What Are The Best Frankenstein Movies?

Updated 8 November, 2024
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is one of the most revolutionary novels ever penned, practically giving birth to the science-fiction genre as the world knows it today. Since the early days of film, the concept of a scientist bringing the dead back to life has been the subject of many adaptations, all thanks to Shelley's terrifying tale.
Detailed answer:

Cinematic depictions of Frankenstein go almost as far back as cinema itself. Like the creature, each adaptation is crudely stitched together with shreds from the original novel, combined with cinematic influences of the day.
Most screen adaptations pick and choose what they want from the original material, more often drawing inspiration from the 1931 movie starring Boris Karloff than Mary Shelley. But a full two decades before director James Whale made the iconic horror film, Frankenstein was already a movie star — in fact, the story was one of the first committed to film. Frankenstein‘sadaptation to the screen happened roughly a decade after cinema itself was invented, making this self-admittedly “liberal adaptation” from Edison Productions one of the first movies ever.
Kenneth Branagh took a stab at a faithful retelling of Frankensteinwith his 1994 filmMary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The movie does a slightly better job articulating the nuances of the Creature than most other adaptations, but still falls short of the mark. The film also changes the ending in a particularly jarring way, not only bringing the Creature’s bride to life, but giving her Elizabeth’s head and memories. Yikes.
In 2011, British film director Danny Boyle brought Frankenstein to the stage starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller. The two well-known actors alternated the roles of Victor Frankenstein and the Creature every performance, creating a more literal thematic connection between the two characters. Two sides of the same coin. Two creatures eventually brought down by their guilt, hate, and anger.

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