The Citadel

Watch The Citadel

"Secrets of a doctor as told by a doctor!"
  • Passed
  • 1938
  • 1 hr 50 min
  • 7.1  (2,309)

The Citadel is a 1938 British film directed by King Vidor and starring Robert Donat, Rosalind Russell, and Ralph Richardson. It is an adaptation of the novel of the same name written by A. J. Cronin. The story follows a young doctor named Andrew Manson (Robert Donat), who has just graduated from medical school and aims to make a name on his own. Manson takes up the job of assistant to a renowned but ageing physician Dr. Page (Ralph Richardson) in a small Welsh coal-mining town. The mining town is plagued with endemic illnesses and health issues, but Manson's attempts to treat his patients with modern medical techniques follow a lot of resistance from the established medical community. Meanwhile, he falls in love and marries with an artist, Christine Barlow (Rosalind Russell).

Manson struggles to adapt to the conflict between his idealistic medical practice and the harsh reality of life in the Welsh mining town. With great effort, he starts to adopt a scientific approach to medicine and overcomes his own prejudices about his unmarried landlady, Denny (Marie Ney), while also helping her sick child. Manson also encourages other young doctors to join the neglected mining community, and as a team, they re-organized the medical practice in the town using latest medical practices.

As Manson's idealistic practice gains recognition and popularity, Dr. Page grows increasingly jealous and resentful. Dr. Page eventually frames Manson for malpractice and with support from the medical establishment, Manson is temporarily barred from practicing medicine. Meanwhile, Manson's personal life is not going much better, and he experiences conflicts in his marriage to Christine, who is struggling to balance her artistic passions with her new role as the wife of a doctor.

The film showcases the widespread disparity in healthcare in the 1930s between the wealthy and the working-class population. The narrative examines how the lack of resources was a key factor in access to medical care and how being illiterate and uneducated can lead to people's ignorance of their health status. The story also highlights the prevalent corruption in the medical profession, which allowed experts to misdiagnose and profit instead of helping patients.

The Citadel features excellent performances by the lead actors, especially Robert Donat, who delivers an outstanding performance as the innocent and idealistic doctor Andrew Manson. The movie also captures the dark and gritty feel of a Welsh mining town in the 1930s and the stark contrast between the struggling working-class population and the wealthy physicians who live privileged lives.

Despite initial critical reviews being mixed, the film went on to be a commercial and critical hit, earning four Academy Awards nominations and winning Best Sound Recording. It holds up as a timeless classic to this day, resonating with those who are fighting the same struggles against disparities in healthcare access, lack of resources and corruption in the medical profession.

The Citadel is an emotional and stimulating movie that highlights universal themes like ethics, corruption, inequality, and hope. It portrays the importance of fighting for what one believes in, even when the odds are against them, and how even one person can make a significant impact against a systemic problem.

The Citadel is a 1938 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 50 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1.

The Citadel
Where to Watch The Citadel
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 50 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (2,309)