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Patch Adams is a Based on a True Story movie starring Robin Williams as Hunter "Patch" Adams, a medical student who wants to treat people, not just diseases. To do this, he bucks authority, dresses up as a clown, and acts silly and (on occasion) unprofessionally. Also features Philip Seymour Hoffman in a smaller role as Patch's roommate.


This film contains examples of:

  • Alone with the Psycho:
    • In the beginning of the film, Patch is forced to room with a man who goes apeshit on a regular basis in reaction to imaginary squirrels on the ground. Patch is, to say the least, uncomfortable with the arrangement.
    • Carin's visit to Larry Silver's house. It doesn't end well for either of them.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Patch does numerous funny things at the hospital, annoying Dean Walcott, but Patch's grades are among the highest in the class.
    • Which is even stranger considering that he never studies.
  • Character Title
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Patch
  • Comedy as a Weapon: Patch believes in helping patients through humour and laughter.
  • Dan Browned
  • Dean Bitterman
  • Disowned Adaptation: The real Patch Adams himself was dissatisfied with the film, saying that it is more commercial and focuses more on him being funny than his actual methods [1]. He was, however, pleased at being played by Robin Williams (though not so much Williams not donating a cent of his salary on the film to Adams' institute).
  • Driven to Suicide: Patch's attempted suicide is what kickstarts the story. He attempts it again later on.
  • Fan Disservice: Patch moons the audience at his graduation.
  • Gender Flip: The person Carin is based on was a man in real life.
  • Jerkass: Patch is this in the eyes of the Dean and initially to Carin. Some of his antics, such as the gynecologist setup, could be construed more as this than the opposite intention of being humorous.
  • Karma Houdini: Patch doesn't just get away with things that are ethically questionable, but outright illegal, like stealing drugs from a hospital and practicing medicine without a license. Yet, he somehow manages to worm out of getting expelled from medical school, much less getting sent to prison.
  • The Lancer: Truman
  • Neutral Female: Carin once she stops being a Straw Feminist. Really, she answers the phone and hears an obviously insane man who wants "somebody to talk to." So naturally, she goes to his house alone. It doesn't go well.
  • Punch Clock Villain
  • Rape as Backstory: Carin was apparently molested as a child.
  • The Obi-Wan: Mendelson
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!
  • Straw Feminist: Carin is obviously insecure about being a woman in a male-dominated profession, and refuses Patch's (platonic!) advances for fear of showing weakness and contempt for his carefree attitude. She warms up to him considerably when she sees that his grades are near the top of the class.... and ends up getting killed as a result.
  • Strawman Political: The social issue Patch is facing was not really a revolutionary idea (the term "bedside manner" long predates him entering Med School), but almost all of the people opposing him act as though being apathetic Dr Jerks is the supreme goal of medicine.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Lots of changes were made. Most notably, the romantic love interest Carin was really a male best friend of Patch Adams.
  • Villainous Breakdown: "MOST UNORTHODOOOOOOOX!!!"
  1. His philosophy is about using friendliness and humor to help in the healing process, the movie presented him as guy who likes making people feel better but actually getting better is a secondary issue
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