Dracula (1979)



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Movie Info

In the late '70s, Frank Langella starred in the hit Broadway play Dracula, written by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston. Langella's charisma and the surreal, black-and-white sets designed by cartoonist Edward Gorey were the chief outstanding features of the play, which was otherwise undistinguished. While this film production of the play boasts performances by stage veterans Lord Laurence Olivier and Donald Pleasance, as well as Frank Langella as the suavest of counts, it was neither a critical nor a box-office success, doubtlessly because expectations ran too high. One highlight of this production is its skillful use of special effects. The standard story of Bram Stoker's original novel is re-created here: the undead count arranges to move from his home in Transylvania to Whitby, and once there, a reign of terror begins. He is opposed by the canny Doctor Van Helsing (Laurence Olivier), who eventually triumphs. ~ Clarke Fountain, Rovi

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Frank Langella
as Count Dracula
Donald Pleasence
as Dr. Jack Seward
Laurence Olivier
as Prof. Abraham Van Helsing
Trevor Eve
as Jonathan Harker
Jan Francis
as Mina Seward
Tony Haygarth
as R. M. Renfield
Kristine Howatih
as Mrs. Galloway
Kristine Howarth
as Mrs. Galloway
Joe Belcher
as Tom Hindley
Ted Carroll
as Scarborough Sailor
Frank Birch
as Harbormaster
Gabor Vernon
as Captain of Demeter
Frank Henson
as Demeter Sailor
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Critic Reviews for Dracula

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (1)

A handsome, moody rendition, more romantic than menacing.

Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…
Top Critic

John Badham directs with great verve and pace, considerably helped by the atmospheric organ music of John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Sep 22, 2015 | Full Review…

Several horror scenes, notably those not involving Dracula himself, are genuinely creepy.

Jun 11, 2012 | Rating: 49/100 | Full Review…

This is sort of a Saturday Night Fever version of the story with a stylish, afro'ed Langella walking around with an open shirt looking for girls to take to his Castle Disco.

Feb 1, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Granted, it's staged and composed like Masterpiece Theatre.

Apr 21, 2007 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

The casting is right on target and the atmosphere fittingly eerie in director John Badham's suspenseful, handsomely-mounted 1979 version.

Jan 26, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/4

Audience Reviews for Dracula

Frank Langella as the king of the vampires, not so threatening, but certainly a charming s.o.b., ogling the women in the house with impunity. At one point he reminds his pursuers, "for 500 years I've fought off your kind!" and one doesn't get the feeling that that's a truism. Nonetheless, moody and atmospheric, sticking to the familiar, oft told story, and not a waste of time. One wishes for more threat though.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

This adaptation wasn't horrible, but it wasn't good either. Mostly I found it boring. The actors were just bored and so was I.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


The marketing was good, but it's so terribly dated now.

Lafe Fredbjornson
Lafe Fredbjornson

Super Reviewer

Rather unfairly slated by critics, I actually think this is one of the better tellings of the count's story. Sticking quite closely to the literary source, and with a strong supporting cast of thesps it's much better than Coppolla's irritatingly self absorbed vanity project.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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