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This is the story of the first years of the AIDS epidemic in the United States and focuses on three key elements. Dr. Don Francis, an immunologist with experience in eradicating smallpox and containing the Ebola virus, joins the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to try and understand just what this disease is. They also have deal with bureaucracy and a government that doesn't seem to care. The gay community in San Francisco is divided on the nature of the disease, but also what should be done about it. Finally, this movie deals with the rivalry between Dr. Robert Gallo, the American virologist who previously discovered the first retrovirus and his French counterpart at the Pasteur Institute, Dr. Luc Montagnier, that led to disputed claims about who was first to identify the AIDS virus.Written by
Although the name of Richard Gere's character is never revealed throughout the movie, he is Michael Bennett, the famous choreographer and creator of A Chorus Line and Dreamgirls (among others musicals), who died of AIDS in 1987. See more »
The movie presents January 4, 1983 as the date when the term AIDS was created in a proposition in the CDC, in Atlanta. The real meeting where the term was developed was July 27, 1982, and the reunion took place in Washington. (Source: Time Magazine) See more »
Now for years and years and years people in my hometown were telling me I was a freak because of my sexual orientation, until I came to San Francisco, and I found a community of freaks just like me. We stood together. We stood together! And it took a long time. But we finally forced this one tiny spot of the universe, the Castro, to realise that how we choose to have sex, and where, is our own damn business. Which to all other people who haven't gone through what we've gone through sounds funny...
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In 1999, the end credit scrolls were rewritten to show updated AIDS statistics. See more »
Docu-Drama about the early research and causes of the Aids Virus in the early 80s
And the band played is really the history of how the Aids Virus managed to spread throughout the world like few illnesses have. The medical history, governmental ignorance and emotion surrounding this sickness all conspired against any rational approach to an early cure or intervention.
Matthew Modine carries off his role with fire and brimstone, he is the consummate voice of positive cooperation and healing, and Alan Alda plays his evil counterpart. Alda plays the egotistical, self-serving Dr. Robert Gallo, who made questionable progress fighting the disease. There are those who believe that his research was all stolen from the French doctors who were also working tirelessly to defeat this sickness. The movie explores that controversy, in the light of how much it may have slowed down the search for a cure.
The cast of this movie is a virtual who's-who of cause fighting Hollywood. Richard Gere plays a particularly touching role as a choreographer who knows he is at risk, and sort of sneaks around helping financially and having himself evaluated. He dies from the disease, but you get a real sense of his tragedy and it is easy to love this character.
Lilly Tomlin, B.D. Wong, Glenne Headley and Steve Martin all play smaller roles and it always seems interesting to me that certain actors and actresses seem to appear together time and again. B.D. has his best moments as the confused and weary boy friend of the tireless Bill Krauss, who was a continuous crusader against the inhuman attitude towards homosexuals. Glenne is a fierce researcher who actually seems to track down the zero case in the Americas, a French Canadian flight attendant named Dugas.
The frustrations of the medical researchers at the CDC in Atlanta become more and more extreme as the Reagan administration chokes down on their research budget. As there was a strange stigma attached to AIDS as a Gay disease, the ultra-conservative Reagan administration wouldn't widely support the necessary research. Also, there were incredible problems with the Red Cross and their blood banks being infected with tainted blood.
This movie is moving, touching, historically accurate and full of inspirational acting and dialog. Don't miss the opportunity as it comes on the various HBO channels periodically.
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