Exploring Disease Representation in Movies

  • Antonio PerciaccanteEmail author
  • Philippe Charlier
  • Alessia Coralli
  • Saudamini Deo
  • Otto Appenzeller
  • Raffaella Bianucci
Concise Research Reports

The Academy Awards, also known as Oscars, are given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. To celebrate the 90 years of this prestigious prize, and to highlight the relationship between cinematography and medicine, we analyzed the report of 554 films, which received nominations to “Oscar for Best Picture” since the first edition in 1929.1

To perform an accurate analysis, three authors independently evaluated the movies’ plots to searching references to illnesses or other aspects related to the medicine. The cases of disagreement have been discussed with a group of further three authors.

War wounds excluded, we found that among the nominated films, medicine references are reported in the plot of 105 (18.9%) (Table 1). Medicine references are present in twenty (21.9%) of ninety-one awarded films. The distribution of films referring to medicine is reported in Figure 1.
Table 1

Films with Medical References Received Nomination for “Oscar for Best Picture”

Year of...


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Academy Awards. Official website Accessed March 01, 2019.

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio Perciaccante
    • 1
    Email author
  • Philippe Charlier
    • 2
    • 3
  • Alessia Coralli
    • 4
  • Saudamini Deo
    • 2
  • Otto Appenzeller
    • 5
    • 6
  • Raffaella Bianucci
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of MedicineSan Giovanni di Dio HospitalGoriziaItaly
  2. 2.Section of Medical Anthropology (UVSQ, DANTE Laboratory EA 4498), UFR of Health SciencesMontigny-Le-BretonneuxFrance
  3. 3.Museum of Quai Branly – Jacques ChiracParisFrance
  4. 4.AAS 2 Bassa Friulana – Isontina, Distretto Alto IsontinoCormonsItaly
  5. 5.New Mexico Health Enhancement and Marathon Clinics Research FoundationAlbuquerqueUSA
  6. 6.New Mexico Museum of Natural History and ScienceAlbuquerqueUSA
  7. 7.Legal Medicine Section, Department of Public Health and Paediatric SciencesUniversity of TurinTurinItaly
  8. 8.Warwick Medical School, Microbiology and Infection DivisionUniversity of WarwickWarwickUK
  9. 9.UMR 7268, Laboratoire d’Anthropologie bio-culturelle, Droit, Etique & Santé (Adés), Faculté de Médecine de MarseilleMarseilleFrance

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