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Jordan Safirstein, MD Headshot

Docs on the Silver Screen

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From St. Elsewhere to Grey's Anatomy, and all the ones in between (see: Chicago Hope, Strong Medicine, ER, etc., etc.), television MDs have been all the rage for as long as we can remember. But how about their silver screen equivalent? While medical TV has been a staple on primetime year after year, the big screen has been suspiciously devoid of doctoral cinema. There have been a few good ones over the years, and the staff at StopPagingMe.com have combed through hundreds of movie titles to give you the best that Hollywood has to offer.

mash.jpg 1. M*A*S*H (1970). No, not the TV show! Most people don't realize that this is one of the few instances where a movie's small-screen spin-off overshadowed its hilarious, Oscar-nominated, big-screen original. Elliot Gould (Trapper), Donald Sutherland (Hawkeye) and Robert Duvall (Frank), play surgeons during the Korean War in an era where politically incorrect was correct, and doctors and nurses still "fraternized." Finally hear the words to the famous theme song, laugh continuously, and think of your own Methylene Blue prank.

2. Awakenings (1990). Robert DeNiro plays a catatonic schizophrenic, and Robin Williams play his socially phobic psychiatrist in this emotional roller coaster of a movie. When Williams' character discovers a drug that brings his patients back to life, irony ensues, as DeNiro teaches the doctor about what living really means. Having been "awakened" for only a few weeks, DeNiro swims in the Bronx waters, falls in love, and nearly starts a rebellion within the institution. The drug's effects are short-lasting, making for a Algernon-ian ending, but the lessons he teaches the psychiatrist are forever.

3. Flatliners (1990). What do you get when you cross Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon and Julia Roberts with Billy Baldwin? Three future A-list celebs and one celebrity mole. See these actors before they were truly big-time in this thriller about medical students who are killing, and then reviving themselves, all in the name of research- and "thrillerology." Although, I didn't exhaust Medline, I'm pretty sure I never saw an abstract like that. I'll bet it would make for interesting conversation during your fellowship interview, though.

4. Dead Ringers (1988). As if one Jeremy Irons character isn't weird enough, he plays TWO identical twin gynecologists in this bizarre, and highly-acclaimed film. This suspense/horror/fetish flick makes the list on its originality alone. And it's got nudity.

5. Gross Anatomy (1989). Not since Vision Quest has Matt Modine inspired me so much. Although he's not wrestling "Shoot" for the state title and running in a shiny silver suit to make the weight, he's studying his way to his MD in this Saturday afternoon movie-type flick. A boy from the wrong side of the tracks rejects the ways of his stressed out, cut-throat colleagues, and shows them how it can be done without being such toolboxes. Some eerily accurate, and identifiable, pre-test stress is portrayed- but Modine's character represents the guy/girl that every college freshmen wants to be until they realize that, in med school, you need to be a toolbox to get by.