Penny Marshall (1990)

12 Certificate


Our Score
Robert De Niro and Robin Williams star in this powerful dramatisation of neurologist Oliver Sacks's book, based on his real-life success in "awakening" patients who had been trapped in a comatose state for over 30 years after contracting sleeping sickness in the 1920s. Williams shows his versatility by playing the shy scientist, though it was De Niro who got the Oscar nomination. Too upbeat for some tastes, Penny Marshall's film got mixed reviews on its release, but still earned an Oscar nomination for best picture. An absorbing treatment of an intriguing subject.


A research doctor in a New York psychiatric hospital provokes equal measures of professional interest and suspicion when he appears to have discovered a means of reviving patients who have been trapped in a catatonic state for over 30 years. Fact-based drama, starring Robin Williams, Robert De Niro, Julie Kavner, Penelope Ann Miller, Max von Sydow and Alice Drummond.

Cast & Crew

Leonard Lowe Robert De Niro
Dr Malcolm Sayer Robin Williams
Eleanor Costello Julie Kavner
Mrs Lowe Ruth Nelson
Dr Kaufman John Heard
Paula Penelope Ann Miller
Lucy Alice Drummond
Rose Judith Malina
Bert Barton Heyman
Frank George Martin (1)
Miriam Anne Meara
Rolando Dexter Gordon
Dr Peter Ingham Max von Sydow
Director Penny Marshall
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Columbia PicturesGuidance: Swearing, edited for violence. Available on: video and DVD