Elephant Man, The

The Elephant Man Movie Poster

"I am not an animal.  I am a human being!  I...am...a man!"  The Elephant Man, released in 1980, starred Anthony Hopkins as Frederick Treves and John Hurt as John Merrick (the Elephant Man).  The movie was based on the real life of Joseph Merrick, as severely deformed man living in 19th century London.  The film received positive reviews from critics, was nominated for 8 Academy Awards, and was ultimately a financial success.

In this movie, surgeon Frederick Treves (Hopkins) finds the facially deformed John Merrick in a London freak show, being billed as “the Elephant Man”.  John is always forced to wear a hood over his head, and he is treated brutishly by the owners of the freak show.  Treves pays the freak show owner to bring John to be examined, and after John is severely beaten, Treves vows to do what he can to help John.  Treves brings John to the hospital, where he is quarantined.

Eventually, John begins to come out of his shell.  He begins to have visitors, including some famous people who treat John as an object of charitable curiosity.  At night, however, the night porter takes money to let regular street-folk stare at John.  At one point, the freak show gets ahold of John again, and sends him back to the show.  After escaping from the show, he his chased through the streets of Liverpool.  After being cornered and unmasked, John cries “I am not an elephant!  I am not an animal!  I am a human being!  I…am...a…man!”.  After returning to the hospital, in a very sickly state, he is treated to a show at the theater.  A short while later, back at the hospital, he dies.