Awakenings Poster

Release Date: 1990

DVD Release Date: September 9th, 1997

PG-13|2 hr 1 min

Plot Summary
The story of a doctor's extraordinary work in the Sixties with a group of catatonic patients he finds languishing in a Bronx hospital. Speculating that their rigidity may be akin to an extreme form of Parkinsonism, he seeks permission from his skeptical superiors to treat them with L-dopa, a drug that was used to treat Parkinson's disease at the time.

Cast: Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Julie Kavner, Ruth Nelson, John Heard, Penelope Ann Miller, Alice Drummond, Judith Malina

Director: Penny Marshall

Genres: Drama

Production Co: Columbia Pictures Corporation

Keywords: New York City, Hospital, 1960s, 1930s, Friendship, Doctor, Inspiring, Growing up, Emotional

Ratings & Reviews

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  • After seeing Awakenings, I read it, to know more about what happened in that Bronx hospital. What both the movie and the book convey is the immense courage of the patients and the profound experience of their doctors, as in a small way they reexperienced what it means to be born, to open your eyes and discover to your astonishment that "you" are alive. show more

  • Awakenings is a troubling film, but it's also a courageous one that dares to tackle a difficult subject with sensitivity and honesty. [20 Dec 1990, p.E1]

  • The director Penny Marshall has gone straight to the heart of this complex story and made a powerfully poignant and illuminating film. She doesn't hesitate to push for the grand sentimental moment, but balances the teary stuff with restraint and humor. To be sure, Awakenings seems calculated to induce weeping -- and it does, without making the weeper feel cheap. [20 Dec 1990, p.A14]

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Nominated Best Picture
Nominated Best Performance By an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Nominated Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated Writing (Screenplay - Based on Material From Another Medium)