7.8/10
121,332
220 user 44 critic

Awakenings (1990)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama | 11 January 1991 (USA)
Trailer
2:44 | Trailer
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)
Reviews
Popularity
1,644 ( 261)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

Many cars from the 1980s parked on the street. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Sayer: [in job interview] It was an immense project. I was to extract 1 decagram of myelin from 4 tons of earth worms.
Dr. Sullivan: Really!
Dr. Sayer: Yes. I was on the project for 5 years. I was the only one who believed in it. Everyone else said it couldn't be done.
Dr. Kaufman: It can't.
Dr. Sayer: I know that now. I proved it.
See more »


Soundtracks

Shanghai Shuffle
Written by Gene Rodemich (as G. Rodemich) and Larry Conley (as L. Conley)
Performed by Fletcher Henderson
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

User Reviews

 
Can someone please tell me WHY??
26 February 2005 | by elle55407See all my reviews

Can someone please tell me WHY Penny Marshall never received an Academy Award nomination for this? This is an excellent movie. A truly great film. My opinion? DeNiro's best role to date. He was superb. While I loved "Schindler's List," I think DeNiro's role by far out muscled Liam Neeson as an Oscar contender. (No disrespect to Neeson intended.) But I'm still disappointed over that one.

Robin Williams was wonderful, as well. As was Julie Kavner. Can't believe we never saw much of her after this role. She's a definite talent. Excellent casting by Marshall.

For anyone out there who hasn't seen it, RUSH to your video store TODAY! It's truly one of those "Don't Miss" films. It will definitely give you some life perspective.

As for Ms. Marshall - I believe one of these days, we are going to be seeing an Oscar with her name on it. "Best Director!" She gives all women in film something to strive for.


138 of 176 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 220 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 January 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Awakenings See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$31,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$417,076, 25 December 1990

Gross USA:

$52,096,475

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$52,096,475
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page



Recently Viewed