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The Elephant Man (1980)

PG  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  10 October 1980 (USA)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 146,633 users  
Reviews: 347 user | 114 critic

A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous facade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.

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Top 250 Movies #138 | Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Fox
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Bytes' Boy
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Nora
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Pat Gorman ...
Fairground Bobby
Claire Davenport ...
Fat Lady
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Storyline

John Merrick (whose real name was Joseph, as this is based on a true story) is an intelligent and friendly man, but he is hated by his Victorian-era English society because he is severely deformed. Once he is discovered by a doctor, however, he is saved from his life in a freak show and he is treated like the human being that he really is. Written by Sam Cibula

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

10 October 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El hombre elefante  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

SEK 2,253,306 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Merrick's condition was undiagnosed at the time of his death. Later studies of his skeleton and the casts made of his body led researchers to suggest he suffered from neurofibromatosis (NF) type I, a genetic condition that 1 in 4,000 persons suffer from. The NF Foundation used the movie as a fund raising tool and credited it with making the disease more widely known. Later examination, including CT scans of the skeleton, lead researchers to believe he suffered from Proteus syndrome, a much rarer condition than NF. A scientist in 2001 speculated that Merrick may have suffered from a combination of neurofibromatosis type I and Proteus syndrome. In 2003, researchers used surviving DNA samples from Merrick in an attempt to determine his unique condition. However these tests were inconclusive and the cause of Joseph Merrick's medical condition remains unknown. See more »

Goofs

Although it claims to be based on non-fictional writings and primary sources, the movie is full of historical inaccuracies and fictionalised incidents. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Skeleton Man: Get rid of them! I don't want to see them!
Fat Lady: Darling, don't be difficult! Let's take our sweet lovely children on an outing.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing disclaimer: This has been based upon the true life story of John Merrick, known as The Elephant Man, and not upon the Broadway play of the same title or any other fictional account. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Angels Revenge (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Adagio for Strings
By Samuel Barber
Played by London Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by André Previn (as Andre Previn)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
amazing....but not for the weak at heart
26 January 2002 | by (new york) – See all my reviews

this is a brilliantly done film. it is quite raw and blunt about its subject matter, however, so it should not be viewed for "entertainment" purposes, thought he story is inherently intriguing. we must just sit and watch in curiousity and amazement, but in concurrence with extreme sorrow, as we are shown the brutality that john merrick must face as his reality. a smile from another human being, or even a pleasant greeting (which is something that we all take for granted), is treated by this man as the highest form of complimentary behavior possible.

one of the best films that i have ever seen. it wouldnt be called a top 25 of all-time film by the public (though i may place it there), however, based solely on the fact that it, as i mentioned earlier, is lacking in terms of typical "entertainment" value. even though you will certainly be immersed the entire way through. ah, who knows! im not expressing myself very well. make it a priority to see this film. enjoy

absolutely amazing and memorable - 10/10


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