“My life is a movie.” That saying is usually reserved for winning the Super Bowl or finally going to a concert of your favorite artist. Maybe you felt that way when you successfully opened your pharmacy. Declaring that your pharmacy is open for business is worthy of a music montage or two.

With the 96th Academy Awards (or Oscars) coming up, let’s look beyond the counter and to the big screen. Movies are a place to escape and maybe see things from a different perspective.

In that spirit, let’s see how pharmacists and other healthcare professionals are portrayed on the silver screen — the results may or may not be surprising.

The Princess Bride - Miracle Max

Who says you need to have a white coat or license to be a pharmacist? (Technically, the law but that’s neither here nor there).

The 1987 classic “The Princess Bride”’ is chock full of iconic and quotable moments — and it even has a pharmacist… well, sort of.

Call him a folk healer, shaman, or medicine man, Miracle Max (played by an unrecognizable Billy Crystal) is a scene stealer in a film full of scene stealers. He, along with his wife Valerie, concoct a “miracle pill” to revive the “mostly dead” Westley. How does he make the pill go down easier? By coating it with chocolate, of course (just make sure he doesn’t go swimming immediately after taking it).

Hidden in plain sight, Miracle Max is what being a good pharmacist is all about: being a bonafide miracle worker who knows the value of taking your time. “You rush a miracle, you get rotten miracles.”

Magnolia (1999)

We’d provide a link to the scene in question, but given its profanity-filled nature, this writer recommends a good old-fashioned Google search.

This one has less to do with the pharmacist and more with how he treats the patient in question. 1999’s Magnolia is about… a lot of things, including child prodigies in game shows, alpha male seminars, and the cosmic nature of coincidences (there’s also a bit about frogs falling from the sky). But there’s also a brief scene that takes place in a pharmacy.

Julianne Moore’s character Linda drops off several prescriptions as the pharmacists begin to question and eventually judge her. She responds… in kind. Questioning someone about their prescriptions is one thing — judging them is a huge no-no, even if you’re in the right.

There’s a right way to question your patients about the medications they’re taking. Whatever you do, never take the “pharmacists-from-the-1999-film-Magnolia” approach.

World War Z

There’s no pharmacist in sight in this 2013 zombie flick — and that’s the problem. The film’s zombie outbreak is well underway as Brad Pitt and co. go to a grocery store to find any medicine or helpful supplies to survive the zombie apocalypse. Naturally, they go to a pharmacy that has been abandoned — no white coats or blue coats (your pharmacy techs) to be found.

While it would be difficult to keep your pharmacy up and running during extreme times like these (check out our Pharmacy Software page to learn about our cloud capabilities), let this hypothetical be a gentle reminder about the need for effective pharmacy security. For more information, check out our blog, “Pharmacy Security - How to Safeguard Your Patients and Inventory.”

The Pharmacist (2020)

Changing gears a bit into more somber territory, Netflix’s documentary “The Pharmacist” pulls no punches in showing what a small-town pharmacist went through in battling opioid abuse in his community.

After fighting for justice for the murder of his son, New Orleans pharmacist Dan Schneider notices a sudden influx of new patients dropping off high-dose prescriptions of oxycodone. What follows is the beginnings of what later would become the nationwide opioid epidemic.

“The Pharmacist” is a tough watch, but a necessary one in highlighting the destructive impact of the opioid epidemic and one man’s fight against the tide. Though it’s not a “fun” watch, it’s a necessary one.

Lisa Faast

We’ve looked at pharmacist characters in movies, but how about a pharmacist who is a filmmaker? Look no further than Lisa Faast. This self-proclaimed pharmacy badass and PioneerRx pharmacy system user has a knack for providing exceptionally personalized patient care, all the while working behind the camera.

Lisa’s ability to juggle the pharmacy grind while working in other fields shows that getting out of your pharmacy isn’t just a suggestion — it’s a necessity and opportunity to innovate in more ways than one.

Want to learn more about why you should get out of your pharmacy? Look no further than our blog, “It’s Time to Get Out of Your Pharmacy.”

While you’re at it, check out her appearance on the Catalyst Pharmacy Podcast to learn how you can be a pharmacy badass.


Movies are meant to entertain, but they can also inform and enlighten. Whether you’re in a fantasy land, in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, or following a pharmacist navigate through the beginnings of the opioid epidemic, movies can show you a perspective that you hadn’t thought of before.

Are all these portrayals of pharmacists in films super accurate? Not necessarily, but they can inform your work and refine how you approach patient care. Whatever you do, however, don’t coat those horse pills with chocolate.

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