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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. It is assumed that no one who is diligently avoiding spoilers will be visiting this page in the first place.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for The Elephant Man can be found at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080678/parentalguide.
Not exactly. According to the Wikipedia entry on 'The Elephant Man', there are several historical inaccuracies that stand out. First, the events at the railway station happened before Merrick stayed at the hospital. Second, Merrick went to Europe on his own accord and was never kidnapped. Third, Treves never "rescued" Merrick from the completely fictional character of Bytes (who was "seemingly modelled after Robert Newton's characterisation of Bill Sykes in David Lean's 1948 film adaptation of Oliver Twist").Additionally, in order for Merrick to speak there were several operations to facilitate his ability to talk. Merrick was also quite secure financially from the work he did in the freak shows--he would have been incapable of performing any other work in those days. Finally, his name was not "John" but "Joseph".(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elephant_Man_(film))Update: In a 2011 documentary, "Meet the Elephant Man," scientists examined Merrick's skeleton and determined that his death was accidental, caused by a fracture of the neck, and he died in the afternoon of 11 April 1890. He did not deliberately remove his supporting pillows and lie down to die after his evening at the theater.
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