The Elephant Man
The Elephant Man (1980)

In this film, John Hurt stars as John Merrick, the hideously deformed 19th-century Londoner known as "The Elephant Man." Treated as a sideshow freak, Merrick is assumed to be retarded. In fact, he is highly intelligent and… More

Directed By:
Rated: PG
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: December 11, 2001
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Critic Score: 90% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: David Lynch's relatively straight second feature finds an admirable synthesis of compassion and restraint in treating its subject, and features outstanding performances by John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins.

Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine

This is a tale of redemption and transcendence, of the hunchback of London Hospital, of the noble phantom who wanted to go to the opera, of Beauty and the Beast.

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Variety Staff

Director David Lynch has created an eerily compelling atmosphere in recounting a hideously deformed man's perilous life in Victorian England.

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Josh Larsen
LarsenOnFilm its best when the story and period trappings serve Lynch's vision, and vice versa.

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Richard Brody
New Yorker

Lynch's powerful depiction of Merrick (played by John Hurt) moves a viewer from revulsion and fear to empathy and tenderness. That's the very movement of the story itself.

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Tom Milne
Time Out

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

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John Ferguson
Radio Times

This stylish, poignant drama is probably the closest director David Lynch has got to the mainstream outside of the disastrous Dune.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

The picture itself is a strange trade-off between Lynch's personal themes -- the night world of obscure, disturbing sexual obsessions -- and the requirements of a middlebrow message movie.

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Roger Ebert
Chicago 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.

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Total Film

The playing is finely judged, the black-and-white cinematography is effective and the whole thing manages to be truly moving in a way that overcomes all the "I am not an animal!" schmaltz.

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More reviews for The Elephant Man

Flixster Audience Score: 93% Flixster User Reviews
Directors Cat
Graham Jones
One of the most tame and straight forward of Lynch's films, atleast on the surface. Look closer and you'll see all the things Lynch is now famous for… More
Kevin M. Williams
Take away all the famous names in this work and you'd still be left with the story of a very human soul tormentingly imprisoned in a lump of his own… More
Matthew Roe
David Lynch has had a career with ups and downs, troubles finding funding for films, being a veritable box office leper for a couple decades now, nostalgia is… More
Alex roy
David Lynch's The Elephant Man is a surreal masterwork about the life of John Merrick who was a several deformed man. Beautifully shot in glorious Black… More
Michael Gildea
Outside of the few obvious David Lynch moments, you'd barely recognize The Elephant Man as a David Lynch movie. Its a fairly simple if not incredibly sad… More