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, the film 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
In one scene, Don Francis (Matthew Modine) mentions that Dr. Robert Gallo would win a Nobel Prize, if his retrovirus research turned out to be successful in finding what causes A.I.D.S. That statement almost happened in reality, but in 2008, Gallo was excluded among the winners for such work, and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was given to Luc Montagnier and Françoise Barré-Sinoussi (played by Patrick Bauchau and Nathalie Baye, respectively) for their work on the discovery of H.I.V. See more »
Francis's Volvo has a Georgia license plate on the front. Georgia only issues rear license plates. See more »
Blood Bank executive:
Is the CDC seriously suggesting that the blood industry spends $100M a year to use the test for the wrong disease because we have a handful of transfusion fatalities and eight dead hemophiliacs?
Dr. Don Francis:
How many dead hemophiliacs do you need? How many people have to die to make it cost effecient for you people to do something about it? A hundred? A thousand? Give us a number so we won't annoy you again until the amount of money you begin spending on lawsuits make it more profitable for you to save ...
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Unbelievable, wrenching film. This movie is told so thoughtfully and well; the sequences are laid out thoughtfully, and this is one of those rare movies literally told from the heart. The cast is just remarkable. What a huge story to tell; this could easily have become garbled due to the overwhelming subject matter. However, it is sequenced well, and acted so well, that you sit there in astonishment that this could happen in a world full of otherwise brilliant people.
I don't know what it will take to remove political considerations from life-and-death struggles...How about we work at saving lives, and worry about who gets credit later? If someone becomes injured due to gang warfare, we don't deny them care or drag our feet because we don't agree with the gangster "lifestyle".
Absorbing, heartbreaking and touching. A fantastic and, obviously, loving job by the entire cast.
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