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 Rated Movies #141 | Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 14 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:

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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

The real Merrick's London showman, Tom Norman, was not a brutal drunk like the fictional "Bytes." Norman was a well-respected showman and founder of a temperance society. He and Joseph Merrick were friends and business partners. Norman paid all of Merrick's expenses and split their earnings fifty-fifty. In a few weeks, Joseph saved up fifty pounds, as much as a typical working family made in a whole year. Ever since Treves wrote his memoirs with the character of the cruel showman, the Norman family has been appalled and embarked on a campaign to clear Tom Norman's good name. His granddaughter, Valerie, is 82 and hopes to see his reputation restored before she passes away. See more »

Goofs

In nearly every scene, John Hurt's make-up changes in some way. 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 Batman Returns (1992) 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

 
In a word - excellent but also extremely sad...
5 December 1999 | by (Dublin) – See all my reviews

Hi all,

I saw this movie for the 1st time on 5th December 1999. I was about to go to sleep as it was about 00-40 in the morning and I flicked over to the movie and even though I was falling asleep as I flicked over to it, within five minutes I was wide awake and totally captivated.

Everyone knows the tale of John Merrick, it is so sad and painful to watch and see a man with above average intelligence trapped by his physical deformity and to be physically and mentally abused and tortured for a few meagre pence.

I thought Sir John Gieulgud(?) and Sir Anthony Hopkins were both excellent in their respective roles. John Hurt did Merrick proud.

I had a bit more than water in my eye on 4 occasions during this movie and not ashamed to admit it either. This is the 1st movie to make me cry.

On the Kleenex scale - Titanic is 1 and this is 10!

A movie not to be missed but be prepared to be disgusted and upset by the story told.

ThePM


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