Patch Adams

Farrell/Minoff & Blue Wolf & Bungalow 78 Productions Released 1998


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Movie Summary

Tom Shadyac

Patch Adams is the 1998 Dramedy starring Robin Williams about a doctor who uses humor above all else to cure his patients, and is now available on Amazon. Based on the true story of Dr. Hunter â��Patchâ�� Adams, Patch (Williams) is a depressed mental patient who, in his institutionalized recovery, discovers a passion for helping people. He decides to be a doctor and enrolls in medical school. There he realizes that making people feel better mentally helps them get better physically. He meets beautiful med student Corin and is able to win her over. His silly outbursts and funny antics, though loved by patients, angers his by the book superiors and his future at medical school is temporarily put to question. Outraged by the cold practices of modern medicine, Patch and Corin marry and open their own free clinic. All is wonderful until Patch's life is shaken to the core, and he must hold strong to his beliefs to get through his own struggle.



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Metacritic Score

  • 60

    Variety Joe Leydon

    Shamelessly sappy and emotionally manipulative, Patch Adams is an aggressively heartwarming comedy-drama that may be roasted by critics but embraced by ticketbuyers.

  • 40

    The New York Times Elvis Mitchell

    Low humor might count for more here if it weren't constantly overshadowed by the film's maudlin streak.

  • 40

    Los Angeles Times

    Williams knows when material is working, and he knows the sound of an honestly aroused crowd. This ain't it!

  • The Ultimate Movie Review! -- @tss5078

    In arguably one of his best roles, the late Robin Williams portrays Patch Adams, a man who decided to make his life about helping others. Adams believes that patients need to be treated not just for their physical ailments, but also for their emotional well being. He also believes that like freedom of speech, healthcare is an inalienable human right that should be provided to everyone. This is a film that was written specifically for and with the help of Robin Williams. While Adams himself admitted that much of it was inaccurate, the film fulfills it's message, by using an extreme mix of emotion and humor. While watching this film you'll go between tears of laughter and tears of sadness, in a film that will really hit home with a lot of people. This is what Robin Williams was known for, he told his stories and got his messages out, while at the same time entertaining and inspiring people to be the best that they could be. If any other actor had played Patch, it probably would have been a slow moving drama, that just made everyone sad, but Williams made the story one that made you think and it sticks with you. As it recent weeks it has come to light that Williams himself was sick, and this may be the reason he took his own life, I can't help but wonder if on that night, had he watched this film, would the outcome have been different?moreless
  • Based on a Real Story?


    Why does Robin Williams do this to himself? We know he's a great actor, we know he's aiming for an Oscar nomination...but this wasn't the film to do so.

    "Patch Adams" is a 1998 film that is based on the real experiences of Hunter "Patch" Adams, a doctor that uses emotional interaction and laughter as means of medicine. When I first heard of this, I was afraid that the term "Based on a Real Story" would deteriorate from the biography such an interesting subject into a misguided fairytale for adults, like "Moulin Rouge!". So, I watched the film and...I was completely right.

    The movie's means of portraying his methods are childish and flat. Patch's idea of using laughter as a cure extends beyond running around with scissors in his hands.

    Like most "Real Story" films, this one relies too much on cheap tearjerker moments and sappy overtones rather than intelligent examination. The directors seem to vilify the opposing doctors who say Patch's means of medical execution is "unorthodox" and "embarrassing". You know, those doctors have s good point.

    There are scenes that show Patch making fun of someone who's catatonic, doctoring patients without a medical license, and even stealing from a hospital. Is that really someone you'd rely on? A doctor that steals from hospitals and pokes fun at your condition? In a sense, that really is unorthodox and embarrassing.

    The character of Carin was the most frustrating. The 90s media was known for stereotyping characters, especially women. Female characters were known to be stay-at-home emotional support, so films in the late 20th Century tried to portray women as no-nonsense workers with dark, depressing secrets. Yes, because women aren't confident and independent for our personal welfare. No, we're all just tragic characters who let our broken past get in the way of being ourselves.

    Now, since I've described the term "Real Story" often gets away with fictional trifle, let's do some comparisons:

    Carin finally falls victim to the stereotype when she admits to Patch her dark secret: she was molested by several men as a child and has dreamt of being like a butterfly, flying away from the world untouched and beautiful. Patch assures her that she can trust men, and they start a relationship. Conveniently, one of her patients calls her and asks her to come visit him, hoping that she can figure out what's wrong with him. When she does, he shoots her to death and turns the gun on himself.

    Wow...did that really happen in real life? Of course not, don't be ridiculous!

    When Patch was young, he had a male friend that was murdered long before Patch decided to be a doctor. So that shows how flawed the directors were in making this movie. I can't trust filmmakers that disrespect a dead man by changing his gender, fabricating a romance with a real person, and going as far to exploit child molestation as a means of entertainment.

    This is insulting not just to the man who lost his life, but to Patch Adams himself, because that scene proves how the movie's portrayal of using humor over logic is so confused. Again, this relates to what I said about the poor execution. If the filmmakers wanted us to be emotionally invested in this film about such a fascinating person, they should've done their homework and understand how to envision Adams' methods beyond cheap ways of creating another 90s dramedy.

    Okay, to be fair, the acting is good and Williams is enjoyable to watch. I just hate how he repeats himself and refuses to offer any originality to the roles he chooses. Also, if you take out the fact that this is based on a real story, this wouldn't be that bad. It'd just be another manipulative sapfest rather than an insult to such a cool person.

    In fact, Patch Adams saw this movie, and he didn't like it, either. He felt that the movie didn't take him seriously and that they really don't know who they're writing about. If you want to see a real professional, just look the guy up. If you instead choose the movie, that's fine, but I wouldn't recommend using the film as a primary resource for any reports about him.moreless
  • Based on a true person.

    GREAT!! Robin Williams is such a great actor when it comes to drama.

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


More Info About This Movie


Comedy, Drama


med school, fighting doctors, fish out of water, altruistic behavior, dramedy