The Hospital

The Hospital is a 1971 satirical film directed by Arthur Hiller.[2] It stars George C. Scott as Dr. Herbert Bock. The Hospital was written by Paddy Chayefsky, who was awarded the 1972 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.[3] Chayefsky also narrates the film and was one of the producers; he had complete control over the casting and content of the film.

The Hospital
Directed byArthur Hiller
Produced byHoward Gottfried
Written byPaddy Chayefsky
StarringGeorge C. Scott
Diana Rigg
Barnard Hughes
Richard A. Dysart
Stephen Elliott
Andrew Duncan
Donald Harron
Nancy Marchand
Narrated byPaddy Chayefsky
Music byMorris Surdin
CinematographyVictor J. Kemper
Edited byEric Albertson
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • December 14, 1971 (1971-12-14) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$14,142,409[1]
$9,042,000 (rentals)


At a Manhattan teaching hospital, the life of Dr. Bock (George C. Scott), the Chief of Medicine, is in disarray: his wife has left him, his children don't talk to him, and his once-beloved teaching hospital is falling apart.

The hospital is dealing with the sudden deaths of two doctors and a nurse. These are attributed to coincidental or unavoidable failures to provide accurate treatment.

At the same time, administrators must deal with a protest against the hospital's annexation of an adjacent and decrepit apartment building. The annexation is to be used for a drug rehabilitation center; the building's current occupants demand that the hospital find them replacement housing before the building is demolished despite the building being condemned sometime before.

Dr. Bock admits to impotence and has thoughts of suicide, but falls in love with Barbara Drummond (Diana Rigg), a patient's daughter who came with her father from Mexico for his treatment. This temporarily gives Dr. Bock something to live for, after Barbara challenges and engages with him.

The deaths are discovered to have been initiated by Barbara's father (Barnard Hughes), as retribution for the "inhumanity" of modern medical treatment. Drummond's victims would have been saved if they had received prompt, appropriate treatment, but they did not. Dr. Bock and Barbara use a final, accidental death of a doctor at the hospital to cover Drummond's misdeeds. Barbara makes plans to fly her and her father back to Mexico. Dr. Bock at first intends to go with them, but at the last minute, driven by his sense of obligation, he insists on staying behind at the hospital so that it will not descend into total chaos.



It was filmed at Metropolitan Hospital Center in New York.


Box office

The film earned $9 million in North American rentals.[4]

Critical response

When the film was released, film critic Roger Ebert lauded the film, writing, "The Hospital is a better movie than you may have been led to believe. It has been criticized for switching tone in midstream, but maybe it's only heading for deeper, swifter waters. [...] Chayevsky's [sic] bizarre and unexpected ending suggests that men - even madmen - can still use institutions for their own private purpose."[5]

More recently, film critic Dennis Schwartz gave the film a mildly positive review, writing, "The gallows humor was the melodramatic farce's saving grace; the film uses its razor-sharp instruments to cut into the hides of the insensitive institutionalized health care providers like Michael Moore's Sicko does in 2007 to the fat-cat HMOs. My major gripe was that it could have been better, as Chayefsky delivered his part of the bargain and so did Scott; nevertheless the pic flattens out as the director increasingly loses his way in all the bitterness and invented horror stories and leaves us dangling over how to get out of such an irredeemable world (where modern man is perceived as forgotten in death)."[6] The film has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 7.8/10.[7]


The film won the Oscar, the Golden Globe, the WGA, and the BAFTA for Best Screenplay for Chayefsky's script. Despite having rejected the Oscar the previous year for his work in Patton, Scott was nominated for Best Actor, but the award went instead to Gene Hackman for The French Connection.

At the 22nd Berlin International Film Festival in 1972, the film won the Silver Bear Extraordinary Jury Prize.[8]

In 1995, The Hospital was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

See also


  1. "The Hospital, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
  2. Note that the film's opening credits explicitly give authorship of the film, not just the screenplay, to Chayefsky, who had complete control over the film's casting and content
  3. The Hospital on IMDb
  4. "All-time Film Rental Champs", Variety, 7 January 1976 p 44
  5. Ebert, Roger Chicago Sun-Times, film review, February 7, 1972. Last accessed: February 23, 2011.
  6. Schwartz, Dennis. Ozus' World Movie Reviews, film review, July 13, 2007. Last accessed: February 23, 2011.
  7. "The Hospital (1971)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  8. "Berlinale: Prize Winners". Retrieved 2010-06-28.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.