IMDb > The Elephant Man (1980)
The Elephant Man
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The Elephant Man (1980) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
8.3/10   121,234 votes »
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Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Christopher De Vore (screenplay) &
Eric Bergren (screenplay) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Elephant Man on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 October 1980 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
I am not an animal! I am a human being! I...am...a man!
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 13 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
a perfect film See more (325 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Anthony Hopkins ... Frederick Treves

John Hurt ... John Merrick

Anne Bancroft ... Mrs. Kendal

John Gielgud ... Carr Gomm

Wendy Hiller ... Mothershead

Freddie Jones ... Bytes

Michael Elphick ... Night Porter

Hannah Gordon ... Mrs. Treves
Helen Ryan ... Princess Alex

John Standing ... Fox

Dexter Fletcher ... Bytes' Boy

Lesley Dunlop ... Nora

Phoebe Nicholls ... Merrick's Mother
Pat Gorman ... Fairground Bobby
Claire Davenport ... Fat Lady
Orla Pederson ... Skeleton Man
Patsy Smart ... Distraught Woman
Frederick Treves ... Alderman
Stromboli ... Fire Eater
Richard Hunter ... Hodges
James Cormack ... Pierce
Robert Lewis Bush ... Messenger (as Robert Bush)
Roy Evans ... Cabman
Joan Rhodes ... Cook
Nula Conwell ... Nurse Kathleen
Tony London ... Young Porter
Alfie Curtis ... Milkman
Bernadette Milnes ... 1st Fighting Woman
Brenda Kempner ... 2nd Fighting Woman
Carol Harrison ... Tart (as Carole Harrison)
Hugh Manning ... Broadneck
Dennis Burgess ... 1st Committee Man
Fanny Carby ... Mrs. Kendal's Dresser

William Morgan Sheppard ... Man In Pub (as Morgan Sheppard)

Kathleen Byron ... Lady Waddington
Gerald Case ... Lord Waddington

David Ryall ... Man With Whores
Deirdre Costello ... 1st Whore

Pauline Quirke ... 2nd Whore

Kenny Baker ... Plumed Dwarf
Chris Greener ... Giant
Marcus Powell ... Midget
Gilda Cohen ... Midget
Lesley Scoble ... Siamese Twin (as Lisa Scoble)
Teri Scoble ... Siamese Twin
Eiji Kusuhara ... Japanese Bleeder
Robert Day ... Little Jim

Patricia Hodge ... Screaming Mum
Tommy Wright ... First Bobby
Peter Davidson ... Second Bobby
John Rapley ... King In Panto
Hugh Spight ... Puss In Panto
Teresa Codling ... Princess In Panto
Marion Betzold ... Principal Boy
Caroline Haigh ... Tree
Florenzio Morgado ... Tree
Victor Kravchenko ... Lion / Coachman
Beryl Hicks ... Fairy
Michele Amas ... Horse
Lucie Alford ... Horse
Penny Wright ... Horse
Janie Kells ... Horse
Lydia Lisle ... Merrick's Mother
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Eric Bergren ... Lyra Box Player #1 (uncredited)

Adam Caine ... Kid at Train Station (uncredited)
Christopher De Vore ... Lyra Box Player #2 (uncredited)
Harry Fielder ... Policeman (uncredited)
Norman Gay ... Doctor (uncredited)
Ralph Morse ... Young aristocrat (uncredited)
Kevin Schumm ... Kid at Train Station #2 (uncredited)
Fred Wood ... Injured Man (uncredited)
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Directed by
David Lynch 
 
Writing credits
Christopher De Vore (screenplay) &
Eric Bergren (screenplay) &
David Lynch (screenplay)

Frederick Treves (book "The Elephant Man and Other Reminiscences") (as Sir Frederick Treves)

Ashley Montagu (in part on the book "The Elephant Man: A Study in Human Dignity")

Produced by
Stuart Cornfeld .... executive producer
Jonathan Sanger .... producer
Mel Brooks .... executive producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
John Morris 
 
Cinematography by
Freddie Francis (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Anne V. Coates 
 
Casting by
Maggie Cartier 
 
Production Design by
Stuart Craig 
 
Art Direction by
Robert Cartwright  (as Bob Cartwright)
 
Set Decoration by
Hugh Scaife 
 
Costume Design by
Patricia Norris 
 
Makeup Department
Paula Gillespie .... hairdresser
Stephanie Kaye .... hairdresser
Beryl Lerman .... makeup artist
Michael Morris .... makeup artist
Wally Schneiderman .... makeup application: 'Elephant Man'
Wally Schneiderman .... makeup supervisor
Christopher Tucker .... makeup creator: 'Elephant Man'
Christopher Tucker .... makeup designer: 'Elephant Man'
 
Production Management
Terence A. Clegg .... executive in charge of production
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Gerry Gavigan .... second assistant director
Anthony Waye .... assistant director
Andy Armstrong .... third assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Reg Richards .... construction manager
Terry Wells .... property master
John Roberts .... set designer (uncredited)
Adrian Start .... chargehand painter (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Robin Gregory .... sound mixer
Peter Horrocks .... sound editor
John Iles .... engineer: Dolby
David Lynch .... sound designer
Alan Splet .... sound designer
Alan Splet .... special sound effects
Doug E. Turner .... dubbing mixer (as Doug Turner)
Terry Sharratt .... boom operator (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Graham Longhurst .... special effects
Neil Corbould .... special effects (uncredited)
Paul Corbould .... special effects (uncredited)
Martin Gutteridge .... special effects supervisor (uncredited)
Garth Inns .... special effects (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
David Smith .... optical cameraman: Camera Effects Ltd (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Frank Connor .... still photographer
Jim Dawes .... dolly grip
Jerry Dunkley .... camera operator
Roy Larner .... gaffer
Wick Finch .... electrician (uncredited)
John Matthews .... best boy (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Tiny Nicholls .... wardrobe supervisor
 
Editorial Department
Patrick Moore .... assistant editor
 
Music Department
Jack Hayes .... orchestrator
John Morris .... conductor
 
Transportation Department
Brian Hathaway .... transportation
Gerry Turner .... transportation
 
Other crew
Randy Auerbach .... researcher
Ceri Evans .... continuity
Graham Ford .... location manager
Loretta Ordewer .... production secretary
John Trehy .... production accountant
Ellen Adolph .... manager of production accounting (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Elephant Man" - Japan (English title)
See more »
Runtime:
124 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Following the death of the real Joseph "John" Merrick, parts of his body were preserved for medical science to study. Some internal organs were kept in jars, and plaster casts were taken of his head, an arm, and a foot. Although the organs were destroyed by German air raids during the Second World War, the casts survived and are kept at the London Hospital. The makeup for John Hurt, who played Merrick in the film, was designed directly from those casts.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: When Carr Gomm first meets John Merrick, he walks close up to him. In the next shot he is way back from him, then close again.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 »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
Adagio For StringsSee more »

FAQ

How much sex, violence, and profanity are in this movie?
Did everything happen to Merrick just like in the film?
See more »
270 out of 286 people found the following review useful.
a perfect film, 6 November 2004
Author: (Bastian Balthazar Bux) from Iowa City, IA

If one was to turn on David Lynch's The Elephant Man midway through, without knowing what it was, one might be startled at the appearance of the main character. One might even be tempted to make fun of the character. But if one was to watch the film from the beginning, one's sympathy with John Merrick (John Hurt), 'The Elephant Man,' would be strong enough to deny that the former situation was ever a possibility. Lynch does not allow his audience to glimpse Merrick sans mask until his appearance has been built up substantially. When we the audience are at our zenith of anticipation, we see him-no dramatic music, no slow motion; a simple cut and he's there. There he is. And it's no big deal.

This is the beauty of Lynch's direction. We are led through our morbid curiosity at the same rate the characters in the film are. We develop alongside them. More specifically, we develop alongside Frederick Treeves, played with an astounding sublimity of emotion by Anthony Hopkins. Next to Treeves we pity Merrick, respect him, pity him again, and then ask ourselves with him, 'is he just a spectacle to me? Am I a bad person?'

Lynch certainly doesn't let us bypass this question easily. Are we bad people for being intrigued or are we good people for pitying? Certainly there is a mix of intrigue and pity with every character who first meets John, and we are not excluded. However, as with almost every character who truly comes to know John and confer with him, we learn to respect him as a human being and not as a spectacle. Nonetheless, this issue never finds close in the film, nor do I feel it ever can be closed in actual life. Hopkin's Treeves is never fully sated in how he feels about this dilemma, and so, neither can we be.

Technically, The Elephant Man is a beautifully shot film. In crisp black and white, the film recalls the cinematic technique of American cinema circa the 1930's. The scenes dissolve into one another; there is no brisk editing. The lighting is kept low-key during dark scenes, balanced during daytime scenes-this is standard film-making of the era. The one digression from this form are the distinctly Lynchian surrealities-pseudo-dream-sequences of commendably original imagery that break up the film and serve as distinct mood-setters for the audience. These are, for the most part, fairly intimidating sidenotes. We as an audience are caught off-guard because in these tangents we are not identifying with Treeves, we are put instead into Merrick's shoes. It is unsettling.

But Lynch has never been a director to flinch at unsettling prospects. We must watch Merrick beaten, abused, harassed, humiliated, and tormented. We may feel a surge of happiness when he finally stands up for himself, but by that point we still have to cope with what we've already, what he's already, experienced. I suppose that is the greatest and most devastating aspect of the film-empathy. Every moment is heartbreaking. Yet no matter how hard it gets, and how much better it then turns, there is always the threat of another jab. And those jabs only get more and more painful.

The Elephant Man is a perfect film. It is sorrowful but it apologizes not at all for it. It is a film about where our empathy stems from, a film that asks you to feel sorry but rebukes you for your blind pity. It asks you to respect Merrick, not cry for him. But you can't help crying. The Elephant Man is a film that treks you through despair and asks for your hope in the end. It asks you to hate humanity but to love the humane. It asks you to look at a man who appears sad and know that inside, he's okay.

Was the above review useful to you?
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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Elephant Man (1980)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Your top 5 favourite films? TwiZone
Impossible movies to not cry on? Top 5. blazetariq
Blue Velvet Vs. The Elephant Man, which is Lynch's masterpiece? chrisjarmer
Is There a Movie much sadder than this Masterpiece !! slayerkolik13
One thing that bugs me ... roman_g
the lead guy - so dinstinctive - how come he never made another movie? anthonyjohnFReynolds
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