Bram Stoker's Dracula Reviews

Page 1 of 528
Super Reviewer
½ October 26, 2014
For Carpathian art direction, set design and costuming (the vermilion leather ripples on Dracula's battle armor, etc.), 'Bram Stoker's Dracula' is an exquisitely iridescent triumph from the notorious precisionist Francis Ford Coppola. Narrative-wise, the visually sumptuous story recaptures the forlorn, doomed love story and writhing sensuality of the original text that most adaptations leave out but Winona Ryder never smolders with his costars. Gary Oldman is alternately romantic and horrifying (his demonic bat makeup is a ghastly embodiment that still sends shivers down your spine) in the title role. When he salivates over blood smatterings on Harker's razor and glides inhumanly on a dolly track, Oldman taps into the insatiable appetite of the bloodsucker. As a Keanu Reeves apologist, I can't defend his miscast turn as Jonathan Harker. He is simply too postmodern-surfer for the role and his line delivery could generously be called wooden. But for pitch-perfect casting, Tom Waitts is wondrously bug-eyed and loony as the stark-raving Renfield. To his credit, screenwriter James V. Hart alludes to Vlad's skirmish with the Turkish empire which amplifies the historical subtext. The London-bound scenes with Lucy, Mina and Arthur are pretty pedestrian as if they are excerpts from a particularly sedate Jane Austen novel about erogenous repression. Next to Max Shreck and Legosi, Oldman's rendition of Dracula might be the definitive version in this ostentatious take.
Super Reviewer
½ April 24, 2011
Dracula: Listen to them: the children of the night. What sweet music they make.

"Lord Never Dies"

After just recently reading Dracula for the first time, I thought I'd give Francis Ford Coppola's film another look. This is a pretty faithful adaption altogether, albeit with the sexual subtleties from the book thrown out. The subtleties aren't there when it comes to sex anymore. There's a lot of nudity, a lot of sex talk, and innuendo thrown in throughout this Dracula adaption.

Same story as every other Dracula. Jonathon Harker is sent to Transylvania to meet with, and care for the purchases of Count Dracula. Once in his castle, Jonathon notices a lot of unusual things with the Count and his home. Soon Dracula leaves for London. Once there he begins corrupting the women as he begins his takeover of London, England, while also trying to get Harker's wife, Mina, to himself.

The cast isn't perfect in this one and neither are the characters. Keanu Reeves feels so out of place in this movie. Van Helsing, like every other Van Helsing character, doesn't really feel like the character from the book. I like Anthony Hopkins and he's good here as well, it's just not the true Van Helsing. Winona Ryder is a decent, but unsatisfactory, Mina. Gary Oldman is the selling point and is great as Dracula.

Altogether this is a really good Dracula adaption. It has its share of problems for sure, but the terrific cinematography, music, and atmosphere of Coppola's horror epic, more then make up for the small problems.
Super Reviewer
½ December 28, 2010
Coppola tries so hard to make something stylish above anything else that his film seems like a ludicrous comedy, with so many laughable camera movements, ridiculous overacting and cheesy effects in a mostly incoherent adaptation of what is supposed to be a terrifying story.
Super Reviewer
June 9, 2012
In his rather extensive career, Francis Ford Coppola has given us some of the most iconic, famous, and history changing films from The Godfather Trilogy (yes, I do adore Part III. Get over it) to Apocalypse Now to The Outsiders. With every film he has made, he always makes them completely different from one another in terms of his style, direction, and power; constantly pushing the envelope on how to make a film. With Bram Stoker‚(TM)s Dracula, Coppola enter gothic territory with a film adaptation on the famous Gothic Horror novel that has spawned countless film adaptations, subgenres, and has been a benchmark in pop culture. With this adaptation, Coppola gives us something Dracula fans have been wanting: a serious, faithful, and gorgeous adaptation that does not copy the legendary 1931 Dracula nor goes to all of the stereotypes. Instead, we get something fresh, new, and original.

Of course, the main reason why this film is so great is not really due to Coppola‚(TM)s direction. More so, it is due to Gary Oldman‚(TM)s performance of the title character. Recreating the character to be more based off of the historic ruler Vlad the Impaler, Oldman makes his Dracula more romantic, more powerful, and more terrifying while not doing what so many other actors have done and try to mimic the performance of Bela Lugosi. Yes, Gary Oldman is over the top in this performance, overacting as so many actors in vampire films tend to do (really, it is difficult not to overact in a vampire film), but he adds a passion, sorrow, and evil into the character that really makes you pity him. When Vlad is a human, you feel his anger and hatred for the world and his hatred for God due to the events that have happened. With this in mind, Gary Oldman gives a performance that is still powerful today as it was when this film first came out. Many have tried to copy his tortured performance, and all have failed.

Another actor that I need to mention is Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing. To be honest, I was shocked at how cold, frank, and just humorous he makes the character. Typically the character of Van Helsing is meant to be serious, old, and kind of a bore. But Hopkins, he makes the name Helsing be as cool as it sounds. Everything he is on screen, he delivers his lines, his movements, his entire persona with such a likeable charm that you can‚(TM)t help but laugh when he says something so macabre that it disgusts the characters. Truly a likable performance.

With the other actors and actresses, they are all okay. Nothing really stands out about any of them, and this is sad because there is SO much potential. Why Coppola decided to focus on the acting of two characters, I don‚(TM)t know. Even more so when there is so much time dedicated to Mina Harker (Winona Ryder) and I would have liked it if she was more developed as a character. It is quite sad, but regardless, we have already two powerhouse performances that are enough to carry this film as far as it was carried.

The aspect of this film that took me the most is the makeup effects on Gary Oldman as the old Dracula, the Werewolf Dracula, and the Vampire Dracula. With every variation, I found myself spellbound at how wonderful and breathtaking each version was. To say that the makeup team did not waste their time would be an understatement. Another aspect I want to talk about is Coppola‚(TM)s direction. As mentioned earlier, Coppola has a tendency to use different styles with his films to get the story across. With Dracula, I liked how he handled the prologue, the romance, and the ending of the film. However, some aspects are a little left to be desired. Like the scene where the Werewolf Dracula seduces Lucy in the garden. Personally, the direction was a bit confusing while you still got the point across. Things like that were a tad bit odd, but for the most part his dirction is pretty good, but he should probably not do Gothic Horror again unless he decides to fix some of the few problems he has with this film‚(TM)s direction.

In the end, this is the Dracula we have been waiting for: dark, creepy, romantic, fresh, and new. Granted, there are some aspects that are left to be desired, Coppola does direct Oldman and Hopkins in powerful performances that breathes new life into their characters and the impact of Coppola‚(TM)s film has had on vampire films in general is still apparent to this day.
Super Reviewer
½ April 8, 2007
Dark, sensual and very atmospheric. Precisely the way a movie about Dracula should be. The storyline is great, and the visuals even better. At least when it comes to the art direction and production design, which is nothing short of impressive. As for the acting, it's sadly one of the departments that comes with a few drawbacks. For while actors like Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins are excellent in their respective roles, the talent level of the supporting cast is very inconsistent. I'm mainly refering to Keaunu Reeves here, whose half-hearted performance and unconvincing accent, leaves a lot to desire. The movie is also bordline cheesy in some scenes. Not so much that it's really bothersome, but not too easy to ignore either. Also on the list of negatives, is the special effects. They look really dated by now, and even downright bad here and there. Considering it's made in 1992, however, I suppose you can't demand too much of it. At any rate, there's something about this film that keeps me coming back for more, and it only gets better for each time I see it (with an exception for the effects that is). Because despite said shortcomings, its strengths more than makes up for it, and I wouldn't have seen it so many times if I didn't consider it something special. For when all is said and done, this is a vampire movie beyond the norm. A memorable piece of film-making, that I'm more than happy to add to my collection.
Super Reviewer
½ August 23, 2007
Its gothic, dark and very sexual which is an attraction for a lover of all things goth like myself hehe the acting is dodgy to say the least as we know, despite an all star cast the performances just don't seem to live up to the expectations.
Oldman of course IS the film, his performance is unique, eerie and spellbinding as he almost over acts his way through the sets but most definatley adds his own touch. He is helped by the tremendous set work and costume designs which are lavish to say the least, Oldmans odd look clearly helps him realise his characters potential and he utilizes it to the maximum. Sets are huge and detailed nicely while matte paintings are used to great effect to bring home the emense size of Dracula's castle and the sweeping brooding countryside which surrounds it whilst every cast member looks truly epic in their duds.

Its a shame the film is let down in various places and tends not to make sense from time to time, there is allot of love in this modern adaptation that's for sure so is still baffles me why Coppola cast Reeves as 'Harker'!! surely one of the worst casting errors made. That one decision virtually kills the whole film as Harker is a key element throughout, Ryder makes up for it slightly but even she isn't the best of options, Hopkins as always is solid but the damage is done with those bad casting choices, shame.

The film is very faithful to the story which is good and what did impress me was the decision to use all old traditional methods for effects as much as possible such as matte paintings, forced perspective, real time monster suits and makeup etc...they tried to make the film in a style akin to the legendary Dracula of 1931 effects wise to give it more of a that classic silver screen appeal.

Am erotic gothic dream is how I can sum this film up really, heavy romance set in blood and cobwebs which may just have suffered from to much Hollywood gloss in places, 'Mary Shelley's Frankenstein' is probably the more realistic grittier film but this is a glorious dark fairytale. The sequences with Dracula in a large wolf like form looks fantastic along with his brief bat creature incarnation, award winning makeup which still holds up today.
Super Reviewer
July 17, 2011
Aside from the fact that for half the movie you are wondering whether you are watching a porn film or not, this is without a doubt one of the best Dracula movies ever made and with that Gary Oldman in my mind, rivals even Christopher Lee as an epically magical Dracula.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
Coppola sure knows who to make a fancy looking horror film. I love how this movie goes into more of the historical accounts of Vlad the impaler. The actors are really great too, but the cinematography, music, and everything else is just spectacular. If you like Dracula, you should see this movie.
Super Reviewer
October 30, 2010
The opening scene of Bram Stoker's Dracula is as close to cinematic perfection as you could possibly get. The whole film is both an homage to the horror classics of the 20th century, as well as the manifestation of Francis Ford Coppola's unique vision as a filmmaker. Set design and costumes are exquisite. Sadly, the film fails to fulfill its potential. Coppola renders a visually stunning but hollow product. The storyline is weak and unengaging. The cast is hit-and-miss: Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins are impressive while Winona Ryder is terribly miscast. The lowest point? Keanu Reeves is spectacularly bad and his British accent even worse.
Super Reviewer
½ October 25, 2010
Well looks like I'm going to be in a minority here. NOT one of Coppola's best. I liked most of the acting (Keanu Reeves can't act his way out of a box) and SOME of the visuals. I thought some of the graphics and overlay visuals were so bad and corny, I was actually ashamed for Coppola. Yeah, it's 1993. So what. No reason for some of the cheesy effects. Sorry, it's true. But there were other shots that were much better and more beautiful, but I think the bad shots equaled the good. And THAT is not good.
Sorry, I wanted violence and not overly gratuitous sex. Fail.
Super Reviewer
August 22, 2010
This is the best rendition of Dracula ever captured on film. Gary Oldman's dark and sensual personae outshines any other vampire who ever dare put on a cape. To me Gary Oldman is the most talented and underrated actor ever. He becomes who he is playing, however in this role... Dracula became him... Oldman set the bar so high it is untouchable even to Bela Lugosi. Winona Ryder's delicateness suited the role of Mina/Elisabeta nicely and Keanu Reeves played the unsuspecting and naive Jonathan with satisfaction. However the whole movie comes together because of Gary Oldman's intoxicating essence. He draws the viewers into his darkness and passion and guides them through until the end. This film is drastically romantic and hauntingly captivating- just like a real Dracula movie should be. The cinematography deserved Oldman's phenomenal performance and perfectly created a true vampire realm. Francis Ford Coppola is brilliant. This is the spirit of the vampire.
Super Reviewer
June 9, 2006
Purists will probably hate the way this movie treats the story, but I rather like it, I don't know if Coppola was really the best choice for director, but the movie looks good, has a great atmosphere, and features some good scenes and terrific performances. Not all of the cast is great, but Oldman and Hopkins rock.
Super Reviewer
½ May 29, 2010
"We've all become God's madmen, all of us."

The vampire comes to England to seduce a visitor's fiancťe and inflict havoc in the foreign land.

Bram Stoker must be turning over in his grave. This horrifically inept adaptation of the famous novel earns the distinction of being the worst movie ever made by an Oscar-winning director. It is hard to believe that the man who gave us "The Godfather" is responsible for this travesty. Although the title suggests a faithfulness to the novel, the film takes liberties and none for the better. Although the cinematography is beautiful and there is a fine score, the plot is incoherent and quite tedious. Coppola adds gratuitous violence and gross scenes to make it look edgy, but fails miserably. Both Reeves and Ryder look out of place in this setting.
Super Reviewer
½ July 17, 2009
Good soundtrack, good visuals, awful awful decisions in casting both Reeves and Ryder. The movie is more of a gothic romance than a horror story, but it lacks focus. Oldman is good but when he is playing the cout in his "old" version he felt a bit forced.
Super Reviewer
March 28, 2007
This has to go down in film history as one of the greatest films that has ever been produced. As someone who is deeply interested in vampires and a big fan of the "Dracula" novel, I have been dying to see this film for years and when I first saw it about eighteen months ago it quite simply blew me away. This is the definitive film version of Bram Stoker's novel, and if anyone is not stunned by the magnificence of this film or the phenomenally good performance of Gary Oldman in the title role, then I think they should be checked for a pulse. This film left me literally speechless, and compared to the Christopher Lee versions of the 1950s, '60s and '70s, it stands up as being the most accurate and faithful screen adaptation of the novel that has ever been made. So all in all, this film is the one that any fan of the novel should see first, and I think once they have seen the Lee versions they will agree that this film is the very best and the most faithful to Stoker's novel.

To start with, Gary Oldman is the personification of the Dracula portrayed in the novel. Apart from looking almost exactly how the centuries-old vampire is described in the novel, his vocal and bodily performance is so unbelievably good that it will leave you transfixed. He wonderfully combines Dracula's charm, grace, sinister aspects, desire for revenge against God, lust for the women who surround themselves around Johnathan Harker, Van Helsing, Arthur Holmwood and Dr. Seward, and of course his thirst for human blood. He also portrays the lover who has lost his beloved to a remarkably good degree, and his superb acting of the scenes on the bed with Mina Harker brings a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye. It is often said that an actor's performance is "electric," but even that isn't enough to describe the brilliance of Oldman as Dracula. "Stunning," "wonderful," or "magnificent" are closer to the mark when describing Oldman's portrayal. His sinister exclamation of Dracula's famous quote, "Listen to them, the children of the night, what sweet music they make" is particularly outstanding.

The other characters from the novel - Johnathan Harker (the estate agent who first meets Dracula), Mina Harker (his bride and the object of Dracula's affections), Lucy Westenra (Mina's friend), Arthur Holmwood (Lucy's husband-to-be), Quincey Morris (a Texan), Dr. Seward (a medical man) and Van Helsing (a professor and part-time vampire hunter) - are also brilliantly portrayed and given enough screen time to allow their characters to be developed as much as they need to be. Keanu Reeves is an excellent Johnathan Harker, sufficiently afraid while in Dracula's castle and determined enough to kill him back in England; Winona Ryder is a fantastic Mina/Elisabeth; Sadie Frost is a superb sweet, naive and flirtatious Lucy; Arthur, Seward and Quincey are portrayed well and make excellent vampire hunters; and Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing is ten times better than the Peter Cushing version and a million miles closer to the eccentric genius portrayed in the novel. These characters, and Dracula himself, are portrayed beautifully and accurately in James V. Hart's stunning script, which adheres quite closely to Stoker's novel, including extracts from the novel and sufficient explanations to allow those who have not read the novel to understand and follow the plot.

The superb direction by Francis Ford Coppola is beyond any faults, and his handling of the bed scenes between Dracula and Mina is enough to bring out all the raw emotions and tears among the audience, let alone between the two characters themselves! The script is pure excellence and the prologue about Vlad the Impaler losing his bride (Elisabeth) after a battle between his people (the Transylvanians) and the Turks, then in his grief denying God's existence and avenging her death by becoming a vampire (i.e. Dracula) is superb and brings all the beliefs that Dracula was partly inspired by the real Vlad the Impaler bursting into a new light, and makes Dracula a sympathetic and tragic character, instead of the charming but deadly ladies' man as portrayed by Lee. The use of Romanian language in the prologue and later in the film adds authenticity to a beautiful and tear-jerking adaptation of the novel.

The music is one of the very best as heard in a film, and in places is so utterly fantastic it could almost be an undiscovered Beethoven's symphony. The scenery and costumes are beyond criticism, and offer a real sense of Transylvanian and English culture and tradition respectively. Dracula's red cloak, trailing behind him like a sea of blood, and the gold dragon on his chest (suggesting he is the dragon to Van Helsing's St. George) is wonderfully designed. The make-up of the elderly Dracula is sufficiently corpse-like yet alive enough to suggest quite rightly that Dracula is caught between life and death by his vampire's existence. The half-man, half-wolf and the half-man, half-bat versions of Dracula are wonderfully created with make-up and special effects (bearing in mind this film was made in 1992) and the death of Dracula at the end (his throat slashed by Johnathan Harker and his heart impaled by Quincey Morris) is beautifully written, acted and directed, and the scene where he reverts back to the young Vlad the Impaler and is finally allowed to die with Mina (the reincarnation of Elisabeth - hence his affections towards her) next to him is so tear-jerkingly wonderful it leaves a lasting impression on the viewer.

Stunning. Truly stunning. There's nothing more to be said about it.
Super Reviewer
½ November 21, 2009
While Gary Oldman embodied Dracula perfectly, this is a train wreck of a film. Keanu Reeves was incredibly bad among a few others. There was some descent acting from Winona Ryder and Anthony Hopkins, but nothing special. The story was translated quite bad and would come off quite confusing to someone that isn't used to the story. The sets are beautiful and it looks amazing, but it doesn't mean a thing when the script is terrible and a lot of the actors are unfit.
Super Reviewer
½ December 27, 2006
Not my favorite of the Dracula movies. It's a little out there at times and that distracts from the story being told. I like Oldman as Dracula but I really couldn't get behind Reeves in the flick.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2006
One of the more accurate takes on Stoker's original Dracula story and Coppola's most pompous and visually most stunning film. He almost goes over board with visual effects, cross-fades and other editing tricks, but in the end it all works to tell this fantastic tale and at the same time making all vampire stories since redundant. The cast is outstanding down to the smallest role, especially Gary Oldman is a wonderfully creepy, yet fascinating Dracula in all his aspects. No wonder a great career followed this. Hopkins is the perfect Van Helsing. The showdown, with its almost Indiana-Jones-esque action, seems a bit out of place but is excellent nonetheless. The beautiful yet scary soundtrack adds another level to the overall very unique movie experience. Gorgeous, sexy and exciting.
Super Reviewer
December 12, 2007
Vlad Dracula, a defender of Christendom against invading Muslims, curses God and becomes undead when his beloved bride throws herself from the castle walls due to false reports of his death sent by Turkish spies; centuries later, he plots to seduce his love?s reincarnation in Victorian London. Visually astonishing film from Franics Ford Coppola contains some of the best performances you'll ever see (Oldman as Dracula) alongside some of the very worst (Keanu Reeves' lengendarily embarrassing Jonathan Harker).
Super Reviewer
½ June 26, 2006
Francis For Coppola really is a visionary! All of his movies are beautiful. I find it funny tho that this is callled "Bram Stokers" Dracula b/c the whole Mina loves Dracula bit never even happed in Stokers novel. But you know what, I love it this way. It's how stoker should have written the Novel. I did have a problem with keanu Reeves tho...If my feance talked and acted as girly as he does in this movie, I'd want someone else too! I also Had a problem with how they made dracula look when he is in wolf form...He just look rediculus not even scarry! I love Gary Oldman tho HE WAS PERFECT! I think He might be the best Dracula sense Laugosi. I also HATED LUCY! She is not suppose to be that slutty, It was once again kinda rediculus. But over all I love this movie and how...mostly...true it stays to the Novel wich i Adore! This really is the most Beautiful Horror movie ever made!
Page 1 of 528