7.8/10
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182 user 41 critic

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:

Writers:

(book) (as Oliver Sacks M.D.), (screenplay)
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3,410 ( 221)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Rose
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Bert
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Sidney
Laura Esterman ...
Lolly
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Rolando
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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 January 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Despertares  »

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robin Williams and Max von Sydow appeared in What Dreams May Come (1998). See more »

Goofs

The chocolate custard that is made for Leonard and Dr. Sayers is first shown to be crooked and off centered. Yet in the next shot, the cones handed to them are perfectly symmetrical. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Lowe: Oh, hello boys.
Leonard's Friend #1: Hi, Mrs. Lowe. Can I come up to play today?
Mrs. Lowe: Uh, no. I am sorry. Better not today.
Leonard's Friend #1: Oh, how about tomorrow?
Mrs. Lowe: Well, I am afraid, he won't be well by then either.
Leonard's Friend #1: Will he be well?
Mrs. Lowe: I don't know.
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Connections

Referenced in The Princess and the Warrior (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

You Made Me Love You
Written by Joseph McCarthy and James V. Monaco
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User Reviews

Robin Williams Should Do Films Like This More Often
25 October 2002 | by See all my reviews

"Awakenings" is a positively surprising career change of pace for its two leads, Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro. Based on a true story, the film is about the experimental drug invented by Dr. Oliver Sacks (Williams) and how it successfully awakened many paitents from catatonic states which had lasted as long as 30 years. DeNiro gives an especially moving performance as one of the paitents who also turns out to be one of the drug's biggest success stories. It's a real shame how overlooked this film turned out to be for Williams' career. He should be getting praised for his quality dramatic performances in films that matter like this one rather than for his inferior comedies. This film proves that Williams can successfully expand his range and be a great dramatic actor. The same goes for DeNiro and his performance here as well.


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