Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

This 1992 film version of Dracula was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and stakes a claim for itself initially by virtue of its faithfulness to the original novel. Although there have been hundreds of films featuring Count Dracula, many owe little to the original source novel by Bram Stoker. This version is also partially an origins story, and ties itself in to one of the probable inspirations for the character, Vlad III of Wallachia, also known as Vlad the Impaler. 

The film's prologue shows Count Dracula (Gary Oldman) as a 15th Century knight, defending his land from an invading Turkish army. Dracula leaves his young bride, Elisabeta (Winona Ryder), to lead his soldiers against the Turks in battle.

Dracula and his forces are victorious, but a false message saying that he has been killed in the battle has been sent to his wife. The inconsolable Elisabeta commits suicide, and when Dracula returns to discover her body, he is told by an elderly priest (Anthony Hopkins) that her soul is now condemned. In his anger, Dracula declares that he will renounce God and embrace the forces of darkness.

Gary Oldman wearing a top hat and grey suit as Count Dracula
Dressed to kill: Dracula (Gary Oldman) in London

400 years later in 1897, Jonathan Harker (played, unexpectedly, by Keanu Reeves) is sent by his firm of solicitors from London to Transylvania, to arrange the purchase of property in London by a certain Count Dracula. Harker's predecessor, Renfield (Tom Waits), was declared insane after his visit to Castle Dracula, but Harker is assured that Renfield's insanity was triggered by his personal problems, and there's nothing for him to fear in Transylvania.

So Harker journeys to Transylvania where, after an encounter with snarling wolves and a sinister coachman, he is conveyed to Dracula's castle. There he meets the obviously very aged Count Dracula, who is buying several properties scattered around the English capital. Dracula is eager to visit London, but he is even more enthusiastic when he sees a picture of Harker's fiancée Mina (Winona Ryder, again), because she is, of course, the spitting image of his dead wife.

In the castle, Harker has an erotic, if almost fatal, encounter with three of Dracula's lustful "brides", and is later imprisoned by Dracula. The Count then makes his own way to London by ship. There the rejuvenated Dracula seeks out Mina, with the intention of seducing her, while sating his more sanguine appetites with her friend Lucy (Sadie Frost), visiting her by night to feast on her blood.

As Lucy weakens and her condition deteriorates, her fiancé Arthur Holmwood (Cary Elwes) and her friend Dr. Seward (Richard E. Grant) call in the assistance of Seward's mentor, Abraham Van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins, again), who is the world's leading expert on obscure disorders of the blood. Noting the great loss of blood and the two puncture wounds on her neck, Van Helsing becomes convinced that they are dealing with something far worse than a disease.

Gary Oldman in red robe and ageing make-up as Dracula
Dracula, as he appears when he first meets Jonathan Harker

Making yet another Dracula film, after a hundred or more previous ones, runs the immediate risk of accusations of redundancy. Bram Stoker's Dracula's first claim to originality is that it is based directly on the original novel, which is more of an innovation than you might think. The possessive title positions this as a faithful adaptation, Bram Stoker's Dracula, as well as suggesting this as a film with a degree of literary respectability.

None of the previous major film versions of Dracula had been very faithful to the novel. This was not helped by the fact that the most famous and influential version, the 1931 Universal film starring Bela Lugosi, was based on a stage adaptation of the book, rather than on the novel itself. This meant that the Universal film used as its source material an already watered down and truncated adaptation. By the early 1990s, the most recent major film version was the 1979 Dracula starring Frank Langella, but that was also based on the same Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston stage play as the 1931 film.

Taking the novel as its starting point means that the 1992 film includes elements that are often left out of film or TV adaptations. These include the American character Quincey P. Morris (played here by Bill Campbell) or the scenes of Dracula crawling down the walls of his castle, or fetching a baby to feed his three vampire brides. The film also features the almost always omitted last act of the book, as the heroes chase Dracula back to his castle redoubt.

James V. Hart's script also appears to draw on earlier Dracula films. The suggestion that Renfield was Jonathan Harker's predecessor, and that he was driven insane by his time in Transylvania, is a borrowing from the 1931 Dracula. The notion that Mina is a reincarnation of Dracula's dead wife is also not entirely new, having appeared previously in the 1973 television film Bram Stoker's Dracula, starring Jack Palance.

Mina (Winona Ryder) and Dracula (Gary Oldman)
Love never dies ... Mina (Winona Ryder) with the rejuvenated Dracula

The script also attempts to replicate the multiple narrators of the novel, although not entirely successfully. The film has elements of narration taken from Jonathan Harker's journal, Mina's diary and Van Helsing's own record of events. These multiple narrators come and go and are not really necessary, lending the narration a perfunctory air. It also sometimes appears a little too obviously just when it's needed to explain a particular plot point. As when Van Helsing tells us that, contrary to popular belief, vampires can travel around by day although their powers are weakened, just before we see Dracula strolling around London in daylight.

Literary faithfulness only goes so far, however, and the most important new plot development in this version is that Mina looks identical to Dracula's dead wife. This gives a romantic aspect to Dracula's desire for Mina and to their developing relationship. There are also romantic scenes between Dracula and Mina and a finale suggesting that Mina killing Dracula would be an act of love, as it would release him from his eternal torment.

In some senses then, Bram Stoker's Dracula is not really Bram Stoker's Dracula at all. While it follows the narrative of the book more closely than previous films, and incorporates elements often missing from those versions, the film recasts Stoker's tale as a story of doomed lovers, lost souls and undying love. This romantic angle was stated openly by the film's tagline "Love never dies."

American versions of Dracula often couldn't resist presenting the Count as a semi-romantic figure. Maybe it's because he's an aristocrat with a title and a castle. European Draculas, including the Hammer series with Christopher Lee, usually presented the character as more aggressive and even animalistic. And while Christopher Lee's Dracula may have been sexually suggestive, he definitely wasn't romantic.

Count Dracula is an aristocrat, but he is also part of an old and decaying order, anachronistically holding onto title, property and privilege into the modern, increasingly democratic age. In this sense, the novel Dracula looks like an allusion to the privileged aristocracy, living on in their decaying castles and declining estates long beyond their time, in Dracula's case literally feeding on the ordinary peasants. The deeds of their ancestors, the deeds that presumably brought their families such wealth and privilege, are now long in the past.

Dracula in red armour with Elisabeta
Dracula and Elisabeta in the film's prologue

Those great deeds of the past, and with them Count Dracula's inherent nobility, are deliberately restored in Bram Stoker's Dracula. The film portrays Dracula in its opening scenes as a virile, heroic young man, a husband and a warrior. A man who defends his country, his lands and his church and, as he sees it, is subsequently betrayed by God.

This means that Dracula is presented as a more noble figure than the character we are usually shown. Count Dracula is no longer simply a satanic adversary, a creature of the night, but a fallen hero. There are, however, already suggestions of Dracula's darker side, with his defeated enemies being impaled on stakes after the battle, tying the character in with the story of Vlad the Impaler.

Sexuality is also brought to the fore in Bram Stoker's Dracula, which is much more sexually suggestive than most previous versions of this story. In one scene Jonathan Harker is seduced by three semi-nude brides of Dracula's in his castle, one of them played by Monica Bellucci in her first American film.

In England, Lucy and Mina giggle over sexually explicit illustrations in Richard Burton's book The Arabian Nights, while Lucy speculates on the virility of their various male suitors. There are also suggestions of lesbianism in one scene between Mina and Lucy, and bestiality in the scene where Dracula molests Lucy while in animal form.

Dracula's turning of Lucy into a vampire transforms her into a sexually voracious temptress. The film presents female sexual desire as a dangerous force that should probably not be unleashed, something in keeping with the attitudes of its Victorian setting.

Winona Ryder and Sadie Frost
Mina (Winona Ryder) and Lucy (Sadie Frost)

The screenplay makes the suggestion of vampirism as a metaphor for sexually transmitted disease more obvious, perhaps inevitable given that this film was produced only a few years after the appearance of the AIDS virus. Jonathan Harker blames himself for bringing the curse of vampirism onto himself and onto Mina, like an errant husband who has passed venereal disease onto his wife. Van Helsing assures him that he is safe from vampirism, as long as he didn't taste the blood of any of Dracula's brides, something that makes the "blood disease" link explicit.

The film also doesn't hold back on the blood and gore and it has more disturbing imagery than is usually seen in Dracula films. These include Dracula's implied rape of Lucy while in animal form. The scene of Dracula feeding a baby to his brides is a genuinely horrifying element that is missing from most versions of this story. It's also something that the makers could easily have left out in their desire to make Count Dracula more sympathetic.

Like previous film versions, the screenplay inevitably condenses the novel in some areas. The book is set in England and Transylvania. The English locations include Whitby in North Yorkshire and the fictional Carfax Abbey. The 1931 film gets muddled over the locations and treats Whitby and London as if they are the same place, or at least next door to each other.

Hammer always did their own thing and, confusingly, moved the action in their 1958 Dracula (known as Horror of Dracula in the US) to their preferred Mitteleuropa locale, while keeping the English character names. The 1979 Dracula, starring Frank Langella, sets the action in and around Whitby, eliminating Transylvania altogether.

Bram Stoker's Dracula takes the opposite, but logical, approach to the 1979 film and keeps the Transylvanian scenes but relocates the Whitby and other English scenes to London, simplifying the film's geography. Dracula's ship, the Demeter, arrives in London and not Whitby in this version, and Carfax Abbey is now in London.

Bill Campbell, Cary Elwes and Richard E. Grant
Quincey P. Morris (Bill Campbell), Arthur Holmwood (Cary Elwes) and Dr. Seward (Richard E. Grant)

The casting in the film is interesting and eclectic. Gary Oldman was still best known as a character actor at this time, making a speciality of playing famous people - Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy (1986), Joe Orton in Prick up Your Ears (1987), Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK (1991) and Ludwig van Beethoven in Immortal Beloved (1994).

Oldman's Dracula is the undoubted highlight of Bram Stoker's Dracula, acting just about everyone else off the screen. His is probably the most complex and sophisticated Dracula performance of all. Oldman's version of Count Dracula is by turns muscular and heroic, sinister and decrepit, horrible and malevolent, dangerous and seductive, or tortured and romantic. Oldman brings a character actor's insight and attention to detail to the part, while also investing the Count with undoubted magnetism and star quality.

Other than Gary Oldman, the biggest performance comes from Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing. Rather than the traditional authority figure, or the detached man of science played by Peter Cushing in the Hammer films, Van Helsing is here portrayed as a slightly more sinister character. Essentially he's on the side of good, but he is also mercurial and unpredictable, given to strange outbursts and with little social calibration.

Hopkins can be an actor of either tremendous subtlety or ripe hamming. In this case he decides to ham the part up, giving us a larger than life performance. While it's not the most subtle interpretation, Hopkins judged, possibly correctly, that the film required a higher degree of intensity and theatricality. His Van Helsing has long hair, a scar on his forehead and a strong accent. In the book, Van Helsing is Dutch, but Hopkins' accent doesn't sound very Dutch, it's more like indeterminate central European. Van Helsing's accent, age, character, costuming and specialised knowledge all mark him out as an outsider among the film's trio of English gentlemen heroes and their American ally.

Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing
Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing

Hopkins's dual casting as both Van Helsing and the priest in the film's prologue suggests some symmetry between the two characters, as if they, or what they both represent, are involved in an ongoing battle with Dracula. Or maybe Francis Ford Coppola just thought it would be cute to cast Hopkins as Dracula's antagonists in both time periods.

Keanu Reeves is strangely cast as the English solicitor Jonathan Harker. Both he and Winona Ryder have clearly had much instruction on their English accents and Reeves is obviously trying hard, but he's certainly awkwardly cast. Coppola explained that Reeves was chosen as a popular young actor with an enthusiastic fan following, to give some interest to the otherwise slightly colourless role of Jonathan Harker.

It's perhaps slightly easier to accept Reeves in this role now than it was in 1992, when he was known primarily as the surf dude of Point Break or as the amiable airhead of Bill and Ted, but this casting was never very likely to come off.

Reeves has endured much mockery over the years for his English accent, but it's actually not that terrible. It's not Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins terrible. It's just very obviously an actor doing an accent, and Reeves seems so constrained by the part and by the need to maintain his English accent, that he comes across as painfully awkward and stilted.

Winona Ryder isn't so far out of her comfort zone, so she fares a little better as Jonathan's fiancée, Mina. Richard E. Grant is fine as Dr. Seward and the actor and singer Tom Waits, in his fifth film for Coppola, makes a creditable and disturbing Renfield.

Sadie Frost certainly captures the lustful side of Lucy, although she is such an obvious strumpet already, it's debatable how much of a bad influence Dracula really is on her. Although Sadie Frost gets an "introducing" credit in Bram Stoker's Dracula, this was actually her fifth film, not her first.

Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker in Dracula
An uncomfortable Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker

The project originated with a screenplay by James V. Hart, that was at one point intended to be a television film directed by Michael Apted. Winona Ryder saw the script and suggested it to Francis Ford Coppola, after she had had to pull out of his 1990 film The Godfather Part III. When Coppola decided to take the project on, Michael Apted was given the consolation prize of an executive producer credit on the film.

Coppola gathered the cast together for a two day read through of the whole novel before rehearsals for the film began. He also had Cary Elwes, Richard E. Grant and Bill Campbell go on trips together to help them bond as a group.

The early involvement in the project of Winona Ryder is perhaps indicated by the greater prominence of her character Mina in the film. In this version she becomes not only Dracula's lover and the possible reincarnation of his late wife, but is also given a lot more to do elsewhere, including her later attempt to seduce Van Helsing in at least one version of the film, and her prominence in the film's finale.

Although Francis Ford Coppola's career had become increasingly bumpy in the 1980s, he was still revered as the director of The Conversation, Apocalypse Now and The Godfather Parts I and II, and slightly less revered as the director of The Godfather Part III.

Bram Stoker's Dracula was co-produced by Coppola's company American Zoetrope with Osiris Films for release by Columbia Pictures. Based on his interviews at the time, Coppola seems to have been eager to make a big commercial film for a big studio, on time and on budget. He had also recently returned to The Godfather films for a belated and unnecessary sequel, The Godfather Part III, so he seems to have been deliberately seeking out more commercial projects at this time to keep his company afloat.

That's not to say that his work on Bram Stoker's Dracula smacks of contractual obligation or any sense of going through the motions. Coppola was evidently enthusiastic about the subject and approached the film with obvious gusto.

Silhouettes of Turkish soldiers on stakes
The defeated Turkish army in the film's prologue

Coppola and his team have created a remarkably florid and visually extravagant take on the Dracula story. The use of colour, in particular of reds and blacks, suggests a Hammer influence, and the photography, by Michael Ballhaus, emphasises red and red filters throughout.

Other visual and story elements are obviously derived from the 1931 Universal film and there are also suggestions of visual influences from F. W. Murnau's unofficial 1922 Dracula film Nosferatu, and other elements derived from German expressionism. Thomas Sanders furnishes the film with elaborate sets, while Wojciech Kilar provides a suitably melodramatic and ominous score, one as emphatic as its Hammer counterparts by James Bernard.

The film contrasts the backward, frozen in time world of Dracula and his cobwebby castle deep in the isolated mountains of remote Transylvania, with the hustle, bustle and scientific progress and invention of "modern" London at the end of the 19th century.

In exploring that contrast, and in emphasising the modernity of Victorian London, the director shows a particular fascination with the latest technology of the era. From phonographic cylinders to typewriters, blood transfusions and, of course, the cinematograph.

Coppola enlisted his son Roman to provide the film's special effects. Coppola rejected modern special effects techniques, including computer generated imagery which was starting to become popular, and used only practical effects and techniques that might have been used in the early years of cinema. As a result, the film has many pleasing and imaginative visual moments, using a variety of techniques including forced perspectives and multiple exposures.

The film's stylised opening battle scene is depicted very economically, with its dark figures of soldiers shown fighting in silhouette against a blood red background. This avoids expensive battle scenes and crowds of extras, and was no doubt designed to save on the budget, but it also makes for a striking visual. This scene is echoed later on when Dracula and Mina see a puppet show in London with similar cut out medieval soldier figures.

As the narration describes the march of a Turkish army into Europe, the shadow of an Islamic crescent held on a pole, presumably by a Turkish soldier, falls across a map of Europe, the shadow appearing to form a pincer. This not only depicts an army without showing any actual soldiers, but also portrays the march of Islam into Christian Europe, and suggests the vulnerability of Europe to that army, all in one neat, but simple shot.

Jonathan Harker travelling by train to Transylvania
"Pardon me, boy. Is this the Transylvania station?" Jonathan Harker travelling to Castle Dracula

The film's obvious artifice becomes part of its charm in these scenes, as it does when we see the railway train that takes Jonathan Harker to Transylvania. The train clatters along in silhouette against a blood red sky and it's obviously a model, but it's also clear that we are meant to notice this and even approve. The director evidently believes that a model train seen against a fake background is more pleasing to the eye than a dull shot of an actual train, and he's probably right. In one memorable moment, the train is seen appearing to chug across the top of Jonathan Harker's diary, an effect achieved by using a model train and a huge prop book. The trains though are American types, rather than European ones, suggesting that Roman wasn't able to find a Romanian train set.

The film also has some notable transitions, as when a shot of the "eye" on a peacock's feather in an English garden turns into a headlong view into a railway tunnel in Transylvania. In another scene, two puncture wounds on a victim's neck dissolve into a shot of the two eyes of a wolf, gleaming in the darkness.

The early scenes of Dracula and his castle take obvious inspiration from the 1931 Dracula. These scenes include the hair-raising ride along a narrow track up to the castle, which is shown perched precariously on a rocky outcrop even more spectacular than the one in the earlier film. The film also repeats a couple of Dracula's famous lines from the 1931 film and from the book - "Listen to them, the children of the night. What sweet music they make!" and "I never drink ... wine."

In the castle scenes, the director has great fun with Dracula's shadow, which increasingly takes on a life of its own, at first not quite matching up with its owner, and then starting to appear in different parts of the room entirely. This effect was achieved by having a second actor off-screen, who would cast a shadow that could move independently of Gary Oldman's movements as Dracula.

The film was shot almost entirely in the studio at Culver City in California and, unusually for this time, there was no location filming in England or anywhere else in Europe. The London street scenes were a studio set, but look convincingly crowded. The film's studio bound nature suits the director's deliberately theatrical approach and adds to its feeling of heightened fantasy and unreality.

Dracula's shadow is cast across a map of London
Me and my shadow: Dracula and Harker discuss his move to London

The film's elaborate costumes are especially memorable. These were designed by Eiko Ishioka, who won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design for her work. Ishioka was principally a graphic designer, but she also designed costumes for a number of films. Her collaboration with Francis Ford Coppola began when she was hired to create the Japanese poster for Coppola's 1979 film Apocalypse Now.

Count Dracula himself goes through a number of significant costume changes during the film, beginning with the red armour that he wears in the prologue sequence. This is an obvious fantasy piece, with its ribbed design seemingly intended to mimic a human muscle diagram. The helmet, with its demonic horns, foreshadows Dracula's later incarnation as a quasi-Satanic adversary of God.

Dracula is inevitably associated in the film with reds and blacks, being seen wearing red armour, a red gown and later on a black military-style tunic. There is also an occasional strong Japanese influence to Ishioka's designs, as with the bright red kabuki-style gown that Dracula wears at his castle. Also memorable is Dracula's look when he first appears in London, rocking a grey top hat and coat with long hair and snazzy blue tinted shades, a Victorian gentleman's costume given a modern twist.

Ishioka's designs also track the changes in the female characters over the course of the film. Early in the film, Mina is dressed in subdued greens, with occasional blues or browns. Lucy and Mina both wear green before they meet Dracula. It's a natural colour, one suggesting trees, plants and nature. But green is also sometimes used to represent death or ghostly characters, perhaps suggesting that some part of the women (presumably passion or sexuality) is not alive, or at least is unfulfilled.

Mina wears two green dresses in the film, and these are among her most distinctive costumes. Both dresses are decorated with a natural leaf motif and echo the similar green dress worn by Elisabeta in the film's prologue. Although Lucy also wears a green dress, closer inspection reveals that the twisting patterns on hers are entwined snakes. A more sinister design than Mina's, with its delicate leaves. While both costumes suggest the natural world, the snake also suggests the serpent lurking in the Garden of Eden.

Lucy (Sadie Frost) in the vampire bride costume
Lucy (Sadie Frost) in the vampire bride costume

Later in the film, after they have come into contact with Count Dracula, the two women are increasingly dressed in red, suggesting blood, vampirism and an awakened sexuality. Their red dresses also suggest an alignment with Dracula, matching his red robe and red armour. When Lucy is drawn outside to the formal gardens and the waiting Dracula, she is wearing a bright red nightdress, one revealing enough to show her sexy, if incongruously modern, underwear. Mina also later wears a red dress in her romantic scenes with Dracula. 

Lucy wears white both before and after her turning into a vampire by Dracula. But the distinctive vampire bride costume that she wears later in the film is now a mockery of the pure virginal white dress she wore earlier on. Its huge wide neck, suggesting a frill necked lizard, echoes the serpent design on her earlier green dress.

Although Mina's clothes become more colourful, and she increasingly wears red after she is seduced by Dracula, she never quite abandons the other colours, suggesting her character has divided loyalties and is not wholly aligned with Dracula or the vampires.

As well as the costume designs, the film won Academy Awards for Best Make Up and Best Sound Effects Editing and was nominated for its art direction. It was also nominated for four BAFTAs, for costume design, production design, make up and special effects.

Contemporary reviews were mixed, but the film was a box office success and led to a brief run of classic horror stories getting the all-star big budget treatment. It may have helped that a thriller with horror overtones, The Silence of the Lambs (1990)had recently been a huge box office hit, and critically respected enough to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Perhaps significantly, Anthony Hopkins, the star of that film if not the actual lead, was also present among the cast of Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Dracula about to bite Mina in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
Dracula with Mina

Bram Stoker's Dracula was followed - as successful Dracula films so often are - by a new version of Frankenstein called, perhaps inevitably, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The film was released in 1994 and, as with Bram Stoker's Dracula, went back to the original novel, discarding much of the Universal and Hammer accroutements so long associated with the story. The film was co-produced by Francis Ford Coppola and directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also starred as Victor Frankenstein. Improbably enough, the creature was played by Robert De Niro.

The same year also saw the release of Interview with the Vampire, adapted by Neil Jordan from the novel by Anne Rice, and starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, and a werewolf film, Wolf, directed by Mike Nichols and starring Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer. The almost totally forgotten flop Mary Reilly appeared in 1996 and re-told the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, from the point of view of Jekyll's eponymous maid, played by Julia Roberts. The idea of a Dracula origins story and the medieval prologue in Bram Stoker's Dracula was also an obvious influence on the 2014 Dracula prequel Dracula Untold.

Opinions still seem to be divided on Bram Stoker's Dracula, between those entranced by the film's intense stylizations and those who think that it's all too much. Some contemporary critics felt that the film was all show and little substance, although Jonathan Rosenbaum mounted a spirited defence against that charge.

In fact, James V. Hart's script, combined with Coppola's flamboyant direction and the film's detailed mise en scène, mean that the film has almost too much going on at times for full dramatic and thematic coherence, and as with some earlier versions there are some plot points that are dropped or left unexplained. Coppola's direction privileges performance, theatricality, incidental detail and effect over storytelling. But that ultimately works in the film's favour, producing a grand, almost operatic take on the Dracula mythos. Some might complain that the visuals almost overwhelm the story and characters at times. But when the visuals are as exuberant and enticing as this, it scarcely seems to matter.

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Year: 1992
Genre: Horror / Fantasy / Period drama
Country: USA
Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Cast  Gary Oldman (Dracula), Winona Ryder (Mina Murray / Elisabeta), Anthony Hopkins (Abraham Van Helsing), Keanu Reeves (Jonathan Harker), Richard E. Grant (Dr Jack Seward), Cary Elwes (Lord Arthur Holmwood), Bill Campbell (Quincey P. Morris), Sadie Frost (Lucy Westenra), Tom Waits (Renfield), Monica Bellucci, Michaela Bercu and Florina Kendrick (Dracula's brides), Jay Robinson (Mr Hawkins), I. M. Hobson (Hobbs), Laurie Franks (Lucy's maid), Maud Winchester (Downstairs maid), Octavian Cadia (Deacon), Robert Getz (Priest), Dagmar Stanec (Sister Agatha), Eniko Oss (Sister Sylva), Nancy Linehan Charles (Older woman), Tatiana von Furstenberg (Younger woman), Jules Sylvester and Hubert Wells (Zookeepers), Daniel Newman (News hawker), Honey Lauren and Judi Diamond (Peep show girls), Robert Buckingham (Husband), Cully Fredricksen (Van Helsing's assistant)

Screenplay James V. Hart, based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker  Producers Francis Ford Coppola, Fred Fuchs, Charles Mulvehill  Cinematography Michael Ballhaus  Production designer Thomas Sanders  Art director Andrew Precht  Editors Anne Goursaud, Glen Scantlebury, Nicholas C. Smith  Music Wojciech Kilar  Costume designer Eiko Ishioka  Visual effects Roman Coppola

Running time 128 mins  Colour Technicolor

Production company American Zoetrope, Osiris Films  Distributor Columbia Pictures

See also: Dracula (1931)


  1. I love it! I know many horror fans were critical of the movie, but I thought it was a complete success. It's too bad that Coppola didn't direct Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, a film that left me a bit frustrated. It has some good elements (mainly the production design and make-up work), but Branagh's work as a director lacks technical finesse (great actor, but so-so filmmaker).

    1. I think the casting is a bit off in Frankenstein as well. Branagh loves to cast against type and use unusual actor combinations, but the leads are not ideal. There's also the problem that they've gone back to the book, but the book is not really a horror novel and I don't think Branagh quite has a handle on the material. It is a film I'd like to take a look at again though


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