The Elephant Man

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Released 1980

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Movie Summary

Director:
David Lynch (I)
Released:
1980
Rating:
PG
The Elephant Man is a 1980 drama directed by David Lynch. In 19th century London, the severely deformed John Merrick (John Hurt) works as a sideshow freak at a carnival. Most people assume that Merrick is mentally challenged due to his appearance and his speech problems, but Dr. Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) discovers that Merrick is highly intelligent and moves him into the hospital where he works. Soon, Merrick begins entertaining wealthy and prominent visitors. His caretaker, Mrs. Mothershead (Wendy Hiller), warns Treves that Merrick is still treated as little more than a freak attraction. At the same time, a night worker at the hospital takes advantage of Merrick by charging locals for the privilege of staring at him. Merrick's former boss, Bytes (Freddie Jones), pays for admission one night and kidnaps Merrick, putting him on the freak show circuit overseas. Treves learns that he has one last chance to help Merrick, but he may be too late.

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Metacritic Score

  • 100

    Time Out

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

  • 50

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    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...

  • 50

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Jay Scott

    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 w...

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Categories

Drama

Themes

Medical, Biography, Historical