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There are many movies based on Bram Stoker's "Dracula" book.

Which one(s) can be considered to be the most faithful adaptation ? Ideally something clearly recognisable as being "the film of the book", rather than a "reimagining" of the tale, or just another generic vampire movie.

19 Answers 19

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The answer to this is Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. Yes, it exaggerates a relationship between Dracula and Mina and makes up a story for how Dracula became a vampire (which the novel never explains and hints that Dracula, himself, doesn't know how it happened). It also is a bit eccentric with the costumes and leaves out the full bat transformation but other than these issues it is the most accurate to the novel.

Some people would say the Louis Jourdan made for TV BBC mini-series Count Dracula from 1976 is the most faithful but really it's only the most dry and academic version. And it does stray from the book. It combines the Quincey Morris and Lord Holmwood characters, it makes Mina and Lucy sisters. It does not have the count de-age. The count in the movie is also very dispassionate and bored to the point where he gives very little reaction to anything when the character is supposed to be prone to emotion, particularly anger.

There's also another one called Count Dracula starring Christopher Lee that does follow the novel but only for the first twenty minutes or so, then it strays a lot.

Yes, stick with the 1992 film from Francis Ford Coppola and starring Gary Oldman.

I'm a long time fan of the novel and collector of Gothic Horror movies (particularly Dracula films).

In fact I can tell you which edition of Coppola's movie to get. For picture quality you want the one with the grey case. It has no special features but it's the best picture quality. The collector's edition has the best special features (including deleted scenes) but darker / grainier picture quality.

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    Great answer, but I disagree with your last paragraph on editions--the darker version is apparently the one that is based more on Coppola's intentions and on how it looked on release, previous home video releases were apparently brightened too much. See for example this review which note's the blu ray's darkness but says "This transfer of Dracula was supervised by a representative of American Zoetrope, who relayed Francis Ford Coppola's wishes on how the film should look." – Hypnosifl Oct 21 '14 at 22:45
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    Also see the comments by post-production supervisor Kim Aubrey later in that same review: 'I was never satisfied that home video and TV editions of Dracula looked much like the release prints ..The feeling in the home video business was: the transfer had to be bright, it had to be saturated and colorful ... the newer transfers are much closer to the final answer print which was the filmmaker's ideal at the time ... [the blu-ray transfer] is as close (overall) to MY memory of the original film as anything that I have seen, and I worked round-the-clock completing Dracula in Summer-Fall 1992.' – Hypnosifl Oct 21 '14 at 22:50
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    Lastly, to add to your point that the movie "makes up a story for how Dracula became a vampire", research into Stoker's notes suggests that contrary to the current widespread conception, he didn't actually based Dracula on the historical Vlad the Impaler, but on a book called Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia which has anecdotes of multiple Transylvanian Voivodes named "Dracula", see this article for details. – Hypnosifl Oct 21 '14 at 22:57
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Isn't Coppola's movie, Bram Stoker's Dracula, pretty accurate? Haven't read the book in ages, and I seem to remember some differences (the movie's portrayal of Dracula renouncing Christianity, and his romantic attachment to Mina come to mind), but overall I think it was the most faithful rendition of the novel.

I'm thinking mainstream movies, of course. I don't know if there is an accurate but more obscure rendition of the book.

Coppola's movie does have the name of Bram Stoker in its title.

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    This one was pretty good, with the exception that it was more overtly sexual. However, this seemed to me like a reasonable addition, since there were things that one simply could not put in print at the time the book was published. The backstory of Dracula's history was completely fabricated, but I felt the interactions were very true to the book, and the Dracula-Mina attachment was at the very least implied in the novel (in my mind). – Adele C May 29 '12 at 1:38
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    It was also one of the few vampire movies that had Dracula walking out it in day light (true to the book). Plenty of direct quotes from the book as well. – System Down May 29 '12 at 2:22
  • @SystemDown Ah, excellent point! In which piece of fiction were vampires first shown to be destroyed by sunlight? Was it Anne Rice? – Andres F. May 29 '12 at 3:16
  • @AndresF. - I'm sure it was earlier than that. I'm tempted to say that dying by sunlight was introduced by the Hammer Studios movies, but I'm not conclusive about that. – System Down May 29 '12 at 3:31
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    Good enough for a question! – Andres F. May 29 '12 at 3:32
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Coppola's version is most accurate by virtue of its use of the settings. I'm not a huge fan of this version and I'm a huge fan of the Dracula genre, collector of Dracula movies and have read the book so many times I have lost count (pun intended!) Not that fussed about Oldman's Dracula, I thought it was simply too outthere and his reference to Vlad was not good. Hopkin's Van Helsing was ok as was Ryder's Mina and the less said about Canoe 'I know where the b***d sleeps' Reeves, the better! However, Ewles, Campbell and Frost as Holmwood, Morris and Westenra were accurately and superbly portrayed. Also, the end scenes where they attack the gypsies was simply outstanding and straight out of the book. Even Tom Waits was an excellent Renfield.

Le Conde Dracula the 1969 Jess Franco movie was probably the most accurate appearance of the Count than any of the movies.

My all time favourite is one that is probably the least faithful (c0onsidering what they did with the characters) but its epicness and score, together with its cast make it an absolute joy and thats the 1979 Langella version with the Williams score with Trevor Eve,Kate Nelligan, sexy Jan Francis and the late great Donald Pleasence as Seward but even the legendary Olivier's version of Van Helsing was not a patch on the quintessential Prof Van Helsing - Sir (should have been imo) Peter Cushing.

As for Nosferatu and the 1931 Dracula, all overrated imo!

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I just read the book and I will have to say that Coppola's version has to be the most accurate I have seen so far.

Every other movie I have seen has skipped the massacre aboard the Russian vessel, The Demeter entirely. While it may not be too relevant to the main story, it was amazingly creepy and scary in the original novel. The connection between Tepes and Dracula was hinted for a moment in the book when Van Helsing was laying out the plan to destroy the count, and I am able to forgive the introduction in Coppola's movie. I also liked the fact that he made the movie with almost no digital effects, but rather with old camera tricks.

Worst versions? I cannot stand the Hammer films starring Christopher Lee, sorry.

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The 1977 BBC version of Count Dracula is without a doubt the very best version filmed so far. Many Dracula fans may say that the hammer version of the story is better. But for me this is the one. I first viewed it when it was broadcast in 1977 in two parts and I have seen it many time's since. I didn't know it back then, not having read the book as I was only 6 years old ,but it was and still is the most faithful version of the story. Most of the actors look like the have stepped from the pages of the Bram Stoker novel with the possible exception of Louis Jordan's Count, who is suave and elegant until his blood lust is aroused. This is also the first version to show some of the more horrifying moments from the novel, such as the brides and the baby. Plus many of the actual locations that appear in the novel are actually used. There are a few minor draw backs in the BBC version but they are mainly to do with the budget restraints. For example some scenes' are filmed in video and some in film giving it an uneven feel and some of the special optical effects are very dated. But if your like me you can forgive these. To finish off all I can say is that I wish Frances ford Coppola had watched this version before he started filming his rather disjointed , overblown 1992 version. The 1977 BBC version of Count Dracula is a master class in how to bring slow burning Victorian terror to the screen.

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    Welcome to the site, Ashley. However, please note that this is not a discussion forum. The question asked for the most-faithful-to-the-book Dracula movie, not your-personal-favorite Dracula movie. It's fine to include your opinions in an answer (appropriately labeled as such, naturally), but please make sure you actually answer the question that was asked. – Martha Mar 25 '13 at 18:54
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    @Martha That's obviously implied. The last 2 sentences and personal details could be cut out since they don't improve the answer, but otherwise this seems fine. – user29145 Sep 16 '14 at 18:21
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To tell you none of the movies do. In the book Dracula doesn't fall in love with Mina, he has no love interest at all. All the Dracula films have stray from the book. Until some director does it how it was written in the book, none of them do.

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Some say the Coppola version is the most faithful, but I have to disagree and go with the '77 BBC version. It's just a straight forward dramatization of the book. Yes Coppola's version includes more of the main characters and generally follows the plot, but it's reinterpreted to focus on a Dracula-Mina love story that's not derived from the book at all, and Dracula is made into a somewhat sympathetic anti-hero. In my opinion the changes in the BBC version (leaving out the de-aging, Mina and Lucy as sisters, "Quincy P. Holmwood") are minor compared to that.

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I will give Coppala's version credit for at least keeping the characters straight. And I'll concede that they did include many horrifying scenes that Stoker the theatre manager would have loved. So I suppose it is the most accurate interpretation. But Keanu Reeves was so lame that he ruined the movie for me. Frankly they haven't made an accurate interpretation yet. Each producer feels compelled to sex it up one way or the other. The tone of the novel - the understated sense of gathering doom - has never quite been captured. Nor has Mary Shelley's Frankenstein ever been faithfully rendered. The eloquence and the florid Victorian language is traded for cartoonish monsters. I have nothing against a good monster movie but I long for a good Dracula or Frankenstein where the monsters are metaphors and we are exposed to a culture very different from our own.

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All the above answers are very good, and I think that most of the Dracula movies mentioned all have something that makes each of them not only unique but special. I agree, and although it is not my favorite, but the 1992 version by Coppala; "COUNT DRACULA" 1970, Jess Franco's version which is my favorite; and the BBC 1977 version all are frontrunners when talking which movie being as close to faithful to the book. Like I said I love Jess Franco's version as well as the 1977 BBC version.

I am also a huge fan of HAMMER and the 1958 "Horror of Dracula" is outstanding. I still find myself every year watching the 1931 version starring Bela Lugosi. In all due respect Tod Browning had no idea how to successfully portray this story for cinema. That is why when watching this classic it is much like watching a PLAY. Still, Bela Lugosi will always come to my mind first when the word Dracula is mentioned, along with Christopher Lee.

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  • This looks like a listing of which are your favorite movies, not an answer to the actual question. – Mithical Aug 9 '17 at 13:57
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The 1977 BBC version with Louis Jourdan is the most faithful screen adaptation of the book. Despite it making Mina and Lucy sisters, merging Quincey and Arthur, and not de-aging the Count from an older man.

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Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula is slightly closest to the novel. But still we just cannot compare the classic novel with Coppola's Dracula. Okay yes all the characters are present in the movie but there are like many differences. Like they've shown Lucy's character totally opposite in the movie and the thing which disappointed me the most was Mina's and Dracula's love story in the movie.

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    This does not add anything new to the accepted answer. – Monty129 Sep 16 '14 at 16:49
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As some have said there is not any one very faithful adaptation. I reread the book every Halloween, and the movie I consider the worst of the adaptations I've seen is Coppola's Dracula. The origin story and Mina love story ruined Dracula's character too much for me. Dracula isn't supposed to be sympathetic. Couldn't even finish watching that one. Oldman's Dracula looks creepy, yes, but also completely ridiculous with that hairdo. (One of the things I find interesting in the novel is that Dracula is initially described as having a mustache and later a pointed beard) At any rate, I prefer Bela's or Christopher Lee's performances, they're very creepy as well, but those films aren't completely faithful to the novel either. I'm still hoping for someone to make an accurate adaptation that truly brings the novel to life.

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To my knowledge there is not a faithful adaptation. odd because this is one book ( not a novel but consisting of journal extracts and letters) that would transfer very easily and particularly well to the screen. A teleplay or screenplay would be a doddle.

As pointed out above both BBC and Coppola's versions have many elements faithful to the original but cannot resist straying from the text and altering characters and characterisation. I think Frank Finlay was the definitive Van Helsing.

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  • Suggest removing the trivia at the end - that's more appropriate for a comment, if at all. – user8719 Oct 21 '14 at 22:42
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Apart from the Dracula/Mina relationship all the other threads in the 1992 film were taken straight from the novel like Dracula being a old man who became younger as he drank blood, the three brides drinking blood from a baby, Lucy with her three suitors and so on.

The 1970 film with Christopher Lee was the first adaptation to feature Dracula as a old man with a white moustache who becomes younger.

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BBC, hands down is most faithful, although I think there are better portrayals of the count. I've never been a fan of casting an Anglo-Saxon as the count.

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    Given that the author, book, and the legends that he used are all thoroughly Anglo-Saxon, I don't see any problem with casting an Englishman as the count. Or were you under the impression that Transylvania has anything to do with the story other than serving as a convenient exotic-sounding location, or that Vlad Dracul was the inspiration for the count in anything other than name? (This is leaving aside the fact that putting Vlad Dracul in Transylvania displays a certain, uh, misunderstanding of geography.) – Martha Oct 21 '14 at 23:08
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There seems to be a consensus above that Coppola 1992, BBC 1977 and Franco 1970 are the closest to the book. Having seen the three ones (but not all Dracula movies) and read the book, I consider: Coppola's 1992 version of the Dracula-Mina relationship was so exaggerated to the point of changing the main focus of that movie from a horror one to a love one. The BBC 1977 differed from the book in some aspects: the Morris-Arthur merger, the non-de-aging of Dracula and that Lucy and Mina were portrayed as sisters. Those are minor differences in comparison to the from-horror-to-romance switch that Coppola gave to his movie.
The 1970 Franco one was faithful as for the characterisation of Dracula and as for the Jonathan Harker's stay at Dracula's, but I think it differs much from the book thereafter. Therefore, I regard the 1997 BBC one as the most faithful.

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    Hi, and welcome to SFF.SE. This reads as if you don't know the answer since you haven't watched many of them, and would be better as a comment. You need 50 reputation here to comment everywhere. Please refrain from answering unless you know the answer. – Null Oct 30 '14 at 3:19
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I have seen nearly every movie and TV play about Dracula and absolutely by far the closest to the book in my opinion is The BBC TV version of 1977 starring Louis Jordan.

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    Welcome to SFF.SE. Opinions by themselves are discouraged as answers, although if you can add some details as to why you think the 1977 version is the closest this would be a good answer. – Null Nov 6 '14 at 16:18
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The book is not based on Vlad Tepes, so any version going there is totally inaccurate. The character is Hungarian and not Romanian and from a Hungarian warrior class. They also didn't use garlic cloves in the book but garlic flowers. Stoker based his story on vampire and werewolf legends. Other things were added by screen writers. Personally Stokers great grand nephew likes the Christopher Lee version best and so do I. After all they are just adaptations. Those that go off on the Vlad the Impaler route are not correct in keeping with the book. I have also read much of what Elizabeth Miller has written on the topic who is considered one of the most knowledgeable about the book and a lot of the rumors that were wrong about it. They have notes and a diary so they are the source for accuracy and what Stoker was thinking. From what I understand is he ran across the word Dracula and liked it because it had two meanings and one was devil. Vlad was not well known or the book until the communists in Romania were overthrown in the 90s. People just presumed too much. My second favorite is the Frank Langella version based on a play he starred in on Broadway. Frankly, I don't see that any of them to date are that faithful to the book. The most well I would say that is apples and oranges. I have watched most of the movies, one time or another, based on the book or inspired by it.

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    Could you edit a bit to focus on which is most like the book? It is certainly true that Dracula is not much like Vlad Tepes, but the question was asking something different. – Adamant Oct 22 '16 at 6:30
  • The first fews sentences sorta answer the question. Everything from "personally" onwards can be happily deleted without impairing the answer in any way. – Valorum Oct 22 '16 at 10:05
  • Actually, Dracula was from Romania in the novel. He was of the Szekely people, who are a Hungarian people, but from a region of Romania. A bit confused there, Trepessa. – errant82 Feb 4 '17 at 2:24
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Coppola's 1992 movie is the most accurate (so far), and the 1977 BBC TV two part drama wasn't a movie.

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    This has been brought up in at least 3 answers, but with more detail. – Gallifreyan Aug 9 '17 at 13:37

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