Face-Change Surgery in Movies

by Satantangoandcash | created - 24 Oct 2013 | updated - 1 month ago | Public

Comments may contain spoilers

Plastic surgery and permanent masks used for a change of identity.

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1. Eyes Without a Face (1960)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Horror

90 Metascore

A surgeon causes an accident which leaves his daughter disfigured, and goes to extremes to give her a new face.

Director: Georges Franju | Stars: Pierre Brasseur, Alida Valli, Juliette Mayniel, Alexandre Rignault

Votes: 23,614 | Gross: $0.05M

Les yeux sans visage

Angelic Alida Valli's big eyes stare out of a featureless mask as her mad doctor father tries to find the right skin from dead women to graft on to her face. (This has nothing to do with the Billy Idol song.)

2. The Skin I Live In (2011)

R | 120 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

70 Metascore

A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar | Stars: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Jan Cornet, Marisa Paredes

Votes: 126,334 | Gross: $3.19M

A doctor experiments with skin grafts on a mysterious woman with a damaged face. She ends up looking just like Elena Anaya, so I'd say his experiment was a big success. Doc thought so, too, because he became obsessed with the rest of her below the face, too.

3. The Face of Another (1966)

Not Rated | 124 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

A businessman with a disfigured face obtains a lifelike mask from his doctor, but the mask starts altering his personality.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Mikijirô Hira, Kyôko Kishida, Miki Irie

Votes: 6,318

Okuyama becomes a new person with his mask on and it drives him to do crazy things.

He has some good lines: "A man without a face is free only when darkness rules the world."

"The face is the door to the soul. When the face is closed off, so too is the soul. Nobody is allowed inside.

4. Face/Off (1997)

R | 138 min | Action, Crime, Sci-Fi

82 Metascore

In order to foil a terrorist plot, an FBI agent undergoes a facial transplant surgery and assumes the identity and physical appearance of a terrorist, but the plan turns from bad to worse when the same terrorist impersonates the FBI agent.

Director: John Woo | Stars: John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Joan Allen, Alessandro Nivola

Votes: 331,288 | Gross: $112.23M

This might be the ultimate face exchange movie. A cop becomes a criminal and vice versa when they trade faces in John Woo's zany comedy of errors sequel to "Trading Places", alternately titled "Trading Faces".

5. Time (2006)

Not Rated | 97 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

73 Metascore

To save her relationship, a woman puts herself through extensive plastic surgery.

Director: Ki-duk Kim | Stars: Jung-woo Ha, Ji-Yeon Park, Jun-yeong Jang, Gyu-Woon Jung

Votes: 11,232 | Gross: $0.01M

Going to the plastic surgeon at the mall to get a new face is something South Korean kids do on weekends for kicks, before hitting the karaoke brothel. This film was made as a public service message about the dangers of this surgical fad: Kids, if you're having an identity crisis, it's safer just to dye your hair blue than to go under the scalpel, because even if you do, you'll just end up running around kicking the same big tree and making a scene at the coffee shop, ruining everybody's day like you always did.

6. Dark Passage (1947)

Passed | 106 min | Film-Noir, Thriller

A man convicted of murdering his wife escapes from prison and works with a woman to try and prove his innocence.

Director: Delmer Daves | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Bruce Bennett, Agnes Moorehead

Votes: 16,315

If I escaped from prison, got back alley plastic surgery, then took off my bandages and saw that I looked like Humphrey Bogart, I'd ask for my money back. That's what happens in this movie, but since Lauren Bacall falls for him with the Bogart face, he is definitely not complaining.

7. The Man with Bogart's Face (1980)

PG | 106 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery

A man with a fixation on Humphrey Bogart gets plastic surgery to make him look exactly like Bogart. Then he changes his name to Sam Marlowe (after Sam Spade and Phillip Marlowe, two of ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Day | Stars: Robert Sacchi, Franco Nero, Michelle Phillips, Olivia Hussey

Votes: 460

This guy must have watched Dark Passage and then paid Bogart's plastic surgeon to give him the same face job.

8. The Man Who Laughs (1928)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

When a proud noble refuses to kiss the hand of the despotic King James in 1690, he is cruelly executed and his son surgically disfigured.

Director: Paul Leni | Stars: Mary Philbin, Conrad Veidt, Julius Molnar, Olga Baclanova

Votes: 5,099

Clown Gypsies perform home plastic surgery on a young boy so they can save money on greasepaint by not having to put makeup on him for every performance. They plug a big grotesque toothy smile into his face that leaves him permanently depressed. He grows up, becomes a star, and falls in love with a blind beauty who can't see his smile and wonders why he's such a buzz kill all the time. But in the end he has the last laugh.

This was the inspiration for "The Joker," or maybe it was the Victor Hugo novel "L'Homme Qui Rit" on which this movie was based.

9. The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Passed | 93 min | Horror

A mad, disfigured composer seeks love with a lovely young opera singer.

Directors: Rupert Julian, Lon Chaney, Ernst Laemmle, Edward Sedgwick | Stars: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry, Arthur Edmund Carewe

Votes: 15,392 | Gross: $3.75M

Lon Chaney plays Erik the Phantom who wears a mask because his face resembles the face of a rotting corpse. When he is unmasked by Christine, his prisoner of love, we get to see Lon Chaney's creepy mask that makes him look like the Phantom not wearing a mask and we wish that he would put the other mask back on.

10. Under the Skin (I) (2013)

R | 108 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

78 Metascore

A mysterious young woman seduces lonely men in the evening hours in Scotland. However, events lead her to begin a process of self-discovery.

Director: Jonathan Glazer | Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay, Dougie McConnell

Votes: 116,247 | Gross: $2.61M

DON'T SPOIL YOURSELF An alien dresses up in a Scarlett Johannson booty suit and uses her irresistible face to lure sex-hungry male humans into a giant tar pit where their bodies are harvested for some never-explained reason. (Seriously? They couldn't come up with a more efficient plan for harvesting humans? If they were looking for quantity, why didn't they just go to the Midwest where they can get two to three times as much flesh per victim than from those skinny Scots?)

In a touching scene at the end, when her human flesh has been peeled away like a banana, we see the alien's face for the first time holding the still-animated ScarJo face in its hands as they look into each others eyes. We humans think we're so awesome that even aliens in our movies want to become more like us (in most cases they are attracted to one of our females is some kind of bizarre interspecies bestiality.)

(This is my third favorite beautiful-naked-female-body-used-as-a-weapon-by-an-evil-alien movie, just behind Species and Lifeforce, in which the always naked Mathilda May is extremely deadly without having to lift a finger.)

11. The Awful Dr. Orlof (1962)

Approved | 90 min | Horror

Dr. Orlof, a former prison doctor, abducts beautiful women from nightclubs and tries to use their skin to repair his daughter's fire-scarred face. He is assisted by Morpho, a deformed ... See full summary »

Director: Jesús Franco | Stars: Conrado San Martín, Diana Lorys, Howard Vernon, Perla Cristal

Votes: 1,312

A mad doctor kidnaps beautiful women and tears their skin off to use it to try to fix his daughter's burned up face. Sound familiar? See Eyes Without A Face.

12. Black Dragons (1942)

Approved | 64 min | Thriller, War

A cabal of American industrialists, all fifth-columnists intent on sabotaging the war effort, are methodically murdered by the malevolent Monsieur Colomb. It is only until detective Dick ... See full summary »

Director: William Nigh | Stars: Bela Lugosi, Joan Barclay, George Pembroke, Clayton Moore

Votes: 911

6 Japanese people get plastic surgery to replace 6 kidnapped American industrialists so they can sabotage their defense plants just before WW II.

13. Nora Prentiss (1947)

Approved | 111 min | Drama, Film-Noir

A nightclub singer inspires a doctor to fake his own murder, leading to plenty of complications.

Director: Vincent Sherman | Stars: Ann Sheridan, Kent Smith, Bruce Bennett, Robert Alda

Votes: 1,267

A man stages a flaming car crash to fake his own death so he can run away from his wife with a nightclub singer. It works for a while until a real flaming car crash burns his face. After plastic surgery he looks nothing like he used to. Then police arrest him for his own murder but he refuses to defend himself in court so he is ultimately convicted of murdering himself.

14. The Promise (1979)

PG | 97 min | Drama, Romance

A rich student's fiancee has her face destroyed by a car accident, and refuses to return to him fearing the loss of his love.

Director: Gilbert Cates | Stars: Kathleen Quinlan, Stephen Collins, Beatrice Straight, Laurence Luckinbill

Votes: 638

Nancy's face is torn off in a car accident on her way to elope, but her guy's mother pays to get her a new face but she can't see him again - and he thinks she's dead. The new face is much prettier. Get your hankies ready for some sappy romantic twists ahead.

15. The Jigsaw Man (1983)

PG | 94 min | Thriller

An MI6 defector has his appearance altered by the K.G.B. and is sent back to Britain to retrieve top-secret documents.

Director: Terence Young | Stars: Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier, Susan George, Robert Powell

Votes: 1,339

Sir Philip Kimberley is the former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service who defected to Russia. He is an old heavyweight man who sounds exactly like Michael Caine. After the Russians perform plastic facial reconstruction surgery on him, he also looks like Michael Caine with a porn mustache. He trains at martial arts and loses weight then he's given a new identity and sent to Britain to retrieve valuable documents he stole and hid years ago. None of his old colleagues or even his daughter recognize him, but his fingerprints give him away.

16. Stolen Face (1952)

Approved | 72 min | Crime, Drama

A doctor repairs a female inmate's disfigured face to match the lovely woman who left him, and marries her, only to find out how abusive she is.

Director: Terence Fisher | Stars: Paul Henreid, Lizabeth Scott, André Morell, Mary Mackenzie

Votes: 516

A plastic surgeon gives a female criminal the face of a woman he loves who left him. He marries the woman with the face of his love, but she can't shake off her criminal life. All sorts of craziness ensues when the woman with the real face comes back to the surgeon.

17. G-Men Never Forget (1948)

Passed | 167 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

G-Man and a female detective sergeant pursue racketeers, unaware that her police commissioner is actually a gang boss altered by plastic surgery.

Directors: Fred C. Brannon, Yakima Canutt | Stars: Clayton Moore, Roy Barcroft, Ramsay Ames, Gil Frye

Votes: 76

A gang boss kidnaps the police commissioner and gets plastic surgery to resemble the commissioner so he can take his place and get away with murder.

18. Men in Black (1997)

PG-13 | 98 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

71 Metascore

A police officer joins a secret organization that polices and monitors extraterrestrial interactions on Earth.

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld | Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D'Onofrio

Votes: 486,296 | Gross: $250.69M

An alien made of bugs crashes his flying saucer then tears the skin off a farmer and drives around in a pest-control van wearing a body and face that are three sizes too big. This might be Vincent D'Onofrio's best role.

19. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

Unrated | 101 min | Comedy, Horror

42 Metascore

A radio host is victimized by the cannibal family as a former Texas Marshall hunts them.

Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: Dennis Hopper, Caroline Williams, Jim Siedow, Bill Moseley

Votes: 25,389 | Gross: $8.03M

Leatherface sort of qualifies for this list, since he wears a mask of pieces of skin sewn together, but it's not really clear if he needs the mask to hide a deformed face. But in this sequel he is attracted to a female victim so he skins off her friend's face and puts it on her so she can hide from his family members who want him to kill her. She gets a new face, but it doesn't last long.

20. Phoenix (II) (2014)

PG-13 | 98 min | Drama, History, Music

89 Metascore

A disfigured Holocaust survivor sets out to determine if the man she loved betrayed her trust.

Director: Christian Petzold | Stars: Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, Nina Kunzendorf, Trystan Pütter

Votes: 15,070

After Nazis shoot the face of a concentration camp survivor, doctors give her a new face. When the bandages come off, she locates her husband, but he doesn't recognize her. He thinks his wife is dead and asks the new woman to impersonate his wife so he can collect her inheritance money. She keeps hoping he'll realize the truth as he teaches her to look and act like her former self.

21. Foxy Brown (1974)

R | 92 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

46 Metascore

A voluptuous black woman takes a job as a high-class prostitute in order to get revenge on the mobsters who murdered her boyfriend.

Director: Jack Hill | Stars: Pam Grier, Antonio Fargas, Peter Brown, Terry Carter

Votes: 8,140

Foxy's ex-undercover Federal agent boyfriend gets a new plastic surgery face, name and identity to hide him from the criminals he testified against.

22. Seconds (1966)

R | 106 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

71 Metascore

An unhappy middle-aged banker agrees to a procedure that will fake his death and give him a completely new look and identity - one that comes with its own price.

Director: John Frankenheimer | Stars: Rock Hudson, Frank Campanella, John Randolph, Frances Reid

Votes: 14,630

An older man is turned into Rock Hudson through plastic surgery.

23. Dead End (1937)

Approved | 93 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

The lives of a young man and woman, an infamous gangster and a group of street kids converge one day in a volatile New York City slum.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Joel McCrea, Humphrey Bogart, Wendy Barrie

Votes: 5,648

Bogart plays 'Baby Face' Martin who is not recognized when he returns to his old tenement neighborhood because plastic surgery changed his face. Ten years later in Dark Passage Bogart played an escaped convict who has plastic surgery that makes him look like Bogart.

24. The Second Face (1950)

Passed | 77 min | Drama

From her hospital bed a woman recounts her life as a "plain Jane" while awaiting plastic surgeries for the injuries she has sustained in an automobile accident.

Director: Jack Bernhard | Stars: Ella Raines, Bruce Bennett, Rita Johnson, John Sutton

Votes: 164

An "ugly" talented woman can't get a good job or a date until she gets plastic surgery following an auto accident that makes her "beautiful." Then everybody wants her.

25. Another Face (1935)

Approved | 69 min | Drama, Comedy

On the run from the New York police on a murder charge, gangster Broken Nose Dawson undergoes plastic surgery to change his appearance, then goes to Hollywood. Posing as millionaire playboy... See full summary »

Director: Christy Cabanne | Stars: Wallace Ford, Brian Donlevy, Phyllis Brooks, Erik Rhodes

Votes: 178

Gangster Broken-nose Dawson gets a nose job that makes him unrecognizable, then kills all the witnesses. Then he goes to Hollywood to act as a gangster in the movies.

26. A Woman's Face (1941)

Passed | 106 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller

A female blackmailer with a disfiguring facial scar meets a plastic surgeon who offers her the possibility of looking like a normal woman.

Director: George Cukor | Stars: Joan Crawford, Melvyn Douglas, Conrad Veidt, Osa Massen

Votes: 2,442

In classic Hollywood movies physical disabilities and deformities equal a bad person. It's a terrible stereotype that is present in this movie. Joan Crawford grows up mean and cynical feeling ugly and unlovable after her drunken father burned himself to death and scarred up the right side of her face when she was a child. She runs a gang of blackmailers until one night when she is blackmailing the wife of a plastic surgeon, he discovers her scars, takes her away for 6 months and 12 operations, until her face is beautiful and she ultimately finds love and happiness as a good looking normal person.

27. A Woman's Face (1938)

Unrated | 100 min | Drama

An embittered woman, leader of a criminal gang, has a change of heart.

Director: Gustaf Molander | Stars: Ingrid Bergman, Tore Svennberg, Anders Henrikson, Georg Rydeberg

Votes: 675

28. The Phantom of Paris (1931)

Passed | 74 min | Drama, Thriller

Cheri-Bibi is an escape artist wrongly imprisoned for murdering the wealthy father of his admirer Cecile. The real murderer is Cecile's fiancé, so how will Bibi escape his death sentence and win back Cecile?

Director: John S. Robertson | Stars: John Gilbert, Leila Hyams, Lewis Stone, Jean Hersholt

Votes: 1,242

Professional escape artist Bibi loves Cecile, but the Marquis du Touchais commits a murder then frames Bibi for it. The Marquis then marries Cecile to get her fortune. Bibi escapes from prison and a few years later after the Marquis dies of the flu, he kidnaps the corpse and convinces his doctor friend to change his face to look like the Marquis. The doctor takes him to his private hospital and six months later Gilbert returns impersonating the Marquis claiming that he was kidnapped by Bibi and escaped and watched Bibi die. He returns to Cecile to live with her pretending he is the Marquis until he clears his name and become Bibi again, albeit, still with the Marquis' face.

29. Vanilla Sky (2001)

R | 136 min | Fantasy, Mystery, Romance

45 Metascore

A self-indulgent and vain publishing magnate finds his privileged life upended after a vehicular accident with a resentful lover.

Director: Cameron Crowe | Stars: Tom Cruise, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Kurt Russell

Votes: 237,071 | Gross: $100.61M

30. Open Your Eyes (1997)

R | 117 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

A very handsome man finds the love of his life, but he suffers an accident and needs to have his face rebuilt by surgery after it is severely disfigured.

Director: Alejandro Amenábar | Stars: Eduardo Noriega, Penélope Cruz, Chete Lera, Fele Martínez

Votes: 60,391 | Gross: $0.37M

A vain handsome man's face is destroyed in a car crash. The initial plastic surgeries leave him so badly disfigured he sometimes wears a mask. In a dream that makes up most of the movie, his doctors are able to put him in a face fixing machine and give him his old face again.

31. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

PG-13 | 129 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

48 Metascore

Detective Sherlock Holmes is on the trail of criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty, who is carrying out a string of random crimes across Europe.

Director: Guy Ritchie | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Jared Harris, Rachel McAdams

Votes: 399,626 | Gross: $186.85M

In 1891 Sherlock Holmes' nemesis Dr. Moriarty uses the experimental plastic surgery skills of a German doctor to disguise a known assassin's face look to like someone who is invited to an exclusive meeting of international leaders so he can mingle with his intended victim at a party undetected. We also see a man the doctor has experimented on to make him look like the identical twin of another man.

32. Johnny Handsome (1989)

R | 94 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

After being double crossed and thrown in jail, a deformed gangster gets a new face and rehabilitation, but his desire for revenge looms.

Director: Walter Hill | Stars: Mickey Rourke, Ellen Barkin, Elizabeth McGovern, Morgan Freeman

Votes: 8,315 | Gross: $7.24M

A deformed gangster's face is rebuilt by a prison doctor.

33. Circus of Horrors (1960)

Approved | 88 min | Horror, Drama

In 1947 England, a plastic surgeon must beat a hasty retreat to France when one of his patients has ghastly problems with her surgery. Once there, he operates on a circus owner's daughter, ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Hayers | Stars: Anton Diffring, Erika Remberg, Yvonne Monlaur, Donald Pleasence

Votes: 1,387

A circus owner transforms disfigured women into the beautiful stars of his show.

34. A Face to Die For (1996 TV Movie)

90 min | Drama

A scarred, unattractive young woman is conned into helping with a robbery of her employer. As a result, she is sent to prison, gets plastic surgery, and returns to seek revenge on those who wronged her.

Director: Jack Bender | Stars: Yasmine Bleeth, James Wilder, Richard Beymer, Ricky Paull Goldin

Votes: 502

A woman with a disfigured face gets plastic surgery in prison.

35. Goodnight Mommy (2014)

R | 99 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

81 Metascore

Twin boys move to a new home with their mother after she has face changing cosmetic surgery, but under her bandages is someone the children don't recognize.

Directors: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz | Stars: Lukas Schwarz, Elias Schwarz, Susanne Wuest, Hans Escher

Votes: 37,388 | Gross: $1.17M

A woman's plastic surgery and odd behavior makes her young sons fear she's not their mother.

36. She Demons (1958)

Approved | 77 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

Heroic, but dull, Fred Maklin and beautiful, but spoiled, Jerrie Turner wash up on an uncharted tropical island. They are soon captured by ex-Nazi Colonel Osler, who also has imprisoned a ... See full summary »

Director: Richard E. Cunha | Stars: Irish McCalla, Tod Griffin, Victor Sen Yung, Rudolph Anders

Votes: 495

In a hidden underground laboratory on an uncharted tropical island an ex Nazi concentration camp doctor experiments with captive young women to fix his wife's disfigured face. He transfers the genes of one of the women to his wife and replaces them with his wife's genes mixed with genes of wild animals, which makes the woman's face horribly disfigured. But her face will return to normal in a few days and then he can use her again.

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