The English Patient (1996)

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great looking and great cast

Too long and drawn out

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The English Patient

Studio:  Miramax Films

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  November 15, 1996

MPAA Rating:  R


I think you look great!

World War II is nearing its end and a mysterious burned man (Ralph Finnes) is being tended to by a nurse named Hana (Juliette Binoche).  Claiming amnesia, the patient is slowly dying.  When a man named David Caravaggio (Willem Dafoe) shows up at the church where Hana is tending to the patient, he brings with him a tale of betrayal that only the burned man can reveal.  Hana will hear the story of a married woman, an secret romance, and the war that tried to separate them…and what really happened in a desert cave to leave the man in his condition.


I’m all thumbs…NOT

Directed by Anthony Minghella, The English Patient is an adaptation of the 1992 novel by Michael Ondaatje.  The movie was met with critical acclaim and won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Juliette Binoche), Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Sound with nominations Best Actor (Ralph Fiennes), Best Actress (Kristin Scott Thomas), and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The English Patient suffered an unfortunate moment when Seinfeld decided to point out that the movie was long and rather dull at points.  As I watch The English Patient again, I can only think of Elaine screaming “Die already”…This is unfortunate because the movie does have a lot of great moments.


Hmmm…not the best artist. Now get me down!

The story just takes way too long to develop.  The plot is grea tand the telling is perfect, but it feels like more should have been cut.  The horrifying idea of dying alone in a cave in the darkness is now one of my fears…Thanks, English Patient.  I hadn’t thought of that before.

The acting is also quite good.  Ralph Fiennes has the juicy role as the scarred man, but I think much of the movie is stolen by the women.  Juliette Binoche is great as the woman refusing to give up on her patient and I really like her romance with future Lost star Naveen Andrews.  Kristin Scott Thomas plays a great secret romance to Raph Fiennes, and I like Colin Firth as her cuckold husband.  Willem Dafoe is creepy as always as the thumbless man seeking revenge but the fact his character changes through the course of film shows depth for what could have been a one-dimensional character.


The desert (like the movie) seems to go on forever…

Regardless if you like the movie or not, it does look fantastic.  I love the desert scenes in addition to the scenes in Italy.  Images of the plane flying above the dune with Katharine Clifton’s scarf flapping in the breeze are quite iconic, but forgotten since the movie is considered a bore.

The English Patient is one of those Best Pictures that feels like it was built to win awards.  It is great looking with a great cast.  The story is dramatic and tragic…but it is also just way too long.  There are other Best Pictures that feel a lot longer, but few were actually turned into a joke.  Try to forget the jokes and enjoy the movie.  It does have a lot to give…I just wish they could have done it in two hours.

[easyazon-block align=”center” asin=”B0064MT1QW” locale=”us”]

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response