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Humanities in Medicine: Performance Arts (Film and Television)

This guide is a collection of resources related to medical humanities.

Performance Arts - FILMS

  • A Beautiful Mind (2001): brilliant mathematician (John Nash) develops schizophrenia
  • Lorenzo’s Oil (1992): parents search for cure for ALD (degenerative disorder dealing with fatty acid chains)
  • M*A*S*H* (1970): doctors practice medicine on the frontlines during the Korean War
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975): criminal pleads insanity to avoid prison and once in mental institution rebels against oppressive nurse  
  • The Elephant Man (1980): Victorian surgeon rescues disfigured man from working as a sideshow freak and discovers his intelligence and humanity.
  • Mask (1985): teenager with facial deformity and his biker gang mother try to lead a normal life
  • Outbreak (1995): an infectious disease is discovered in Africa and transferred to the US by a monkey
  • Philadelphia (1993): an HIV+ lawyer sues for wrongful dismissal when he’s fired because of his condition  
  • And the Band Played On (1993): the discovery of AIDS and the political infighting of the scientific community
  • Awakenings (1990): a new drug has coma patients waking up
  • If These Walls Could Talk (1996): abortion issue in 3 different eras: 1952, 1974, and 1996.
  • The King’s Speech (2010): King George VI of UK overcomes stuttering with help of speech therapist
  • The Miracle Worker (1962): Anne Sullivan teaches Helen Keller to communicate
  • Charly (1968): intellectually disabled man undergoes an experiment that makes him a genius
  • Flatliners (1990): five medical students experiment with near-death experiences
  • Dirty Pretty Things (2002): a doctor, who is an illegal Nigerian immigrant living in the UK, must decide whether to do illegal surgeries to get legal status
  • To the Bone (2017): an anorexic woman meets an unconventional doctor  
  • Temple Grandin (2010): an autistic woman becomes a top scientist
  • Contagion (2011): healthcare professionals, government officials, and ordinary people in the midst of an epidemic as CDC works to find a cure
  • Miss Evers’ Boys (1997): true story of US government 1932 Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, which allowed black test subjects to die despite availability of the cure
  • Extreme Measures (1996): ER doctor investigates the disappearance of his deceased patient’s body
  • The Waterdance (1992): man learns to cope with paralysis after accident  
  • Red Beard (1965): 19th century Japan; a town doctor trains a young intern
  • Marvin’s Room (1996): leukemia patient attempts to repair her relationship with her sister to get her bone marrow
  • Patch Adams (1998): doctor uses humor in patients’ treatment
  • The Doctor (1991): doctor diagnosed with throat cancer sees medicine from patient’s perspective
  • Wit (2001): professor deals with her diagnosis of terminal ovarian cancer  
  • Article 99 (1992): a group of doctors deal with bureaucratic problems of VA hospital

Performance Arts - TV

Ben Casey (1961-1966), drama
Dr. Kildare (1961-1966), drama
Marcus Welby, M.D. (1969-1976), drama
M*A*S*H* (1972-1983), comedy-drama
Quincy, M.E. (1976-1983), mystery-drama
St. Elsewhere (1982-1988), drama
China Beach (1988-1991), drama
Doogie Howser, M.D. (1989-1993), comedy-drama
Northern Exposure (1990-1995), comedy-drama
Diagnosis Murder (1993-1998), comedy-mystery-drama
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1993-1998), western drama
Chicago Hope (1994-2000), drama
ER (1994-2000), drama
Crossing Jordan (2001-2007), mystery-drama
Scrubs (2001-2010), comedy-drama
Nip/Tuck (2003-2010), drama
House, M.D. (2004-2012), drama
Doc Martin (2004-present), comedy-drama
Grey’s Anatomy (2005-present), drama
Nurse Jackie (2009-2015), comedy-drama
Royal Pains (2009-2016), comedy-drama
Night Shift (2014-2017), drama
The Good Doctor (2017-present), drama