Medicine Man [VHS]

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Director John McTiernan (Die Hard) does an underwhelming job with this potentially interesting story of a research scientist (Sean Connery) who discovers a cure for cancer in the Brazilian rain forest, but then can't retrace his steps in creating the potion. Added pressure on his work is coming from developers burning down the forest, while an American bureaucrat (Lorraine Bracco), who holds the purse strings on the grant, has arrived to give him a bad time. The crucial chemistry between the stars just isn't there (Bracco can be hard to take at times), and, despite the added exotica of local witch doctors and seeing Connery swing through the trees, the elements just don't come together in this well-meaning but disappointing movie. --Tom Keogh

Academy Award(R)-winning star Sean Connery (Best Supporting Actor, 1987 -- THE UNTOUCHABLES), reunites with action director John McTiernan (THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, DIE HARD) for another powerful collaboration in the heroic box office smash MEDICINE MAN! Screen favorite Connery plays Dr. Robert Campbell, a brilliant but unorthodox scientist racing against time in his bold research for a cure against cancer. Set deep in the forbidding Amazon rain forest, this action-packed hit follows Campbell hot on the trail of an amazing discovery -- but the eccentric recluse soon finds himself caught in the midst of an explosive adventure! Also starring Oscar(R)-nominee Lorraine Bracco (Best Supporting Actress, 1990 -- GOODFELLAS), MEDICINE MAN delivers unmatched entertainment with its spectacular mix of breathtaking scenery, captivating performances, and thrilling, nonstop excitement!

Customer Reviews:

  • Loved it
    This is the greatest movie of all times. I wanted this copy because my old one got damaged. I love it and am glad I found it here....more info
  • Interesting Movie
    The movie, Medicine Man, revolves around a scientist named Dr. Robert Campbell and his research assistant Dr. Pat Crane. Crane travels to the Amazon rain forest to be Campbell's requested assistant, but she surprises Campbell because he did not expect a woman and thus treated her in a condescending manner. After a while, he begins to get accustomed to her, and they both work on his search to find a cure for cancer. Campbell tells Crane that his first experimental serum, made from the flowers of the juju plant, was able to successfully cure the cancerous lumps in an Indian woman's neck and made him the medicine man. But when he tried to recreate the serum using the same ingredients, it did not work again. Campbell and Crane continue his research, and they begin the cure race when the previous Indian woman's son develops cancerous lumps in his neck too. They try to find the original medicine man in order to question him about his knowledge of the juju plant, but they abandon their plan after their encounter with an Indian from a different region. One day, Crane is testing more samples of the flower when Campbell discovers that specific ants from the rain forest actually are the key ingredients to making the serum work. He and Crane quickly run to their usual location to gather more ants, but they encounter the road construction workers who beat up Campbell for trying to stop their construction work. The workers make a fire which burns out of control and spreads to destroy the entire region of the rain forest. The movie ends with Crane and Campbell following the Indians to their new settlement by the river to continue their search for the crucial ants.
    I thought that this movie was okay, but not great because I did not like the way Lorraine Bracco chose to play Dr. Pat Crane. Crane is supposed to be a very accomplished and experienced scientist, but she is always yelling and gets easily upset. There are times when she is silently touched by Campbell's interactions with the native children and his sketches, but these scenes do not last very long and soon, she begins to get upset again. However, I really enjoyed Sean Connery's performance and portrayal of a soft-hearted man with more bark than bite. The scenery is also very beautiful and gave me a very clear picture of how precious the rain forests really are.
    This movie also provides many examples of the concepts we have learned in Biology so far. One of the most obvious examples is based on ecology and the fact that rain forests have rich ecosystems with a diverse population of plants and animals. Campbell and Crane are in the Amazon rain forest in search of a cure for cancer because rain forest plants have been known to provide many important medicines for diseases like leukemia and Hodgkin's disease (made from rosy periwinkles). In one scene, Crane gets a headache and Campbell hands her a medicine drink made from a tree bark, and this is the same as in real life because aspirin was originally extracted from willow bark. Campbell also refers to the rain forest canopy, and this related to our studies because out textbook states that rain forests have "stories" and the top layer is the canopy. When Crane is making hypotheses about the source of the p-37 acid in the original cure serum, she includes fungus as one of her choices. We also learned that fungus is important for medical purposes, and the textbook says that the drug cyclosporine, which prevents transplanted organ rejection, was found in soil fungus.
    Campbell mentions to Crane near the beginning of their cooperative research that the juju plant flower is only found 100 feet up in the canopy tops of the rain forest trees. He says that they are unable to grow anywhere else in the forest and that it is probably due to the fact that the tree tops meet the specific growing requirements of the flowering plant. This is related to what we learned about how some organisms depend on others for growth and survival. Campbell also says that the natives asked him to pray for more rain and that each year there is a decrease in rain because of the decrease in amount of rain forest land. In the plant unit, we learned that plants lose the majority of their absorbed water from their leaves and into the atmosphere. From there, the water condenses into clouds, and more clouds make more rain, and this explains why less rain forest means less rainfall. Deforestation and habitat loss are also evident in the movie with the construction workers burning down large areas of the forest to build the main road. The forest is quickly reduced to burnt stumps, and many habitats for the unique plants and animals like the ants are lost. As a result, the researchers need to look for the ants elsewhere.
    In another scene, Campbell performs a checkup on Crane to make sure that she is not carrying any diseases that could possibly spread and kill the native Indians. He reveals that the common cold can wipe out the Indians and tells the story of how the swine flu killed an entire population in a different region because a white foreigner went to the rain forest to make a profit off the natural resources. This relates to our virus unit where we learned that populations never exposed to certain sicknesses have no immunity to them and therefore are at risk of dying out. Campbell states that no precautions are ever enough because viruses are so small and can easily travel through the air.
    ...more info
  • Connery with charisma, charm and a story too boot, but
    Bracco is just over the top, pathetic. honestly. Ok so she's from the Bronx, yeah we are told that countless times. I dont know enough about her, to know if she talks like that all the time, but she seemed scripted, overacted and reading lines from a first year at film school. This isnt a Tide Commercial. Her reactions to rather life threatening situations were trite, her facial expressions were monotone, her style was unwitty and uncharming, unlike Connery, who was just splashing the screen with depth and morality and professionalism. Bracco defines her character as a tough broad with a doctorate that perhaps shined a little too much through. Personally take her out of the whole movie and it would have been a brilliant little film. Reminds me somewhat of the sleeper, 'Beyond Rangoon', and if I am not mistaken, at least to the date of this review, is still not available on DVD.

    I didn't think the tough broad inner city attitude worked in this pairing. The mild, yet canny love triangle they find themselves in, was tired and paltry. It didn't work, no one wanted it to work and I don't care even if it did work.

    While some of the scenes were perfectly breathtaking, the film as a whole, especially with John M at the helm, could have been stunning. I am sorry to see such talent as Connery has, be placed side by side with trivial, adolescent acting ability....more info
  • medicine man
    Great movie...very true to life....been there done on somethng to think about...almost all of our newe medicine come this way...oiur medicine men are only different that the theirs in there dress and equipment.........james...more info
  • A movie with a message, that still manages to be highly entertaining!
    Being an avid Connery fan, I had to watch this movie in the theater when it came out. I admit I was sceptical about Connery playing the role of a researcher in the amazon rainforest, but I was willing to give my favorite Bond actor the benefit of the doubt. I entered the theater expecting a preachy, or overly technical, story line, but was overwhealmed by the humanity, comedy, and truly marvelous character development this movie provided. Without giving away plot details, I'll simply say this movie is filled with beautiful scenes, and wonderful characters for whom you actually care. All things considered, this movie was well written, wonderfully acted, and beautifully directed. I highly recommend it. There are elements of native nudity, which may offend some, but I would still claim this to be a great family movie!...more info
  • Great promise, greater disappointment.
    Medicine Man is seriously flawed. Some of the photography is very appealing, but the writing is amateurish with a silly plot and ignorant repartee. Even worse was the casting. Connery is a believable male lead, and anything that makes the movie passable is to his credit, but why was Lorraine Bracco cast opposite Connery? There is zero chemistry between the two, and she is just completely inappropriate for the role. Acting is more than yelling and screaming and exhibiting obnoxious behavior. It was a struggle to actually finish watching it.

    There is yet to be made a quality movie on this subject....more info
  • Sean Connery at his finest.
    This is a well done film as it is both entertaining and informative. Connery is as always the consummate actor. Ms .Bracco is superb in her role. It is a top notch film and should be seen by all. I now wonder what wonders of science are being destroyed every day in that rain forest. You can not believe what the scenery looks like and how we are destroying so rapidly.
    ...more info
  • Medicine Man
    Wonderfully unique performance by Connery. The story is adventurous, well-presented and a definite BONUS is the photography contents and the MUSIC! ...more info
  • Medicine Man
    Love the movie. Have it on VHS and wanted it on DVD. Delivery was prompt. If you want a movie this is the place to go....more info
  • Leonard Malton is quite wrong
    I am so offended by Leonard's review that I just HAVE to write at rebuttal.

    When I first saw this movie on the big screen it was utterly breathtaking. The scope, depth, humour, and characterizations were all excellent. Then there was the incredible view from the top of the forest canopy!

    I also lament that theatres are shrinking here in Houston. So the really big screen that helped generate that reaction are becoming rare. I have no way to afford a home theatre of a scale to get the impact of that moment.

    I have the PAL VHS and am buying the widescreen DVD now that I have a DVD player.

    If you are considering the purchase of film, I strongly recommend it.

    Sorry Leonard, but this is no where near the only "miss" that you have published. It is time to grow a deeper appreciation of the world....more info

  • Ponytail In Need of a Pony
    Unlike a number of Sean Connery rarities now available round the world, this one is more than watchable and should have been better that it has turned out. Something which could be said of a number of projects Connery has tried to save, even "Never Say Never Again". It was, after all, directed by John McTiernan off the back of "Die Hard" and it does have a healthy patina of high production values about it. The concept is typical of Connery choices : something interesting - a cure for cancer in remote jungles being decimated before research can find salvarion - that nobody else had wanted to tackle and which offered originality in a copycat industry. The hair style is Connery's best choice till "Red October", the scenery (especially swinging in full control through jungle canopies), the support of a well-pre-Sopranos Braco, the contributions of native actors, untapped ideas and locations : this one is worth a look or a re-assessment. It didn't quite make it, but is often better than many in that field....more info
  • Enchanting
    This dvd was one I have wanted for a long time.
    I have it in vhs and have almost worn it out.
    If you like a good mystery wound around a romance with a dash of drama,this is a must see/own movie.
    The scenery is great,the plot fabulous and the acting superb.
    ...more info
  • Biology at its best
    Sean Connery caught my attention immediately, while viewing the film in my biology class, with his tone of voice and choice of words. While we were supposed to be paying attention to their research methods and different variables in their research, I marveled at Connery's ability to steal the show, and Bracco's ability to make their relationship all the more humorous. The chemistry of the characters, they loathe each other at first, at each other's throats for most of the film. The film gave a good view into the lives of the natives in the rain forest, as well as the horrors of the destruction of it -- so many potential medicines are being lost everyday, along with plants and animals that have never been documented. A good film altogether and even better to write a paper about research on....more info
  • Medicine Man
    Love this movie! I am an instructor for pharmacy technicians and I use this movie in my lesson plan. We enjoy it, they learn!...more info
  • Good Movie for Sean Connery fans
    yes, originally I bought this VHS tape because of Sean Connery. But it's also a good look at the Rain Forest and it's exploitation. Great plot, great acting and the natives are wonderfully entertaining and wise in their ways. The scenery is amazing!
    A bit about the plot...Lorraine Bracco is a scientist sent to check up on Sean Connery who has been working there for years but they haven't heard of any progress, but has requested more equipment. But Lorraine was not his first request for an assistant. Little by little Connery and the natives win her over as they work on a promising cure for cancer.

    I'm ordering this DVD as we will be moving to Belize in the next few years and will have some rain forest for ourselves. This movie will be just the teaser to keep us going.
    MEF...more info
  • Medicine Man
    This movie is one of the best and down to earth movies i've ever seen The movie reminds us that if we keep destroying the earth we will destroy all hope of a cure to the things that ail us. Sean Connery was exalent....more info
  • Overwhelming Scenery, especially on big screens!
    a wonderful movie, every time we watch it, the scenery of the rain forest is breathtaking, the dialogues funny, the topic serious. A rare piece of a film. Maybe because the topic of burning down our forests is not very profitable for the economic world......more info
  • Better Than Bond
    This is one non-James Bond that should be in the DVD library of a family's home. Great to watch over and over. Sean Connery gets better with age. It is the first movie that the leading lady looks good with a tattoo. Just the perfect touch to compliment Lorraine Bracco....more info
  • Touching Movie
    I always liked this movie when I was younger and now that I am older nd sudiy Biology I loe this movie even more and I understand the idea behind better. ...more info
  • Reel bad
    I thought this movie was a huge stinker. I couln't believe how bad the acting and plot of the story was. My family already figured out what the "cure" for cancer was before the characters even came close. Other parts of the movie seemed ridiculous as well. . . trash this one....more info
  • Wonderful movie...Please replicate in DVD format
    Sensitive and humorous...Spectacular rain forest scenery...more info
  • Fantastic Wake-up Call
    This movie has an unmistakable message, one that everyone needs to hear. This world is full of great mysteries that God has created for us to discover, and how can we do that if we allow greed to take over? This movie reminds us that we (human race) don't know it all and God has given us everything we need, as long as we are not too stupid to realize it.The actors do a wonderful job, the scenery is braethtaking and I highly reccomend this movie as a social, scientific and spiritual experience....more info
  • Not the best Connery, but darn good stuff.
    Sean Connery plays a recluse doctor who discovers the cure for cancer, while working in a rainforest, among a tribe of natives. The dialogue is engaging and often witty. The plot is engrossing. Connery's character is thoroughly likeable and understandable. The setting is lush and wonderous. Even the natives' muddled English is translated for you in subtitles. It's an easily watchable film. And, listen to the great soundtrack, the music is intense and vibrant. It's a gem of a movie. I've watched it twenty times, so far....more info
  • Bookworm
    Loved the scenery in this movie. Of course Sean Connery is wonderful in anything he stars in. Lorraine Bracco was too dramatic for my tastes. I think she overdoes her acting sometimes. ...more info
  • Often maligned film benefits from closer examination
    This is a film that seems to provoke a suprisingly wide range of different reactions, many of the negative ones directed toward aspects of the screenplay, a apparent lack of chemistry between Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco, and the aggressiveness of Bracco's performance. Yet while this is essentially an entertainment film, to me it has many redeeming features, and the above criticisms also do not necessarily stand up to closer scrutiny.

    As other reviewers have pointed out, Medicine Man is also a relatively rare action/adventure film with a difference. After all, there aren't many films that feature a botanist as the central character, presumably because botanists are perceived as being simply too quiet to fit into the usual Hollywood mold. In fact, Connery does an admirable job of portraying a believable character, one who in many ways reminds me of my old university tutor when I was studying botany myself years ago. Bracco's potrayal of Rae Crane, too, is far more convincing than she has been given credit for. She is strong-willed and certainly most assertive, but I still find her both intelligent and appealing. I would have no problem getting along with her in the field. I somehow wonder whether those who dislike her in this film have difficulty with the fact that she is a powerful woman character; if this character were a man, I think it is more likely that he would be judged as having more positive personal attributes, such as determination and character, etc. The way the romance develops is also quite unsentimental and matter-of-fact, a most welcome development in a mainstream American film. Maybe some people would have preferred a typically feminine Hollywood female character along the lines of Pretty Woman, but I doubt very much whether that would have done much for the film's credibility.

    The film's ecological message is one that cannot be emphasized strongly enough in these times, and, moreover, it is well-integrated into the story. Medicine Man is often compared to The African Queen, with Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. Although I enjoy The African Queen, the jungle surroundings in that film serve as little more than a picturesque backdrop for the romance. In Medicine Man, produced in more environmentally-conscious times, the rain forest itself and its plight are central to the story, much as in John Boorman's The Emerald Forest (a film that makes an interesting comparison).

    It should also be noted that the Medicine Man has excellent production values, with fine photography and a most appealing and fitting Jerry Goldsmith score. Additionally, the stereo soundtrack is used to great effect to present the rain forest sounds, in particular the rain itself.

    Admittedly there are some aspects in Medicine Man that could have been handled in more depth - for example, the cancer cure itself is presented rather simplistically, by realistic standards - but even though essentially an entertainment film, Medicine Man carries a much more serious and urgent message than, say, Jurassic Park. Perhaps for this reason, too, it has tended to be more highly rated here in Germany, where public environmental consciousness is especially high. I can personally recommend Medicine Man as an appealing and entertaining film; not a great film, admittedly, yet it surprises me just how often I can still watch it and still get something out of it....more info

  • Medicine man
    This is an excellent movie with a heart wrenching ending. I truly appreciate its plot as I am studying herbal medicine for a second career as a holistic wellness consultant....more info
  • Great entertainment, important message
    In this movie the lead scientist of a pharmaceutical firm (Bracco) travels to the Amazon rainforest to see what a field botanist (Connery) is up to. In the course of their interactions the street-wise city-dwelling Bracco experiences the transformative value of spending time in nature. At the same time, Connery struggles to come to grips with a personal history that torments him. In the meantime the two of them work together to race against time to locate the source of a possible miracle drug.

    I show the movie "Medicine Man" to all of my Introduction to Environmental Studies classes. Many of my students have seen the movie either in the theater or on video, but they have viewed it only as entertainment. There is a lot more to this movie than entertainment value though.

    If I were reviewing this movie for entertainment value alone I would probably rate it at about 4 stars. The cast is good, Connery and Bracco do a great job, and I particularly enjoy the supporting cast of local folks.

    The reason I rate it as a 5 star movie, and show it to my classes, is that the movie shows a believable story of the plight of indigenous peoples and the loss of pristine habitat, the importance of maintaining biological diversity, and the detrimental impacts humans can and do have on the natural environment. More important than that, however, are the lessons that can be picked up with respect to the importance of nature's ability to change people's attitudes if they step back and give it a chance.

    Good entertainment, and a great message about the environment.

    5 stars.

    Alan Holyoak, Ph.D., Director of Environmental Studies, Manchester College, IN...more info

  • Top-Notch entertainment with a message!! DVD please!!
    A very realistic premise. Connery gives a marvelous performance but the scenery is an unmatched experience that makes the movie....more info
  • A woman among the witchdoctors and the wizards.
    This film is not spectacular. But it is one of the first important films on the deep value of the Amazon's rain forest. A doctor discovers there a plant from which he extracts a miraculous element that cures nearly everything. Then he tries to start again and produce more of the drug, following his notes. And he fails. He never matches the first batch. He asks for an assistant, and the film makes it funny by sending a young woman. She re-does everything and she prepares new concoctions. And suddenly it works. Why ? Because, running out of sterile sugar she uses the one that is on the breakfast table. And in this sugar there are ants. The famous peak 37 that gives its potency to the drug comes from the secretions of the ants in the sugar. What cures man is an animal element. Then the suspense of the film comes from the coming of a road, of the road builders who are pushing the Indians, the forest and their secrets away. Today we are more advanced in the denunciation of this scandalous destruction of the rain forest, just as much as we are more advanced in the destruction of the rain forest itself. But the film is kind of quaint, ? precious ? as is the last word of the film itself. Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, Paris Universities II and IX....more info
  • Only available in region 1
    Having just seen this movie on Dutch television I hoped to get it, but it seems only to be available in region 1. A pity because it's a wonderful movie. Scientifically it may be a little simplistic (finding a cure for cancer in a wooden hut) but the important points are well made and convincingly integrated into the story line. I wonder if the "official" reviewers were watching the same movie!...more info
  • Medicine Man excellent
    Sean Connery is at his best in the movie. Lorraine Bracco is great. Loved it in the theater so bought it to watch over and over....more info
  • One of my favorite films
    Walking into the theatre not really having much of a clue as to what the movie was about, I walked out suprised and delighted. Sean Connery had an exceptional performance. The entire movie was a delight...more info
  • Medicine Man
    "Medicine Man" is, in my personal opinion, an entertaining, funny movie with a real life message about conserving our natural resources. This movie focuses on plants and animals and all of their posibiities for unknown uses, including medical cures that undiscovered and non-studied plants and animals possess. As an example, just recently the venom of the Gila Monster, Heloderma suspectum, has been found to be of great use in treating Type One adult diabetes and possibly some cancers. We as a race, are just scratching the surface of what these remarkable flora and fauna have to offer the human race and this movie depicts the same and the risks of the loss of it all, due to greed and ignorance. K. McCloud...more info
  • A dream of Discvery
    Much of the story required a considerable suspension of disbelief but was entertaining. I believe it was modeled on a real person who searched for anti-fungal drugs and who worked alone. An official of her supposed rank would never been sent into such a setting. The drug company would send a flunky who would just shut the operation down. The photography and costuming was excellentand both leads were credible, considering the constraints of the scripts....more info
  • Medicine Man DVD
    Yum! How can you go wrong with Sean Connerly? Absolutely splendid movie, scenery and bantering back and forth between Dr. Campbell and Dr. Rae Crane.

    Highly recommended for an enjoyable time!...more info
  • Good Connery film
    A well written story line with an all too accurate ending which left me feeling quite sad. Connery is excellent in his role and the dialogue is very good. The scenery is breathtaking......more info
  • humorous
    sean connery is great no matter what kind of role he plays. this movie was exciting and very funny....more info
  • Beware of Corporate America
    007 NOT, but an older and very sexy Sean Connery definitely. One of my all time favorite mature actors now that he is out of the 007 genre, this is probably one of his least know movies but a real gem. Powerful story line that really makes you think about what we are doing to our planet and all the living things around us in the guise of 21st century man and his developments along with the absolute greed and destruction inflicted on the world by corporate america and corporate world.
    The premise of a mysterious hidden cure for cancer in the depths of the Amazon jungle is not all that far fetched when you research what has been found there to date and the fact we are quickly destorying one of nature's real treasures on our planet that affects every living being. If you want mindless fluff I'd suggest another movie, but if you want something that makes you think seriously about our current world with good acting and scenery I'd check this movie out....more info
  • great Connery movie
    I love this movie and Lorraine Brocco and Sean Connery are a good team for this movie...more info
  • Refreshing storyline, engaging interaction of characters
    We saw this movie in the theatres, purchased the VHS video, and are now purchasing the DVD. Sean Connery is a favorite actor of mine and I enjoyed the jungle setting, interesting storyline, and interaction between the two main characters.

    Could it have been done better? Yes.

    Does that prevent me from liking this movie? Absolutely not....more info

  • This movie is well worth 2 hours of your life.
    I could watch this movie everyday for the rest of my life and still be drawn in by it. Not only is there the Sean Connery factor, but the scenic shots are amazing. It shows the beauty of the rainforest, and how easily that beauty can be destroyed. Connery and Bracco are excellent. They get the point across and still keep it all believable. The story line is great, it shows just how simple things can be if we allow them....more info
  • worthless
    I wouldn't even watch this movie again if it was on tv...don't buy it...more info
  • Eye opening
    This is a very eye opening movie, even if you don't consider yourself an environmentalist. What if you had the cure for cancer, but it was about to be destroyed at the hands of developers? We burn so much of the rainforest, despite the numerous discoveries scientists have made, that the reality of this story is tragic. This movie brings these things to light without being preachy. Very well done!
    Chrissy K. McVay - Author...more info
  • Medicine Man
    This is a great movie, showing that Sean Connery is a great all-around actor. More than a "James Bond"! The story line is intriging, and it appears to have been filmed on site, using natives, etc. The rain forest issue is very true. One of many movies I enjoy watching over and over!...more info
  • Greatest Film Ever!!
    Two major stars at their best! This is a remarkable film. The photography is stunning. Don't miss this one!...more info
  • I don't know what they're talking about
    I can't understand how people could say that this movie is no good. It may be a little "quiet" without alot of action or excitement. But it is not a light movie. I believe it holds a very loud message that modern civilization need's to hear: By destroying what God put on this earth, we actually destroy ourselfes. This movie brings this message through loud and clear. Acres and acres of forest and rainforest are burnt to the ground every day and this movie asks the question "do we know what we are burning down?" Very fine acting, beautifull scenery. You just have to have a slightly intellectual and enviromentist mindset to enjoy it....more info


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