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: London , Transformation , Inspiring , Doctor , Wife ,

Ratings & Reviews

  • 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

  • 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]

  • 100
    Time Out

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

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com

Awards

Nominated Directing
Nominated Screenplay
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1980)
Winner Actor
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 Editing
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1980)
Nominated Direction
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1980)
Nominated Best Picture
Nominated Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated Best Performance By an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
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 Screenplay - Motion Picture
Nominated Cinematography
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1980)