The Elephant Man

The Elephant Man

The Elephant Man

Anthony Hopkins and John Hurt star in David Lynch's film based on the true story of Joseph Merrick, a severely deformed man in 19th century London. Nominated for eight Academy Awards and winner of Best Film and Best Actor (Hurt) at the 1981 BAFTA awards.

Dr. Frederic Treves (Hopkins) discovers Joseph Merrick (Hurt) in a sideshow. Born with a congenital disorder, Merrick uses his disfigurement to earn a living as the 'Elephant Man.' Treves brings Merrick into his home, discovering that his rough exterior hides a refined soul, and that Merrick can teach the British upper class of the time a lesson about dignity. Merrick becomes the toast of London and charms a caring actress (Anne Bancroft) before his death at 27.

Won Best Actor (Hurt), Best Film and Best Production Design (Stuart Craig) at the 1981 BAFTA awards.
1980Rating: PG, Violence124 minsUSA, UK
DramaTrue Story & Biography
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Reviews & comments

"I am not an animal! I am a human being! I... am... a man!"

Yes, I realise that very quote is pasted underneath the title on the letterboxd page for this film: But it's just so damn good. That quote itself, more or less, summarises one of the most prominent themes in the film, a comment on human nature; Our tendency to treat horribly those who are on the more radical sides of the spectrum of...

4.0
Variety

Variety

press

Director David Lynch has created an eerily compelling atmosphere in recounting a hideously deformed man's perilous life in Victorian England.

Total Film

Total Film

press

The playing is finely judged, the black-and-white cinematography is effective and the whole thing manages to be truly moving in a way that overcomes all the "I am not an animal!" schmaltz.

4.0
Time Out

Time Out

press

A marvellous movie, shot in stunning black-and-white by Freddie Francis.

The New York Times

The New York Times

press

What we eventually see underneath this shell is not 'the study in dignity' that Ashley Montagu wrote about, but something far more poignant, a study in genteelness that somehow suppressed all rage.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

press

I kept asking myself what the film was really trying to say about the human condition as reflected by John Merrick, and I kept drawing blanks.

Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

press

A very rich film, confident enough in its emotional core to get away with broadstrokes like the villainous performances of Freddie Jones and Michael Elphick as rotten exploiters.

4.0
Variety

Variety

press

Director David Lynch has created an eerily compelling atmosphere in recounting a hideously deformed man's perilous life in Victorian England.

Total Film

Total Film

press

The playing is finely judged, the black-and-white cinematography is effective and the whole thing manages to be truly moving in a way that overcomes all the "I am not an animal!" schmaltz.

4.0
Time Out

Time Out

press

A marvellous movie, shot in stunning black-and-white by Freddie Francis.

The New York Times

The New York Times

press

What we eventually see underneath this shell is not 'the study in dignity' that Ashley Montagu wrote about, but something far more poignant, a study in genteelness that somehow suppressed all rage.

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

press

I kept asking myself what the film was really trying to say about the human condition as reflected by John Merrick, and I kept drawing blanks.

Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

press

A very rich film, confident enough in its emotional core to get away with broadstrokes like the villainous performances of Freddie Jones and Michael Elphick as rotten exploiters.

4.0

"I am not an animal! I am a human being! I... am... a man!"

Yes, I realise that very quote is pasted underneath the title on the letterboxd page for this film: But it's just so damn good. That quote itself, more or less, summarises one of the most prominent themes in the film, a comment on human nature; Our tendency to treat horribly those who are on the more radical sides of the spectrum of...

4.0