Good Doctor Movies

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Since April 7th is World Health Day, I thought I’d put together this list of good doctor movies. Each of the following films feature physicians struggling against the system or working on innovative–and often dangerous–ways to advance medicine. From foreign classics to a Robin Williams movie not named Patch Adams, this list of good doctor movies should have something for everybody.

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M*A*S*H* (1970) – Adapted from the novel by Richard Hooker, Robert Altman directed a cast that included Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Robert Duvall, Sally Kellerman, Gary Burghoff, and Rene Auberjonois. While it’s set during the Korean War, this irreverent film features plenty of commentary on the Vietnam conflict that was still raging.

Flatliners (1990) – Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin and Oliver Platt play medical students who use near-death experiences to see if anything is out there. It turns out there is, and each member of the group is soon plagued with horrific visions.

The Citadel (1938) – King Vidor directs this film about a Welsh doctor (Robert Donat) trying to treat miners suffering from tuberculosis. But when he abandons his position in order to treat rich patients in London, his wife (Rosalind Russell) tries to inspire him to return. Nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.

Dead Ringers (1988) – One of director David Cronenberg’s many bizarre films featuring body horror. In this one, Jeremy Irons portrays twin gynecologists Elliot and Beverly Mantle. Since it’s a Cronenberg film from the 1980s, you can bet that both doctors will end up crazy as hell.

Johnny Belinda (1948) – Jane Wyman plays Belinda McDonald, a deaf and mute girl living in the Canadian countryside. When a recently-arrived doctor (Lew Ayres) takes an interest in her, it leads to romance, rape, and eventually a murder trial. Wyman would win a Best Actress Oscar, and the film was nominated for 11 more.

No Way Out (1950) – This powerful film features Sidney Poitier in his movie debut as a young doctor who tends to two racist criminal brothers who’ve been brought in by the police. But things get complicated when one of the men dies, and his brother (Richard Widmark) immediately holds the physician responsible.

The Quiet Duel (1949) – Akira Kurosawa directs this Japanese masterpiece about a doctor (Toshiro Mifune) who contracts syphilis while operating on a patient. With no cure available, the shattered young man continues to help those in need, hide his condition, and slowly drive away his loving fiancee.

Awakenings (1990) – Based on a true story, the film tells of compassionate doctor Malcolm Sayer (Robin Williams) and his work to revive patients who’ve been catatonic for decades. We also follow Leonard Little (Robert De Niro), a patient who tries to find love after physically moving for the first time in years. The film was nominated for Best Picture, and Robert De Niro also received a Best Actor nomination.

The Last King of Scotland (2006) – A young Scottish doctor (James McAvoy) journeys to Uganda and winds up becoming the personal physician of crazed dictator Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker in an Oscar-winning role). While the doctor is a fictional character, many of the details of Amin’s life are based on actual events.

Critical Care (1996) – James Spader stars as Dr. Werner Ernst, an idealistic young physician who finds himself caught in the middle of a legal battle between two half-sisters over their comatose father. While trying to give his patients the best care possible, Werner must also contend with his supervisor and the hospital’s uncaring legal team. It’s a comedy, by the way, and Albert Brooks is his usual reliable self.

All of the good doctor movies listed above can be rented from Netflix, and we’ll even receive a small commission for sending you there. And when you’re done, be sure to click on the following links. Oh, and happy World Health Day.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 at 6:09 pm and is filed under Good Movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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