The Elephant Man (1980) quotes

Director
David Lynch.

Cast
Anthony Hopkins.
John Hurt.
Anne Bancroft.

A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous facade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.

I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am a man!
John Merrick

Never. Oh, never. Nothing will die. The stream flows, the wind blows, the cloud fleets, the heart beats. Nothing will die.
Merrick’s Mother

People are frightened by what they don’t understand.
John Merrick

 

I’m very pleased to meet you, Mr. Merrick.
Mrs. Treves
I’m very pleased…
John Merrick
[John begins to cry]
What is it, John? What’s the matter?
Dr. Frederick Treves
It’s just that I-I’m not used to being treated so well by a beautiful woman…
John Merrick

[after seeing pictures of Dr. Treves’ family] Would you care to see my mother?
John Merrick
[surprised] Your mother? Yes please.
Dr. Frederick Treves
[John pulls out a small portrait]
Oh but she’s… Mr. Merrick, she’s beautiful!
Mrs. Treves
Oh, she had the face of an angel!
John Merrick
[sadly]
I must have been a great disappointment to her.
John Merrick
No, Mr. Merrick, no. No son as loving as you could ever be a disappointment.
Mrs. Treves
If only I could find her, so she could see me with such lovely friends here now; perhaps she could love me as I am. I’ve tried so hard to be good.
John Merrick
[Mrs. Treves begins to cry]

 

 

My life is full because I know I am loved.
John Merrick

Why, Mr. Merrick, you’re not an elephant man at all.
Mrs. Kendal
Oh no?
John Merrick
Oh no… no… you’re a Romeo.
Mrs. Kendal

Can you imagine the kind of life he must have had?
Carr Gomm
Yes, I think I can.
Dr. Frederick Treves
I don’t think so. No one could possibly imagine it! I don’t believe any of us can!
Carr Gomm

Have you ever mentioned his mental state?
Dr. Fox
Oh, he’s an imbecile, probably from birth. Man’s a complete idiot… Pray to God he’s an idiot.
Dr. Frederick Treves

Am I a good man? Or a bad man? That’s all…
– Dr. Frederick Treves