufman
Penelope Ann Miller ... Paula
Alice Drummond ... Lucy
Judith Malina ... Rose
Barton Heyman ... Bert
George Martin ... Frank
Anne Meara ... Miriam
Richard Libertini ... Sidney
Laura Esterman Laura Esterman ... Lolly
Dexter Gordon ... Rolando
Jayne Haynes Jayne Haynes ... Frances
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Storyline

1969. Dr. Malcolm Sayer is hired as a clinical physician at a psychiatric hospital in the Bronx, despite he only having a research background. The job is not ideal on his side as he has difficulties relating to people which is the reason he has focused on research projects not involving human subjects, while the hospital hires him somewhat out of desperation in not finding anyone else with the qualifications who wants the job. Most of his patients are in a semi-catatonic state and are housed in what some of the orderlies coin the "garden" ward, where all they can do for the patients is water and feed them. He notices that some of the patients, despite their generally catatonic state, respond in unusual ways to certain stimuli. In doing some research, he also finds that some common bonds between these patients are that they suffered from encephalitis in the 1920s or 1930s, and that their physical states are like they have Parkinson's disease frozen in time. As such, he is able to ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There is no such thing as a simple miracle.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 January 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Despertares See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$417,076, 25 December 1990, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$52,096,475
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of Robin Williams' favorite films of his own. See more »

Goofs

Eleanor's scarf changes position a number of times while talking to Dr. Sayer outside, from hanging down the front of her body in the front shot, to being over her shoulder in the back shot. See more »

Quotes

Dr Malcolm Sayer: What we do know is that, as the chemical window closed, another awakening took place; that the human spirit is more powerful than any drug - and THAT is what needs to be nourished: with work, play, friendship, family. THESE are the things that matter. This is what we'd forgotten - the simplest things.
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Soundtracks

O Soave Fanciulla
from "La Bohème"
Written by Giacomo Puccini
Performed by Mirella Freni and Nicolai Gedda
Orchestra of the Opera House, Rome
Conducted by Thomas Schippers
Courtesy of Angel/EMI, a division of Capitol Records, Inc.
by arrangment with CEMA Special Markets
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A wonderful and touching film
6 December 2006 | by gates170See all my reviews

It's a tale about a doctor(Robin Williams) taking on a new job in the Bronx. His new patients are something of the unusual. A handful of them share an unexplainable disease. The rare disease has left these people frozen in time. One of his main patients is a man named Leonard Lowe, played by Robert Deniro. Doctor Sayer begins a diligent study. To the present day, there are still many questions surrounding this strange disease. During one amazing season in the late 60's, a miracle happened.

In my opinion, both Robin Williams and Robert Deniro should have won Oscars for this film. I always say that Williams with a beard equals an amazing performance. His role as the meek Dr. Sayer is heartwarming. He plays perfectly off Deniro's character. Robert Deniro is golden as Leonard, the disease afflicted patient that gives all of his consciousness to help Dr. Sayer. With the help of a large dose of medicine and care all the patients and hospital staff have awakenings.

One of the most important words spoken in the film is: LEARN.

This film teaches me to appreciate life a little more every time I see it. It hopefully sends us the message to enjoy life. To love and embrace what we have and perhaps learn not to take the natural joys in life for granted is the message.


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