The English Patient is a 1996 film adaptation of the novel by Michael Ondaatje. The film, directed by Anthony Minghella, won nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Ondaatje worked closely with the filmmakers to preserve his artistic vision, and has stated that he is happy with the film as an adaptation.
In the film, the character of Count de Almásy, played by Ralph Fiennes, is heavily fictionalised. An overview is provided in the 2003 Saul Kelly book, The Hunt for Zerzura: The Lost Oases and the Desert War.
In his book, The Conversations : Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film, Ondaatje describes how the different layers of the filmmaking process come together. A special focus is placed on the work of the editor of the film, Walter Murch. With over a 40 time transitions, the movie was a puzzle that was put together again and again over the course of one year. Walter Murch won an Academy award for his editing and another one for his contribution to the film's sound.
The motion picture also received much critical acclaim and was a major award winner as well as a box office success. It won the Academy Award, the Golden Globe Award and the BAFTA Award for best picture.
Critics of the film accuse it of professing narcissism hidden behind a non-linear, melodramatic plot.
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the entire movie.
The story deals with the gradually revealed histories of a critically burned man, his Canadian nurse, a Canadian thief, and an Indian sapper in the British Army as they live out the end of World War II in an Italian monastery.
One of the main characters, the burned man, is Count László de Almásy, a famous Austro-Hungarian researcher of the Sahara Desert, disciple of Herodotus, and discoverer of the Ain Doua prehistoric rock painting sites in the western Jebel Uweinat mountains, on the Gilf Kebir plateau in what is today remote Southwestern Egypt. In the film, the character of Count de Almásy, played by Ralph Fiennes, is heavily fictionalised. A factual overview of his life is provided in the 2002 Saul Kelly book, The Hunt for Zerzura: The Lost Oases and the Desert War.
Spoilers end here.
- Ralph Fiennes - Count Laszlo de Almásy
- Juliette Binoche - Hana
- Kristin Scott Thomas - Katharine Clifton
- Willem Dafoe - David Caravaggio
- Naveen Andrews - Lt. Kip Singh
- Colin Firth - Geoffrey Clifton
- Kevin Whately - Sgt. Hardy
- Jürgen Prochnow - Major Müller
- "I once traveled with a guide who was taking me to Faya. He didn't speak for nine hours. At the end of it he pointed to the horizon and said, "Faya!" That was a good day." —Ralph Fiennes as Almásy
- "Ask your saint who he is. Ask him who he's killed." —Willem Dafoe as Caravaggio
The English Patient is in part a sequel to Ondaatje's earlier work In the Skin of a Lion; the characters of Hana and Caravaggio reappear from the earlier novel.
One of the main characters, the burned man, is Count László de Almásy, a famous Austro-Hungarian researcher of the Sahara Desert, disciple of Herodotus, and discoverer of the Ain Doua prehistoric rock painting sites in the western Jebel Uweinat mountain.
In 1992, the novel won the Canadian Governor General's Award and in 1993, the Booker Prize for fiction. It has been translated into more than 30 languages.
- Academy Award for Best Picture
- Academy Award for Directing - Anthony Minghella
- Academy Award for Sound - Walter Murch, Mark Berger, David Parker, Chris Newman
- Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress - Juliette Binoche
- Academy Award for Film Editing - Walter Murch
- Academy Award for Original Music Score - Gabriel Yared
- Academy Award for Costume Design - Ann Roth
- Academy Award for Best Cinematography - John Seale
- Academy Award for Best Art Direction - Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillan
- BAFTA Award for Best Picture
- BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress - Juliette Binoche
- Berlin Film Festival: Silver Bear for Best Actress - Juliette Binoche
- Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Drama
- Golden Globe Award for Best Score - Gabriel Yared
- Academy Award for Best Actor - Ralph Fiennes
- Academy Award for Best Actress - Kristin Scott Thomas
- Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay - Anthony Minghella
- César Award for Best Foreign Film
- Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Juliette Binoche