5 “Must-Watch” Movies for Premeds in 2013, plus a couple bonuses

What are the “must watch movies” that you really want to make sure that you watch as a premed in 2013?

Here’s the list of many famous — and some not-so-famous — movies to get you inspired.

must watch movies for premeds medical school admissions

Patch Adams
Filled with cliche, and predictably over-the-top comedic style from lead actor Robin Williams, Patch Adams is a movie to put on while you’re doing laundry, cooking, cleaning. It’s decent background noise for a house cleaning day.

Robert De Niro’s performance as the xxx sufferer, combined with an unusually-understated Robin Williams as the socially-awkward but passionate physician/scientist who is acting on a hunch, makes Awakenings a strong contender among anyone’s top-ten doctoring movies. If you haven’t seen it before, it’s definitely worth a look: Check out the moment mid-film when De Niro comes out of his coma … that’s one helluvan acting performance.

My Own Country
I hate it when I see a movie recommended that I can’t get. Well, this is one of those movies. Widely loved, My Own Country tells the tale of an East Indian doctor practicing medicine in Tennessee during the early days of AIDS. Trouble is, you can’t get it from Netflix as either “instant viewing” or as a DVD, and you can’t get it from Amazon, either. Sigh.

And the Band Played On
This film made me fall in love with Matthew Modine’s character’s commitment to care for his patients in this AIDS-epidemic movie. Alan Alda’s performance as a fame-grabbing scientist, who is at least as interested in becoming famous for discovering the cause of AIDS as he is in doing anything for AIDS sufferers, made his character easy to hate. This film will really make you think long-and-hard about what it actually means to be involved in large-scale epidemiological work. It’s not just about the science, or the medicine; it’s about the politics, and the profit too.

The Greatest “Doctor” Movie of All Time
The Doctor — Of all of the movies that try to answer the question, “What is it like to be a doctor?” I like this one the most. Partly it’s because of William Hurt’s acting — he plays an asshole doctor very well — but mainly it’s the journey that his character goes through,  that makes this movie the greatest doctor film of all time.

And Two Bonuses
M*A*S*H — I loved this movie the first time I saw it. This is Catch-22 meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest — hilarious insanity brought on by extreme boredom, interwoven with incredibly stressful life-and-death moments. By far one of the most telling portrayals of front-line, wartime medicine ever filmed.

Doctors’ Diaries
This NOVA documentary does a great job compiling 20+years of seven doctors’ progression from first day of medical school (at Harvard, naturally), through the changing landscape of their career lives.

Doctors Diaries is an edited-down summary of several other NOVA titles, including M.D.: The Making of a Doctor. Similar to the Up Series shown on British television, Doctors’ Diaries track seven doctors from first day of medical school to mid-career. Another related piece is Making of a Surgeon, which focuses on one of the physicians in the “Making Of” series.

Any other famous doctor movies I should know about? (And please don’t say Outbreak, I can’t stand the plot line. [Not-really-a-spoiler alert.] Hoffman portrays an army doc who, with help from Cuba Gooding, Jr.,  steals a helicopter and goes in search for the monkey that carries the antibodies that will save a town from the uncontrollable mutation of a man-made biological weapon plague-virus. While being chased and shot at by Donald Sutherland and his personal helicopter team, Hoffman uses his helicopter to block a C-130 bombing run of the small town whose inhabitants are suffering from an outbreak of the disease so he can return the monkey to the mobile lab in the heart of the town, extract the antibodies and create the antidote that will save his estranged wife from the uncontrollable mutation of the man-made biological weapon plague-virus. How did the plague-infested monkey get out in the first place? Easy. McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey) sneaks it out of the research lab he works at to sell as a pet and make some fast cash. Dempsey dies for his trouble.)

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