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Dracula (also known as Bram Stoker's Dracula) is a 1992 horror-romance film-thriller produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. It stars Gary Oldman as Count Dracula and Winona Ryder as Mina Harker in an ensemble cast, also featuring Anthony Hopkins as Professor Abraham Van Helsing and Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker. Dracula was greeted by a generally positive critical reception and was a box office hit. It also had a significant cultural impact, spawning a video game, a board game, a comic book adaptation, collectible cards and various action figures and model sets. The film's score was composed by Wojciech Kilar and the closing theme song "Love Song for a Vampire" was written and performed by Annie Lennox.

Plot

In 1462, Vlad Dracula, a member of the Order of the Dragon, returns from a victory against the Turks to find his wife Elisabeta has committed suicide after hearing false reports of his death. Enraged at the notion of his wife being eternally damned as a suicide, Dracula desecrates his chapel and renounces God, declaring that he will rise from the grave to avenge Elisabeta with all the powers of darkness.

In 1897, law clerk Jonathan Harker takes over as a client for the Transylvanian Count Dracula from his colleague Renfield, who has gone insane. Jonathan travels to Transylvania to arrange the formalities of Dracula's real estate acquisition in London, including Carfax Abbey. Jonathan meets Dracula, a wrinkled, pale old man inhabiting a bizarre castle. During the signing of the papers, the Count discovers a picture of Harker's fiancée Mina, and is astonished to find that she is the reincarnation of his long dead wife. Dracula leaves Jonathan captive to his brides and sails to England with boxes of his native soil, taking up residence at Carfax Abbey. His arrival is foretold by the ravings of Renfield, now an inmate in Dr. John Seward's neighbouring lunatic asylum.

In London, Dracula emerges as a werewolf-like creature and drinks the blood of Lucy Westenra, with whom Mina is staying while Jonathan is in Transylvania. Lucy's deteriorating health and behavioral changes prompts Lucy's former love-interests Quincey Morris and Dr. Seward, along with her fiancée Arthur Holmwood to summon Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, who during a blood transfusion recognizes Lucy as the victim of a vampire.

Dracula, now young and handsome, meets and charms Mina. However, when Mina gets word from Jonathan, who has escaped the castle and recovered at a convent, she travels to Hungary to marry him. In his heartbroken fury, Dracula transforms Lucy into a vampire. Van Helsing, Holmwood, Seward and Morris kill Lucy to stop her undead suffering, and save her from eternal damnation.

Jonathan and Mina return to London. Jonathan and Van Helsing lead the others to Carfax Abbey, where they destroy the Count's boxes of soil. Dracula enters the asylum, where he kills Renfield for warning Mina of his presence, and visits Mina, who is staying in Seward's quarters while the others hunt Dracula. Dracula confesses that he murdered Lucy and has been terrorizing Mina's friends, but a confused and angry Mina admits that she still feels love for him. At her insistence Dracula begins to transform her into a vampire. The vampire hunters burst into the bedroom, with Dracula claiming Mina as his bride before escaping.

As Mina begins changing the same way Lucy had, Van Helsing hypnotizes her and learns via her connection with Dracula that he is sailing home in his last remaining box. The Hunters depart for the port of Varnamarker to intercept him, but Dracula reads Mina's mind and evades them. The Hunters split up, with Van Helsing and Mina traveling to the Borgo Pass and the Castle, while the others try to stop the Gypsies transporting the Count.

At night, Van Helsing and Mina are approached by Dracula's brides. They frighten Mina at first, but she gives into their chanting and attempts to seduce Van Helsing. Before Mina can feed on his blood he rebuffs her with the Eucharist, leaving a mark of it on her forehead, and surrounds them with a ring of fire to protect them from the brides. In the morning, he infiltrates the castle and decapitates them. As sunset approaches, Dracula's carriage appears on the horizon, pursued by the hunters, and arrives at the castle. A fight between the hunters and gypsies ensues and at sunset Dracula bursts from his coffin. Harker slits his throat while a wounded Morris stabs him in the heart. As Dracula staggers, Mina rushes to his defense. Holmwood tries to attack but Van Helsing and Harker allow her to retreat with the Count, turning instead to Morris, who dies surrounded by his friends.

In the same chapel where he renounced God centuries earlier, Dracula lies dying, now in an ancient demonic form. He rebuffs Mina's attempts to pull the knife from his heart as he asks her to give him peace. They share a final kiss, as the candles adorning the chapel miraculously light in God's presence, and the hole in the cross heals itself. Mina shoves the knife through his heart. The mark on her forehead disappears as Dracula's curse is lifted, as well as Elisabeta's soul. She then decapitates him and gazes up at the fresco of Vlad and Elisabeta ascending to Heaven together.

Cast



Differences between film and novel

  • Mina is the reincarnation of Elisabeta, and therefore falls in love with Count Dracula. In the novel, she despises him because he is the monster that is terrorizing her life and he victimizes her solely as revenge for the destruction of Lucy.
  • Mina does not seduce Van Helsing while attempting to drink his blood in the novel.
  • Mina is involved in killing Dracula.
  • Numerous minor characters like Lucy's mother and Arthur's father are omitted.
  • The film adds an overall more sexual tone to the story, whereas the book, at most, mildly implied sexual situations (for example, Jonathan notices the luscious lips of Dracula's brides, then terrorizes himself about it).
  • Lucy is not raped by Dracula in "Werewolf Form" in the novel.


Reception

Reviews

Dracula received considerable attention upon release, being greeted with generally positive reviews from critics. Based on 44 reviews collected from notable publications by popular review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an overall approval rating of 82%. Roger Ebert criticized Coppola for being "more concerned with spectacle and set-pieces than with storytelling" but offered a mostly positive review, writing: "I enjoyed the movie simply for the way it looked and felt. Production designers Dante Ferreti and Thomas Sanders have outdone themselves. The cinematographer, Michael Ballhaus, gets into the spirit so completely he always seems to light with shadows."One recurring criticism is Reeves' inability to speak with a believable English accent and it has been stated that all of his scenes were low points in the film. Vincent Canby gave a positive review, writing: "Dracula has the nervy enthusiasm of the work of a precocious film student who has magically acquired a master's command of his craft. It's surprising, entertaining and always just a little too much."

Richard Corliss said, "Coppola brings the old spook story alive ... Everyone knows that Dracula has a heart; Coppola knows that it is more than an organ to drive a stake into. To the director, the count is a restless spirit who has been condemned for too many years to interment in cruddy movies. This luscious film restores the creature's nobility and gives him peace." Jonathan Rosenbaum felt the film suffered from a "somewhat dispersed and overcrowded story line" but that it "remains fascinating and often affecting thanks to all its visual and conceptual energy." Mick LaSalle, however, panned the film, writing: "Dracula is a lovingly made, gorgeously realized, meticulously crafted failure. It has big names, a big budget, big sets, a big, thundering score and even big hair. But it doesn't do it. It doesn't excite or fascinate but just lies there on the screen."

Box office

The film was a notable box office hit, grossing $82,522,790 domestically and $133,339,902 overseas for a total worldwide gross of $215,862,692, making it the most commercially successful adaptation of the novel to date.

Awards and honors

The film won three Academy Awards, Best Costume Design (Eiko Ishioka), Best Sound Effects Editing (Tom C. McCarthy, David E. Stone) and Best Makeup (Greg Cannom, Michèle Burke, Matthew W. Mungle) and was nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Thomas E. Sanders, Garrett Lewis).

Home video releases and merchandise

Dracula was first released to DVD in 1999 and again as a Superbit DVD in 2001. Neither release contained any extra features. A two-disc "Collector's Edition" DVD and Blu-ray was released in 2007. The "Collector's Edition" special features include an introduction and audio commentary by director Francis Ford Coppola, deleted and extended scenes, teaser and full-length Dracula trailers, and the documentaries "The Blood Is the Life: The Making of Dracula", "The Costumes Are the Sets: The Design of Eiko Ishioka", "In Camera: The Naïve Visual Effects of Dracula", and "Method and Madness: Visualizing Dracula".

Other merchandising for the film included a board game, a pinball game, and video game adaptations for the Super Nintendo, NES, Game Boy, Sega Genesis, Game Gear, Sega Master System, Amiga, Sega CD, and PC. A four-issue comic book adaptation and 100 collectible cards based on the movie were released by the Topps company with art provided by Mike Mignola.

Various action figures and model sets were also produced. In addition to these items, accurate licensed replicas of Dracula's sword and Quincey's bowie knife were available from Factory X. A novelization of the film was published, written by Fred Saberhagen.

Notes

  1. Dracula (1992) - Release dates from the Internet Movie Database
  2. Bram Stoker's Dracula review by Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, November 13, 1992
  3. Movie Review - Bram Stoker's Dracula - Review/Film; Coppola's Dizzying Vision Of Dracula - NYTimes.com
  4. A Vampire With Heart... - TIME
  5. Bram Stoker's Dracula - Capsule by Jonathan Rosenbaum - From the Chicago Reader
  6. Dracula (1992): Reviews - Metacritic
  7. Movie Dracula - Box Office Data, News, Cast Information from The Numbers
  8. Dracula (1992) - Awards from Internet Movie Database
  9. DVD Verdict Review - Bram Stoker's Dracula July 6th, 1999
  10. DVD Verdict Review - Bram Stoker's Dracula: Superbit Edition December 18th, 2001
  11. DVD Verdict Review - Bram Stoker's Dracula: Collector's Edition October 22nd, 2007
  12. DVD Verdict Review - Bram Stoker's Dracula (Blu-Ray) October 4th, 2007
  13. Bram Stoker's Dracula: The Board Game BoardGameGeek]
  14. Williams Bram Stoker's Dracula Internet Pinball Machine Database
  15. Bram Stoker's Dracula for SNES GameFAQs
  16. Bram Stoker's Dracula for NES GameFAQs
  17. Bram Stoker's Dracula for Game Boy - GameFAQs
  18. Bram Stoker's Dracula for Genesis - GameFAQs
  19. Bram Stoker's Dracula for GameGear - GameFAQs
  20. Bram Stoker's Dracula for Sega Master System - GameFAQs
  21. Bram Stoker's Dracula for Amiga GameFAQs
  22. Bram Stoker's Dracula for Sega CD GameFAQs
  23. Bram Stoker's Dracula for PC GameFAQs
  24. Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) The Comic Book Database
  25. Dracula: Rhino Bowie Knife - Factory X - Dracula - Prop Replicas at Entertainment Earth Item Archive
  26. Bram Stoker's Dracula by Fred Saberhagen FictionDB.com


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