The Elephant Man.
The Elephant Man (Paramount, 1980). David Lynch's film about the curious friendship of Dr. Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins) and John Merrick (John Hurt) introduces us to a carnival side show attraction who turns out to be an exquisitely gentle human being.
Real-life Merrick was a 19th-century victim of skin and bone diseases that gave him a monstrous appearance and resulted in a bonded servitude to the sadistic carnival manager. When Treves rescues this interesting specimen for his surgical studies he discovers an articulate, literate patient with the sensibilities of a gentleman, and we find a soul behind the graffiti God has written on this broken flesh. ****