Bram Stoker's Dracula (aka Dracula) is a 1992 horror-romance film produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. It stars Gary Oldman as Count Dracula in an ensemble cast, also featuring Keanu Reeves, Anthony Hopkins and Winona Ryder. The score was composed by Wojciech Kilar and the closing theme song "Love Song for a Vampire" was written and performed by Annie Lennox. The film won three Academy Awards in 1993.
The film begins in a prologue, where Vlad III the Impaler defeats an overwhelming Turkish invasion in 1462. Upon returning home, he finds his beloved wife Elisabeta (Ryder) dead, having committed suicide upon hearing the false reports of Vlad's death in battle. Enraged at his wife being eternally damned as a suicide, the former devout Christian Dracula desecrates his chapel and renounces God, declaring that he will rise from the grave to avenge Elisabeta with all the powers of darkness.
Four centuries later, Jonathan Harker (Reeves), a law firm clerk, travels to Transylvania to arrange the transfer of Carfax Abbey in London, Count Dracula's (Gary Oldman) newest real estate acquisition. At the castle, full of bizarre, unnatural features and shadows that move by themselves, Harker meets Dracula, a wrinkled, pale old man in brilliant red robes. During the final signing of the real estate papers, the Count caresses a picture of Harker's fiancée Wilhelmina "Mina" Murray (Ryder), the reincarnation of his long dead wife, Elisabeta. Dracula then sets sail on the ship Demeter to England, leaving Harker captive by Dracula's insatiable and bloodthirsty Brides, who systematically drink his blood, leaving him weak and unable to escape.
Dracula arrives in London in a box of his native soil, which is transported to the Abbey, where Dracula emerges to ravish and drink the blood of Mina's best friend, Lucy Westenra (Sadie Frost). Dracula, now a young and handsome prince, meets and gradually charms Mina, but refuses to bite her, instead offering her absinthe to aid her recollection of her past life. As the two fall deeper in love, Lucy's deteriorating health and noticeable behavioral changes prompts suitors Quincey Morris (Bill Campbell), Dr. John Seward (Richard E. Grant) and Arthur Holmwood (Cary Elwes) to summon Dr. Abraham Van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins), who during a blood transfusion recognizes Lucy as a vampire victim. In Transylvania, Harker escapes to a convent and writes to Mina, who is now overjoyed to marry him. Dracula, grief-stricken and enraged, murders Lucy to transform her into one of his vampire brides.
After Lucy's funeral, Van Helsing leads Arthur, Seward and Morris to the family crypt, where Lucy has risen as a vampire. Horrified, the group drives a metal stake through her heart and decapitates her. Newlyweds Harker and Mina return to London and join Van Helsing, Seward, Morris and Arthur in hunting Dracula. They arrive at Carfax Abbey and destroy his boxes of soil. The Count, who watches from the shadows, travels to Mina and confesses that he is dead, a hunted creature and the murderer of Lucy. Despite her rage, Mina still loves him and wants to be with him. As she begins drinking blood from Dracula's chest, the Vampire Hunters burst into the bedroom, with Dracula claiming Mina as his bride before disappearing into the shadows. 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. The Hunters depart for the port of Varna via train to intercept him, but discover that Dracula has read 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 Dracula.
At night, encamped at the castle, Mina begins changing as the Brides hover nearby. After attempting to seduce Van Helsing she bares fangs, but is rebuffed with a piece of Holy Wafer. As she returns to her human form, Van Helsing surrounds them both with a ring of fire, warding off the Brides until morning, when he wearily infiltrates the castle and kills the Brides as they sleep. Hours later, as sunset approaches, Dracula's carriage appears on the horizon, driven by Gypsies and pursued by the Hunters. Dracula, sensing Mina's presence, telepathically commands her to summon a spell that casts harsh winds to impede the Hunters. The carriage finally arrives at Castle Dracula and a great fight that pits the Hunters vs the Gypsies. One Gypsy coats a knife with chloroform and stabs Morris, gravley injuring him. Just as the Hunters kill the last gypsy, the sun sets and Dracula bursts from his box. He fights with supernatural strength but cannot overpower Harker, who slits the Count's throat with a kukri knife while Morris stabs him in the heart with a Bowie Knife. As the Count staggers, Mina rushes to his defense with a rifle. Arthur tries to attack but Van Helsing and Harker allow her to retreat with the Count, turning instead to Morris, who passes out from exhaust and the chloroform surrounded by his friends.
In the castle, in the very chapel where he renounced God, Dracula lies dying. His appearance reflecting his ancient age, his face demonic, he rebuffs Mina's attempts to pull the knife from his heart. They share an intimate kiss, as the candles adorning the chapel miraculously light, and the desecrations he committed on the altar are repaired. God forgives Dracula, whose youthful appearance and humanity returns. As he asks Mina to give him peace, she shoves the knife through his heart and decapitates him.
A new 2-disc Collector's Edition DVD was released on October 2, 2007. The new edition includes an introduction and commentary by director Coppola, four documentaries, deleted and extended scenes, as well as trailers. The release was also issued on Blu-ray.
The first attack of Lucy is shortened in the televised version. It cuts out some footage of Lucy walking around the maze and Mina calling and searching for her. Dubbed in is Mina calling "Lucy" several times more. Also cut is the scene in which Mina sees Dracula "raping" Lucy. Instead it appears that he just bites her throat. Also, Lucy's clothes aren't torn. In several scenes Lucy has violent fits, causing her chemise to fall open displaying one or both of her breasts. In the televised version she is portrayed with chemise intact due to digital paint and clever editing. Lucy's destruction is only hinted at and heard, but never shown.
Several scenes regarding Van Helsing have been removed, and his exorcism of Carfax Abbey has been trimmed. Shots of Mina drinking from Dracula's heart are shortened. The seduction of Van Helsing, and the destruction of the Brides are kept intact. Towards the ending the final shot of the sword piercing Dracula has been trimmed to eliminate blood flow.
In 2002, American Movie Classics showed another edited version of the film, this one shown with all edits as mentioned above, but with other small minor cuts and added footage. They include:
In addition to these cuts, this version was presented without commercial interruption.
A bloody good show ; Bram Stoker created a true horror icon with Dracula. But as a RT documentary shows, the Clontarf-born novelist died in obscurity, writes Kevin Sweeney
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