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Dracula (1979)

In 1913, the charming, seductive and sinister vampire Count Dracula travels to England in search of an immortal bride.

Director:

John Badham

Writers:

W.D. Richter (screenplay), Hamilton Deane (play) | 2 more credits »
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The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina.

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The vampire count leaves his Transylvanian home to wreak havoc across the world.

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Ken Harrison is an artist who makes sculptures. One day he is involved in a car accident, and is paralyzed from his neck down. All he can do is talk, and he wants to die. In hospital he ... See full summary »

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This vampire spoof has Count Dracula moving to New York to find his Bride, after being forced to move out of his Transylvanian castle. There with the aid of assistant Renfield, he stumbles ... See full summary »

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Count Dracula, a gray-haired vampire who regains his youth by dining on the blood of maidens, is pursued in London and Transylvania by Professor Van Helsing, Jonathan Harker and Quincey Morris after he victimizes them and their loved ones.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Langella ... Count Dracula
Laurence Olivier ... Prof. Abraham Van Helsing
Donald Pleasence ... Dr. Jack Seward
Kate Nelligan ... Lucy Seward
Trevor Eve ... Jonathan Harker
Jan Francis ... Mina Van Helsing
Janine Duvitski ... Annie
Tony Haygarth ... Milo Renfield
Teddy Turner ... Swales
Sylvester McCoy ... Walter (as Sylveste McCoy)
Kristine Howarth ... Mrs. Galloway
Joe Belcher ... Tom Hindley
Ted Carroll ... Scarborough Sailor
Frank Birch ... Harbormaster
Gabor Vernon ... Captain of Demeter
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Storyline

When a ship is wrecked off Whitby, the only survivor, Count Dracula, is discovered lying on the beach by the sickly young Mina Van Helsing, who is visiting her dear friend Lucy Seward. Lucy, her fiancé Jonathan Harker (a solicitor), and her father Dr. Jack Seward (who runs the local asylum) try to make the Count feel welcome to England. The Count quickly takes the life of Mina, and proceeds to romance Lucy, with the intention of making her his greatest bride. Soon after the death of Mina, the Sewards call her father Dr. Abraham Van Helsing to come to their home. As Lucy falls deeper under the spell of the Count, Dr. Van Helsing almost immediately comes to understand that his daughter fell prey to a vampire and discovers the culprit to be none other than the Count himself. Dr. Van Helsing, Dr. Seward, and Harker work together to foil the Count's plans to take Lucy away to his native Transylvania. Written by Hillary Glendinning (jujbee_luna@yahoo.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of the greatest lover who ever lived, died, and lived again. See more »

Genres:

Horror | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Dutch | Romanian | Russian

Release Date:

20 July 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Drácula See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,164,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,141,281, 20 July 1979

Gross USA:

$20,158,970

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$31,235,812
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier acted in it for the money, it was one of his noteworthy 'paycheck' films which included The Betsy (1978), The Jazz Singer (1980), Inchon (1981) and Clash of the Titans (1981). See more »

Goofs

The film calls Dracula's victim (Lucy Westenra in the novel) "Mina," makes her Abraham van Helsing's daughter, and goes to some lengths to establish her Dutch credentials, even having her speak the language at one point. While some might question the pronunciation of Mina's name, but as it is short for Wilhelmina, the pronunciation is correct. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Jack Seward: Count, some wine?
Count Dracula: No thank you, Doctor. I never drink wine.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Director John Badham intended to film the movie in black and white but was forced by the studio to shoot in Technicolor. When the movie was re-released on laserdisc in 1991, at the behest of Badham, the lush color was drained from the film. All subsequent home video releases feature the desaturated print. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Darakula (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

Not Horrible, Not Particularly Great
17 January 2002 | by Shield-3See all my reviews

I remember a time in the late 1970s – early 1980s when filmmakers were trying to resurrect the old movie heroes into new franchises. Tarzan, Flash Gordon, the Lone Ranger, Superman, Zorro – they were all trotted out, with results varying from excellent ('Superman: The Movie') to fun ('Flash Gordon') to 'What were they thinking?' (just about everything else)

Let's be fair: John Badham's 1979 version of 'Dracula' is not nearly as bad as the Bo Derek 'Tarzan the Ape Man' or 'Legend of the Lone Ranger,' but it's still not very good. There are a few moments of inspiration, and some good work running through, but overall this is one of the lesser Dracula movies.

A few words about the cast. Frank Langella wouldn't be my first choice to play Count Dracula, but he acquits himself well. His Dracula is an elegant, arrogant creature, a being who enjoys toying with the mortals around him before he destroys them. Watching his superior attitude, I could almost believe this creature had survived centuries and destroyed whole armies of opponents. Opposite Dracula is his perennial adversary, Dr. Van Helsing, played by the legendary Sir Laurence Olivier. Olivier gives the old vampire hunter a class and humanity lacking in most portrayals, although you can see the famous Van Helsing iron will in his face-to-face confrontations with the vampire king. The rest of the cast, alas, tends to fade into the background – you enjoy them while they're on screen, but the moment they leave, they evaporate from your consciousness.

One of the things I particularly enjoyed about this 'Dracula' was its music, composed by the legendary John Williams. The decade between 1975-1984 had Williams producing classics like 'Jaws,' the 'Star Wars' trilogy, 'Superman' and the first two Indiana Jones films, one after the other – this score compares favorably with those works, and gives the movie a distinct orchestral voice. There are some passages, particularly at the beginning of the dinner party scenes, that remind me of passages from 'The Empire Strikes Back,' one year later.

So, there are things to like in this movie, but overwhelming flaws cripple it. The supporting cast, as I mentioned, is bland to the point of invisibility. The pace is uneven, and the dialogue is awkward. Worst of all, the filmmakers can't seem to decide if they want their movie to be a classic horror tale or a Gothic romance. There's no reason why it couldn't be both, of course, but that means there has to be elements of both styles present, and 'Dracula' is neither consistently scary or sexy. It has it's moments, but not enough to sustain the tone and save the picture. While it remains watchable, this 'Dracula' is one I just can't bring myself to truly recommend.


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