The Movie: The Elephant Man (1980)
What Is It?: David Lynch goes from an avant garde debut to a mainstream sophomore picture, and just as Eraserhead delivered its share of entertainment, The Elephant Man has its share of strangeness. However, it is the great performances from John Hurt as the afflicted John Merrick, Freddie Jones as his cruel “owner,” Anthony Hopkins as the conflicted doctor who rescues Merrick, and Wendy Hiller as the tough-love nurse who tends to him that make this picture so powerful and affecting.
Why Today?: On this day in 1862, Joseph Merrick (John’s real name) dies.