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The Elephant Man (1980)

A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous façade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.

Director:

David Lynch

Writers:

Christopher De Vore (screenplay), Eric Bergren (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
2,128 ( 98)

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Top Rated Movies #149 | Nominated for 8 Oscars. Another 10 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 October 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El hombre elefante See more »

Filming Locations:

Broadgate, London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$26,010,864, 31 December 1981
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Brooksfilms See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A lifelong smoker, Sir John Hurt still managed to smoke his cigarettes through the heavy facial prosthetic make-up, whenever the urge came on, during the lengthy hours on-set. See more »

Goofs

Although it claims to be based on non-fictional writings and primary sources, the movie is full of historical inaccuracies and fictionalized incidents, starting with the fact that Merrick's first name was actually Joseph, not John. 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

Spoofed in The Critic: Lady Hawke (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Adagio for Strings, Op. 11
Composed by Samuel Barber
Performed by London Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by André Previn
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Something I realized after I had watched the film.
25 April 2004 | by g1957See all my reviews

I believe that one of the greatest ideas in the movie, is that it starts by frightening you, it makes you fear John, in such way that you don't even want to see him. And then when the movie continues it is revealed that John is just a loving human being, who wants to be loved like everybody else, and you suddenly look at him and has a kind of sympathy for him.

This is a VERY VERY VERY strong idea in my opinion BECAUSE the movie shows us that we are not better than anyone else. Even though we think that the people who've seen John as a horrible deformed monster were horrible, we were thinking the same way in the beginning of the movie. Because the movie introduced John to us that way. This teaches us that unfortunately we are not objective, we don't really check things out before we judge them. We base our opinions on what others tell us, and not on what's right.


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