6.5/10
307
5 user 2 critic

Bethune: The Making of a Hero (1990)

Canadian surgeon Norman Bethune journeys 1500 miles into China to reach Mao Zedong's eighth route army in the Wu Tai mountains where he will build hospitals, provide care, and train medics.... See full summary »

Director:

Phillip Borsos

Writers:

Ted Allan, Ted Allan (novel)
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1 win & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Sutherland ... Dr. Norman Bethune
Helen Mirren ... Frances Penny Bethune
Helen Shaver ... Mrs. Dowd
Colm Feore ... Chester Rice
James Pax ... Mr. Tung
Da Guo Da Guo ... Dr. Chian (as Guo Da)
Harrison Liu Harrison Liu ... Dr. Fong
Anouk Aimée ... Marie-France Coudaire
Ronald Pickup ... Alan Coleman
Geoffrey Chater ... Dr. Archibald
Zong-yao Tan Zong-yao Tan ... General Nieh (as Tan Zong Yao)
Ke-Yaw Zhang Ke-Yaw Zhang ... Chairman Mao (as Zhang Ke Yaw)
Iñaki Aierra ... Dr. Salvador (as Inaki Ayerra)
Li Hai Lang Li Hai Lang ... Shiao
Yvan Ponton ... Frank Coudaire
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Storyline

Canadian surgeon Norman Bethune journeys 1500 miles into China to reach Mao Zedong's eighth route army in the Wu Tai mountains where he will build hospitals, provide care, and train medics. Flashbacks narrate the earlier events of his life: a bout with tuberculosis at the Trudeau sanatorium; the self-administration of an experimental pneumothorax; the invention of operative instruments; his fascination with socialism; a journey into medical Russia; and the founding of a mobile plasma transfusion unit in war-torn Spain. Bethune twice married and twice divorced his wife, Frances who chooses abortion over child-rearing in her unstable marriage. By 1939, Bethune had been dismissed from his Montreal Hospital for taking unconventional risks and from his volunteer position in Spain for his chronic problems of drinking and womanizing. As his friend states: "China was all that was left." Even there, Bethune confidently ignores the advice of Chinese officials, until heavy casualties make him ... Written by Duffin, Jacalyn

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Canada | China | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 September 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dr. Bethune See more »

Filming Locations:

Montréal, Québec, Canada See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Filmline International See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Donald Sutherland had previously portrayed Dr. Bethune in a 1977 Canadian TV Movie titled Bethune. See more »

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User Reviews

A Communist Gandhi
27 June 1999 | by phred22See all my reviews

Although I know nothing of the life of Dr. Norman Bethune, this biopic appears to be a credible history lesson. But not much more. Though the scenery is gorgeous and we get lots of opinions on our subject, plus writings in his journal, we never really get inside Bethune. This is because the director and the screenwriter seem to be men with banal vision and little imagination.

The movie this film most reminds me of is Gandhi, whose faults it shares but Bethune does not have as powerful a cast. Acting is generally adequate but not much more than that. That the hero is a communist does not mean there couldn't have been a great story here. It does mean most American and Canadian audiences are not going to start watching wanting to see this man's greatness proven, the way they did for Gandhi.


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