A taped version of the stage play about a hideously deformed 19th-century London man and how he managed to triumph over his disease.



(adaptation), (play)

Watch Now

From $5.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Skylark (TV Movie 1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Jacob's farm is in trouble from a severe drought. Jacob and Sarah begin to wonder if Sarah can stay, and what will happen to Jacob if she and the children have to leave the farm.

Director: Joseph Sargent
Stars: Glenn Close, Christopher Walken, Lexi Randall
Meeting Venus (1991)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A deliciously biting satire about both the world of Grand Opera and United Europe. A Hungarian conductor (Arestrup) attempts to mount a bold new production of Richard Wagner's "Tannhäuser" ... See full summary »

Director: István Szabó
Stars: Glenn Close, Niels Arestrup, Kiri Te Kanawa
Stones for Ibarra (TV Movie 1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A couple moves to a small Mexican town called Ibarra. They help open a local mine which brings new life to the town and the local ways help the two of them find peace they were missing.

Director: Jack Gold
Stars: Glenn Close, Keith Carradine, Alfonso Arau
Orphan Train (TV Movie 1979)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In 1854, there were living on the streets of New York City over 10,000 abandoned orphaned children. Out of this desperate situation was born the orphan Train. This is a fictionalized account, based on actual events.

Director: William A. Graham
Stars: Jill Eikenberry, Kevin Dobson, Linda Manz
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

On a cold winter day a mysterious stranger shows up at the Witting Farm. He is John Witting, the father of Jacob Witting who abandoned Jacob and his mother when Jacob was little. Jacob is ... See full summary »

Director: Glenn Jordan
Stars: Glenn Close, Christopher Walken, Jack Palance
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (TV Movie 1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An alcoholic and femme fatale face troubles before a family reunion.

Director: Jack Hofsiss
Stars: Jessica Lange, Tommy Lee Jones, Rip Torn
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Linda and Michael, married for ten years, desperately want a baby and turn to an adoption agency which introduces them to Lucy, a teenage girl expecting her first baby. The three agree that... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Kaplan
Stars: Glenn Close, James Woods, Mary Stuart Masterson
The Stone Boy (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A Midwestern farm family faces major emotional adjustment after a tragedy results in the death of an older brother.

Director: Christopher Cain
Stars: Robert Duvall, Jason Presson, Glenn Close
Maxie (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A 1920s flapper who haunts her old house possesses a dull housewife who just moved in. Hilarity ensues.

Director: Paul Aaron
Stars: Glenn Close, Mandy Patinkin, Ruth Gordon
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

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.

Director: David Lynch
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft
Something About Amelia (TV Movie 1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Counseling helps family deal with the discovery that their child was sexually abused by the closest relative.

Director: Randa Haines
Stars: Ted Danson, Glenn Close, Olivia Cole
Biography | Drama

The life of Joseph Merrick, who's deformities garnered him the name, "The Elephant Man".

Director: David Dobkin


Cast overview, first billed only:
Penny Fuller ...
Richard Clarke ...
Jarlath Conroy ...
William Hutt ...
Bishop How
Charlotte Moore ...
Miss Sandwich
Josephine Nichols ...
David Rounds ...
Lord John
Veronica Castang ...
William Duff-Griffin ...
Pinhead Manager


A taped version of the stage play about a hideously deformed 19th-century London man and how he managed to triumph over his disease.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama





Release Date:

4 January 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

ABC Theatre of the Month: The Elephant Man  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The original Broadway production of "The Elephant Man" by Bernard Pomerance opened at the Booth Theater in New York on April 19, 1979, ran for 916 performances and won the 1979 Tony Award (New York City) for the Best Play. Philip Anglim, Kevin Conway and Richard Clarke repeated their stage roles in the movie version. See more »


Version of The Elephant Man (1980) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

mirror, mirror who is society's ugliest of all?
24 December 2003 | by (New Hampshire) – See all my reviews

This taped adaption of Bernard Pomerance's Broadway play stays quite faithful in its translation to that usually treacherous paramour called the small screen (although it unfortunately loses some dialogue and scenes to fill the time slot). The themes of illusion versus reality, the hypocrisy of Victorian society (or ours?), self promotion veiled as charity, science versus faith are still here (if only in expurgated form) for the viewer to ruminate about. While little sentiment (and certainly no mawkish sentiment)presents itself to us it is all the more powerful for it's absence. While we certainly pity the hapless Merrick's plight we begin to pity his benefactor Treeves' plight even more.

Lynch's superb film version (unrelated to the Broadway play)focuses our attentions on Merrick's tortures to personal transformation. Pomerance's version focuses our attentions on Treeve's transformation from smug self assuredness to personally tortured. Treeves becomes as much a victim of the repressive and rigid social standards of his society as is Merrick. Although what's worse for Treeves is that he is one of those society's elite members with no one he can truly turn to for solace.

Throughout the teleplay ideas return and act like mirrors that reflect earlier scenes. But like a mirror in a funhouse they distort and subvert the original in the most startling of ways. The fact that Merrick's deformity is only sustained(although we see graphic slides of how he actually looked)by the viewer's act of imagination is never a pretentious theatrical gimmick but works as a kind of litmus test to show the difference between what we see (audience) and they see (characters).

The acting throughout is stellar. An interesting tid-bit: Christopher Hewett (a.k.a. Mr. Belvedere) plays Merrick's manager Ross, who despite his harsh treatment of Merrick, sees upper crust society's visits to Merrick as the polished up sideshow it is. Only this time it's free of charge. Penny Fuller, in a crucial supporting role as Madge Kendall, also shines as the initially superficial social butterfly who eventually becomes the only one to truly see Merrick as the complex adult he truly is. A touching and haunting television play that will pierce your heart and provoke your mind.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The Elephant Man (1982) etteriv
music? cmp4x
Discuss The Elephant Man (1982) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: