• PG, 2 hr. 3 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    David Lynch
    In Theaters:
    Oct 3, 1980 Wide
    On DVD:
    Dec 11, 2001
  • Paramount


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The Elephant Man Reviews

Page 1 of 2
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

April 22, 2014
Richard Brody
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

April 22, 2014
John Ferguson
Radio Times

This stylish, poignant drama is probably the closest director David Lynch has got to the mainstream outside of the disastrous Dune.

Full Review Source: Radio Times | Original Score: 5/5

April 22, 2014

Total Film

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.

Full Review Source: Total Film | Original Score: 4/5

April 22, 2014

People Magazine

Despite the excess, this is a uniquely memorable film.

Full Review Source: People Magazine

April 22, 2014
Scott G. Mignola
Common Sense Media

Heartbreaking drama isn't for sensitive viewers.

Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Original Score: 5/5

January 2, 2011


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.

Full Review Source: Film4

April 30, 2008

TV Guide's Movie Guide

A moving, faithful retelling of a bizarre true story.

Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide | Original Score: 4/4

April 30, 2008
Variety Staff
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Director David Lynch has created an eerily compelling atmosphere in recounting a hideously deformed man's perilous life in Victorian England.

Full Review Source: Variety

April 30, 2008
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It's an amazing story about the human spirit that's told with great sensitivity.

Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Original Score: A

April 23, 2007
Michael A. Smith
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

One of the year's best films. Only DeNiro could take the Oscar away from John Hurt.

| Original Score: 5/5

December 14, 2006
Emanuel Levy

In this follow-up to the amazing Eraserhead, David Lynch exposes undercurrents of anguish along with an emotionally accessible tale of Merrick's nobility--a Victorian morality play disguised as an elegy to freakishness

Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Original Score: 4/5

June 22, 2006
Dan Jardine

Has the look and texture of an authentic document, elevated by the hand of a artist with a singular vision

Full Review Source: Cinemania | Original Score: 92/100

June 7, 2006
Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid

This black-and-white film already includes several Lyncian benchmarks: hissing noises, nightmare sequences, and moments of deadly quiet.

Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid | Original Score: 3.5/4

May 26, 2006
Tom Milne
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A marvellous movie, shot in stunning black-and-white by Freddie Francis.

Full Review Source: Time Out

January 26, 2006
Dan Fienberg

Perhaps Lynch's finest moment -- Both disturbingly odd and surprisingly humane.

| Original Score: 5/5

January 6, 2006
Mark R. Leeper

| Original Score: 4/5

December 27, 2005
Cole Smithey

David Lynch does a neat turn with a straight drama.

| Original Score: 4/5

November 14, 2005
Eric Lurio
Greenwich Village Gazette

| Original Score: 4/5

September 5, 2005
Jake Euker
F5 (Wichita, KS)

| Original Score: 4/5

August 24, 2005
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