Patch Adams

  • Directors: Tom Shadyac
  • Producers: Mike Farrell, Barry Kemp, Marvin Minoff, Charles Newirth
  • Writers: Patch Adams, Maureen Mylander, Steve Oedekerk
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama
  • Actors: Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Monica Potter

The film tells the story of Hunter “Patch” Adams (portrayed by Robin Williams), a medical doctor who became famous for his unconventional approach to medicine. After a suicide attempt, Adams seeks psychiatric help and is institutionalized. During this time he is inspired to become a medical doctor, and discovers that he is able to forget his own problems by helping others. Two years later, he enrolls at Virginia Medical University (a fictitious school shot at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus) and he is the oldest first year student. He questions the school’s approach to medical care, and clashes with the school’s Dean Walcott (played by Bob Gunton) because of his belief in the necessity of personal interaction with patients. Because of this and other incidents, including a prank during a medical conference, he is dismissed from the school, although he is later reinstated.

Adams develops a relationship with a fellow student, Corinne Fisher (played by Monica Potter), and develops his idea for a medical clinic built around his philosophy of doctor-patient interaction. With the help of Arthur Mendelson (Harold Gould), a wealthy man who was a patient whom Patch met while in the mental hospital, he purchases 105 acres (425,000 m²) in West Virginia to construct the future Gesundheit Institute. Together with Corinne, Truman Schiff (another medical student, played by Daniel London), and some old friends, he renovates an old cottage. When they get the clinic running, they treat walk-in patients without medical insurance, Patch commonly doing minor comedy sketches such as wearing thick glasses and pretending to be near-sighted. Corinne is fascinated by Patch’s talent and their friendship turns into deep love. More encouraged than ever by Patch and his spirit, Corinne wants to help a psychologically disturbed patient, Lawrence “Larry” Silver (Douglas Roberts), by visiting him at home. Larry turns out to be far more disturbed than anybody had expected, and he murders her, turning the shotgun on himself soon after.

Even at graduation, Patch cannot help but be a non-conformist. After he is handed his diploma, the dean of the school states, “Well, I see you’ve finally decided to conform”. Patch responds, “More than you know”, and bows to the professors, revealing his nude bottom under his gown.