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
NBC spent two years adapting the book for television, but ultimately withdrew from the project in 1989, allowing HBO to pick up the rights. Contrary to popular belief, NBC dropped the project, not because of its controversial subject matter, but because the book's structure didn't work as a four-hour, two-night miniseries. In March 1994, six months after its debut on HBO, NBC re-ran it, edited to fit a two-hour time slot. See more »
This movie is set early 1980s, but there is a box of Wheatables from the early 1990s on the coffee table. Wheatables were introduced in 1988. See more »
Let me tell you people something, no matter what happens here today, if you try to close my joint, I 'll sue the ass off you.
Dr. Don Francis:
Doesn't it bother you knowing that the people who have sex in your bath-house are playing Russian roulette?
Please just cut out this bullshit. We're all in this for one thing: money. I make'em when the guys come in. You doctors, you make'em when they go out.
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In 1999, the end credit scrolls were rewritten to show updated AIDS statistics. See more »
I read this book in high school in the late 80's just as it was released. The book was excellent and gave a great educational lesson on HIV and AIDS. The movie was just as good. I was really touched at the end when "The last song" by Elton John was playing. The movie gave a great time-line of the virus.
It is so terrifying to think AIDS has actually been around since probably 1959 when a blood sample from a man from the Congo had died of a mysterious illness, and tests run on the blood sample today showed he did indeed have AIDS. The movie was very touching, this whole topic leaves a lump in my throat. I was 13 when AIDS had started making the news and in 1985 or 1986 my dad had a blood transfusion. We spend months worrying if he had contracted HIV. Thank god he got clean blood and he dodged a bullet, unlike the 25,000 people in the 70 and 80's who received tainted blood.
I got teary eyed when an HIV+ guy in the movie says "This is not a political issue. This is a health issue. This is not a gay issue. This is a human issue. And I do not intend to be defeated by it. I came here today in the hope that my epitaph would not read that I died of red tape."
The predictions were accurate. The scientists predicted there would be 40 million people worldwide infected with HIV by the turn of the century and that number has proved to be pretty much dead on, literally.
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