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The Doctor 1991 PG-13 CC

(237) IMDb 6.9/10
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His own experience as a patient changes the life of a surgeon.

William Hurt, Christine Lahti
2 hours, 3 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Randa Haines
Starring William Hurt, Christine Lahti
Supporting actors Elizabeth Perkins, Mandy Patinkin, Adam Arkin, Charlie Korsmo, Wendy Crewson, Bill Macy, J.E. Freeman, William Marquez, Kyle Secor, Nicole Orth-Pallavicini, Ping Wu, Tony Fields, Brian Markinson, Maria Tirabassi, Ken Lerner, Bruce Jarchow, E. Keith Polk, Nellye Leonard
Studio Touchstone Pictures
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 3-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Thompson on February 6, 2004
Format: DVD
After getting over the initial shock of seeing half the cast of Chicago Hope (when it was still a good show...and not the pale imitation of itself that it later became: Alan Arkin, Mandy Patinkin, Christine Lahti), this movie evolves into a fine, quiet, character driven drama. There are no great heroics, apart from June (Elizabeth Perkins), and even those are real, not manipulative, cliched, corny or obvious.
This is a movie that works to develop its characters and plot simultaneously and without artifice or obvious (groanable/cringe inducing) plot devices. None of them are in anwyay what you would call 'extreme' or cliched. They are just very normal people placed is a very stressful situation- the doctor being diagnosed with a growth in his throat and the changes in many lives this growth causes. The changes are both good, bad and 'educational' for most of them. The subplot- hospitals, statistics, malpractice cases, protecting each other- is subdued, never moralized or sermonized on but explored in a way whereby you can make your own judgements, based on some realistics situations (imagine a situation where somebody's life was worth less than $1000). The cast compliment each other and really connect. This movie is quite subtle at times and doesn't use in your face methods to make a point.
This is a movie then that is honest, beautifully made, accessible and at times really funny, and at times really raw and saddening. It isn't an episode of ER. So if you're looking for high medical drama look elsewhere. But if you're looking for real multi-layered human drama then look here. Honesty is the key word and theme in the movie (which if you watch it you'll understand what I mean). Honesty to oneself, others and just to the concept in general.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By on April 2, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Every doctor - and every patient! - should see this movie; the difference is that, not all doctors will understand *why* they should see it..
I use The Doctor when teaching my medical students how to avoid becoming a certain kind of doctor; the kind who is so detached from humanity that they never feel anything of the pain, fear - and the hope - that their patients feel. They have forgotten how to care, and they don't care to remember it.
This is a film about a medical `Everyman`; Jack (played by William Hurt with great integrity and skill)is redeemed as a human being - and as a doctor - by his own experience of serious illness, and by that of his friend - her death frees him from the blinkers of self-absorption. The scene where the two of them dance in the Nevada desert is breathtaking.
Supporting cast are excellent; especially Mandy Patinkin as Jack's unscrupulous surgical partner. Jack's initially dysfunctional family life is a central part of this movie, and the roles of his wife and son are well played.
The last scenes are amongst the best; especially where Jack is explaining to his interns why they are going to spend the next 24 hours not as doctors, but as hospital patients - wearing hospital gowns, undergoing all the appropriate tests, and (horror of horrors) eating hospital food.
The following and final scene is simply beautiful, as Jack stands on the roof of the hospital and dances by himself, revived and renewed.
Anyone involved in medical or healthcare education should have this video - and use it! Others should watch it to understand better what can happen to medical students along the way to becoming doctors.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 6, 2005
Format: DVD
This movie was made from a book by a doctor who told his own story about becoming ill and learning about the medical profession and its dehumanizing qualities by becoming a patient. It caused quite a stir at the time and this movie was quite popular when it came out. William Hurt plays the successful, brilliant, but cold heart surgeon, Dr. Jack MacKee. He and his beautiful wife, Anne (played so well by Christine Lahti), live a materially comfortable but emotionally detached existence with their son, Nicky.

Dr. Jack has been ignoring a raspy throat and cough until he coughs up blood. Soon, he is diagnosed with a tumor on one of his vocal cords. He becomes the patient of Dr. Leslie Abbott who is even colder than him, she is talented but sees only problems to fix, the person exists to her only as something to bring her the illness to cure. The doctors in this film are largely all of the same stripe. They are supreme problem solvers who avoid any involvement with the people they are treating. The one exception, and an object of ridicule of the other doctors is Dr. Eli Blumfield (portrayed very nicely by Adam Arkin).

As a patient, the unhuman sterility of the hospital and its policies become clear to Dr. Jack as he is treated as a container for the problem the doctors are to fix. One of the things all patients do is wait, and then wait, and then wait some more. While he is thus engaged in waiting helplessly for treatment he meets another patient, June Ellis (heroically played by Elizabeth Perkins). She is dying of a grade IV glioblastoma (a type of brain tumor). One of her complaints is that they should have found her tumor sooner. At first, Dr.
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