The Elephant Man
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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 as well as misshapen because of his inability to speak coherently. In fact, he is highly intelligent and sensitive, a fact made public when one Dr. Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) rescues Merrick from a carnival and brings him to a hospital for analysis. Alas, even after being recognized as a man of advanced intellect, Merrick is still treated like a freak; no matter his station in life, he will forever be a… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"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."
‑ Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine
"Director David Lynch has created an eerily compelling atmosphere in recounting a hideously deformed man's perilous life in Victorian England."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"This stylish, poignant drama is probably the closest director David Lynch has got to the mainstream outside of the disastrous Dune."
‑ John Ferguson, Radio Times
"Lynch shows a weakness in this film that isn't present in just about any of his others: Sentimentality."
‑ Christopher Runyon, Movie Mezzanine
"A moving, faithful retelling of a bizarre true story."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"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."
‑ Richard Brody, New Yorker
"A marvellous movie, shot in stunning black-and-white by Freddie Francis."
‑ Tom Milne, Time Out
"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."
‑ , Total Film
"Heartbreaking drama isn't for sensitive viewers."
‑ Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media
"It's an amazing story about the human spirit that's told with great sensitivity."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"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."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"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."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Despite the excess, this is a uniquely memorable film."
‑ , People Magazine
"The greatest contribution -- apart from the central performances -- comes from Francis, whose wonderful black and white, widescreen photography lends atmosphere and clarity to the proceedings."
‑ , Film4
"One of the year's best films. Only DeNiro could take the Oscar away from John Hurt."
‑ Michael A. Smith, Nolan's Pop Culture Review
More reviews for The Elephant Man on Rotten Tomatoes

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