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The English Patient (1996)

Ralph Fiennes , Juliette Binoche , Anthony Minghella  |  R |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (451 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Kristin Scott Thomas, Naveen Andrews
  • Directors: Anthony Minghella
  • Writers: Anthony Minghella, Michael Ondaatje
  • Producers: Alessandro von Norman, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein, Paul Zaentz, Saul Zaentz
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 25, 1998
  • Run Time: 162 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (451 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304806426
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,337 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The English Patient" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

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Winner of nine Academy Awards and almost every critic's heart, The English Patient (based on Michael Ondaatje's prizewinning novel of love and loss during World War II) is one of the most acclaimed films of modern times. Hana, a nurse (Juliette Binoche), tends to an archaeologist (Ralph Fiennes) who has been burnt to a crisp in a plane crash. As their relationship intensifies, he flashes back to his overwhelming passion for a married woman (Kristin Scott Thomas). Meanwhile, Hana begins a new romance with a man who defuses bombs (Naveen Andrews) and Willem Dafoe almost steals the show as the thumbless thief Caravaggio. The intricately layered flashback narrative, sounding the depths of the lovers' hearts, improves with repeated viewings.

Product Description

The English Patient

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
(452)
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
146 of 154 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Painting September 5, 2005
Format:DVD
This rare and beautiful film, based on a book that is felt as much as read, transcends the medium to become art. Painted on a vast desert canvas with deep rich oils, its beauty is felt as much as seen. This film will find your heart and remain there forever. If love had a face, it would look like this.

Director Anthony Minghella's screenplay shifts the center of Michael Ondaatje's story slightly in order to capture on film the essence of his beautiful prose. Ondaatje's novel is one of poetic beauty, a potrait of a rose beneath the water's surface. The film brings that beautiful rose out of the water and into the sunlight. The book and the film are so deeply intertwined you can not watch this film without wanting to read the book, nor can you read the book without wanting to see the film. The story itself centers around three people either in love with, or haunted by ghosts they have loved and lost to war.

Juliette Binoche gives an Oscar winning performance as Hana, a kind nurse with a gentle spirit but a damaged heart. She latches onto the burned and charred body of a man known only as the English patient, and ends up caring for him in a shell ravaged Italian villa in Tuscany where she feeds him plums and reads to him. When a man named Caravaggio with scars of his own arrives, the mystery of who the English patient really is begins to unfold via flashbacks. In the present, Hana begins to let her heart heal when she falls in love with a Sikh who disarms bombs left by the Germans.

It is the memories of the English patient, however, which are at the heart of this film. Ralph Fiennes gives a subtle performance as the introspective Almasy, part of an international expedition mapping an unending desert with both the romance, and the danger of the sea.
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84 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ownership, belonging and an earth without maps. May 15, 2004
Format:DVD
After the publication of Michael Ondaatje's Booker-Prize-winning "English Patient," conventional wisdom soon held that the novel, while a masterpiece of fiction, was entirely untransferable to any other medium: too intricately layered seemed its narrative structure; too significant its protagonists' inner life; too rich its symbolism. Then along came Anthony Minghella, who reportedly read it in a single sitting and was so disoriented afterwards that he didn't even remember where he was - but who called producer Paul Zaentz the very next morning and talked him into bringing the novel to the screen. Two major studios and several fights over the casting of key roles later, the result were an astonishing nine Oscars (Best Picture, Director - Anthony Minghella -, Supporting Actress - Juliette Binoche -, Cinematography, Editing, Art Direction, Costume Design, Original Score and Sound), as well as scores of other awards.

"The English Patient" is an epic tale of love and loss; of ownership, belonging and the bars erected thereto. It unites the stories of five people: Hungarian count Laszlo de Almasy (Ralph Fiennes), mistaken as English by a British Army medical unit in Italy after professing to have forgotten his identity; Hana (Juliette Binoche), Almasy's Canadian nurse; Katherine Clifton (Kristin Scott Thomas), his erstwhile lover; Kip (Naveen Andrews), a Sikh sapper and Caravaggio (Willem Dafoe), an ex-spy and thief.
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154 of 169 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant February 2, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I love this movie. In fact, it was the first movie I ever purchased (VHS) many moons ago. I first saw it in a theater with a hard-bitten financial-analyst friend of mine (male, straight). I'm an engineer (male, straight). We are not weepy types. We were both moved very much by this movie. I don't agree at all that this is a chick-flick.

This is a movie aimed at adults. If you want: constant action, simplistic plot, black-and-white relationships, car crashes, shoot outs (OK, it does have some crashes and shooting), then you probably want to look elsewhere. Casablanca, to which this movie has been contrasted, (though a good movie) could fall into the category of propaganda: produced during WWII, everyone conformed to the main line. Real people had real lives going on during WWII.

I find that the negative reviews of this movie fall into two categories: 1) those who are (terribly) morally offended by extra-marital affairs, and 2) those that can't follow a complex plot and set of characters. If you can see beyond those issues, and you like a good, complex tragedy, you should enjoy this movie.

This is a wonderful movie. The cinematography is gorgeous, music is fantastic, story is complex and compelling, the characters diverse and engaging. Everyone I know liked this movie a lot. Two love stories, plenty of tragedy and twists. Great actors and acting. The story is revealed slowly through flashbacks, it's a great dramatic device and works very well. I am a voracious reader and I have read the book as well: I prefer the movie (I can only say this about one other novel/movie: Dr. Zhivago). Like I said, everyone I know liked it very much. Enjoy.
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