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The English Patient

The English Patient (1996)



Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 72
Fresh: 60 | Rotten: 12

Though it suffers from excessive length and ambition, director Minghella's adaptation of the Michael Ondaatje novel is complex, powerful, and moving.


Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 25
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 3

Though it suffers from excessive length and ambition, director Minghella's adaptation of the Michael Ondaatje novel is complex, powerful, and moving.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 80,283

My Rating

Movie Info

Anthony Minghella wrote and directed this award-winning adaptation of Michael Ondaatje's novel about a doomed and tragic romance set against the backdrop of World War II. In a field hospital in Italy, Hana (Juliette Binoche), a nurse from Canada, is caring for a pilot who was horribly burned in a plane wreck; he has no identification and cannot remember his name, so he's known simply as "the English Patient," thanks to his accent. When the hospital is forced to evacuate, Hana determines en route


Drama, Romance

Michael Ondaatje, Anthony Minghella

Mar 24, 1998

Miramax Films

Watch It Now


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All Critics (72) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (60) | Rotten (12) | DVD (19)

Could this possibly be the Casablanca of the late 20th century?

January 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's the sort of solemn production that is often mentioned as an Academy Award contender.This says less about the quality of the film than it does about its self-consciously lofty tone and its sense of self-importance.

January 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a tragically lovely story about the cruel devastation of selfish and ungoverned love. It's also one of the best movies in a long, long time.

January 6, 2014 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film is a smashing success on its own terms, though as a transcendent love story it lacks the firm foundation in human reality that characterizes Lars Von Trier's superior Breaking the Waves.

January 6, 2014 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With its fine acting, sumptuous visuals and levels of intrigue, The English Patient boasts the elements of something greater than a love story. Too bad it devotes them to something less than a great love story.

February 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The triumph of the film lies not just in the force and range of the performances, but in Minghella's creation of an intimate epic: vast landscapes mingle with the minute details of desire, and the combination is transfixing.

February 24, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's an ambitious film and director Anthony Minghella's skill lies equally in his screenplay, which delivers explanation only in fragments but keeps us involved for what is an epic running time.

January 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

As a love story and an adventure story, The English Patient is the fastest, most powerful two hours and 40 minutes this year. It's terrific.

January 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

The English Patient is a modern movie that breathes vivid new life into the cliches of old-fashioned motion pictures, recalling a time when movies were graceful, complex and leisurely.

January 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

The English Patient's considerable pleasures are chiefly aesthetic, not emotional.

January 6, 2014 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

This World War II romantic drama has the epic feel of classic cinema.

January 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Spokesman-Review (Washington)
Spokesman-Review (Washington)

The film doesn't gather the emotional momentum that would make it compelling as well as impressive.

January 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

When the movie penetrates to the heart of their buried past, Patient becomes even stronger, stranger, grander -- a threnody beneath a cloudless desert sky.

January 6, 2014 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

Films this good don't come along very often -- The English Patient is one to savour.

February 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Overlong and stifling high-class desert war story that mixes a tearjerker romance with a beguiling mystery story.

March 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Gorgeous looking and achingly romantic literary adaptation that showcases expert performances by Fiennes and Scott Thomas.

January 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

Audience Reviews for The English Patient

The kind of overlong and self-important epic-scale drama that seems tailor-made to win every award for its outstanding visuals, performances, make-up and editing, but which suffers though from an excess of characters and subplots while lacking in focus and meaning.
July 7, 2014

Super Reviewer

Excellent, moving film. Fiennes can do no wrong. This is one of the few films in which I appreciated Willen Defoe's acting.
October 27, 2012

Super Reviewer

The English Patient is a film that I really want to enjoy. Unfortunately, I really couldn't get into the story. I do enjoy a good drama/romance, but Unfortunately this one simply just didn't do it for me. I applaud the acting, as I thought there was good performances here. Unfortunately I didn't very much enjoy the film. I didn't see what the hype was about. I thought the film was quite boring with good acting. I really wanted to get into this, but simply couldn't. For me the greatest romance of all is Casablanca. Everything else seems to be derivative. The English Patient is pretty boring, don't get me wrong, I love films that take time to develop its story, but this film could be much shorter. I felt that the film dragged on, and took far too long to get to the point. Unfortunately this films performances can't save this turkey. Sure people will say this is a sweeping romantic epic, but I thought it was a dud. Like I previously stated, there is only one true romance film, Casablanca. That film is a real classic. However I can't say the same for this film. This film tried too hard at manipulating your emotions and it just didn't work, at least not for me. I felt that The English Patient was a film too wrapped up in its romantic storyline, and it simply jerked your chain to try an sweep you off your feet. I wasn't impressed with this and felt this was a mediocre film with great acting.
February 17, 2012
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Based on the book of the same name, The English Patient is a sweeping drama that is complex, moving, and very powerful. It's breathtakingly shot, and the score by Gabriel Yared is one of the most beautiful I've ever heard. Juliette Binoche, Ralph Fiennes and Kristen Scott Thomas give emotional, powerful performances as well.
January 26, 2012
Raymond Wieser

Super Reviewer

    1. Katharine Clifton: New lovers are nervous and tender, but smash everything. For the heart is an organ of fire.
    – Submitted by Esty M (2 years ago)
    1. Count Laszlo Almasy: The thimble, you are wearing the thimble...
    – Submitted by Guy G (2 years ago)
    1. Katharine Clifton: We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves. I wish for all this to be marked on my body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography - to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience.
    – Submitted by Mich M (2 years ago)
    1. Count Laszlo Almasy: Every night.. I cut out my heart... But in the morning it was full again.
    – Submitted by Anastasia K (2 years ago)
    1. Count Laszlo Almasy: Swoon... I'll catch you.
    – Submitted by Anastasia K (2 years ago)
    1. Count Laszlo Almasy: I just wanted you to know: I'm not missing you yet.
    2. Katharine Clifton: You will.
    – Submitted by Daniela S (3 years ago)
View all quotes (8)

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Foreign Titles

  • Der englische Patient (DE)
  • Le Patient anglais (FR)
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