William Hurt is perfectly cast as an arrogant surgeon who treats patients like interchangeable cogs in the machinery of his medical practice. Then he is diagnosed with throat cancer and, as the title of the memoir on which it is based tells us, he gets a taste of his own medicine. The subplot involves the solidarity between doctors, which is shattered when the newly conscious physician discovers that one of his partners (Mandy Patinkin) is trying to cover up a case of malpractice. Hurt is solid, as is Wendy Crewson as the doctor who treats him and Elizabeth Perkins as a fellow cancer patient. Interestingly, Hurt's fellow actors Patinkin, Adam Arkin, and Christine Lahti all wound up playing doctors on TV's Chicago Hope. --Marshall Fine
A must see for all medical personnel If you work in the medical field you have to give yourself the opportunity to see one of the best movies made starring William Hurt. A doctor who is good at what he does, surgery, but is flippant and unattentive to his patients. He does not treat them like people just as objects to talk over and around but never to.
This successful doctor gets sick and the shoe is on the other foot and he has to deal with the paperwork involved in being a patient, he has to deal with a distant and efficient doctor. He is demanding and rude to the staff.
He meets June who is a terminal cancer patient and she teaches him some of life's lessons.
A heart warming excellent story done with taste and grace.
A must see If you have epilepsy or no anyone with it you need to look at this movie it will help you so much ...more info
The Doctor Having had health problems and dealing with a plethora of Drs, nurses and health care "professionals" and ancillary staff, it is my personal opinion that many of them have never been ill and/or in need of hospitalization. This movie should be required viewing for everyone that earns a paycheck in any aspect of health care, from Drs to housekeeping to the switchboard operator. ...more info
dr. dr. This should be required viewing for ALL doctors . . .on a regular recurring basis....more info
Harrowing and Touching Yes, it's another cancer movie. This one has an interesting twist, though: this time it's about a doctor. Picture your typical Western doctor: all business, no muss, no fuss.
He has no compassion for his patients and even makes jokes of their illnesses. Then karma catches up with him and he is struck like a lightning bolt with the awareness of what it's like to be a patient in his own hospital. You will undoubtedly be amazed at the transformation of this man's surprisingly gentle and caring soul.
Need to be re-released! I am a Doctor (General Surgeon) and loved "The Doctor". I can not understand why it is not available any more. Every one that deals with patients should watch it. It need to be re-released in VHS and DVD....more info
Powerful A powerful movie of an insensitive surgeon who is moved to become a compassionate doctor after he is treated for cancer. All health workers should see this film. My wife recently died of cancer after a three year battle with the disease. We experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly in healthcare. The film was realistic in its portrayal of healthcare from the patient's perspective....more info
Great Training Tool This is a fine video for teaching health professionals about compassion in dealing with patients and families. Numerous scenes of casual disrespect toward patients make a big impact on the students. Highly recommended....more info
Moral, moving, and marvellous movie... 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....more info
Realistic account of the dehumanization of modern mediciene William Hurt is superb as a selfish doctor stricken with cancer. As he seeks a cure, he is subjected to the same uncaring, indifferent and humiliating treatment as other cancer patients. His experience brings about his redemption as a person and a doctor. The final scene on the roof of the hospital as he reads a letter from a fellow patient who has died is unforgetable....more info
Excellent This is a MUST see for all in the medical field, especially all medical students and physicians. To experience what patients actually feel and go through is truly an eye opener. ...more info
The Doctor This is a great movie. I am an aspiring minister and I had a fellow Christian recommend that I see this film because it is essential for people who will be working with people in hospitals to understand life as it is seen from a patients eyes. I think it is a must see for every person going into a helping profession or into the health field arena....more info
Movie: The Doctor I highly recommend this movie as it depicts what a lot of us go through as patients that doctors don't realize. I think every doctor should see this movie!!!...more info
CALLING DR KILDARE. One of the most unevenly produced pictures you're likely to see. It's Hurt's film, and does he ever hurt it. The movie begins with his surgical team operating successfully in a totally unprofessional manner-loose, seemingly under disciplined. Hurt thus begins to show the true colors of his personality; you'd better be on the same page as this fellow or look out! Wisecracks turn to firmness to deadly seriousess in a New York second, and one has to be ever alert to this obvious defense mechanism of keeping others at arm's length,of keeping total control. When potential death comes calling for him, he's totally unprepared for the ordeals that patients face every day-endless paperwork,waiting, incorrect prescriptions, waiting, systemic breakdowns, mis- diagnoses, lack of privacy,waiting, et al. If the film is any good at all, it's in this area, pointing out how broken the system is.In fighting his cancer, Hurt truculently rejects all advice, thus endangering his patients. Finally, he shows terrible judgment, spending days with a misdiagnosed,terminal cancer patient, thus endangering his already fragile marriage. Many reviewers see this as a very realistic film, and in many ways it is. Just don't have Dr.Hurt operating on me. Please send in the team of Dr. Howard, Dr.Fine, and Dr. Howard....more info
Dear Doctor I loved this touching movie and the story it tells. I would guess that all of us have at least once in our lives had to deal with an arrogant Doctor. This is a movie that touches our hearts and I would love to make this mandatory watching for all Health Professionals as part of continued education. ...more info
Doctor's conscience Every MD & health care provider should have to see this at least every 5 years....more info
Part of Health Care Problem This movie should be seen by anyone working the health care field - too often this is the kind of attitude we see today - medicine needs to go back to helping save lives and help with quality of care instead of making money off of sick and dying people...more info
William Hurt is great Simple plot concept -- successful, busy surgeon with uncompassionate bedside manner toward his patients -- develops cancer in his own throat. He now must go through the health care meat grinder as merely another patient. He must deal with his illness, family, colleagues, co-cancer patients, student interns, etc. The possibilities regarding human interaction and interpersonal dynamics in this situation are obviously limitless.
A high end cast and set. William Hurt carries the day with a wonderful performance as said surgeon. I was impressed also by supporting actors Mandy Patinkin and the understated great talent of Adam Arkin. I was a little less impressed by female players Elizabeth Perkins and Christine Lahti who I thought were both a little over the top (or maybe that's just me and women). The San Francisco backdrop is beautiful, as always. Well written and directed as well.
I would share an observation that caused me to ponder a bit ---- Perhaps I'm just a simple Midwesterner living here in flyover country --- but in the circles I travel in, life-threatening illness always involves appeal to the attention, mercy and resources of God (the "Great Physician" if you will). That aspect was absent in this film. Except for one ambiguous "thank God" utterance, the divine help was not mentioned or alluded to. One would think that SOMEBODY in the film would have at least a modicum of religious conviction.
Entertaining and well done. Runs a little over 2 hours. Recommended.
The lack of BESIDE MANNER and EMPATHY in the medical field. It is often said "Until it personally effects you, you will generally be apathetic."
THE DOCTOR is a magnificent true film of one Doctor who learns that true empathy and caring could only be learned when he himself falls victim to disease and the apathy and lack of empathy that he experiences from the medical community. This is an important film and needs to be taken very seriously.Viewed along with the riveting film WIT that explores the same subject, you will think twice about not only the possible shortfalls that you have experienced at the hands of medical professionals, but more importantly how you treat others who are in dire straits.This film makes us examine our own callous attitudes no matter what profession we are in.
Though this not always the rule, for what it is worth, my sister just completed cancer surgery at the #1 Hospital in this country. The surgery was a complete success, but the lack of care and concern had her in absolute fear, tears and anger. Oh yes, there are non-caring health professional, and there are those who go the extra mile. THE DOCTOR examines the former with great success!
William Hurt IS the perfect choice for this role. The script,acting and pace is perfection!
Another "caring" film about the medical profession would be BEAUTIFUL DREAMERS from 1990....more info
Medical wake up call I have seen this film a number of times, not the last of which was for a class called "Whole Person Care." I was going to school to become a Physical Therapist and the class was intended to make us aware of our need to treat people as a whole and not as a disease process. Very effective and enlightening for this purpose and has always stayed with me as I see the folks in my care. I purchased this film to use for the same purpose at a Nursing Home in which I now work and intend to provide it to the entire staff as continueing education. I know it will be as effective for the nursing staff as it was for me. I can only thank the folks who made this film for a fine motion picture that does more than just entertain. The entire medical profession should use this in their education....more info
A personal experience/ A must see movie I recently had a chance to see the Doctor again, albeit with different eyes. The basic story line regards a cardiovascular surgeon, technically brillant but bereft of human touch. Indeed, initially, he seems somewhat proud of his aloof stance, almost trying to make it into an advantage. He relates to his patients and residents as I have seen many physicians do. Truthfully, the more awful the diagnosis, the more at arms length many physicians hold the situation. Physicians routinely mention that a patient might die, but it's rarely really true and gets mentioned as a matter of fact. When death is really a possibility, it is much harder to say that you might die. Dr McKee comes face to face with this when he becomes the patient, diagnosed with a malignant laryngeal tumor he faces the rigors of radiation treatment and when this fails surgery. He finds that the standoffish posture he had always adopted no longer worked, and the impersonal surgeon he has no longer can do all the things he needs done, both surgically and emotionally.
I had to come face to face with some of these issues when I had to have heart surgery. Truthfully, the hospitals involved did treat me with some preference, but the fears and risks were the same. I learned first hand about the reticence of surgeons to talk about a real risk of death. My surgeon left a blank consent for me to sign. I dutifully filled out the consent including risks and benefits, like a good resident. I missed the chance to look him in the eye and tell him that I trusted him with my life, all the while realizing that it would have made him uncomfortable.... it always makes me uncomfortable. See, while we all realize that what we do carries significant risks, surgeons in the US are very well trained and do very good work. We all tend to assume that things will go very well; and they so often do that we tend to forget that they might not. We become uncomfortable when we realize that just those things are what patients are focused on, just those chances that things might not go well.
Everybody needs the human touch. Even when they seem not to want it.
See the movie. There are times that it's uncomfortable, but that's how it is sometimes, isn't it?...more info
A movie for every doctor and nurse to see This was a good movie for several reasons. It was entertaining and it well paced, not to fast to catch all the nuances but not poking along either. It had redeeming value with several lessons, i.e,. developing better attitudes toward patients, to spend more time with family, be more serious about the preciousness of life. I was glad to see William Hurt in a much better character than in Tuck Everlasting. He did an excellent job in transition of character. I thought it was well balanced in that the movie was not 'doctor or hospital bashing' but showing up the coldness and frivilous attitudes sometimes shown toward patients. I can appreciate this having worked in a medical center for 9 years and having been a patient for major surgery myself but in my case having several sweethearts for nurses (except for one). Some of us have also had doctor like Leslie Abbot: "Drop your pants so I can check your prostate!" June Ellis played by Elizabeth Perkins was the heart of the story. It was her character that brought about the change in a doctor's heart. Recommended for everyone but especially for health care workers. Review was of a DVD....more info
A good film on the importance of being actual people 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. Jack does the "team" thing by refusing to admit that they should have and giving her false hope with a lie about a patient in a similar condition who is now a grandfather.
As an aside, one of my family members died of a grade IV glioblastoma. It doesn't matter when they diagnose the patient. The treatments they offer are all about stalling death, not preventing it. In nearly all cases, the patient will die within a year. June's lack of functional deficit and lack of a surgical scar on her scalp are all dramatic license to help keep June completely sympathetic (gruesome is not sympathetic). Her head is shaved, but radiation treatment does not leave the scalp with a neatly shaved look. The hair falls out unevenly, and the high does of radiation often leaves the skin reddened and raw from being burned. There is no reason to hold back on the radiation dose, since it was all a Hail Mary kind of treatment. I hope the treatments have gotten better since 1999 and that someday real hope can be offered those afflicted with this miserable condition. The one great lesson life offers during this time is how little is needed to find life precious. We spend so much time putting conditions on our happiness that we cheat ourselves of so much. This kind of illness takes away the ability to even have good days and eventually even good hours. Good moments become wonderful and intensely full of life. Something as simple as a chicken salad sandwich and lemon poppyseed cake with a can of Vernors can provide an exquisitely memorable moment. The movie captures this to a degree, but not as powerfully as it can happen in real life.
Anyway, June becomes the means to Dr. Jack finding his humanity and becoming a better person and doctor. It is nice that the screenplay has Dr. Jack finding his way in a very uneven and often frustrating way. The movie ends with a kind of dramatic gag that rewards the audience for following an often grim story all the way through.
Good movie, good notes for all people - including medical professionals - to take about the importance of treating those with whom we interact on a daily basis as real people rather than as an impersonal piece of business....more info
One of my favorites... This movie is loosely based on the book "Taste Of My Own Medicine: When the Doctor is the Patient" by Edward Rosenbaum, M.D. It is about a physician who although he has been providing health care for years, he knows little about the caring part. That is until he becomes the patient, a cancer patient. The story that follows is wonderfully acted by William Hurt, who is joined by an equally wonderful cast. If you have ever been the patient, or better yet, the provider, this movie is for you....more info
THE MOVIE THAT KILLED M.A.S.H. The Doctor was another of those excellent, well-made 1990-91 releases pre-empted by laser-guided bombs and missiles of the 1990 Gulf War and forced into the video occult. But that's not stopped it from a second chance via DVD where it may get well-deserved recognition and revenues for each actor and crew's excellent contributions. The cast drove home messages that health care professionals need take a good look at "because one day you'll be sick to" ... So "physician, heal thyself" and thereby prepare to heal others all the way down to your bedside manners. The Word is eventually sent via Jack McKee and partner whose cavalier professionalism ("Get in, cut it out and couldn't care less!") is callously unsuited to genuine warmth patients need communicated to them. And then there's the insurance companies who, like them, run on "stats" and "the bottom line" to coldly determine who lives and dies on the medical production line. You don't know what it's like until you hear those 3 words "You've got cancer"; they'll floor you -especially if you're a physician who knows the realities of catastrophic illness. So "a taste of my own medicine" (subtitle to book movie is based on) engages McKee when he's told that. I've walked hospital hallways like McKee on the way to radiation therapy and sat with the terminally ill, knowing I'd likely survive (Or would I?) and that others were terminal, and encountered my own death watch. The disingenuous reassurance McKee gave others is sheer hypocrisy and his facetious talk of golf antagonizes "the herd," whom he'd felt beneath his ivory tower profession and HIS herd of incompetents. But now, his relation with a dying patient, whom he actually befriends, turns him inward and he admits his and the profession's shortcomings - then he falls out of love with himself - all too late to save her but soon enough to save himself and his family from the same callousness engulfing all but a few. It sends a strong message to those who profit from medicine at the deadliest expense to others whom it's supposed to save! My only complaint is that Amazon.com hasn't mailed me my DVD of it yet. How long will it take?...more info
A dose of your own medicine 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. And how too, sometimes we find spiritual and psychological 'healing' in the midst of the greatest physical peril.
The DVD contains no special features, only the movie, scene selection and set-up. Though it was made in 1990, it doesn't look too dated (apart from the cell-phones).
I have to admit watching this movie, I looked at the clock on the DVD player and actually hoped it wouldn't end. How many movies can you say that about?
I think the best moment in the story is when the doctor reads the story June gave him. I think there is a lesson in that that is relevant to all of us. Hopefully you'll get the opportunity to see what I mean by watching this movie.
SO in all, a brilliant, engrossing, poignant and real human drama built around believeable characters doing normal things and suffering typical tragedies that are enormous in our own lives. These are people we can understand and relate to, not the superficial and stereotypical larger-than-life, weirder-than-fiction characters designed to play with our minds and strum on our heartstrings. These people do touch your heart and mind for the right reasons...And maybe, if only for a moment, it causes you to question and reassess how you deal with others and the face you present the world, then maybe it has helped heal you a little bit too...If you need it, as most of us do....more info
One of my favorite films "The Doctor" is one of my favorite films. I have seen it maybe 10 times (on VHS) and know much of it by heart. There is nothing artificial about this film. It is a human story about real people, well directed and edited, and with sincere, fleshed-out performances from everyone in the cast.
At the opening we see the successful heart surgeon Dr. Jack McKee, quite full of himself, performing another major operation while "Let's Get Drunk and Screw" plays in the background. We see him as he makes his rounds, failing in his attempts to interact on a human level with his patients, substituting crude attempts at humor for genuine compassion. We see him failing at home as well, as his professional life alienates him from his wife and son. All this begins to change when a seemingly minor throat irritation is diagnosed as laryngeal cancer. Then he learns what it is like to be on the other side of the medical profession, and it changes his life.
William Hurt, a fine but perhaps somewhat limited actor, is perfect as Jack McKee, and he is wonderfully supported by Christine Lahti, who plays his wife, and Elizabeth Perkins, who gives an amazing performance as June, a young woman with a grade 4 brain tumor who has a powerful impact on Hurt's character. June and Jack share a scene in the desert at sundown that gives me a lump in the throat every time.
Also worth mentioning are Wendy Crewson, who plays a rather nasty ENT surgeon who gives Jack a dose of his own medicine (so to speak), and Adam Arkin as Dr. Eli Blumfield, "the Rabbi", who has often been the butt of Jack's humor around the hospital, because he talks to his patients while they are anesthetized.
The Doctor is a film that illustrates the importance of treating people as human beings and not as objects or numbers on a chart. Highly recommended! (I've pre-ordered the DVD too.)...more info
A Great Movie! I just love this movie. I saw it when it first came out back in the early 90's and just recently saw it again. I cannot believe I went all this time without watching this beautiful movie! I just recently acquired a VHS copy and have now watched it twice in only the last few days. What I like about the movie, first of all, is the fact that what happened in the movie then--with arrogant doctors, paperwork shuffling, etc.-- still applies today. The plot has never grown old. But what I really appreciate about the movie is the variety of issues it includes. It is to my understanding that this movie is required by atleast some medical schools for their curriculum. I do know however, that there are some doctors who apparently have not seen this movie (I know by experience of course) and need a dose of it themselves....more info
To BAD this is a GREAT movie! This is an excelent film. I can't beleve a movie of this class is not avalable on DVD. What is wrong with the movie studio? For now I will pop my VHS in and enjoy one of the best movies of both the 80's and 90's....more info
A Triumph! With sensitive performances by William Hurt, Elizabeth Perkins and Christine Lahti, The Doctor is a must see. Masterfully written, the story will touch anyone who has experienced the insensitivity of the medical profession and wished for a doctor who would empathize with the challenges and concerns of a personal health crisis. But there's more. The Doctor will be a film that you see and see again. The tremendous messages about important relationships, life and death will keep you coming back....more info
Must See! Everyone who is involved with health care (espically Dr's and Nurses) must see this movie. It should be a requirement for graduation from Medical or Nursing school..............more info
"Every doctor becomes a patient"... and that is what happens to Dr. Jack McKee. He's a rather unfeeling member of the medical profession, who believes strongly in not getting close to a patient. When he is diagnosed with throat cancer, he gets to experience what it is like to be scared after learning; be annoyed while waiting for other docs to get to him; fill out forms he just completed earlier in another part of the hospital & feel vulnerable while in one of those awful gowns (etc.) Jack becomes close to a woman who is also undergoing radiation treatment and she really helps him mend his ways.
This film is important to me. Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with a condition that required my numerous hospital stays...MRI scans...radiation treatments...and enabled me to see that there really are too many callous -- even cruel -- health care workers. They kept on coming, and it's enough to get you to care less and less about yourself and even refuse other treatment.
Knowing that all these folks who were mean to me throughout my treatments will someday be on the opposite end gives me some comfort. Every doctor should see this movie, based on a book written by a doctor ("A Taste Of My Own Medicine") that I recommend, too. An emotional, well-done movie that I am glad was made....more info
Wonderful, enlightening I am a health care worker, a nurse and a respiratory therapist and we some times forget what its like to be on the other side of the bed. This movie should be a must for everyone in the heath care field. It should be required for any type of health care school. Also the guy singing the song is Jimmy Buffet....more info
music hello i am trying to find the artist that sang the song WHY DONT WE GET DRUNK AND SCREW, the song in the movie the doctor, while william hurt was on the operating table, please advise, and where i might get a copy of the song, thanks carolyn...more info
beautiful film William Hurt's performance as a cold and arrogant doctor who finds out he has cancer and gets a lesson of life is wonderful(no surprise) as well as the whole cast including Elizabeth Perkins,Christine Lahti,Mandy Patinkin,Adam Arkin(yes, the doctors of chicago hope).Then you think: "but it's a doctor film" but actually this film is for all audiences not only for doctors. The scene where he gets a letter from a patient(Elizabeth Perkins)and he reads it on the roof of the hospital with pigeons flying is so beautiful and I couldn't hold the tears from tumbling down....more info