Tim Burton has been a household name for decades. He is one of the most influential and widely recognized directors out there, with a style that’s instantly recognizable.
His iconic movies have spanned many genres and topics, but all feature dark humor along with an emphasis on characters rather than plot.
He’s best known for his work in the stop motion animation film “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993), as well as directing various other family films such as “Corpse Bride” (2005) which he co-wrote with John August.
He has a very unique vision that combines dark humor and horror elements into family-friendly movies. If you’re looking for a movie to watch this Halloween season, here are some of Tim Burton’s best!
Best Tim Burton Movies
Tim Burton is arguably one of the most influential directors of this era, and his movies have been loved by people all over the world.
This article will explore what we consider the best Tim Burton movies.
Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
No, not Christmas. Halloween. The leaves are changing colors and pumpkin spice lattes are back on Starbucks menus across America.
But as much as we like to celebrate this spooky holiday, there is one movie that can’t be ignored: Disney’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
It’s a dark and stormy night in Halloween Town, and Jack Skellington has been struggling with the same question for decades: “What is Christmas?” With only his ghost dog Zero to help him investigate, he descends into the unknown world below.
What do you get when you mix Halloween and Christmas? The Nightmare Before Christmas, the 1993 stop-motion animated musical film directed by Tim Burton.
Although it only had a rough cut budget of $30 million, this movie has grossed over $2.4 billion worldwide since its release in 1993. In 2009, TIME magazine placed The Nightmare Before Christmas at #1 on its “Top 10 Holiday Movies” list.
The story is about Jack Skellington who lives in Halloweentown and wants to find out what’s so special about Christmas Town that Santa Claus comes from there every year with his bag full of presents.
Released in 1993, this stop-motion animated musical tells a tale about Jack Skellington, an undead resident of Halloweentown who stumbles upon Christmastown and becomes obsessed with it.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Edward Scissorhands is a 1990 American fantasy film directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp. The story follows an artificial man who has scissors for hands, created by a mad scientist in the 1930s.
It tells the story of a man who was created with scissors for hands and has to find his place in society.
The story centers around an inventor who creates artificial hands with scissor blades and falls in love with a young woman named Kim.
His otherworldly appearance scares her away at first but she eventually takes pity on him and they fall in love as well.
Edward Scissorhands has been praised for its use of beauty and darkness to tell the story of this iconic character’s life.
BEST TIM BURTON MOVIES
Who Is Tim Burton?
Tim Burton is a director, producer, and artist who has been in the industry for over 30 years.
He began his career working on Disney films like The Fox And The Hound and The Black Cauldron before branching off to do more of his own work. Tim’s style is very dark, but highly imaginative at the same time.
Burton is known for his creative characters, his distinctive style of animation, and his fascination with Gothic art. His films are often focused on dark themes, despite being animated.
Ed Wood (1994)
The 1994 film Ed Wood is a biopic of the famous (and infamous) director. The movie depicts his life, from childhood to death, and it’s through this that we learn about his love for filmmaking and how he always dreamed of making movies.
It’s not all smooth sailing, though; there are many obstacles along the way- as well as people who try to stop him or bring him down.
The film stars Johnny Depp as Ed Wood along with Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Jeffrey Jones, and Bill Murray
For those who are unfamiliar with the name, Ed Wood is a director best known for directing such films as Glen or Glenda (1953), Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) and Bride of the Monster (1955). He was often noted for his low-budget productions that were loaded with errors.
Wood’s work has since been reassessed by critics. His films have been called “the worst movies ever made” but they were not always seen this way.
The magazine Cahiers du cinema wrote in 1967: “Ed Wood never had any ambition other than to become an honest filmmaker.”
Ed Wood is one of the most influential filmmakers in history. He has influenced such well-known directors as Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino, yet he remains relatively unknown to the public.
Dark Shadows (2012)
Dark Shadows is a 2012 movie adaptation of the classic TV series, which was released in theaters on May 11, 2012. A sequel to the film has been announced for release in 2020.
The original Dark Shadows (TV Series) aired from 1966-1971 and starred Jonathan Frid as vampire Barnabas Collins, who was held under an old family curse that turned him into a bloodsucking creature of the night.
The show followed his adventures with various other characters including Dr. Julia Hoffman, played by actress Katherine Ross.
For three centuries, the Collins family has been under a curse that causes all of its members to die in their 20s. When orphaned 17-year-old David moves into the old, creepy house on an isolated Maine island with his adopted sister Elizabeth and her husband Charles for some much-needed family time together, he’s not prepared for what awaits them inside.
When I watched this movie, it was difficult for me not to compare it to Tim Burton’s other works like Edward Scissorhands or Sleepy Hollow.
Planet of the Apes (2001)
Planet of the Apes was released in 2001 and, at that time, was considered a sci-fi masterpiece.
The film is about an astronaut crew who are on a mission to find out what happened to the planet Earth.
They end up crash landing on a planet called “Ape City” where they discover that humans have been turned into apes by some kind of virus.
It’s soon revealed that this new world they’ve landed on is actually Earth 3 years after it has been fully conquered by primates from space.
Planet of the Apes was released in 2001 and it is a remake of the Planet of the Apes (1968). The movie stars Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter, and Michael Clarke Duncan.
The 2019 movie Dumbo is the re-imagination of the original Disney film from 1941. The film takes place in a world where animals are enslaved and forced to perform for human entertainment.
The film stars Colin Farrell as Holt Farrier, Danny DeVito as Max Medici, Eva Green as Colette Marchant, and Michael Keaton as Vandemere.
The film follows the story of a young circus elephant born with oversized ears that causes him to be ridiculed and mistreated as he grows up.
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
In 2010, Tim Burton directed the live-action adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s beloved children’s novel, “Alice in Wonderland.” This film is a wild and colorful adventure that follows Alice on her journey through an enchanted land.
This modernized telling of the classic story features many new characters as well as some familiar ones. It also includes three different endings for viewers to choose from when they finish watching it.
This fantasy film tells of Alice’s adventures through an unfamiliar land full of obstacles and magical creatures.
The original Alice in Wonderland was written by English author, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pen name Lewis Carroll.
The story has been adapted many times for both stage productions and films beginning as early as 1902 with silent versions to Tim Burton’s most recent adaptation in 2010.
Mars Attacks! (1996)
In 1996, director Tim Burton and producer Danny Devito released Mars Attacks! a comedy science fiction film based on the 1962 trading card series of the same name.
The film has an all-star cast including Jack Nicholson as President James Dale, Glenn Close as Evelyn Packard, Pierce Brosnan as Dr. Charles “Chuck” Baker, Annette Bening as First Lady Barbara Jordon Dale and Sarah Jessica Parker as Marla Kilgore.
Mars Attacks! is a 1996 American science fiction comedy film that features an alien invasion of Earth.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a 2016 fantasy film based on the 2011 novel of the same name.
The film was directed by Tim Burton and stars Eva Green, Samuel L. Jackson, Asa Butterfield, Judi Dench, Terence Stamp, and Ella Purnell.
The movie Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is based on the book of the same name by Ransom Riggs. The story follows a sixteen-year-old boy named Jake who journeys to an island off Wales in search of his grandfather, whom he has never met.
Along with other peculiar children, Jake learns that he too possesses strange powers and must protect them from an evil group of adults out to steal their abilities.
A group of teenagers is given a peculiar assignment by their headmistress. They are to find the home where Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children once stood, and take pictures of its abandoned remains.
The children had been sent there during World War II in order to protect them from Nazi persecution.
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
The 1999 film Sleepy Hollow is a horror movie loosely based on Washington Irving’s 1820 short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Directed by Tim Burton, the film stars Johnny Depp as Ichabod Crane, a British Intelligence agent sent to New York in 1799 to investigate reports that the Headless Horseman has been terrorizing residents in the village of Sleepy Hollow.
After the headless horseman decapitates a local magistrate, Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate.
The movie Batman is a 1989 American film, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton as the caped crusader. The film follows Bruce Wayne’s (Batman) quest to fight crime in Gotham City while trying to get revenge on his parents’ killer, “The Joker.”
Bruce Wayne has been traveling the world for ten years after seeing his own city of Gotham City turn into an uncontrollable cesspool of violence and corruption. He returns home with renewed purpose: to destroy organized crime by any means necessary.
To achieve this goal he becomes a vigilante who goes out at night disguised as a giant bat, attacking mobsters who have guns or knives but avoiding those armed only with clubs or fists so that they can be arrested later by police.
Big Eyes (2014)
In the 2014 movie Big Eyes, a woman named Margaret Keane paints large-eyed children that seem to capture and reflect innocence.
The film is based on the true story of how Margaret’s husband Walter took advantage of her talent and made millions with his own work as an artist.
Margaret Keane was born in 1926 into a family that had been gifted for generations with artistic talents. Her father would often paint while she played nearby, and her mother would create sculptures from old pieces of wood or other found objects.
But it was when she met Walter Keane at San Francisco Junior College that her life changed forever; he encouraged her to try painting herself.
Walter proposed to Margaret after only two months but they married anyway because “she wanted to
Directed by Tim Burton in 2014, Big Eyes tells the story of Margaret Keane (Amy Adams), who became one of America’s most successful painters in the 1950s.
However, her success was short-lived when her husband Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) took credit for all of her paintings.
Big Fish (2003)
In the movie Big Fish, Edward Bloom tells his son about a giant fish he caught as a child.
As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that this is just one of many amazing stories from his life.
The film’s director Tim Burton and screenwriter John August used these tall tales to explore how people create meaning in their lives through storytelling.
The film Big Fish is an emotional, fictional story about a father’s relationship with his son. The movie follows Edward Bloom as he recounts his life to his estranged son Will.
As the plot progresses, we learn that everything Bloom tells us may not be true and has been embellished by time.
The film stars Ewan McGregor as a young boy named William Bloom, Albert Finney as his father Edward Bloom, and Billy Crudup as the older William.
Batman Returns (1992)
Batman Returns is a 1992 American superhero film directed by Tim Burton and produced by Jon Peters, based on the DC Comics character of the same name.
The film stars Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman, alongside Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, and Michael Gough.
It is the sequel to Batman (1989), continuing with Batman’s struggle against Dr. Catwoman/Penguin/Riddler in their attempt to take over Gotham City.
The film is a dark, psychological thriller directed by Tim Burton. The film stars Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne and Batman in an alternate reality where the city of Gotham has been overrun with crime.”
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
The 2005 remake of the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a different take on an old favorite.
The story follows Willy Wonka, a reclusive candy maker with an eccentric personality who has hidden five golden tickets in his candy bars that allow their finders to visit his factory.
When all five winning children turn out to be spoiled brats, he decides to let one more child in – a poor boy named Charlie Bucket from a poverty-stricken family who finds money everywhere he goes because of his positive attitude.
Charlie’s adventures are not over once he makes it through the door into Mr. Wonka’s amazing chocolate factory, as you’ll see when you watch this movie!
The 2005 film adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a modernized, live-action remake of the novel by Roald Dahl.
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (2005)
Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (2005) is a stop-motion animated film about the love between Victoria, a young woman who has just died on her wedding day and Victor, her cursed groom. The movie was released in 2005 by Warner Bros. Animation.
The movie, which is loosely based on the 19th-century novel “The Adventures of Pericles” by William Shakespeare, follows an unfortunate man named Victor Van Dort who falls in love with Victoria Everglot but unfortunately marries her while she sleeps at their wedding.
After realizing he has made a mistake, Victor tries to end his marriage so he can marry Victoria and live happily ever after but instead finds himself trapped inside her body for the rest of eternity.
In 1988, director Tim Burton came out with the cult classic Beetlejuice. The movie is about a recently deceased couple who move into their house and are unhappy because they have to share it with this ghastly creature named Beetlejuice.
The movie was a huge success, grossing $73 million on an $11 million budget.
The couple hires an exorcist to get rid of the pesky ghost living in their house, but things don’t go as planned with hilarious consequences!
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Sweeney Todd is a musical that tells the story of a demon barber who slits his customers’ throats and then sells their bodies to his meat pie business.
The plot follows Sweeney Todd, an 18th-century barber, as he falls in love with young widow Mrs. Lovett and discovers her secret recipe for meat pies which she makes from the remains of people they murder using poison arsenic hidden inside them.
The musical has been met with critical acclaim since its debut in 1979 but it was not until 2007 when Tim Burton released his film adaptation that audiences finally got to see this darkly humorous tale on the big screen.
The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a musical based on the life and crimes of Sweeney Todd, who was also known as Benjamin Barker. The story begins in 1846 when an old man named Anthony Hope visits London looking for his daughter Johanna.
He learns that she has been living with Sweeney Todd at his barbershop for years, but he cannot find her to save her from this deathly situation.
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is a 1985 American comedy film directed by Tim Burton. When Pee-wee Herman gets his beloved bike stolen, he sets out on a cross-country adventure to find it.
Along the way, he meets some interesting characters and has some fun adventures before finally finding his bike in Alamo Square Park in San Francisco.
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is a 1985 American comedy adventure film directed by Tim Burton and produced by Michael Finnell.
The screenplay was written by Phil Hartman, who also appears in the film as Pee-wee Herman’s nemesis Francis Buxton (a name derived from real life Australian photographer Frank Hurley).
Frankenweenie is a 2012 American stop-motion animated film directed by Tim Burton, produced by Walt Disney Pictures, and released by Touchstone Pictures.
It tells the story of a boy named Victor who reanimates his dog after it’s been hit by a car.
Victor Frankenstein was once an ambitious young scientist with dreams of making great discoveries and inventions to improve life for all living things.
But he became consumed with ambition and how science could be used to create life out of death, which led him down the path that would lead him to become one of history’s most misunderstood scientists.
-Frankenweenie is a live-action film based on the 1984 short film of the same name, written and directed by Tim Burton.
-It tells the story of Victor Frankenstein (played by Charlie Tahan) who brings his dog back to life after it was hit by a car.
-The movie has been praised for its excellent script and visuals, as well as being one of the only modern horror films that don’t rely on gore or jump scares to scare viewers.
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