A record of the 'awakening' of patients from 40 years of 'sleep' to a full enjoyment of life, at least for a short period. The patients had been victims of the mysterious 'sleeping sickness' of 1917. In 1969, Dr. Oliver Sacks started to treat some of the most hopeless cases with the new drug L-Dopa, with astonishing results. Previously bedridden patients walked, and those who had been speechless for years started to talk and give accounts of their lost years. Dr. Sacks kept a film record of their responses and of the patients in the months that followed. In the programme, both he and the patients talk about the experience.