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Dracula (1931)

TOMATOMETER

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 44
Fresh: 40
Rotten: 4

Critics Consensus: Bela Lugosi's timeless portrayal of Dracula in this creepy and atmospheric 1931 film has set the standard for major vampiric roles since.

Average Rating: 8/10
Reviews Counted: 7
Fresh: 7
Rotten: 0

Critics Consensus: Bela Lugosi's timeless portrayal of Dracula in this creepy and atmospheric 1931 film has set the standard for major vampiric roles since.

AUDIENCE SCORE

Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 43,789

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Movie Info

"I am....Drac-u-la. I bid you velcome." Thus does Bela Lugosi declare his presence in the 1931 screen version of Bram Stoker's Dracula. Director Tod Browning invests most of his mood and atmosphere in the first two reels, which were based on the original Stoker novel; the rest of the film is a more stagebound translation of the popular stage play by John Balderston and Hamilton Deane. Even so, the electric tension between the elegant Dracula and the vampire hunter Professor Van Helsing (Edward … More

Rating:
Unrated
Genre:
Classics , Horror
Directed By:
Written By:
Garrett Elsden Fort , Garrett Fort
In Theaters:
On DVD:
Aug 28, 2001
Runtime:
Universal Pictures


Cast


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Critic Reviews for Dracula

All Critics (44) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (4) | DVD (28)

An exciting melodrama, not as good as it ought to be but a cut above the ordinary trapdoor-and-winding-sheet type of mystery film.

Full Review… | October 15, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

A sublimated ghost story related with all surface seriousness and above all with a remarkably effective background of creepy atmosphere.

Full Review… | October 7, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

The opening scenes, set in Dracula's castle, are magnificent -- grave, stately, and severe. But the film becomes unbearably static once the action moves to England.

Full Review… | September 25, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Not by any means the masterpiece of fond memory or reputation, although the first twenty minutes are astonishingly fluid and brilliantly shot by Karl Freund.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

With Mr. Browning's imaginative direction and Mr. Lugosi's makeup and weird gestures, this picture succeeds to some extent in its grand guignol intentions.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Dracula deserves its status as a classic, although one might be tempted to append the word 'lesser' to that label.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
ReelViews
Top Critic

It's a case of lightning-in-a-bottle casting and there's no way of telling if anyone else as Dracula would've become the model for every single Dracula that followed.

Full Review… | March 26, 2014
Cinematical

It remains the most subtly romantic and highly atmospheric rendition of Bram Stoker's tale about the Transylvanian count, with Browning orchestrating the opening scenes to macabre perfection.

Full Review… | October 7, 2013
Radio Times

...it's clear that the movie simply doesn't hold up terribly well all these years later.

Full Review… | November 17, 2012
Reel Film Reviews

Lugosi's seminal performance and the striking opening act are what distinguish Browning's version of the classic tale.

Full Review… | July 21, 2010

A perfect example of the worst traits of Hollywood films in the early sound era.

Full Review… | October 6, 2009
Antagony & Ecstasy

Stark, cold, and deeply sensual, "Dracula's" atmosphere and intention is rooted in a fear of unknown lust and desire from which there can be no escape. To view "Dracula" is to be bitten by the vampire's desperate attack.

Full Review… | May 8, 2009
ColeSmithey.com

A classic despite numerous flaws.

Full Review… | November 24, 2008
ESplatter

All time horror classic starring Lugosi; still creepy as blazes.

March 22, 2008
Video-Reviewmaster.com

Bela Lugosi gives the performance of his life in a role that might have been written just for him. Highly atmospheric throughout, this remains a milestone in horror movie history.

Full Review… | September 25, 2007
Film4

The atmospheric opening is the best part -- moody and full of sinister potential. After that, it's stilted drawing-room talk, variably acted, except for the cultish over-the-top dementia of Dwight Frye.

Full Review… | September 25, 2007
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Once you get into the rhythms of the film, you'll discover a masterpiece.

Full Review… | October 8, 2005
eFilmCritic.com

there is a reason why Bela ended up in Ed Wood movies

May 12, 2005

[The music] contributes to Tod Browning's marvellous tone of restrained horror and stylish after-life.

Full Review… | February 26, 2005

It haunted no one as much as dear Bela...

January 7, 2005
Blunt Review

After Lugosi, all vampire performances are doomed to be compared against him as either homage or departure.

Full Review… | June 2, 2004
Film Freak Central

Dracula takes place within the confines of the parlors and drawing rooms of London society, which bears a striking resemblance to Americana circa 1931.

Full Review… | February 8, 2004
ToxicUniverse.com

Audience Reviews for Dracula

½

This version of Dracula is the first widely released film of the tale since the German Nosferatu. It does not take directly from the novel, written by Bram Stoker, and instead uses the stage play, which actor Bela Lugosi performed in before being cast in this MGM classic. Dracula here has never been so seminal, suave, and adamantly foreign. Unlike the hideous incarnation of the famed monster in Nosferatu, here Dracula wears beautiful black capes, has a legion of wives, and travels great distances only to appear in London under an assumed name to find his next victim. In attendance to the dark lord is an entranced lawyer named Renfield, played by the insanely creepy Dwight Frye, giving a performance that leaves an everlasting impression. Most of the film is made up of interesting performances, most notably of Lugosi himself, who took a criminally low wage in order to take on the role he first performed on stage. He even negotiated the rights for the play and book for the MGM. Lugosi is certainly enigmatic, many scenes showing penlights being shone into those dark orbs, brows lowered in mock irritation and sensuality. The way Lugosi uses his hands, his aura permeating every scene, whether flanked by fake spider webs, the foggy docks of the London harbor, the box at the theater, or one hand moving out of his wooden coffin, ready to strike. The two leads who portrayed victim Mina and her beau John were slightly annoying. Mina was susceptible to fainting spells, high pitched screams, and expressions of lost innocence while John's face only held the expressions of concern and horror. The atmosphere of the film was quite interesting, the vampire running throughout the cityscape, his influence over his victims and accomplice evident from the fear they showcased. The chase between the vampire and the famous Van Helsing wasn't as thrilling, years later, and the lack of sound was less off-putting than empty. This was one of two performances Lugosi had as Dracula, while also portraying characters like the vampire in other MGM films. His performance is one of the best in history, and there's no one else who can carry that heavy Hungarian drawl so many years later.

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FrizzDrop
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Dracula released in 1931 is probably the most famous version of Bram Stoker's classic work ever put on-screen. This is a brilliant piece of cinema in the early year's of the silver screen. Universal cemented itself as a leader in the horror genre, and released many classic films that set the standards for many years to come. Dracula made Bela Lugosi a star and ultimately a horror icon of the classic era of film. Although often overshadowed by Boris Karloff, his performance here definitely is a much more in depth performance, as Lugosi brings charisma to the title character that Karloff didn't seem to have. I'm not saying that one is better than the other, all I'm saying is that Lugosi had a bit more screen presence and on-screen demeanor due to his larger speaking role. The film itself has a strong sense of atmosphere, which is key to build effective chills and suspense. This a flawless horror picture that stands out even today because the idea issi simple, yet due to Lugosi you are just captivated and mesmerized by his performance. There has been countless films based on Dracula, however this version along with Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 film really stand out because they bring a great cast to tell the Bram Stoker classic which have made vampires such an integral part of the horror genre. Bela Lugosi is wonderful here and his hypnotic performance is among the greatest ever filmed. Dracula remains one of the best vampire films, and its influence on the genre is still apparent today. A definite must see for horror fans.

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TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

½

Now this is what you call a classic! It's a film that you can watch over and over again, as long as you have patience, and become incredibly immersed in the acting, since there was absolutely no score, which kind of takes e out of it at times, and there seems to be a missing element of suspense. Still, the story is fantastic and it's definitely one that has inspired the entire horror genre, and for that, I am totally in it's debt. The edited may be choppy for it's time, but the camerawork is far superior to even some of the films shot in todays day and age. I honesty commend the cinematographers of this film. "Dracula" is definitely one of the best horror classics out there!

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KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

1931 brings us the true definition of a vampire. Director Tod Browning presents another famous monster movie and introduces another classic monster, Dracula. The notable vampire is played by Bela Lugosi, another horror icon and he does a fantastic job in his role. Not only did Lugosi present how we all interpret Dracula today, but he's failed to be outdone. Not one actor has played a vampire better than Lugosi. (If you say Robert Pattinson, you deserve to get hit with shovel.) There's just something really creepy about Lugosi in this. He has great screen presence and his line delivery is equally as terrifying. He has a lot of notable lines like "Children of the night...what music they make." In short, Bela Lugosi is awesome as Dracula. The main plot of the movie is a man goes to a castle for business matters and he comes across Dracula. That's part of the storyline, but we're also introduced to Van Helsing played by Edward Van Sloan. I know most people think of that one movie with Hugh Jackman when they think of Van Helsing, but I find this interpretation more interesting. He's a badass, but everything he does isn't forced like in the Hugh Jackman version. One thing I really enjoy about this movie is the really creepy atmosphere. Since this was the first horror movie made with actual sound, there's no music in the movie, but I think that the lack of music adds more tension to the parts where Dracula is doing his stuff. The art direction of the movie is another great plus to the movie. Dracula's castle has a strangely eerie feel to it and when Dracula makes his first appearance, you can just tell that the place he lives in is what represents who he is, mysterious and creepy. When this movie was first released, people who saw it in theaters were reportedly too terrified of what was going on in the movie and they left the theater. Compared to today's horror movies, it seems really tame, but I can see why people in 1931 were afraid of stuff like this. The climax of the movie is pretty tense and I do understand why it was such a big deal considering movies with sound were a new thing when this movie was made. With all of that being said, Dracula is a great horror classic that defined vampires for people. You know, the kinds that suck blood, are afraid of crucifixes and live in the darkness. NOT the ones that date teenage girls and sparkle in the sun.

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Tyler Robertson
Tyler Robertson

Super Reviewer

Dracula Quotes


Count Dracula:
Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.
– Submitted by Dutch E (19 months ago)
Dr. Van Helsing:
We know why the wolves talk, do we not, Mr Renfield?
– Submitted by Alex K (22 months ago)
John Harker:
I say, driver, what do you mean by going at this.
– Submitted by Alex K (23 months ago)
John Harker:
Well, I'm sorry, but there's a carriage meeting me at Borgo Pass at midnight.
– Submitted by Alex K (23 months ago)
Coach Passenger:
We must reach the inn before sundown!...It is Walpurgis Night, the night of evil Nosferatu! On this night, madame, the doors, they are barred, and to the Virgin we pray.
– Submitted by Alex K (23 months ago)
Dr. Van Helsing:
Gentlemen, we are dealing with the undeadâ?¦Yes, Nosferatu, the undead, the vampire. The vampire attacks the throat. It leaves two little wounds, white with red centers.
– Submitted by Alex K (2 years ago)

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