7.8/10
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Awakenings (1990)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama | 11 January 1991 (USA)
Trailer
2:44 | Trailer
The victims of an encephalitis epidemic many years ago have been catatonic ever since, but now a new drug offers the prospect of reviving them.

Director:

Penny Marshall

Writers:

Oliver Sacks (book) (as Oliver Sacks M.D.), Steven Zaillian (screenplay)
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Popularity
2,458 ( 514)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Leonard Lowe
Robin Williams ... Dr. Malcolm Sayer
Julie Kavner ... Eleanor Costello
Ruth Nelson ... Mrs. Lowe
John Heard ... Dr. Kaufman
Penelope Ann Miller ... Paula
Alice Drummond ... Lucy
Judith Malina ... Rose
Barton Heyman ... Bert
George Martin ... Frank
Anne Meara ... Miriam
Richard Libertini ... Sidney
Laura Esterman Laura Esterman ... Lolly
Dexter Gordon ... Rolando
Jayne Haynes Jayne Haynes ... Frances
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Storyline

1969. Dr. Malcolm Sayer is hired as a clinical physician at a local hospital in the Bronx, despite he only having a research background. The job is not ideal on his side as he has difficulties relating to people which is the reason he has focused on research projects not involving human subjects, while the hospital hires him somewhat out of desperation in not finding anyone else with the qualifications who wants the job. Most of his patients are in a semi-catatonic state and are housed in what some of the orderlies coin the "garden" ward, where all they can do for the patients is water and feed them. He notices that some of the patients, despite their generally catatonic state, respond in unusual ways to certain stimuli. In doing some research, he also finds that some common bonds between these patients are that they suffered from encephalitis in the 1920s or 1930s, and that their physical states are like they have Parkinson's disease frozen in time. As such, he is able to convince, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There is no such thing as a simple miracle.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert De Niro and Barton Heyman previously appeared in Bang the Drum Slowly (1973). See more »

Goofs

Dr. Sayer's coat is unbuttoned when he caught up with Nurse Eleonor Costello at the stairs of the hospital, then when he asked her out it is buttoned. When they descended the stairs it is unbuttoned again. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Sayer: [in job interview] It was an immense project. I was to extract 1 decagram of myelin from 4 tons of earth worms.
Dr. Sullivan: Really!
Dr. Sayer: Yes. I was on the project for 5 years. I was the only one who believed in it. Everyone else said it couldn't be done.
Dr. Kaufman: It can't.
Dr. Sayer: I know that now. I proved it.
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Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.82 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Shanghai Shuffle
Written by Gene Rodemich (as G. Rodemich) and Larry Conley (as L. Conley)
Performed by Fletcher Henderson
Courtesy of MCA Records
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User Reviews

 
A great film.
16 November 1998 | by Peach-2See all my reviews

Penny Marshall's Awakenings is a very emotional movie and heartwarming to say the least. Marshall has out done herself with this picture. The movie is a masterpiece. Robin Williams is great and Robert De Niro should have won the Oscar for his performance in this movie. De Niro hits every note perfectly and shows why he is the greatest actor of his generation. The movie is well written by Steven Zaillian and Penny Marshall did a super job. Bring a hankerchief to this one.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 January 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Awakenings See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$31,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$417,076, 25 December 1990

Gross USA:

$52,096,475

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$52,096,475
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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