The Best of Men

(Rochester, NY)The Best of Men, airing Sunday, August 17, 2014 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV, is a heartwarming and uplifting drama based on the true story of how one remarkable doctor revolutionized life for paralyzed people.

Toward the end of the second World War, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, arrived at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in England. A specialist in spinal injuries, he gradually transformed the lives of his patients and staff. The patients were paralyzed soldiers, written off and facing death from institutionalized neglect. Their big breakthrough came when Dr. Guttmann introduced sports into their rehabilitation. Guttmann rejected the general view that paralysis is a terminal condition and, to the consternation of the staff, threw out the old care regime.  He soon established a new protocol, getting all his patients to live more fulfilling lives, using wheelchair-based sports to help many build physical strength as well as self-respect.

Dr. Ludwig Guttmann, an unsung hero, transformed the care of paraplegics and in the process helped start the Paralympic Games. In 1966, the long-time British citizen was deservedly knighted for his part in bringing hope to the hopeless.

The cast includes Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes, War Horse, Moby Dick) as Dr. Ludwig Guttman, George Mackay as Private William Heath, Rob Brydon (Gavin & Stacey, The Trip) as Corporal Wynne Bowden, Niamh Cusack (A Touch Of Frost, Inspector Lewis) as Sister Edwards, and Richard McCabe (Wallander, MI-5) as Dr. Cowan. The program recently won three Royal Television Society West of England awards — Best Drama, Best Actor for Eddie Marsan and Best Writer for Lucy Gannon.

This is a Move to Include program, a partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation designed to promote inclusion for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. Special programming includes prime-time specials, children’s programs, and news stories. Watch the movie and then share your thoughts with us by taking our survey at

Pictured:  Eddie Marsan as Sir Ludwigg Guttmann
Credit: BBC/Whitby Davison Productions



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