• The Elephant Man (1980)

The Elephant Man

Release Date: 1980

PG |2 hr 5 min

Plot Summary

Dr. Frederic Treves (Anthony Hopkins) discovers Joseph (John) Merrick (John Hurt) in a sideshow. Born with a congenital disorder, Merrick uses his disfigurement to earn a living as the "Elephant Man." Treves brings Merrick into his home, discovering that his rough exterior hides a refined soul, and that Merrick can teach the stodgy British upper class of the time a lesson about dignity. Merrick becomes the toast of London and charms a caring actress (Anne Bancroft) before his death at 27.

Cast: John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Freddie Jones, Michael Elphick, Hannah Gordon

Director: David Lynch

Genres: Biography

Production Co: Paramount

Keywords: Inspiring , London , Wife , Doctor , Transformation

Ratings & Reviews

  • 100
    Time Out

    A marvelous movie, shot in stunning black-and-white by Freddie Francis. show more

  • 50
    Jay ScottThe Globe and Mail (Toronto)

    In David Lynch's film, the Elephant Man has become a drooling Latex monster. There is nothing wrong with Hurt's performance - it is quite moving - but there is a great deal wrong with a movie that adds insult to injury by unconscionably holding back the revelation of the make-up. [04 Oct 1980]

  • 50
    Roger EbertChicago Sun-Times

    I kept asking myself what the film was really trying to say about the human condition as reflected by John Merrick, and I kept drawing blanks. The film's philosophy is this shallow: (1)Wow, the Elephant Man sure looked hideous, and (2)gosh, isn't it wonderful how he kept on in spite of everything? show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com

Awards

Nominated Directing
Nominated Screenplay
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1980)
Winner Film
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1980)
Nominated Best Director - Motion Picture
Nominated Best Motion Picture - Drama
Nominated Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated Editing
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1980)
Winner Actor
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1980)
Nominated Direction
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1980)
Nominated Best Picture
Winner Production Design
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1980)
Nominated Writing (Screenplay - Based on Material From Another Medium)
Nominated Costume Design
Nominated Art Direction
Nominated Music (Original Score)
Nominated Film Editing
Nominated Best Performance By an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Nominated Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Nominated Cinematography
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1980)