Awakenings (1990)

In this film, Dr. Malcolm Sayer takes a job at a Bronx psychiatric hospital and is put in charge of several seemingly catatonic patients. Under Sayer's painstaking guidance, they begin responding to certain stimuli. Sayer is then given… More

Directed By:
Rated: PG-13
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: December 19, 1990
DVD Release Date: August 28, 2001
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Critic Score: 89% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Elevated by some of Robin Williams' finest non-comedic work and a strong performance from Robert De Niro, Awakenings skirts the edges of melodrama, then soars above it.

Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic

Williams gives his best "straight" performance, shorn of all his marvelous manic vaudeville. The man he plays here is not a performer, which he was even in Dead Poets Society, but simply a man.

Full review…
Bianca Garner
In Their Own League

...another classic from the director, and a real tear jeaker as well.

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Chuck O'Leary

A beautifully moving, life-affirming true story.

Nell Minow
Common Sense Media

Nonfunny Robin Williams role in moving story.

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Simon Miraudo

a curiously-underloved film... Awakenings will get a re-evaluation in the wake of Williams' passing, and that's great. It's just a tragedy it took a tragedy to precipitate it.

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Emanuel Levy

A potentially intriguing story, based on the actual experiences of Dr. Sacks, gets a characteristically middling, sentimental and uplifting from director Penny Marshall.

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Toussaint Egan

With stirring lead performances courtesy of Williams and De Niro, Awakenings is a beautiful and captivating film about making the most out of life.

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Rob Humanick
Projection Booth

Maybe life affirming, but hardly life-changing.

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Caffeinated Clint

Tour-de-force performances and one memorable storyline

More reviews for Awakenings

Flixster Audience Score: 89% Flixster User Reviews
Carlos Magalhães
A wonderful film that is sweet and melancholy without being sentimental and with two phenomenal performances by Robin Williams and Robert de Niro. Full review… More
Christian C
Touching...but not really moving. Well-acted.
Mark Walker
"I'm sorry! If you were right, I would agree with you". Despite being a prominent director throughout the 80's and 90's, surprisingly,… More
Spencer S.
Awakening to the world after thirty years, lost youth, the incomprehensible loss of who you were in contrast to who you could be in the future, is a heavy… More
KJ Proulx
Based on a true story, a doctor moves to a new institution where he examines and tries to cure schizophrenic patients who are very far gone. Once he comes… More
Chris Weber
The last time I saw this was sometime in the early 1990s. but back then I didn't really get much out of it, nor do I really remember much of it.… More