There are so many version of Dracula, so without making this list too long I will only cover theatrical released Dracula. I will not include, Monster Squad, these have to be Dracula led movies. So, yeah there will be a lot left out. I am also not ranking the movies, although there is a wonderful ranking from Cinemassacre that breaks down which Dracula movie or series was closest to Bram Stoker’s novel. Check out the video below.
For this list, I am making it this based on my preference. No Lon Chainy Jr, John Carradine and no Leslie Nielson. So, this list will not be too long as it will only feature, what to me are the key versions of Dracula and you may laugh at one of my entries or possibly two. Dracula and vampires in general have always been a favorite topic in horror and literature and it is amazing how many different incarnations have been made about Dracula, some good and most of them poor.
So, on with the list, rather than me babble on about why I like Dracula, the character and the movies. Remember, this is about the way he is characterized and who played him. There will be no, Nosferatu and no animated Dracula.
7. Jack Palance – Dan Curtis’ Dracula (1974)
This is also known as Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It was a made-for-TV movie from the 70s. Really it isn’t all bad, it does fall flat in some ways. Jack Palance wasn’t terrible as Dracula. But, there were a few changes I never cared for and, like I said, it is kind of flat overall.
6. Gerard Butler – Dracula 2000 (2000)
Well, this was an interesting a different take on Dracula. It was an attempt and bringing Dracula into the new millennium and it was pretty, meh. I did like it and saw the film in the theater. I remember walking out thinking it was new, different and kind of rad. It hasn’t aged well and is pretty forgettable. But, I like it.
5. Frank Langella – Dracula (1979)
Frank Langella had a great look, he brings a certain level of class to every single role. When he played Dracula, if I can be honest, he was like a poor man’s Christopher Lee. The movie turned out kind of boring and very romantic. But, Langella did bring a good performance as Dracula.
4. Luke Evans – Dracula Untold (2014)
In casting Dracula in the 2010s, Luke Evans felt like a no brainer. He is a fine actor, who has the chops to play someone like Dracula. While the movie wasn’t great, I liked it of course, it was different and something kind of new. Luke Evans should get the chance to play Dracula again, in a more classic adaptation. I know Universal was going to do their Dark Universe, but I don’t think Evans was their Dracula. He really should be considered to play Dracula in an unrelated to Untold Dracula movie. Something more in the veins of Francis Ford Coppala’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Actually, a remake(if you will) of the 1931 Dracula. Based on the original novel, it is very different and while you cannot tell when it takes place, it seems closer to the time it was made. Luke Evans in a Bela Lugosi Dracula remake, yes please!
3. Gary Oldman – Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Dracula needed a movie that was closer to the book, more accurate. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is possibly the closest thing we may ever get. While it does take liberties, it is the closest to anything ever made. Gary Oldman was, an odd choice for Dracula at the time. His performance, like Michael Keaton as Batman, shows us, we shouldn’t get angry when a role is cast. Oldman was terrific, from the older Dracula pictured, to the youthful, Mina chasing Dracula. While Oldman mad has had many great performances in his career, this may be his finest.
2. Bela Lugosi – Dracula (1931)
The Universal classic is an absolute…well, classic. It strays so much from the original novel, but for its time it was great. It still is and this is the only time Bela Lugosi plays Dracula, although he did play characters similar, like in Mark of the Vampire or Return of the Vampire. The look of Lugosi in Dracula, became THE look. Maybe not his likeness, but his costume and hairline, for many year, this is what Dracula would come to look like in our minds and all over pop culture. His performance was wonderful and hearing him utter the words “Children of the night”, is still spine chilling.
1. Christopher Lee – Dracula (1958 – 1973)
Growing up in a household with my mother, she loved Christopher Lee. When I began showing interest in horror movies, Jason, Freddy and Michael Myers, she introduced me to the classics, kinda. She brought Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster and the Wolfman into the home. But, not the Universal everyone knew, no, they were Hammer films. I remember seeing Lee as Dracula and thinking he didn’t look like what I knew, Lugosi’s image was the way most saw Dracula. But, Christopher Lee, barely saw a word and did so much with his eyes and his body language. He also played Dracula the most times in the most movies, and not all are Hammer movies. But he will forever be remembered as Dracula from the Hammer films. He was cool, tall and imposing, he took stair cases, 2 steps at a time, he walked perfectly with a cape, we saw blood and he had fangs! Lee’s Dracula, through the seven films is so awesome and yes, he is the BEST!
Well, what do you think? Who is the best or who is your favorite Dracula?
Honorable mention to the Spanish version of Dracula, played by Carlos Villaria, billed as Carlos Villar. While the movie itself pay actually be superior the Lugosi movie, which both were filmed at the same time, using the same sets. The movie is a bit different. Carlos wasn’t as good as Lugosi, he seems more like a madman to me.
Other versions of Dracula, who are not Dracula. Blacula and Count Yorga. Both great characters, neither Dracula. But they both need recognized. Both had two movies and all four movies are worth watching. Count Yorga is kind of an American Dracula, he is awesome! Blacula was an African Prince who gets turned into a vampire by Dracula. Great movies for sure!
Blacula played by William Marshall
Count Yorga is played by Robert Quarry