The English Patient script
Synopsis: The English Patient is a 1996 British-American romantic drama film directed by Anthony Minghella from his own script based on the novel of the same name by Michael Ondaatje and produced by Saul Zaentz. The film was released to critical acclaim, and received 12 nominations at the 69th Academy Awards, eventually winning nine, including Best Picture, Best Director for Minghella and Best Supporting Actress for Juliette Binoche.

1EXT. LATE 1942. THE SAHARA DESERT. DAY.

SILENCE. THE DESERT seen from the air. An ocean of dunes for mile

after mile. The late sun turns the sand every color from crimson to

black.

An old AEROPLANE is flying over the Sahara. Its shadow swims over the

contours of sand.

A woman's voice begins to sing unaccompanied on the track. Szerelem,

szerelem, she cries, in a haunting lament for her loved one.

INSIDE the aeroplane are two figures. One, A WOMAN, seems to be

asleep. Her pale head rests against the side of the cockpit. THE

PILOT, a man, wears goggles and a leather helmet. He is singing, too,

but we can't hear him or the plane or anything save the singer's

plaintive voice.

The plane shudders over a ridge. Beneath it A SUDDEN CLUSTER OF MEN

AND MACHINES, camouflage nets draped over the sprawl of gasoline tanks

and armored vehicles. An OFFICER, GERMAN, focuses his field glasses.

The glasses pick out the MARKINGS on the plane. They are English. An

ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUN swivels furiously.

Shocking bursts of GUNFIRE. Explosions rock the plane, which lurches

violently. THE WOMAN SLUMPS FORWARD, slamming her head against the

instruments. The pilot grabs her, pulls her back, but she's not

conscious. The fuel tank above their heads is punctured. It sprays

them both, then EXPLODES.

THE MAN FALLS OUT OF THE SKY, clinging to his dead lover. The are both

ON FIRE. She is wrapped in a parachute silk and it burns fiercely. He

looks up to see the flames licking at his own parachute as it carries

them slowly to earth. Even his helmet is on fire, but the man makes no

sound as the flames erase all that matters - his name, his past, his

face, his lover...

2EXT. THE DESERT. 1942. DAY.

THE PILOT HAS BEEN RESCUED BY BEDOUIN TRIBESMEN. Behind them the

wreckage of the plane, still smoking, the Arabs picking over it. A

SILVER THIMBLE glints in the sun, is retrieved. Another man comes

across A LARGE LEATHER-BOUND BOOK and takes it over to the Pilot. The

Pilot is charred. His helmet has melted into his head. He's oblivious

to this, cares only about the woman who crashed with him. He twists

frantically to find her. Two men pick him up and carry him across to a

litter where they carefully wrap him in blankets.

3EXT. THE DESERT. DUSK.

The Pilot is being carried across the desert. A mask covers his face.

His view of the world is through the slats of reed. He glimpses

camels, fierce low sun, the men who carry him.

4EXT. AN OASIS. DUSK.

The Pilot sees a man squat down beside him, takes a date from a sack

and begin to chew it. Carefully, the Bedouin eases the mask from the

Pilot's face, leaving bandages of cloth and oil, but revealing a mouth.

He stops chewing and passes the pulped date into the Pilot's mouth.

Mouth to mouth.

4a*.EXT. DESERT. DAWN.

THE CARAVANSERAI CROSSES THE DESERT, silhouetted against the dunes.

5EXT. AN OASIS. NIGHT.

The SOUND OF GLASS, of tiny chimes. A music of glass.

AN ARAB HEAD APPEARS ON A MOVING TABLE IN THE DESERT. It floats in

darkness, shimmering from the light of a fire. The image develops to

reveal a man carrying a giant wooden yoke from which hang DOZENS OF

SMALL GLASS BOTTLES, on different lengths of string and wire. He could

be an angel.

The man approaches the litter which carries the Pilot. He's still in

the protective reed mask, wrapped in blankets. The MERCHANT DOCTOR

stands over the burned body and sinks sticks either side of him deep

into the sand, then moves away, free of the yoke, which balances in the

support of the two crutches. He puts some liquid in the Pilot's

tongue, whose eyes almost instantly begin to roll. Then he slowly sets

about peeling away the layers of oiled cloth which protect the Pilot's

flesh.

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Anthony Minghella

Anthony Minghella, CBE (6 January 1954 – 18 March 2008) was a British film director, playwright and screenwriter. He was chairman of the board of Governors at the British Film Institute between 2003 and 2007. more…

All Anthony Minghella scripts | Anthony Minghella Books

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"The English Patient" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 13 Dec. 2017. <http://www.scripts.com/script/the_english_patient_853>.

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