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The Elephant Man

John Hurt is exceptional in David Lynch’s compassionate immersion into the vicious world experienced by ‘freaks’ in 19th century London.

Dir David Lynch
Prod Jonathan Sanger
Scr David Lynch, Christopher De Vore, Eric Bergren
With Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft
USA-UK
1980
123min
UK Distribution STUDIOCANAL

‘I’m not an animal. I’m a human being. I am a man!’ John Hurt stars as John Merrick, a young man with severe deformities, exhibited in an East End freak show until his plight is discovered by a surgeon (Anthony Hopkins), who offers him sanctuary at the London Hospital. Fresh from the critical success of Eraserhead, David Lynch created a more straightforward – but no less rewarding – vision of horror, albeit this time based on a true story. The terror and grime of Victorian London is vividly captured by Freddie Francis’ black-and-white cinematography, with added authenticity provided by location shooting across the city, including Butler’s Wharf and Liverpool Street Station. It’s also a film packed with great cameo performances, including Lynch regular, the brilliant Freddie Jones.

Robin Baker

Additional information

Exclusive 4K restoration supervised by David Lynch, graded in Fotokem LA, managed, restored and finished by L’Immagine Ritrovata.

Special £5 tickets for 25 & Under are bookable in advance at bfi.org.uk/lff/25-and-under.

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