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Dracula (1979)

In 1913, the charming, seductive and sinister vampire Count Dracula travels to England in search of an immortal bride.

Director:

John Badham

Writers:

W.D. Richter (screenplay), Hamilton Deane (play) | 2 more credits »
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ON DISC
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Langella ... Count Dracula
Laurence Olivier ... Prof. Abraham Van Helsing
Donald Pleasence ... Dr. Jack Seward
Kate Nelligan ... Lucy Seward
Trevor Eve ... Jonathan Harker
Jan Francis ... Mina Van Helsing
Janine Duvitski Janine Duvitski ... Annie
Tony Haygarth ... Milo Renfield
Teddy Turner ... Swales
Sylvester McCoy ... Walter (as Sylveste McCoy)
Kristine Howarth ... Mrs. Galloway
Joe Belcher ... Tom Hindley
Ted Carroll ... Scarborough Sailor
Frank Birch ... Harbormaster
Gabor Vernon ... Captain of Demeter
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Storyline

When a ship is wrecked off Whitby, the only survivor, Count Dracula, is discovered lying on the beach by the sickly young Mina Van Helsing, who is visiting her dear friend Lucy Seward. Lucy, her fiancé Jonathan Harker (a solicitor), and her father Dr. Jack Seward (who runs the local asylum) try to make the Count feel welcome to England. The Count quickly takes the life of Mina, and proceeds to romance Lucy, with the intention of making her his greatest bride. Soon after the death of Mina, the Sewards call her father Dr. Abraham Van Helsing to come to their home. As Lucy falls deeper under the spell of the Count, Dr. Van Helsing almost immediately comes to understand that his daughter fell prey to a vampire and discovers the culprit to be none other than the Count himself. Dr. Van Helsing, Dr. Seward, and Harker work together to foil the Count's plans to take Lucy away to his native Transylvania. Written by Hillary Glendinning (jujbee_luna@yahoo.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Throughout eternity, no man has ever provoked such terrible fear, and such haunting desire. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Dutch | Romanian | Russian

Release Date:

20 July 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Drácula See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,164,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,141,281, 20 July 1979

Gross USA:

$20,158,970

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$31,235,812
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was one of five Dracula movies released in 1979, the other four being Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979), Love at First Bite (1979), Nocturna (1979), and Dracula Blows His Cool (1979). In the same year, Vlad Tepes (1979), a Romanian film concerning the historical figure on whom the Count was based, was released. 1979 also saw the release of two other vampire movies: Thirst (1979) and Salem's Lot (1979). See more »

Goofs

A common problem with many vampire movies is repeated here: the bite marks on the ladies' necks are placed in such a way that the vampire's teeth would have to be one behind the other, not along side each other. The placement of the bites would have Dracula performing a serious contortionist act to get his teeth into the willing victims. See more »

Quotes

Count Dracula: Lucy, come! Come to me!
[Lucy runs into Dracula's arms, and he embraces her]
Count Dracula: No, you must go on a bit longer as a creature of the sun. Only until we have left behind those who would destroy us.
Lucy Seward: And then?
Count Dracula: Then you will join me on a higher plane... feeding on them. We will create more of our kind, Lucy.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Director John Badham intended to film the movie in black and white but was forced by the studio to shoot in Technicolor. When the movie was re-released on laserdisc in 1991, at the behest of Badham, the lush color was drained from the film. All subsequent home video releases feature the desaturated print. See more »

Connections

Referenced in That's Dancing! (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Much better than I'd heard.
6 March 2007 | by dr_foremanSee all my reviews

For years, I've listened to horror fans talk trash about the 1979 "Dracula." It's not faithful to the book, they'd complain, it's not scary, it's only made for the sake of middle-aged ladies who fancy Frank Langella, etc. etc.

Well, I'm happy to report that the horror fans are way off base this time. This "Dracula" is a classy, creepy, and sometimes downright exciting production. Sure, the script doesn't follow the events of the book exactly - the whole thing takes place in England! - but it makes the most of its limitations, so to speak.

Langella makes a very classy Dracula. He apparently refused to wear fangs or demon eyes for the role, focusing instead on making the count more "human" - not to mention arrogant, intelligent, and, I suppose, sexy (for me and other guy viewers, though, the eye candy in this movie is Kate Nelligan). Perhaps Langella is a little too "normal," and his big hair is slightly amusing, but on the whole I think he plays the role with dignity, inhabiting Dracula in a far more convincing way than the likes of Gary Oldman.

The rest of the cast is pretty good, too. Nelligan makes a lovely, capable heroine, and Trevor Eve is an OK (if underused) Jonathan Harker. Laurence Olivier's Van Helsing is a lot better than most people say he is - he comes across as smart, brave and an overall worthy opponent for Dracula. Reviewers tend to mock his Dutch accent, but I don't get too wrapped up in stuff like that; it sounds fine to me. I certainly think the cast here is much better than the parade of wooden actors and crazy hams in the Coppola version.

I like the production values of this film, too. The special effects are mostly photographic tricks but they look cool, and they aren't overbearing like modern CGI effects. The sets and locations are attractive, though the designers went a bit overboard with the Gothic ruin of Carfax Abbey (probably because they wanted to make it a substitute for the absent Castle Dracula). And, of course, the eerie John Williams score is a treat, and rightly praised by most critics.

Another plus is that the movie features a number of very powerful scenes - I love Dracula's confrontation with Van Helsing in the study, and the terrifying moment when Van Helsing encounters his vampire daughter in the mine shaft. Creepy stuff; no wonder this movie freaked me out when I was a kid!

On the downside, I found Dr. Seward, as played by Donald Pleasence, slightly too grotesque and lame to be believed. And, as usual for these Dracula adaptations, Renfield seemed borderline extraneous. The plotting flakes apart a bit at the end, too, with the car chase scene coming across as silly - and what, exactly, does the final image in the film mean? It's slightly too enigmatic for my tastes. I am supposed to be rooting for Dracula to survive or something?

Still, this is one of the better Draculas. The 1977 BBC version is more faithful and probably better. But this is arguably the best adaptation of the story to come out of Hollywood.


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