Captain Newman, M.D.

Synopsis: In 1944, Capt. Josiah J. Newman is the doctor in charge of Ward 7, the neuropsychiatric ward, at an Army Air Corps hospital in Arizona. The hospital is under-resourced and Newman scrounges what he needs with the help of his inventive staff, especially Cpl. Jake Leibowitz. The military in general is only just coming to accept psychiatric disorders as legitimate and Newman generally has 6 weeks to cure them or send them on to another facility. There are many patients in the ward and his latest include Colonel Norville Bliss who has dissociated from his past; Capt. Paul Winston who is nearly catatonic after spending 13 months hiding in a cellar behind enemy lines; and 20 year-old Cpl. Jim Tompkins who is severely traumatized after his aircraft was shot down. Others come and go, including Italian prisoners of war, but Newman and team all realize that their success means the men will return to their units and combat.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, War
Director(s): David Miller
Production: MCA Universal Home Video
  Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 7 nominations.
126 min



Will you call psycho ward

and tell Captain Newman

his lousy flock's

on the loose again?


Let's go.

Hendricks will drop

your bag off at the BOQ.

Thanks, Captain.


Six copies, please.

Colonel Larrabee, please.

I'm Lieutenant Alderson.

I'm Larrabee, Lieutenant.

Air Surgeon's Office

wired you were coming.

Come on in.



Who the devil's in charge

of this hospital?

You or Dr. Newman?

His Ward 7's got

the lowest

return-to-duty rate

in the entire

Area Command.

Psychosis, he says.


Psychogenic syndrome!

Colonel Pyser,

base commander.

And a prize...

Why don't you take

a look around, Lieutenant,

and come back later?

All right.


Admission's free.

Come on in.

What's on your mind,


Nothing, sir.

That's dandy,

but hardly plausible.

Have a chair.

Thank you, sir.

Well, how do you feel?

Quite well, sir.

How do you feel?

Okay. Okay, let's play games.


Are you under the impression

I'm here as a patient?

Well, aren't you?

Why, certainly not.

I'm Lieutenant Alderson,

Air Surgeon's Office,

Statistical Section.


Well, what do you

know about that?

And here I was,

making a brilliant

spot diagnosis.

Guarded, a little tense,

nice party manners,

not quite so secure

as you'd like me to think.

Statistical Section?

Sit down.

We're making a survey

of the capacity of

stateside base hospitals

to handle the flow of

overseas casualties.

Well, that's quite

a mouthful for a report

you could write

on a cigarette paper.

We're short of beds,

doctors, orderlies,

nurses, everything.

Except patients.


in your field.

Our charts show

an alarming increase

in neuropsychiatric cases.

Far beyond the norm.

How do you data demons

determine a norm?

Well, sir, we have

facts and figures and...

Yes, Gavoni?

Haskell's hallucinating again.

He's under his bed

fighting the Japanese,

yelling and screaming

he wants to go home.

Does he have

a favorite in food?

Chocolate malts.

Well, then, you get him

a nice, big chocolate malt

with cookies.

Put it on the floor

near his bed

where he can see it.

Tell him

he'll hurt my feelings

if he isn't back in his bed

by the time I come round.



We say Roger quite

a bit around here.

Makes us feel like heroes.

Why don't you

loosen your tie

before you suffocate?

Sir, our charts show...

You can forget

about that "sir."

My first name is Joe.

What's yours?




Is that what your friends

actually call you? Belden?

No, my friends

call me Barney.


You've got fine friends.

Now, about that

alarming increase

in N.P. cases, Barney,

here's the reason why.

Now, during the first

the files were almost empty.

So was Ward 7.

In those days,

these men weren't

considered to be sick.

Some tossed their

cookies every time

they had to go up.

Some of them

had nightmares.

Some of them shook

so hard they couldn't

even hold a spoon.

But they went up!

No mollycoddling

in the Air Corps.

No, sirree!

You couldn't convince

anyone that

these were symptoms!


And that a symptom

is a red flag

with danger

written all over it.

Now you wouldn't think

it'd take much brains

to comprehend that,

would you?

So acute anxiety cases

were sent into combat,

and sooner or later,

they began to crack up.

Now they're streaming back

from Europe, from Africa,

from the Pacific.

And when we do get them,

we get six weeks to

get them back into duty,

discharge them

or send them to

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Richard L. Breen

Richard L. Breen (June 26, 1918 – February 1, 1967) was a Hollywood screenwriter and director. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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