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Awakenings

  • Documentary and factual
  • Drama
  • 1990
  • Penny Marshall
  • 115 mins
  • 12

Summary

Drama based on the true story of neurologist Oliver Sacks, starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. In the late 1960s, shy neurologist Dr Malcolm Sayer arrives at a New York hospital and finds himself having to cope with his first patients, victims of the sleeping-sickness disease, encephalitis lethargica. Sayer is given permission to use a drug that up until this point had been successful in treating patients with Parkinson's disease. His first patient is Leonard Lowe, who has been comatose for 30 years, and the treatment produces astounding results.

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Review

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

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.

Credits

Cast

rolename
Leonard LoweRobert De Niro
Dr Malcolm SayerRobin Williams
Eleanor CostelloJulie Kavner
Mrs LoweRuth Nelson
Dr KaufmanJohn Heard
PaulaPenelope Ann Miller
LucyAlice Drummond
RoseJudith Malina
BertBarton Heyman
FrankGeorge Martin (1)
MiriamAnne Meara
RolandoDexter Gordon
Dr Peter InghamMax von Sydow

Crew

rolename
DirectorPenny Marshall

Details

Theatrical distributor
Columbia Pictures
Released on
1991-03-15
Languages
English
Guidance
Swearing, edited for violence.
Available on
video and DVD
Formats
Colour
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