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General Information

Poster for Patch Adams
  • Directed by

    Tom Shadyac

  • Screenplay by

    Maureen Mylander

  • Music Composed by

    Marc Shaiman

  • World Premiere

    December 13, 1998 (Ziegfeld Theater, NYC)

  • Theatrical Release Date

    December 25, 1998

  • DVD Release Date

    July 17, 2001 (Ultimate Edition)
    June 11, 2002< (Collectors' Edition)

  • Production Companies

    Blue Wolf Productions, Bungalow 78 Productions, Farrell/Minoff

  • Distribution Company

    Universal Pictures

Main Cast

  • Robin Williams

    Hunter "Patch" Adams

  • Monica Potter

    Carin Fisher

  • Daniel London

    Truman Schiff

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman

    Mitch Roman

  • Bob Gunton

    Dean Walcott

  • Irma P. Hall


  • Michael Jeter


  • Harold Gould

    Arthur Mendelson


Hunter Adams is a troubled man who, in 1969, voluntarily commits himself to a mental institution. Once there, he finds that helping his fellow inmates gives his life new purpose. Inspired, he leaves the asylum and vows to become a doctor to help people professionally. However, what he finds at medical school is a sickeningly callous philosophy that advocates an arm's-length attitude toward patients and does not address their emotional needs or the quality of their lives. "Patch" Adams is determined to find a better way to help them, although the consequences of his defiance of the rules and the authorities are severe.


Sonnet 17 by Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as you were salt-rose or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and soul.

I love you as the plant that was never blooms,
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love because I know no other way than this.

Where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep

from the book "100 Love Sonnets: Cien sonetos de amor" by Pablo Neruda


  • Patch

    All of life is a coming home. Salesmen, secretaries, coal miners, beekeepers, sword swallowers, all of us. All the restless hearts of the world, trying to find a way to go home. It's hard to describe how I felt like then. Picture yourself walking for days in a driving snow. You don't even know you're walking in circles--the heaviness of your legs in the drifts: your shouts disappearing into the wind. How small you can feel. How far away home can be.
    Home. The dictionary defines it as both a place of origin and a goal or destination. The storm? The storm was all in my mind. Or, as the poet Dante put it: "In the middle of the journey of my life I found myself in a dark wood, for I had lost the right path." Eventually I would find the right path, but in the most unlikely place.

  • Patch

    Maybe he has a question. Excuse me, Beany. Which way is heaven? Correct!
    Beany, how do you check an elephant for a hernia?!

  • Dr. Prack

    Hunter, I must warn you. My report will read AMA, that you were signed out of this hospital Against Medical Advice.

  • Patch

    My report will read IDGARA: I don't give a rat's ass. And my name is Patch.

  • Patch

    I'm really starting to love the back of your head.

  • Patch

    The American Journal of Medicine has found out that laughter increases secretion of catecholamines and endorphins which in turn increase oxygenation of the blood, relaxes the arteries, speeds up the heart, decreases blood pressure which has a possitive effect on all cardiovascular and respiratory as well as overall increasing the immune system response.

  • Patch

    Hi. Do I look thin to you? 'Cause I'm trying to lose some weight. Is this too much? Have I gone too far here? I got a boner. I am a boner. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

  • Patch

    Welcome, cold-handed ones. It's an honor to greet-slash-welcome so many who have touched so many women in such a powerful way. Come on in, watch out, it's a little slippery. And if you think it's hot out there, whoa-oo, come on, come on.

  • Patch

    Everyone who comes to the ranch is a patient, yes. And everyone who comes to the ranch is also a doctor.

  • Minister

    I'm sorry?

  • Patch

    Every person who comes to the ranch is in need of some form of physical or mental help. They're patients. But also everyone who comes to the ranch is in charge of taking care of someone else--whether it is cooking for them, cleaning them or even as simple a task as listening. That makes them doctors. I use that term broadly, gentlemen, but is not a doctor someone who helps someone else? When did the term "doctor" get treated with such reverence as "Right this way, Doctor Smith," or "Excuse me, Doctor Scholl, what wonderful footpads," or "Pardon me, Doctor Patterson, but your flatulence has no odor." At what point in history did a doctor become more than a trusted and a learned friend who visited and treated the ill? Now you ask me if I've been practicing medicine. Well, if this means opening your door for those in need, those in pain, caring for them, listening to them, applying a cold cloth until a fever breaks--if this is practicing medicine, if this is treating a patient, then I'm as guilty as charged, sir.

  • Minister

    Did you consider the ramifications of your actions? What if one of your patients died?

  • Patch

    What's wrong with death, sir? What are we so mortally afraid of? Why can't we treat death with a certain amount of humanity and dignity and decency and God forbid, maybe even humor? Death is not the enemy, gentlemen. If we're gonna fight a disease, let's fight one of the most terrible diseases of all--indifference. Now, I've sat in your school and heard people lecture on transference and professional distance. Transference is inevitable, sir. Every human being has an impact on the other. Why don't we want that in a patient/doctor relationship? That's why I've listened to your teachings and I believe they're wrong. A doctor's mission should not be just to prevent death but also to improve the quality of life. That's why you treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you--you win, no matter what the outcome. Now, here today this room is full of medical students. Don't let them anesthetize you. Don't let them numb you out of the miracle of life. Always live in awe of the glorious mechanism of the human body, let that be the focus of your studies and not a quest for grades which will give you no idea what kind of doctor you will become.

  • Minister

    Mr. Adams, please try and address the board.

  • Patch

    Don't wait till you're on the ward to get your humanity back. Start interviewing skills, start talking to strangers. Talk to your friends. Talk to wrong numbers, talk to everyone.

  • Minister

    Mr. Adams!

  • Patch

    And cultivate friendship with those amazing people in the back of the room--nurses that could teach you. They've been with people every day. They wade through blood and shit. They have a wealth of knowledge, and so do the professors you respect--the ones who are not dead from the heart up. Share their compassion. Let that be contagious.

  • Minister

    Mr. Adams, I demand that you turn and address the board.

  • Patch

    Sir. I--I want to become a doctor with all my heart. I wanted to become a doctor so I could serve others... and because of that I've lost everything, but I've also gained everything. I've shared the lives of the patients and staff members at the hospital. I've laughed with them. I've cried with them. This is what I wanted to do with my life. And as God is my witness, no matter what your decision today, sir, I will still become the best damn doctor the world has ever seen. Now, you have the ability to prevent me from graduating. But you can't control my spirit, gentlemen. You can't keep me from learning. You can't keep me from studying. So you have a choice--you can have me as a professional colleague... passionate... or you can have me as an outspoken outsider, still adamant. Either way, I'll probably still be viewed as a thorn. But I promise you one thing. I'm a thorn that will not go away.

  • Dean Walcott

    Well, I'm happy to see you've finally decided to conform.

  • Patch

    More than you know, sir.



Laughter is contagious.


This title is available on:

Filming Info

  • Dates

    February 9, 1998 - June 26, 1998

  • Locations

    Asheville, NC
    University of North Carolina, NC
    Berkeley, CA
    San Francisco, CA
    UC Berkeley campus, CA
    Point Richmond, CA

International Release Dates

  • Colombia

    February 19, 1999

  • Spain

    February 26, 1999

  • Hungary

    March 11, 1999

  • Iceland

    March 12, 1999

  • Singapore

    March 18, 1999

  • Brazil
    New Zealand

    March 19, 1999

  • Australia

    March 25, 1999

  • Austria
    Switzerland (German)

    March 26, 1999

  • Argentina
    South Africa

    April 1, 1999

  • Portugal

    April 2, 1999

  • South Korea

    April 3, 1999

  • Belgium

    April 7, 1999

  • Turkey

    April 9, 1999

  • Finland

    April 16, 1999

  • Slovakia

    April 22, 1999

  • Czech Republic

    April 29, 1999

  • Indonesia

    May 22, 1999 (Jakarta)

  • Kuwait

    March 18, 2000

International Titles

  • France / Canada (French)

    Docteur Patch

  • Romania

    Patch Adams - Un doctor traznit

DVD Extra Features

  • The Medicine of Laughter: The Making of Patch Adams
  • Outtakes
  • Photograph Montages
  • Take 10 and Call Me in the Morning: Words of inspiration from Patch Adams, M.D
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Storyboards and Final Feature Comparison
  • DVD ROM: Script to Screen

Box Office

  • Budget


  • Gross

    $135,026,902 (USA)
    $67,266,000 (international)
    $202,292,902 (total)

  • Opening Weekend

    $25,262,280 (2,712 theaters)

  • Widest Release

    2,909 theaters

  • In Release

    about 23 weeks


  • Academy Awards

    Nom - 1999 - Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score (Marc Shaiman)

  • Golden Globes

    Nom - 1999 - Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy/Musical (Robin)

    Nom - 1999 - Best Motion Picture

  • American Comedy Awards

    Nom - 1999 - Funniest Actor (Robin)

  • ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards

    Won - 2000 - Top Box Office (Marc Shaiman)

  • Satellite Awards

    Nom - 1999 - Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy/Musical (Robin)

  • Teen Choice Awards

    Nom - 1999 - Film: Choice Comedy

  • Young Artist Awards

    Nom - 1999 - Best Family Feature: Comedy

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