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The Elephant Man (1980)

John Hurt , Anthony Hopkins , David Lynch  |  PG |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)

Price: $13.50 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, Fanny Carby, Gerald Case, Claire Davenport
  • Directors: David Lynch
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: December 11, 2001
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CX9S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,086 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Elephant Man" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Retrospective Cast and Crew Interviews
  • Interview With Academy Award Winning Make-Up Artist Christopher Tucker
  • Narrated Photo Gallery

Editorial Reviews

You could only see his eyes behind the layers of makeup, but those expressive orbs earned John Hurt a well-deserved Oscar nomination for his moving portrayal of John Merrick, the grotesquely deformed Victorian-era man better known as The Elephant Man. Ina

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MASTERPIECE...pure and simple! May 29, 2003
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
As I sit down to write this review, my experiences with it from my youth came flooding back. I first saw it as a 17 year old high-schooler at my local movie theater, late one evening. I had seen, and enjoyed, the Broadway play a few months earlier, and wanted to see how the movie compared. The play, I should say, was very moving and had a certain spareness in its production design that was very effective. I had left the theatre with a moist eye and an interest in learning more about John Merrick, The Elephant Man (who had neurofibromatosis, NOT elephantitis, as is so often attributed to him).

Anyway, when the movie concluded, the ENTIRE audience of 150 or so sat in its seats, numbed and unmoving. It was one of those experiences where you fight back your tears, because you're worried if you let go, you'll start bawling like a baby! The film was so profoundly moving to me and so artistically brilliant, that I went again the very next day, dragging reluctant friends with me. They were all stunned. I watched it AGAIN later that week.

I've watched it on video a couple of times years ago, but until I rewatched it recently on DVD, it had been nearly 10 years since I'd seen it.

The story is set in the early turn-of-the-twentieth-century London. John Merrick (John Hurt) is, for lack of a better word, enslaved as a sideshow freak. He has the most hideous growths on his bones, which give him a frightening appearance. His head is probably three times bigger than a normal human, and the shape resembles a lumpy dirigible. His limbs are mostly tangled messes. Noted physician Dr. Treves (Anthony Hopkins) hears of this "elephant man" and is fascinated so greatly by his condition that he brings him to his hospital for study.
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101 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-Rending and Timeless February 6, 2004
"Time hath not altered" the emotional impact this movie has on me when I watch it. The word "poignant" has grown hackneyed from overuse, but it certainly applies to this great film. Few films can equal it in terms of dramatic artistry and pitch perfect performances. There's not one maudlin note in a film that could easily have descended into bathetic melodrama in lesser hands.
Lynch was practically a neophyte at the time he directed this movie, yet to many (and to most, for that matter, save the true believers) THE ELEPHANT MAN is his magnum opus. I believe this is because of the mostly Britsh, classically trained actors that made up the cast. Hopkins and Hurt excell. Anne Bancroft (who I believe is the only American in the cast) delivers a flawless performance. Freddy Jones, as Bytes (this was before the internet, remember) is simply uncanny in his tour-de-force portrayal of arguably the vilest villain in cinema history. Who cares that the character was totally innacurate, historically? He chews up the scenery in true Grand Guignol fashion. Gielgud and Wendy Hiller are also on hand to provide levitas. One can't find a better ensemble. It's criminal that at least one of them weren't awarded an Oscar, but that's just another example of how meaningless those little gold statuettes are, more often than not.
Though this is a lot more linear than most of Lynch's movies, there is enough of the surreal on hand to keep the die hards happy. But the surrealism doesn't get in the way of the plot. Christopher de Vore and Eric Bergren, who collaborated with Lynch on the screenplay, can take some credit for that. Veteran cinematographer, Freddie Francis did perhaps the best work of his career here. The black and white images are as good as it gets. The sets are unforgettable.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They don't come any better... December 30, 2000
Despite the fact that "The Elephant Man" is about a grossly deformed man, it is truly one of the most beautiful movies ever made. Director David Lynch has peered into the souls of both the "outcasts" and those considered "normal" in our society. Lynch has never been better, and the same may also be said about actors John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins.
Would-be circus man Bytes has put The Elephant Man/John Merrick (Hurt) on display in the freak show, attempting to profit from another man's misery. Dr. Frederick Treves (Hopkins) "saves" Merrick from the evil Bytes, but what does he do with Merrick? Puts him on display in another freak show of sorts for a panel of doctors. Treves has again stripped Merrick of his dignity and tried to to profit from his misery. So who is worse? Bytes or Treves?
And this is only the first 15 minutes of the film...
What eventually saves Treves is that he actually gets to know Merrick. Behind the deformity he discovers a human being.
There are so many beautiful and touching moments in this movie: Merrick's awe at watching the play, Merrick removing the pillows from his bed so he can sleep like a normal person and, of course, Merrick trapped at the train station and shouting out "I am not an animal!"
But my favorite moment comes when Merrick's fellow "freaks" in the circus help him escape. As they put him on a ship so he can hopefully find his way back home, the dwarf (Kenny Baker) says to him "Good luck, my friend. And who needs it more than us?"
Filmed in gorgeous black and white. They don't come any better than this.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
It is what it says and does what it says. Very pleased with it and have to keep typing til it tells me I can submit lol
Published 2 days ago by AwesomeCouple
4.0 out of 5 stars aspect ratio
If I had known that THE ELEPHANT MAN had actually been filmed in 2;35/1 ratio I would not have purchased this DVD. Read more
Published 23 days ago by quanmech
3.0 out of 5 stars 5 star movie but incomplete item description...grrrr.
This movie plays fine on my blu-ray player and is in English. It's still rather grainy film quality. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Melissa
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful film gets wonderful transfer!
I've waited for this movie to get the star treatment and my patience has paid off with this excellent Blu-ray transfer. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Undersaw
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant and more linear Lynch narrative
IMHO, despite the fact that you see Hopkins more often than Hurt, the movie belongs to the latter- I don't think the movie would be what it is without Hurt's voice behind the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Urmuz
5.0 out of 5 stars a really wonderful story
this is a wonderful movie and true story it makes me glad i was born when i was and not back when people could be put on display for people to laugh at
Published 3 months ago by Diane Fernette
5.0 out of 5 stars Guaranteed to have you and your other film viewers in tears
After becoming immune to the raft of supposed "tear jerker" films, its great to see this one is genuine. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Bob Wolter
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
I show this movie at the end of the semester for Anatomy and Physiology. Great teaching tool re: human nature, discrimination and kindness
Published 3 months ago by Christina
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie
I was so happy when I finally got this movie. It makes me cry every time I watch it. It really shows how cruel people can be sometimes. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Claudia
5.0 out of 5 stars This story/movie tugs at your heart right to the end.
Elephant Man is an excellent movie about a man horribly disfigured at birth that finally comes to the attention of a well-meaning and very gentle doctor when he is in his mid 20's. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Edward J. De Boer
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Topic From this Discussion
When will this excellent film be reissued again?
Probably for its 30th anniversary next year, I would think. I was watching it on cable the other night and couldn't believe it's that old, there's nothing about it that looks like 1980 to me.

Wow, this post is old. :D
Feb 22, 2009 by justfribble |  See all 3 posts
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