Dracula lives forever... and not just because he's a vampire. He's a great character. Dracula has endured so long partially because he is constantly being reinterpreted by new actors and directors and new generations of fans. Like Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and Batman, the Count is being reinvented by each generation and being taken to new and interesting places.
That said, part of the fun is always debating who the was the best Dracula. Everyone has their own opinion, but in order to answer the question, you really should be familiar with some of the most significant players.
Here are the seven interpretations of Dracula that I consider "must see" movies for fans of the Count and vampire aficionados in general. These movies vary in style and quality and some stay much truer to the book than others.
For instance, Christopher Lee's first Dracula film, Horror of Dracula, is nothing like the book. Look for Count Dracula (1970) for a more faithful adaptation of Stoker's novel starring Lee. However, Horror of Dracula is arguably Lee's most definitive Dracula movie.
Who your definitive Dracula is probably has to do with who played him when you first fell in love with the character. For me it's Christopher Lee, whose Hammer films kept me up many a night as a little kid. However, it's the 1977 BBC version that is my favorite interpretation of Stoker's book.
The beauty of this list is that all but one of these movies can be seen on YouTube for free or a small rental fee. (You'll have to find the 1973 version somewhere else.) Keep in mind, these are "Dracula movies" and not just films with Dracula in it or vampire movies in general. We'll address those topics soon. (However, I will give a special mention to Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, which is really a great Dracula movie.)
So who is your favorite Dracula? Which of these movies have you not seen? What did I miss?
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) - Gary Oldman, Keanu Reeves, Anthony Hopkins and Winona Ryder.
Dracula (1979) - Frank Langella, Sir Laurence Olivier and Donald Pleasence.
Count Dracula (1977) – BBC - Louis Jourdan and Judy Bowker
Bram Stoker's Dracula (1973) – Jack Palance
Horror of Dracula (1958) Full Dracula Movie – Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.
Dracula (1931) - Bela Lugosi and Dwight Frye.
Nosferatu – (1922) - Dracula Adaptation by F.W. Murnau. Starring Max Schreck.