Watch 5B

"When people were consumed by fear, a few heroes showed the world the power of human touch"
  • PG-13
  • 2019
  • 1 hr 34 min
  • 7.8  (307)
  • 69

5B, a 2018 documentary film, tells the story of the nurses and doctors who provided care for HIV/AIDS patients at San Francisco General Hospital during the early days of the epidemic. The movie is named after the ward where these patients were admitted, and the healthcare professionals there played an instrumental role in humanizing the disease and changing the public's perception of it.

The film is directed by Dan Krauss and Paul Haggis, and it features interviews with several of the ward's staff members, including nurses Mary Magee, Guy Vandenberg, and Cliff Morrison, and physician Paul Volberding. Also featured are David Denmark, the first patient admitted to the ward, and Alison Moed Paolercio, a nurse who later becomes an AIDS researcher.

The story begins in 1981, when the first cases of the mysterious illness began to appear. Initially thought to only affect gay men, the disease was later found to affect people of all genders, sexual orientations, and races. At the time, there was no known cure, and the stigma associated with the disease was overwhelming.

As the number of cases continued to rise, the San Francisco health department opened Ward 5B as a dedicated unit for AIDS patients. The staff members there, experienced in caring for intensive-care patients, were tasked with providing care for patients who were dying in large numbers. The movie shows how the healthcare professionals on the ward worked to humanize the disease, providing not just medical care, but also emotional support for their patients.

As the movie progresses, we see many of the patients undergo dramatic changes. They go from being isolated and shunned to being treated with care and respect. Some patients became advocates for their own care, while others became close friends with the staff members. The staff members also had to deal with their own fears and anxieties, as they were faced with an overwhelming workload and constant exposure to the illness.

One of the most poignant storylines in the movie is that of David Denmark. He was the first patient to be admitted to Ward 5B and became a leading advocate for AIDS patients. David's story is particularly moving, as we see him transform from being a healthy young man to a frail, emaciated patient. Despite his deteriorating condition, David remained committed to raising awareness about AIDS and was widely respected both by his fellow patients and the staff.

The movie also covers the larger political and social context of the AIDS epidemic, including the Reagan administration's slow response to the crisis, the failure of the pharmaceutical industry to develop effective treatments, and the activism of the LGBTQ community.

5B is a powerful and inspiring movie that shows how a small group of dedicated healthcare professionals fought to humanize AIDS and change the public's perception of the disease. It's a moving tribute to the patients and staff of Ward 5B and a reminder of the importance of empathy and compassion in healthcare.

5B is a 2019 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 34 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.8 and a MetaScore of 69.

Where to Watch 5B
5B is available to watch free on Peacock, The Roku Channel Free, Pluto TV, Tubi TV and Vudu Free. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent 5B for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 34 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.8  (307)
  • Metascore