The medical profession has been cast in many different lights since cinema began—sometimes heroic, idealistic, principled, dedicated, and selfless, at other times greedy, egotistical, uncaring, unethical, and mad.
In his book, Medicinema, Brian Glasser explores what film has to say about medicine, and the popular perception of doctors. He compiled this miscellany of films and their interpretation while working as a teaching fellow of medical humanities at University College London Medical School.
Doctors were the first professionals to be depicted in film, predating criminals, clergy, and even cowboys.1 The popularity of doctors as protagonists owes much to the access they have into people’s lives. “In this relatively secular age, a GP will know more about the local community than the parish priest, rabbi, or vicar… Of course, films are intrinsically voyeuristic, and perhaps there is a spectator sport element in medical practice too,” says Glasser.
Public anxiety towards doctors