Bethune: The Making of a Hero


Biography, Drama, Romance, War

Directed by Phillip Borsos
Written by Ted Allan
Cast: Donald Sutherland, Helen Mirren and Helen Shaver

Explore Press


Canadian surgeon Norman Bethune, 1890-1939, (Donald Sutherland) journeys 1500 miles into China to reach Mao Zedong’s eighth route army in the Wu Tai mountains where he will build hospitals, provide care, and train medics. Flashbacks narrate the earlier events of his life: a bout with tuberculosis at the Trudeau sanatorium; the self-administration of an experimental pneumothorax; the invention of operative instruments; his fascination with socialism; a journey into medical Russia; and the founding of a mobile plasma transfusion unit in war-torn Spain. Bethune twice married and twice divorced his wife, Frances (Helen Mirren) who chooses abortion over child-rearing in her unstable marriage. By 1939, Bethune had been dismissed from his Montreal Hospital for taking unconventional risks and from his volunteer position in Spain for his chronic problems of drinking and womanizing. As his friend states: “China was all that was left.” Even there, Bethune confidently ignores the advice of Chinese officials, until heavy casualties make him realize his mistake and lead him to a spectacular apology.



1991 Genie Win for:

-Best Achievement in Costume Design(Olga Dimitrov)

1991 Genie Nominations for:

-Best Achievement in Direction (Phillip Borsos)
-Best Achievement in Cinematography(Raoul Courard, Mike Molloy)
-Best achievement in Art Direction (Michel Proulx, Enrique Alarcon, Huixing, Ren, Ronald Fauteux)

1993 Gemini Nominations for:

-Best Dramatic Mini-Series (Pieter Kroonenburg, Nicolas Clermont)
-Best Writing in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series (Ted Allan)
-Best Production Design or Art Direction(Michel Proulx, Enrique Alarcon, Huixing, Ren, Ronald Fauteux)
-Best Photography in a Dramatic Program or Series (Raoul Courard, Mike Molloy)
-Best Costume Design (Olga Dimitrov)

Comments are closed.