This is the story of the first years of the A.I.D.S. epidemic in the United States and focuses on three key elements. Dr. Don Francis, an immunologist with experience in eradicating smallpox and containing the Ebola virus, joins the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to try and understand just what this disease is. They also have deal with bureaucracy and a government that doesn't seem to care. The gay community in San Francisco is divided on the nature of the disease, but also what should be done about it. Finally, this movie deals with the rivalry between Dr. Robert Gallo, the American virologist who previously discovered the first retrovirus and his French counterpart at the Pasteur Institute, Dr. Luc Montagnier, that led to disputed claims about who was first to identify the A.I.D.S. virus.Written by
The scene where Jim Curran inquires Don Francis about what's the butcher's bill mark on the board (the death toll revolving AIDS cases) in reality was something that in reality was an idea conceived by Selma Dritz, the character played by Lily Tomlin, as mentioned in Randy Shilts book. See more »
Dr. Robert Gallo:
All right, explain one thing to me. Ten times ten times ten, my name is in every book ever written on the human retrovirus. Why would you get in bed with the French instead of me?
Dr. Don Francis:
Is it you against the French? I thought we were all against the virus. If you go to court now, everybody loses. You, the people who die while you quibble...
Dr. Robert Gallo:
What do you want?
Dr. Don Francis:
I want to stop you from turning a holocaust into an international pissing contest!
See more »
The HD version available to stream on HBO has been cut in a few places compared to the earlier DVD release. Timecodes are for the Webversion.
@ 00:41:50 When Max Essex calls and asks Dr Gallo "Are you working on the new gay disease yet?" he just replies "No, Max." where originally he replies "No. To tell you the truth Max, that really doesn't interest me."
@ 01:41:13 After Dr. Gallo asks Dr. Popovic to call the French institute to get another sample of their virus he originally also says "And while you're at it, find out how they keep the cells alive." which has been cut.
@ 01:49:36 When Dr. Francis speaks to Dr. Gallo about the French scientists having the virus since a year and a half and can prove it in court the following dialog has been cut:
Dr. Gallo: What do they pay you? The French. Dr. Francis: The gift of time and the smile of healthy children. Dr. Gallo: Don't laugh. I've used that line 50 times and I still believe it. Dr. Francis: Who wrote it for you? Dr. Gallo: Well, of course the French are claiming they wrote it for me. A year and a half ago no less.
@ 01:51:10 Just before Dr Gallo enters the room for the meeting with the French scientists in Paris, a short sequence of the scientists waiting and a line that Dr. Luc Montagnier says; "25 minutes is quite long enough to wait." has been cut.
@ 02:03:00 When Dr. Luc Montagnier has finished his press conference a question from a reporter, and the reply, has been cut:
Reporter: Are you suggesting, sir, that Dr. Gallo stole the virus from the French? Dr. Montagnier: I think that question would best be answered by someone else. See more »
Unbelievable, wrenching film. This movie is told so thoughtfully and well; the sequences are laid out thoughtfully, and this is one of those rare movies literally told from the heart. The cast is just remarkable. What a huge story to tell; this could easily have become garbled due to the overwhelming subject matter. However, it is sequenced well, and acted so well, that you sit there in astonishment that this could happen in a world full of otherwise brilliant people.
I don't know what it will take to remove political considerations from life-and-death struggles...How about we work at saving lives, and worry about who gets credit later? If someone becomes injured due to gang warfare, we don't deny them care or drag our feet because we don't agree with the gangster "lifestyle".
Absorbing, heartbreaking and touching. A fantastic and, obviously, loving job by the entire cast.
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