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The Elephant Man (1980)

8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 127,244 users  
Reviews: 331 user | 102 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 #131 | Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 12 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Helen Ryan ...
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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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Due to the constrictive deformity of his mouth, Merrick never spoke as clearly in real life as he does in the film. Doctor Frederick Treves often had to act as Merrick's interpretor for visitors. Those who knew him well, such as hospital staff and friends, grew used to his impeded speech but it remained indistinct and worsened as Merrick's condition deteriorated. 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 Little Britain: Bath of Beans (2003) 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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