Study Help Film Versions


Here is information about some of the best and most noteworthy film adaptations of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein:


  • 1931
  • Director: James Whale
  • Unrated

The most widely recognized film version of the classic novel. This adaptation seeks to capture the essence of Shelley's novel, and does so powerfully with great cinematography and excellent special effects for its day. And, of course, Boris Karloff's performance as the monster is the gold standard in filmdom to this day. Also stars Colin Clive as Dr. Frankenstein and Mae Clarke as Elizabeth.

This movie also spawned several "B-movie" spinoffs such as The Bride of Frankenstein, 1935, and Son of Frankenstein, 1939. None of these films even remotely followed the original novel's storyline, and none ever achieved the kind of fame garnered by the original movie.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

  • 1994
  • Director: Kenneth Branagh
  • Rated R

This adaptation is bold and a bit over-the-top, but manages to remain true to the original novel. Kenneth Branagh directs as well as stars in the lead role as Dr. Frankenstein. He does a good job of portraying the emotionally tortured doctor, while also maintaining lots of empathy in the film for the creature, excellently played by Robert DeNiro. The movie features several very gory scenes and the musical score is somewhat overwrought, but it still manages to tell this chilling tale quite effectively.

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