Here’s some personal Coronavirus perspective: At first it felt really awkward wearing a protective mask and gloves. Now it seems strange that I’ve become used to it so quickly.
I prepare myself dutifully as I venture out every other day for provisions. I don’t give it a thought. It’s what I need to do to survive. I will be fine.
But then my heart goes out to those so-called “frontline workers,” who are not focused on keeping themselves healthy, but on saving the lives of others, often under unbearable conditions.
I am referring, of course, to all those dedicated, overwhelmed doctors, nurses, and technicians, providing care at grave risk to their own health and safety.
Just how do we protect them, and then, how do we thank them properly? I hope our leaders give that some serious thought, and we as fellow human beings should too.
In humble tribute to their crucial, courageous work, here are ten top titles that feature doctors and nurses — some noble, others less so.
No Way Out (1950)
In his screen debut, Sidney Poitier plays a young doctor forced to care for an injured criminal (Richard Widmark) who’s also a virulent racist. This groundbreaking, Oscar-nominated film, written and directed by Joe Mankiewicz, still packs a wallop.
Full review here. | Stream now on Apple iTunes, Vudu, Google Play Movies, YouTube, DIRECTV, FandangoNOW.
The Nun’s Story (1959)
Fred Zinnemann’s literate, scenic drama, shot on location, features Audrey Hepburn as Sister Luke, who goes to the Belgian Congo to care for the old and sick. There she works with Dr. Fortunati (Peter Finch), and begins to question the vows she took.
Full review here. | Stream now on Google Play Movies, Vudu, YouTube, Amazon Video, FandangoNOW.
Ingmar Bergman’s trippy film features Liv Ullmann as an actress who’s suddenly struck dumb during a performance. She goes to a remote location to heal, along with a nurse (Bibi Andersson). There a mysterious connection develops between the two women.
Full review here. | Stream now on Kanopy, Criterion Channel, Amazon Video, Apple iTunes.
Robert Altman’s irreverent, pitch black anti-war comedy follows the adventures of two free-thinking surgeons on the front lines of the Korean War — Hawkeye Pierce (Donald Sutherland) and Trapper John McIntyre (Elliott Gould). Later a long-running TV series.
Full review here. | Stream now on Starz Play Amazon Channel, DIRECTV, Vudu, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Apple iTunes, Amazon Video, DIRECTV, Microsoft Store, FandangoNOW.
The Hospital (1971)
Dark satire concerns an urban hospital whose operations mirror the insanity happening outside. George C. Scott is chief of medicine, who investigates when his patients start dying mysteriously. Diana Rigg costars, and biting script by Paddy Chayefsky won an Oscar.
Full review here. | Stream now on Epix, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Movies, Vudu, YouTube, Microsoft Store, FandangoNOW.
Potent, multiple Oscar-winning drama centers on Randall McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) a criminal who plays crazy, thinking he’ll do easier time in a loony ward. He is disabused of this as he immediately clashes with cold, clinical Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher).
Full review here. | Stream now on Vudu, AMC on Demand, DIRECTV, Apple iTunes, Microsoft Store, Google Play Movies, YouTube, FandangoNOW.
The Doctor (1991)
William Hurt delivers the goods as Jack McKee, an experienced surgeon who’s pretty clinical about his work, until he himself becomes a patient, fighting cancer. Based on a true story, this smart, subtle movie has a lot to say about life, death, and healing.
Full review here. | Stream now on Vudu, YouTube, Google Play Movies, DIRECTV, Microsoft Store.
The English Patient (1996)
In 1944, Hana (Juliette Binoche) nurses a burn victim (Ralph Fiennes) in Italy, who has amnesia. Soon a man arrives who claims to know the patient’s colorful story, which we experience in flashback. Sweeping epic from Anthony Minghella won nine Oscars.
Full review here. | Stream now on Hoopla, Showtime Amazon Channel, DIRECTV, Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Apple iTunes, AMC on Demand, Vudu, Redbox, Microsoft Store, FandangoNOW.
Mike Nichols’s literate, moving account portrays an academic’s struggle with ovarian cancer. Applying her intellect and caustic wit, Vivian (a superb Emma Thompson) tries to make sense of a dehumanizing process. Christopher Lloyd effectively plays against type as her doctor.
Full review here. | Stream now on HBO Go, HBO Now, HBO Now Amazon Channel, DIRECTV.
Talk to Her (2002)
Pedro Almodovar’s provocative, fascinating film centers on two men, a male nurse and a journalist, who meet and learn that they both love and care for women who’ve fallen into comas. This study of male friendship won Almodovar a best screenplay Oscar.
Full review here. | Stream now on Vudu, Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Apple iTunes, Microsoft Store, FandangoNOW.