Rolling Stone - 01/10/1991
"...An emotional knockout....Williams and DeNiro are astounding. So's the movie. It takes a piece out of you..."
USA Today - 12/20/1990
"...De Niro's widely praised performance is like the rest of the film: competent, a product of hard work..." -- 3 out of 4 stars
Los Angeles Times - 01/11/1991
"...Marshall has a gift for reticence..."
Based on the true story of a research physician who uses an experimental drug to "awaken" the catatonic victims of a rare sleeping sickness. The first patient to receive the drug (De Niro in an astounding performance) is filled with awe and enthusiasm that teaches the introverted doctor to value life's simple pleasures. Academy Award Nominations: 3, including Best Picture, Best Actor--Robert De Niro, Best (Adapted) Screenplay.
A pioneering neurologist wants to take a risk and give his patients who suffer from encephalitis a drug used for Parkinson's Disease. He tries it out on one man who miraculously wakes from his perpetual catatonic state. After his initial success, the hospital staff allows him to "wake" the other patients on the ward, who all make remarkable recoveries. But the "miracle" proves fleeting as, one by one, the patients return to their solitary, trance-like worlds.
Character Study |
Mental Illness |
Personal Triumph |
Tear Jerker |
Theatrical Release |
The film is based on the experiences of British-born neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks at a hospital in the Bronx, New York. It was shot in the Kingsboro Psychiatric Center in Brooklyn.
Shot in Technicolor.
Robert De Niro won the New York Film Critics Circle award for his starring performance in this film, and the Martin Scorsese film "Goodfellas," which also opened in 1990.