Patch Adams (DVD)

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Patch Adams (DVD)

Patch Adams is a 1998 American biographical comedy-drama film directed by Tom Shadyac and starring Robin Williams in the lead role, Monica Potter, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bob Gunton, Daniel London, and Peter Coyote. Set in the late 1960s/early 1970s, it is based on the life story of Dr. Hunter Patch Adams and the book Gesundheit: Good Health Is a Laughing Matter by Dr. Adams and Maureen Mylander. It received generally unfavorable reviews from critics, criticizing the sentimental tone, direction, and deviations from the real story while the music score and performances were praised. Despite the terrible reviews, the film was a box office success grossing $202.3 million against a $50–90 million budget.


In 1969, Hunter Patch Adams after developing suicidal thoughts admits himself to a mental institution. Once there, he finds that using humor, rather than doctor-centered psychotherapy, better helps his fellow patients and provides him with a new purpose in life. Because of this, he wants to become a medical doctor, and swiftly leaves the facility. Two years later, he enrolls at the Medical College of Virginia (now known as VCU School of Medicine) as the oldest first-year student. He questions the school s soulless approach to medical care, particularly why students don t work with patients until their third year, as well as the methods of the school s Dean Walcott, who takes an instant disliking to Patch and believes that doctors must treat patients his way and not befriend them. Because of this and incidents such as setting up a giant model papier-mâché pair of legs in stirrups during an obstetric conference, he is expelled from the medical school, although he is later reinstated when it becomes apparent to the school that his unconventional methods often improve his patients physical and mental health. Adams encourages medical students to work closely with nurses, learn interviewing skills early, and argues that death should be treated with dignity and sometimes even humor.

Patch begins a friendship with fellow student Carin Fisher and, during their third year as medical students develops his idea for a medical clinic built around his philosophy of treating patients using humor and compassion. With the help of Arthur Mendelson, a wealthy man who was a patient whom Patch met while in the mental hospital, he purchases 105 acres (42 hectares) in West Virginia to construct the future Gesundheit! Institute. Together with Carin, medical student Truman Schiff, and some old friends, he renovates an old cottage into a clinic. When they get the clinic running, they treat patients without medical insurance and perform comedy sketches for them.

Patch s close friendship with Carin soon turns into romance. When Carin reveals to him that she had been molested as a child, Patch comforts her and reassures her that she can overcome her pain by helping others. Encouraged, Carin wants to help a disturbed patient, Lawrence Larry Silver. However, Larry murders Carin with a shotgun, then immediately commits suicide. Patch, guilt-ridden by Carin s death, begins to question the goodness in humanity. Standing on a cliff, he contemplates suicide again and asks God for an explanation. He then sees a butterfly that reminds him that Carin had always wished she was a caterpillar that could turn into a butterfly and fly away. The butterfly lands on his medical bag and shirt before flying away. With his spirits revived, Patch decides to dedicate his work to her memory.

Walcott eventually discovers that Patch has been illegally running a clinic and practicing medicine without a license and attempts to expel him again because of this, as well as complaints that he has made his patients uncomfortable (which is obviously not true). Desperate to prove Walcott wrong, Patch files a grievance with the state medical board on the advice of his former medical school roommate, conservative Mitch Roman. Patch succeeds in convincing the board that he must treat the spirit as well as the body. The board, although they still find some of his methods very unorthodox, allows him to graduate and he receives a standing ovation from the packed hearing room.

At graduation, Patch receives his Doctor of Medicine and, bowing to the professors and audience, reveals himself to be naked underneath his cap and gown.


  • Robin Williams as Dr. Hunter Patch Adams, initially a mental patient, who wishes to change the way doctors think and treat their patients.
  • Daniel London as Truman Schiff, Patch s best friend and most loyal follower, in medical school.
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman as Mitch Roman, Patch s uptight roommate, who initially clashes with Patch, but later joins his cause.
  • Bob Gunton as Dean Walcott, rigid dean of the Medical School, who locks horns with Patch right from the start.
  • Monica Potter as Carin Fisher, a serious medical student, who is later touched by Patch s passion.
  • Frances Lee McCain as Judy, a nurse at the hospital
  • Irma P. Hall as Joletta, a nurse at the hospital
  • Josef Sommer as Dr. Eaton, professor at the Medical School, who does appreciate Patch s efforts.
  • Harold Gould as Arthur Mendelson, wealthy mathematician who is in the mental hospital, and initially coins Patch s nickname.
  • Bruce Bohne as Trevor
  • Harve Presnell as Dean Anderson, head of the Medical School; more tolerant of Patch than is Walcott.
  • Michael Jeter as Rudy, Patch s roommate at the mental hospital, who is sciurophobic (fear of squirrels).
  • Barry Shabaka Henley as Emmet
  • Harry Groener as Dr. Prack, a humorless doctor at the mental hospital who is a colleague of Dean Walcott.
  • Richard Kiley as Dr. Titan, chair of the State Medical Board
  • Ryan Hurst as Neil
  • Ellen Albertini Dow as Aggie Kennedy, a sickly old lady in the hospital, whose childhood dream is to swim in a pool of noodles.
  • Peter Coyote as Bill Davis, a dying, ill-tempered patient in the hospital who eventually bonds with Patch and accepts his fate with dignity.
  • Alan Tudyk as Everton
  • Dot-Marie Jones as Miss Meat (credited as Dot Jones)
  • Douglas Roberts as Lawrence Larry Silver, a mentally disturbed patient whom Carin tries to help, but he later murders her before taking his own life.
  • Norman Alden as Truck Driver
  • James Greene as Bile
  • Greg Sestero as Jaime (Carin’s Brother) (Uncredited)
  • Ralph Peduto as Organizer



Paul Attanasio was brought in as a script doctor to work on the film prior to shooting.

The film was shot in three locations: Treasure Island, California (near San Francisco), Asheville (North Carolina), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A diner was temporarily placed in Point Richmond (a neighborhood in Richmond, California) and served as the University Diner. Several interior classroom scenes were filmed on the campus of UC Berkeley.

The film has several major departures from Adams real history. One is that the character of Carin is fictional but is analogous to a real-life friend of Adams (a man) who was murdered under similar circumstances. Another difference is the then-47-year-old Robin Williams portrays Adams as enrolling in medical school very late in his life, his older age even being brought up in dialogue. In reality, Adams started medical school immediately and his educational progress was quite normal for a physician: he graduated high school at 18, college at 22, and medical school at 26.

Box office

The film was released on December 25, 1998, in the United States and Canada and grossed $25.2 million in 2,712 theaters its opening weekend, ranking #1 at the box office. After its first weekend, it was the #2 film for four weeks. The film grossed US$202.3 million worldwide—$135 million in the United States and Canada and $67.3 million in other territories.


Critical reception

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Patch Adams has an approval score of 22% based on 69 reviews and an average rating of 4.20/10. The critical consensus reads, Syrupy performances and directing make this dramedy all too obvious. On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 25 out of 100 based on reviews from 21 critics, indicating generally unfavorable reviews . Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B on scale of A to F.

Janet Maslin of The New York Times criticized the film s lowbrow comedy, which did not mesh well with its maudlin streak and that the sentiment felt fabricated . Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film an F, deeming it an offensive and deeply false inspirational drama , lambasting the over-simplified portrayal of the medical establishment of the time. Robert K. Elder of the Chicago Tribune called Monica Potter the best thing about the otherwise dopey Patch Adams.

Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert gave the film one and a half stars out of four and wrote, Patch Adams made me want to spray the screen with Lysol. This movie is shameless. It s not merely a tearjerker. It extracts tears individually by liposuction, without anesthesia. It received Two Thumbs Down on his television series Siskel & Ebert, with particular criticism towards the character of Patch, who was viewed as overbearing , obnoxious and sanctimonious as well as noting that they would never trust a doctor who acted like Adams does. Co-host Gene Siskel said I would rather turn my head and cough than see another moment of Patch Adams again . He later singled it out as the worst film of 1998; it was the last film he gave a Worst of to before his death in 1999.


Marc Shaiman s score was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Musical or Comedy Score. The film was also nominated for two Golden Globe Awards, for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Robin Williams).

Patch Adams reaction

The real Patch Adams has been openly critical of the film, saying that it sacrificed much of his message to make a selling film. He also said that out of all aspects of his life and activism, the film portrayed him merely as a funny doctor. At a Conference on World Affairs, he told film critic Roger Ebert, I hate that movie.

During a speech in 2010 at the Mayo Clinic, Patch Adams said, The film promised to build our hospital. None of the profits from the film ever came to us, and so, basically 40 years into this work, we are still trying to build our hospital. Furthermore, Adams stated,

made $21 million for four months of pretending to be me, in a very simplistic version, and did not give $10 to my free hospital. Patch Adams, the person, would have, if I had Robin s money, given all $21 million to a free hospital in a country where 80 million cannot get care.

Adams later clarified that he did not hate Williams, and Williams actively supported St. Jude Children s Research Hospital for several years. After Williams death in 2014, Adams said I m enormously grateful for his wonderful performance of my early life, which has allowed the Gesundheit Institute to continue and expand our work.

Home media

Patch Adams was released on a Collector s Edition DVD on June 22, 1999. On August 16, 2016, the film was released on Blu-ray for the first time.


Patch Adams: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedDecember 22, 1998
Singles from Patch Adams: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  1. Faith of the Heart
    Released: 1999

The soundtrack for Patch Adams was released on December 22, 1998 on CD and cassette by Universal Records.

Tracks 10 through 18 written and performed by Marc Shaiman.

1. Faith of the Heart Diane WarrenRod Stewart4:17
2. Let It Rain Eric ClaptonEric Clapton5:02
3. Only You Know and I Know Dave MasonDave Mason4:07
4. Carry On Stephen StillsCrosby, Stills, Nash & Young4:26
5. Bell Bottom Blues Eric ClaptonDerek and the Dominos5:02
6. Good Lovin Rudy Clark; Arthur ResnickThe Rascals2:31
7. The Weight Robbie RobertsonThe Band4:35
8. People Got to Be Free Eddie Brigati Jr.; Felix CavaliereThe Rascals3:01
9. Stand! Sylvester StewartSly and the Family Stone3:08
10. Main Title (Score)  2:16
11. Look Beyond the Fingers (Score)  1:46
12. Children s Ward (Score)  2:33
13. Ranch Reveal (Score)  1:28
14. Hello (Score)  1:31
15. Speech/Children s Reprise (Score)  2:39
16. Front Porch (Score)  2:36
17. Butterfly/Noodle Pool (Score)  2:57
18. The Ruling/Graduation (Score)  3:24
Total length:57:19


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Barry Kemp, Charles Newirth, Marvin Minoff, Mike Farrell, Steve Oedekerk


Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Published Date


Age group Rating MPA


Recording Studio

Universal Studios Home Entertainment



Amazon ASIN











1h 55min


Nominated for 1 Oscar, 1 win & 8 nominations total


Tom Shadyac


Patch Adams, Maureen Mylander, Steve Oedekerk


Robin Williams, Daniel London, Monica Potter

Produced by

Allegra Clegg, Alan B. Curtiss, Mike Farrell, Barry Kemp, Marvin Minoff, Devorah Moos-Hankin, Charles Newirth, Steve Oedekerk, Tom Shadyac, Marsha Garces Williams

Music by

Marc Shaiman

Cinematography by

Phedon Papamichael

Film Editing by

Don Zimmerman

Casting By

Debra Zane

Production Design by

Linda DeScenna

Art Direction by

James Nedza

Set Decoration by

Ric McElvin

Costume Design by

Judy L. Ruskin

Makeup Department

Catherine Childers, Judith A. Cory, Hallie D Amore, Mindy Hall, Karyn Alexander Huston, Cheri Minns, Coni Andress, Sherri Bramlett, Jessica Clay, Debra Dietrich, Joseph P. Hurt, Linda Kamp, Stephen Kelley, Nancie Marsalis, Sandra S. Orsolyak, Jenny-King Turko, Sara Seidman Vance

Production Management

Allegra Clegg

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

David M. Bernstein, Alan B. Curtiss, Rebecca Greeley, Jonathan Watson, E.J. Foerster

Art Department

Tony Belmonte, Walter R. Buckallew, Victoria Carlson, Alan Easley, Brad Einhorn, Ashley Fardys, Bobby Joe Garren, Nancy Gilmore, Joseph Gray, Joe A. Hawthorne, J. Luther Jones III, Erin Kemp, James Kroning, Bob Laux, Robert Montano, Keith Neely, John Oster, Doug Pierce, Tony Piller, Jim Poynter, David Ronan, Gerald Scaife, Hal Schlax, Dan Sweetman, Dawn Swiderski, Don Weinger, Butch West, Dwight Williams, Kenneth Bryant, Shane Buckallew, Steve Burnes, Abigail Drury, Loren Hillman-Morgan, Travis Huffman, David Ladish, Doug Mackenzie, John Micheletos, John W. Morgan, Jim Poynter, Jeni Ryan, Jordu Schell, Mitch Sutton, Joshua Teicher, Jack White

Sound Department

James Ashwill, Odin Benitez, Gaston Biraben, Rick Canelli, John Clavin, John T. Cucci, Frank Fleming, Avram D. Gold, Randall Guth, Michael Hilkene, Ken J. Johnson, Michael Jonascu, Gregg Landaker, Steve Maslow, Michael Meier, Piero Mura, Dan O Connell, Thomas J. O Connell, Brion Paccassi, Jay Palmer, Douglas Parker, Eric Pinckert, Fred Runner, Pernell L. Salinas, Solange S. Schwalbe, Debora Seaman, Nelson Stoll, Christopher T. Welch, John O. Wilde, Stephen Balliet, Jeff Etcher

Special Effects by

David Blitstein, Rod M. Janusch, Andy Clement, Michael McGee, Lisa Reynolds

Visual Effects by

Maura Alvarez, Max Bruce, Marguerite Cargill, Sheena Duggal, Daniel Eaton, Doug Forrest, Julia Frey, Layne Friedman, Jenny Fulle, Dawn Guinta, Scott Hill, Thomas Hollier, Joanie Karnowski, Susan Kornfeld, Ivo Kos, Michelle Minyon, Raquel Morales, Sam Richards, David Schaub, Robert Stromberg, David Takayama, Attila Veress, Guy T. Wiedmann, Alfredo R. Barcia, Marzette Bonar, Jason Dost, Anthony Harris, Brian Jochum, Paul McGhee, Ken Ralston, Aaron Smith, Barry Weiss


Rocky Capella, Laura Lee Connery, John Copeman, Charles Croughwell

Camera and Electrical Department

David Ariniello, Chris Centrella, Gregory M. Childers, Gary Dahlquist, Tom Fendley, Jarek Gorczycki, Melinda Sue Gordon, Jon Guterres, D.J. Harder, Dean M. King, Jeff Kluttz, Alexandra Kravetz, Patrick Loungway, Kim Marks, Patrick McArdle, Hugh McCallum, Dan Michalske, Thomas C. Nisbet, Orlando Orona, Harrison Palmer, Bobby Powell, Duane Robinson, Paul Sanchez, Christian Satrazemis, David A. Seekins, Bill Summers, Rafael E. Sánchez, John Trunk, Doug Weinmann, Robert Barcelona, Raymond Benthall, Eric Blum, Marty Coen, Gregory Collis, Kenneth Estes, Randall Freeman, Geoff Gann, Oscar Gomez, Sheila Greene, Ben D. Griffith Jr., Matt Hedt, William S. Lake, James A. Lundin, Brian Minzlaff, G. Anthony Phillips, John Rhode, Tony Rivetti, Sabrine Rodems, Jason Summers, Douglas W. Taylor

Casting Department

Beau Bonneau, Barbara Harris, Kim Petrosky, Terri Taylor

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Derek J. Baskerville, Judi Bell, Mary C. Lane, Peggy A. Schnitzer, Nancy Servin, Jennifer Day Young, Mindy Gantt Bass, Julian J. Filiberti, Deborah Pollard Matthews, Janet Melody, Verena O Connor, Alice Powell

Editorial Department

Michael Healey, Marlen Hill, Scott Hill, Jim Passon, Jason Wilson, Dan Zimmerman, Dean Zimmerman

Location Management

Michael Bigham, Rory Enke, Susannah Greason, Rob Hoge, Michael John Meehan, Sussanah Robbins

Music Department

Pete Anthony, Jeff Atmajian, Rick Baptist, Steve Becknell, Frank Bennett, Nathan Campbell, Jeff Carson, David De Palo, Sandy DeCrescent, Jeff DeRosa, Andrew Dorfman, David Duke, Jerry Folsom, Bruce Fowler, J.J. George, Gary Grant, Fred Greene, Larry Hall, Alex Iles, Tommy Johnson, Jo Ann Kane, Alan Kaplan, Charlie Loper, Warren Luening, Andy Martin, Malcolm McNab, Tim Morrison, Brian O Connor, Bill Reichenbach, John Reynolds, Patrick Russ, Dennis S. Sands, Jim Self, Marc Shaiman, Kurt Snyder, Phillip A. Teele, George Thatcher, Richard Todd, Louise Di Tullio, Nick Vidar, Brad Warnaar, Dave Washburn, Phillip Yao, Tom Boyd, Tom Brown, David Campbell, George Doering, Daniel Gold, Mark Graham, Jim Hoffman, Jon Kull, Stephanie Murray, James Thatcher, Donn Wilkerson

Script and Continuity Department

Carol DePasquale, Paul Attanasio

Transportation Department

Randy Cantor, Kirk A. Holland, Joel Marrow, Graham Ready, Edwin Bowden, Ellen Faustine, Russell Hicks, Todd Luckey, Linda Pickett, Greg Stancil, Robert Van Apeldoorn, Charlie Wright

Additional Crew

Coleen Aiello, Mary J. Alen, Saundra Marie Ardito, Clyde D. Baisey, Jill Bowles, Adam Bryant, Tom Dames, Christopher Desmond, Bruce Dobrin, Michael Dorner, Jennifer Garces, Mellisa Glass, Richard Graves, Mark Hager, Karis Jagger, Debra James, Michael R. Kern, Paul LaZebnik, Denise Lewis, Heather Leyton, James Maull, Kevin McNamara, Matt V. Messina, Jasa Murphy, Amy Panzer, Willie Radcliff, Cheryl Rich, Christi Robbins, Douglas V.R. Shellow, Rebecca Erwin Spencer, Cheryl A. Stone, Mitch Sutton, Lloyd Thomas, Michael Umble, Richard Bronskill, Kristin Cauldwell, Astrid Crabbe, Gary Ferraro, Josh Fifarek, Joseph Ford, Richard Grant, Andrea Miralia, Jack Munn, Matthew Woods


Patrick Duffek, Robin Eickman, Ken Ralston, Julie Shadyac


Biography, Comedy, Drama


Universal Pictures, Blue Wolf Productions, Farrell/Minoff









ImDb Rating Votes


Metacritic Rating


Short Description

Patch Adams is a 1998 American biographical comedy-drama film directed by Tom Shadyac and starring Robin Williams in the lead role, Monica Potter, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bob Gunton, Daniel London, and Peter Coyote. Set in the late 1960s/early 1970s, it is based on the life story of Dr. Hunter Patch Adams and the book Gesundheit: Good Health Is a Laughing Matter by Dr. Adams and Maureen Mylander. It received generally unfavorable reviews from critics, criticizing the sentimental tone, direction, and deviations from the real story while the music score and performances were praised. Despite the terrible reviews, the film was a box office success grossing $202.3 million against a $50–90 million budget.

Box Office Budget

$90,000,000 (estimated)

Box Office Opening Weekend USA


Box Office Gross USA


Box Office Cumulative Worldwide Gross



Based on real person,doctor,hospital,based on true story,character name as title