Directed byFrederick Wiseman
Produced byFrederick Wiseman
CinematographyWilliam Brayne
Edited byFrederick Wiseman
Susan Primm
Carter Stanton-Abbott
Osti Films
Distributed byNET
Release date
  • February 2, 1970 (1970-02-02)
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited States

Hospital is an 84-minute 1970 American documentary film directed by Frederick Wiseman, which explores the daily activities of the people at Metropolitan Hospital Center, a large-city hospital in New York City, with emphasis on its emergency ward and outpatient clinics.[1]


The film follows hospital staff and a variety patients in an episodic manner. The film is highly observational, using no voice-over narration or interviews. Names are not formally given, and the hospital is only mentioned once as "Metropolitan" by a doctor on a phone call. The patients come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and social classes, but most are poor and marginalized. Doctors, nurses, police officers, and social workers attempt to aid patients with medical care and social welfare. The staff's actions are often compassionate but limited by an overwhelmed public system. Among the patients are a man who fears he has cancer, a neglected toddler who fell out a window, an art student who ingested an unknown drug and is suffering a bad trip, a queer teenager trying to obtain welfare, and an elderly woman who has a pulmonary embolism and is in critical condition. A group of patients attending Catholic mass serves as the closing sequence.




The film won two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in News Documentary Programming - Individuals and Outstanding Achievement in News Documentary Programming - Programs. It also won a Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award. In 1994, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[2] The film was selected for screening as part of the Cannes Classics section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.[3][4]

See also


  1. ^ The New Yorker
  2. ^ "Complete National Film Registry Listing". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  3. ^ "Cannes Classics 2016". Cannes Film Festival. 20 April 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  4. ^ "25 Films Added to National Registry". The New York Times. 1994-11-15. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-06-25.