The English Patient (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

The English Patient (1996)



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

The English Patient Trailers & Photos

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 that the patient shouldn't be moved far due to his fragile condition, so the two are left in a monastery to be picked up later. In time, Hana begins to piece together the patient's story from the shards of his memories; he's actually Count Laszlo Almasy (Ralph Fiennes), of Hungarian nobility and an explorer working with a group mapping uncharted territory in North Africa. An Englishman, Geoffrey Clifton (Colin Firth), soon joins Almasy's team; travelling with him is his lovely and spirited wife, Katherine (Kristin Scott Thomas). Katherine and Laszlo soon fall in love, which leads Laszlo to betray his friend, his country and all that is dear to him. Meanwhile, Hana and the Patient are joined by Kip (Naveen Andrews), a Sikh with a gift for defusing mines, and Caravaggio (Willem Dafoe), an intelligence agent who knows some of Laszlo's most shameful secrets. The English Patient won nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress (Juliette Binoche). ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: R (For sexuality, some violence and language.)
Genre: Drama, Romance
Directed By:
Written By: Michael Ondaatje, Anthony Minghella
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 24, 1998
Miramax Films


Ralph Fiennes
as Count Almaszy
Willem Dafoe
as David Caravaggio
Kristin Scott Thomas
as Katherine Clifton
Colin Firth
as Geoffrey Clifton
Jürgen Prochnow
as German Officer
Kevin Whately
as Sgt. Hardy
Clive Merrison
as Fenelon-Barnes
Nino Castelnuovo
as D'Agostino
Clive Morrison
as Fenelon-Barnes
Raymond Coulthard
as Rupert Douglas
Lee Ross
as Spalding
Anthony Smee
as Beach Interrogation ...
Matthew Ferguson
as young Canadian soldi...
Jason Done
as kiss me soldier
Roger Morlidge
as sergeant, desert tr...
Simon Sherlock
as private, desert tra...
Sebastian Schipper
as interrogation room s...
Fritz Eggert
as interrogation room s...
Sonia Mankaï
as Arab nurse
Rim Turki
as Aicha
Sebastian Rudolph
as officer in square
Thoraya Sehill
as interpreter in squar...
Sondess Belhassen
as woman with baby in s...
Dominic Mafham
as officer, El Taj
Gregor Truter
as Corporal, El Taj
Salah Miled
as Bedouin doctor
Abdellatif Hamrouni
as ancient arab
Philipa Day
as Officer's Wife
Amanda Walker
as Lady Hampton
Phillipa Bay
as officer's wife
Paul Kant
as Sir Ronnie Hampton
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The English Patient

Critic Reviews for The English Patient

All Critics (76) | Top Critics (26)

It took a filmmaker with Anthony Minghella's vision to even attempt an adaptation of Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient. And it took a filmmaker with Minghella's talent to pull it off.

Full Review… | February 22, 2015
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | January 7, 2014
Seattle Times
Top 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.

Full Review… | January 6, 2014
Orlando Sentinel
Top 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.

Full Review… | January 6, 2014
AV Club
Top 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.

Full Review… | January 6, 2014
New York Daily News
Top 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.

Full Review… | February 24, 2013
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

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.

Carlos Magalhães

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.

Christian C

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.

Alex roy

Super Reviewer

The English Patient Quotes

– Submitted by Esty M (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Guy G (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Mich M (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Anastasia K (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss The English Patient on our Movie forum!