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The Many Faces of Dracula

How many actors have played Dracula?

The short answer to this question is… a lot.

Since Max Schreck terrified audiences in 1922 with his portrayal of Count Olaf (legalities at the time prevented the film from using the names from Stoker’s novel outright), Dracula is without a doubt not only the most beloved and consistently adapted vampire story, but arguably the most adapted story in any genre.

As we look forward to NBC’s upcoming series starring Jonathan Rhys Meyerswe here at the Source would like to provide a comprehensive guide to actors who have donned the fangs of the most famous vampire in the world – as well as a few who will in the future.


In this list of twenty one actors, we have the classics; actors whose performances and films are now considered hallowed ground by horror and vampire enthusiasts alike. We also have a few many would like to forget.

Without further ado, let’s begin.

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Max Schreck (Nosferatu, 1922)

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Nosferatu (1922)
Nosferatu poster Rating: 8.0/10 (61796 votes)
Director: F.W. Murnau
Writer: Henrik Galeen (screen play), Bram Stoker (based on the novel: "Dracula")
Stars: Max Schreck, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder, Georg H. Schnell
Runtime: 81 min
Rated: UNRATED
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Released: 3 Jun 1929
Plot: Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife. Silent classic based on the story "Dracula."
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Bela Lugosi (Dracula, 1931)

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Dracula (1931)
Dracula poster Rating: 7.6/10 (29369 votes)
Director: Tod Browning
Writer: Bram Stoker (by), Hamilton Deane (from the play adapted by), John L. Balderston (from the play adapted by), Garrett Fort (play)
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye
Runtime: 85 min
Rated: APPROVED
Genre: Horror
Released: 14 Feb 1931
Plot: The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina.
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Lon Chaney Jr. (Son of Dracula, 1943)

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Son of Dracula (1943)
Son of Dracula poster Rating: 6.2/10 (2813 votes)
Director: Robert Siodmak
Writer: Eric Taylor (screenplay), Curt Siodmak (original story)
Stars: Robert Paige, Louise Allbritton, Evelyn Ankers, Frank Craven
Runtime: 80 min
Rated: APPROVED
Genre: Horror
Released: 5 Nov 1943
Plot: Count Alucard (read his name backwards) finds his way from Budapest to the swamps of the Deep South; his four nemeses are a medical doctor, a university professor, a jilted fiancé and the woman he loves.
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John Carradine (House of Dracula, 1945)

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House of Dracula (1945)
House of Dracula poster Rating: 5.8/10 (2894 votes)
Director: Erle C. Kenton
Writer: Edward T. Lowe Jr. (original screenplay)
Stars: Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Martha O'Driscoll, Lionel Atwill
Runtime: 67 min
Rated: APPROVED
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi
Released: 7 Dec 1945
Plot: Count Dracula and the Wolf Man seek a cure for their afflictions; a hunchbacked woman, a mad scientist and the Frankenstein monster have their own troubles.
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Christopher Lee (Horror of Dracula, 1958)

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Horror of Dracula (1958)
Horror of Dracula poster Rating: 7.5/10 (13226 votes)
Director: Terence Fisher
Writer: Jimmy Sangster (screenplay), Bram Stoker (novel)
Stars: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough, Melissa Stribling
Runtime: 82 min
Rated: APPROVED
Genre: Horror
Released: 8 May 1958
Plot: After Jonathan Harker attacks Dracula at his castle (apparently somewhere in Germany), the vampire travels to a nearby city, where he preys on the family of Harker's fiancée. The only one ...

Note:

Christopher Lee has played Dracula more than any other actor in the history of cinema and television. Following Horror of Dracula, he went on to star in: Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966), Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968), Count Dracula (1970), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970), Scars of Dracula (1970), Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972), The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973), and Dracula and Son (1976).

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Ferdy Mayne (The Fearless Vampire Killers, 1967)

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The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967)
The Fearless Vampire Killers poster Rating: 7.3/10 (20900 votes)
Director: Roman Polanski
Writer: Gérard Brach (story), Roman Polanski (story)
Stars: Jack MacGowran, Roman Polanski, Alfie Bass, Jessie Robins
Runtime: 91 min
Rated: UNRATED
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Released: 17 Nov 1967
Plot: A noted professor and his dim-witted apprentice fall prey to their inquiring vampires, while on the trail of the ominous damsel in distress.
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Denholm Elliott (Mystery and Imagination, 1968)

DraculaMystery

Mystery and Imagination (1966–1970)
Mystery and Imagination poster Rating: 7.7/10 (37 votes)
Director: N/A
Writer: N/A
Stars: David Buck
Runtime: 75 min
Rated: N/A
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Released: 29 Jan 1966
Plot: A British anthology series based on classic ghost stories and chillers from M. R. James, Poe, Algernon Blackwood, Sheridan Le Fanu and others; later branching into feature-length teleplays ...
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Jack Palance (Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1974)

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Bram Stoker's Dracula (1974)
Bram Stoker's Dracula poster Rating: 6.4/10 (1028 votes)
Director: Dan Curtis
Writer: Richard Matheson
Stars: Jack Palance, Simon Ward, Nigel Davenport, Pamela Brown
Runtime: 98 min
Rated: TV-14
Genre: Horror
Released: 8 Feb 1974
Plot: Dracula is searching for a woman who looks like his long dead wife.
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Udo Kier (Andy Warhol’s Dracula, 1974)

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Blood for Dracula (1974)
Blood for Dracula poster Rating: 6.2/10 (3916 votes)
Director: Paul Morrissey
Writer: Paul Morrissey
Stars: Joe Dallesandro, Udo Kier, Vittorio De Sica, Maxime McKendry
Runtime: 106 min
Rated: R
Genre: Horror
Released: 27 Nov 1974
Plot: Udo Kier is without a doubt the sickliest of vampires in any director's interpretation of the Bram Stoker tale. Count Dracula knows that if he fails to drink a required amount of pure ...
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Frank Langella (Dracula, 1979)

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Dracula (1979)
Dracula poster Rating: 6.4/10 (6417 votes)
Director: John Badham
Writer: W.D. Richter (screenplay), Hamilton Deane (play), John L. Balderston (play), Bram Stoker (novel)
Stars: Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasence, Kate Nelligan
Runtime: 109 min
Rated: R
Genre: Horror, Romance
Released: 20 Jul 1979
Plot: Romanticized adaptation of Bram Stoker's 1897 classic. Set in 1913 England, the bloodsucking, but handsome, charming and seductive, Count Dracula seeks an immortal bride.
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George Hamilton (Love at First Bite, 1979)

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Love at First Bite (1979)
Love at First Bite poster Rating: 6.1/10 (3990 votes)
Director: Stan Dragoti
Writer: Robert Kaufman (screenplay), Robert Kaufman (story), Mark Gindes (story)
Stars: George Hamilton, Susan Saint James, Richard Benjamin, Dick Shawn
Runtime: 96 min
Rated: PG
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Released: 27 Apr 1979
Plot: This vampire spoof has Count Dracula moving to New York to find his Bride, after being forced to move out of his Transylvanian castle. There with the aid of assistant Renfield, he stumbles ...
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Klaus Kinski (Nosferatu the Vampyre, 1979)

Nosferatu-The-Vampyre

Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
Nosferatu the Vampyre poster Rating: 7.6/10 (20920 votes)
Director: Werner Herzog
Writer: Werner Herzog
Stars: Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz, Roland Topor
Runtime: 107 min
Rated: PG
Genre: Horror
Released: 17 Jan 1979
Plot: Jonathan and Lucy live in Wismar and the Count wants a house there. Varna is a port on the Black Sea, close to Dracula's castle.
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Duncan Regehr (The Monster Squad, 1987)

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The Monster Squad (1987)
The Monster Squad poster Rating: 7.2/10 (16148 votes)
Director: Fred Dekker
Writer: Shane Black, Fred Dekker
Stars: Andre Gower, Robby Kiger, Stephen Macht, Duncan Regehr
Runtime: 82 min
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy
Released: 14 Aug 1987
Plot: A young group of monster fanatics attempt to save their hometown from Count Dracula and his army of monsters.
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Gary Oldman (Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1992)

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Dracula (1992)
Dracula poster Rating: 7.5/10 (128244 votes)
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Writer: Bram Stoker (novel), James V. Hart (screenplay)
Stars: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves
Runtime: 128 min
Rated: R
Genre: Horror, Romance
Released: 13 Nov 1992
Plot: The vampire comes to England to seduce a visitor's fiancée and inflict havoc in the foreign land.
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Leslie Nielsen (Dracula: Dead and Loving It, 1995)

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Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995)
Dracula: Dead and Loving It poster Rating: 5.7/10 (27085 votes)
Director: Mel Brooks
Writer: Mel Brooks (screenplay), Rudy De Luca (screenplay), Steve Haberman (screenplay), Rudy De Luca (story), Steve Haberman (story), Bram Stoker (characters)
Stars: Leslie Nielsen, Peter MacNicol, Steven Weber, Amy Yasbeck
Runtime: 88 min
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Horror
Released: 22 Dec 1995
Plot: Mel Brooks' parody of the classic vampire story and its famous film adaptations.
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Gerard Butler (Dracula 2000, 2000)

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Dracula 2000 (2000)
Dracula 2000 poster Rating: 4.9/10 (25722 votes)
Director: Patrick Lussier
Writer: Joel Soisson (story), Patrick Lussier (story), Joel Soisson (screenplay)
Stars: Gerard Butler, Christopher Plummer, Jonny Lee Miller, Justine Waddell
Runtime: 99 min
Rated: R
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Released: 22 Dec 2000
Plot: A group of thieves break into a chamber expecting to find paintings, but instead they release the count himself, who travels to New Orleans to find his nemesis' daughter, Mary Van Helsing.
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Wei-Qiang Zhang (Dracula: Pages From a Virgin’s Diary, 2002)

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Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary (2002)
Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary poster Rating: 7.0/10 (1481 votes)
Director: Guy Maddin
Writer: Bram Stoker (novel), Mark Godden (ballet Dracula)
Stars: Wei-Qiang Zhang, Tara Birtwhistle, David Moroni, CindyMarie Small
Runtime: 73 min
Rated: N/A
Genre: Comedy, Horror, Musical
Released: 12 Dec 2003
Plot: A ballet rendition of Bram Stoker's gothic novel DRACULA, presented in a style reminiscent of the silent expressionistic cinema of the early 20th Century. This work employs the subtle and ...
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Dominic Purcell (Blade: Trinity, 2004)

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Blade: Trinity (2004)
Blade: Trinity poster Rating: 5.9/10 (117539 votes)
Director: David S. Goyer
Writer: David S. Goyer, Marv Wolfman (character), Gene Colan (character)
Stars: Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson, Dominic Purcell, Jessica Biel
Runtime: 113 min
Rated: R
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Released: 8 Dec 2004
Plot: Blade, now a wanted man by the FBI, must join forces with the Nightstalkers to face his most challenging enemy yet: Dracula.
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Richard Roxburgh (Van Helsing, 2004)

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Van Helsing (2004)
Van Helsing poster Rating: 6.0/10 (171416 votes)
Director: Stephen Sommers
Writer: Stephen Sommers
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham
Runtime: 131 min
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Released: 7 May 2004
Plot: The notorious monster hunter is sent to Transylvania to stop Count Dracula who is using Dr. Frankenstein's research and a werewolf for some sinister purpose.
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Marc Warren (Dracula, 2006)

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Dracula (2006)
Dracula poster Rating: 5.2/10 (1113 votes)
Director: Bill Eagles
Writer: Stewart Harcourt (adaptation), Bram Stoker (novel)
Stars: David Suchet, Marc Warren, Dan Stevens, Sophia Myles
Runtime: 90 min
Rated: N/A
Genre: Horror
Released: 11 Feb 2007
Plot: The Romanian count known as Dracula is summoned to London by Arthur Holmwood, a young Lord who is one the verge of being wed. Unknown to Arthur's future bride Lucy, her future husband is ...
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Adam Sandler (Hotel Transylvania, 2012)

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Hotel Transylvania (2012)
Hotel Transylvania poster Rating: 7.1/10 (128131 votes)
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Writer: Peter Baynham (screenplay), Robert Smigel (screenplay), Todd Durham (story), Dan Hageman (story), Kevin Hageman (story)
Stars: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James
Runtime: 91 min
Rated: PG
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family
Released: 28 Sep 2012
Plot: Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count's teen-aged daughter.
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Did we list your favorites? Have you recovered from the cringe-worthy renditions? Our apologies for George Hamilton.

In a recent open question on the Vampire Source Official Facebook Fan Page, we asked our audience to list their favorite Dracula performances. As expected, among the favorites were Gary Oldman, Bela Lugosi, Max Schreck, and Christopher Lee. And some admittedly had a soft spot for Frank Langella.

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Bonus: Actors Who Will Play Dracula

As an added bonus, we’re going to give you a sneak peek at a few of the actors who are slated to play Dracula in the future. Can any of them hold a candle to the classics and fan favorites? Only time will tell, but the odds are looking very good.

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Jonathan Rhys Meyers (NBC’s Dracula, 2013)

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The Scoop:

This October, NBC is presenting their own interpretation of Bram Stoker’s classic tale, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors). Like Coppola’s film in 1992, NBC will draw inspiration from the real life mystery and violence surrounding Vlad Tepes (aka Vlad Dracula and Vlad the Impaler) for their version of the story. Additionally, they’re planning on going further into the mystery of The Order of the Dragon itself than we’ve ever seen before.

The Buzz:

By network standards, this dark and extremely sexy version is projected to be the next big thing.

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Luke Evans (Dracula Untold, 2014)

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The Scoop:

From Christoper Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy to Man of Steel to The Amazing Spiderman to shows like the CW’s Arrow and Da Vinci’s Demons on Starz, origin stories are all the rage these days. How are our heroes and monsters born? Where do they come from, and what propels them on the path to good or evil? Dracula Untold, directed by Gary Shore and set for release in October 2014, takes us further into the origins of Dracula than ever before. Again, drawing from the legend and life of Vlad Tepes, this film aims to make us forget about Bram Stoker’s story and focus on the man behind the monster.

The Buzz:

We have a full year to go, but our sources say this is one to keep an eye on.

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Russell Crowe (Harker, TBD)

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The Scoop:

The big news last year was that Russell Crowe and director Eli Roth were both attached to the Leonardo DiCaprio produced film Harker – with Crowe slated to play Dracula. Written by Lee Shipman and Brian McGreevy (both also attached to Roth’s hit series Hemlock Grove on Netflix), this story focuses on Jonathan Harker in a Sherlock-esque role. Rather than the hapless and confused man he typically is, Harker is re-imagined here as a detective in Scotland Yard, investigating the mystery of this infamous vampire. Promising shades of Jack the Ripper will also factor in.

The Buzz:

Still categorized as in pre-production, once this film gets off the ground (and finally casts its Harker), it will be one you won’t want to miss.

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There you have it. 24 actors, one legend. Have you had enough?


We haven’t.

Stay tuned as we continue to look forward to NBC’s premiere of Dracula on October 25th at 10/9c, Dracula UntoldHarker – and all the adaptations to follow.

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