The Elephant Man

USA | 1980 | 124 minutes | David Lynch

April 15, 2017

Now It's Dark: The Films of David Lynch | 35mm print courtesy of Lowell Peterson, ASC

I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am a man!

After being floored by a private screening of Eraserhead, executive producer Mel Brooks decided to hire shoestring indie filmmaker David Lynch to write and direct his next atypically melodramatic, and historically accurate, project: The Elephant Man. Lynch's first foray into mainstream filmmaking proved to be a massive success, garnering eight Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture, Director, and Actor) and consequently inventing a new category for Best Makeup. The film stars John Hurt as John Merrick, the famously deformed human oddity who lived as a sideshow attraction in 19th-century London. The sympathetic Dr. Treves (Anthony Hopkins) discovers Merrick, bringing him to the apprehensive attention of the medical community and commits to improving his quality of life. At once a humanistic portrait of compassion and a scathing indictment of Victorian ideals, The Elephant Man is a watershed moment in Lynch's career, propelling him into the high ranks of Hollywood auteurs.

  • Director: David Lynch
  • Principal Cast: John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 1980
  • Running Time: 124 minutes
  • Producer: John Sanger
  • Screenplay: Christopher De Vore, Eric Bergren, David Lynch
  • Cinematographers: Freddie Francis
  • Editors: Anne V. Coates
  • Music: John Morris
  • Language: English
  • Format: 35mm