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10,410 Ratings

The Elephant Man

Directed by David Lynch
United States, 1980


Based on actual events, this elegantly-shot feature explores the relationship between a Victorian surgeon and a severely deformed man being exploited at a carnival freak show.

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The Elephant Man Directed by David Lynch

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1981 | 8 nominations including: Best Picture

National Board of Review

1980 | Winner: Top Ten Films

BAFTA Awards

1981 | 3 wins including: Best Actor

1981 | 4 nominations including: Best Cinematography

Directors Guild of America

1981 | Nominee: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures

To this day, it’s one of Lynch’s best movies; as such, it’s also evidence that Lynch himself is a victim of his times—his ideal calling would have been as a studio director, applying visionary artistry to such a varied range of classical stories that his sensibility would expand and deepen. . . . Lynch’s extraordinary work on “The Elephant Man” offers a fine illustration of the distinction between Best Picture and Best Director; his direction elevates a good script into a great movie.
January 27, 2018
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It is sublime Oscar bait, and I defy anyone to hear John Hurt’s “I’m not used to being treated so well by a beautiful woman…” without feeling something tear loose within.
February 28, 2015
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Perhaps the film’s greatest accomplishment is how it translates the sensual experience of the human condition through its haptic vision (haptic vision is the idea of touching through sight). This is done most obviously in the heavily textured opening sequence, but throughout the film “normal” sensual experiences of touch, sight and sound are exaggerated in order to create sensory overloads that reflect the emotional and physical states of the characters, in particular those of Joseph Merrick.
June 01, 2014
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