Even though you see the real thing every day, once in a while it’s entertaining to see how Hollywood does it — if only to catch the made-up absurdities! Whether you’re in the mood for a vintage drama or a wacky comedy, these top Scrubs reader picks will be sure to entertain you as they have many nurses from generations past.
10 must-see medical movies
1. Patch Adams (1998) – Touching comedy with Robin Williams
“It’s the best medical movie — even if it’s sad.” – Nurse Amber Owens
“It’s usually the nurses who bring the smiles, so I’d love to see a Patch Adams-type movie made about a nurse. In the meantime, this is the movie that inspires me to connect with patients more than any other.” – Melanie Fisher
Next: A Classic Psych Drama Starring Jack Nicholson 2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) – Drama with Jack Nicholson
“Why do I love this movie even though the nurse is evil? I guess because I see the darkest part of me in Nurse Ratched. And I know I’d never do what she does.” – Anonymous
“Every nurse should see this movie, just so they know what patients are referencing when they talk about the horrible nurse from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” – Nurse Patricia R.
Next: An 80s Medical Comedy with Steven Guttenberg 3. Bad Medicine (1985) – Comedy with Steve Guttenberg
“I voted for this movie because it’s totally hilarious, even though it’s dated. You must have worked with at least one doctor who graduated from a university like this…” – Nurse Frankie Collins
Next: A Medical Spoof/Comedy that has ALL the Stereotypes 4. Young Doctors in Love (1982) – Spoof/Comedy that has ALL the Stereotypes
“Funniest. Movie. Ever.” – Katherine Alspaugh
“I couldn’t believe the number of recognizable people (bet they wish they could remove this from their resumé!) were in this forgettable movie.” – Anonymous
5. The Dream Team (1989) – Comedy with Michael Keaton
“It’s awful, but in a ‘good’ awful 80s sort of way. This one’s definitely for the psych nurses.” – Ann Zucker
“Very funny psych movie.” – Danielle Thomas Morrison
Next: A Tearjerker Starring Robert DeNiro 6. Awakenings (1990) – Tearjerker with Robert DeNiro
“I love this because a nurse is key to helping the doctor arrive at the best conclusions. Go nurses!” – Anonymous
Next: A 2004 Medical Drama Starring Alan Rickman 7. Something the Lord Made (2004) – Drama with Alan Rickman
“Movies that show breakthroughs inspire me. This one is about breaking the color barrier in medicine. I get chills when I see it!” – Nurse Shirley Eaves
Next: A 1991 Medical Drama Starring William Hurt 8. The Doctor (1991) – Drama with William Hurt
“This is so good…I recommend it to the physicians I work with. It’s about a doctor who gets sick and has to deal with doctors from a patient’s POV. Very powerful.” – Anonymous
Next: A Psychological Medical Drama Starring Sally Field 9. Sybil (1976) – Drama with Sally Field
“I both read the book and watched the movie. It’s a horrific story but a wonderful demonstration of how a medical professional (in this case a psychiatrist) can connect with and ultimately help a patient.” – Nurse Jasmine Carter
“What made this story stand out for me was the inaction of her childhood doctor, even though there was clear evidence of abuse. Ever since I saw this movie I have been extra cautious to make sure that my patients aren’t being victimized.” – Anonymous
Next: A 70s Black Comedy Starring George C. Scott 10. The Hospital (1971) – Black comedy with George C. Scott
“I love watching old medical movies to see the archaic equipment, the extreme stereotypes, and the nurse-doctor relationships (wow, they really got away with everything!). This one has some good zingers about nurses, too.” – Bea
Patient: So at 9:15 this morning I rang for my nurse…
Dr. Bock: Rang for your nurse?
Patient: To ensure one full hour of uninterrupted privacy.
Dr. Bock: Good.
What’s your favorite medical movie?