What are the best Tim Burton movies of all time? When it comes to Hollywood directors, few are as recognisable or as exciting as Tim Burton. Since making his big screen debut in the ’80s, the filmmaker has made a brand for himself, giving us theatrical, dark, and delightfully campy stories and visuals over the years.
From his influence on the iconic animated movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas, to his tendency to bring a whimsical touch to the macabre, like in the ghost movie Beetlejuice, Burton is a name that every cinephile knows. And if you are a movie fan and a goth, well, chances are you already have all his flicks in your home movie collection. However, with decades of work under his belt, let’s be honest, not all of Burton’s features are winners (we are looking at you, Dark Shadows). So, in the sea of creepy choices, you may wonder which Tim Burton flick you should pick for movie night.
From science fiction movies, all the way to the director’s horror movie outings, The Digital Fix has left no black-and-white striped stone unturned. So, sit back and prepare to be amazed and unsettled, folks. Here are the best Tim Burton movies of all time.
What are the best Tim Burton movies of all time?
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
- Mars Attack!
- Sleepy Hollow
- Corpse Bride
- Edward Scissorhands
- Ed Wood
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Fancy a slasher and a musical? Well, then Tim Burton’s adaptation of the Tony award-winning Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street will be right up your dark alley. Set in 1846 on the streets of London, a barber moves to town and sets up business above a meat pie shop.
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But here is the twist the barber with the alias Sweeny Todd happens to be a serial killer, and likes to turn his victims into pie meat.
Here is a flick where the songs are catchy and Burton’s distinctive visual style suits the dark story to a tee – bringing a sense of wonder and theatricality to the tale of bloodshed and murder.
We also need to give props for the fact that the musical is pretty faithful to its source material, while still being a gruesome but delightful treat of a movie.
Mars Attacks! (1996)
Let’s face it, when you think of Tim Burton – a science fiction movie doesn’t really spring to your mind. However, just because the director tends to dabble in dark fantasy doesn’t mean we should overlook his sci-fi ventures, especially the delightfully cheesy and silly movie Mars Attacks!
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If you didn’t guess from its title yet, the movie is about Mars attacking Earth, which must rally and fight back against the invasion. Despite the film generally not being fondly looked at by most critics, Mars Attacks! is a certified hoot, full of laughs, quirky alien designs, and plenty of gore. Basically, Mars Attacks! has it all, and especially for those with a love for 1950s sci-fi flicks, it’s a genre piece that is too enjoyable to miss.
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
When you talk about classic American horror and general spookiness, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, written by Washington Irving in 1820, needs to be in the conversation. Telling the story of a schoolteacher named Ichabod Crane and his eerie encounter with the ghostly Headless Horseman, here is an iconic ghost story. So, obviously, you know that our man Tim Burton had to take a crack and adapt it for the big screen.
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With Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci leading the charge, although changes to the story are made, Sleepy Hollow is a moody, and aesthetic piece that reminds us why this story has stayed scary throughout the centuries. It is also a film that is often unfairly overlooked in Burton’s filmography, despite its striking atmosphere.
There have been plenty of Batman movies over the years. However, Tim Burton’s take on the iconic caped crusader holds a special place in the hearts of many of us here at The Digital Fix. Still, who would have thought that the man with a talent for gothy theatrical comedies would ace a DC movie?
Batman stars Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne battling it out against the iconic Batman villain – the Joker (played by Jack Nicholson). Despite having never done a superhero movie before, Burton delivered a top-tier take on Batsy and Gotham, giving the urban streets of Gotham and the titular masked hero a darker twist at the time.
If you are a fan of Batman, this movie is a must-watch, and is a testament to the fact that Burton can channel his style successfully into a number of different cinematic genres.
In the words of everyone’s favourite bio-exorcist, he’s “the ghost with the most, babe!” Beetlejuice is one of the best horror comedies to be made, and just in terms of effects and make-up, easily stands out as one of Tim Burton’s most impressive and memorable movies.
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A couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) end up dying and haunting their home. However, once some new living residents move in, the two haunters just can’t seem to scare them away. Michael Keaton playing the crass and obnoxious spirit named Beetlejuice, offers his services to the poltergeists, but surprise, ends up causing more trouble.
The film is wacky, campy, and just plain fun. And if you are looking for sure-fire entertainment, Beetlejuice never fails to deliver come movie night.
Corpse Bride (2005)
The Corpse Bride is a visual masterpiece, period. The stop motion animated movie, oozes with style, gothic sensibilities, charm, and to this day, there hasn’t been a family movie quite like it. Despite being a movie designed for kids, Corpse Bride’s story is memorably tragic and strangely beautiful.
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Telling the tale about an anxious man who accidentally marries, much to his horror, a zombie bride while practising vows for his upcoming wedding to an alive fiancé, Burton doesn’t shy away from themes of abuse, heartbreak, and betrayal. Love hurts, and the past can come back to haunt you…literally.
Along with the intelligent script, we also have some complete bangers in the song department, that, when paired with the colourful underworld and exaggerated character designs will leave you awestruck.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Edward Scissorhands is one of those great movies, that you can watch whatever mood you are in. looking for a comedy? Looking to cry? For romance? Family drama? Well, this film has it all.
It is a modern fairy-tale, telling the story of an invention (Johnny Depp) – a man with knives for fingers – longing to become fully human, especially after he falls in love with a typical suburban family’s teenage daughter (Winona Ryder).
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From the touching story to the charming visuals, and Danny Elfman’s iconic score, Edward Scissorhands is Tim Burton at his best and, to this day, in our minds, stands as the directors shining crown and glory.
Ed Wood (1994)
Ed Wood is considered by many Tim Burton fans to be his magnum opus. The movie is, of course, packed with style, but Burton’s quirkiness is channelled in a way that never draws focus away from the story or one of Johnny Depp’s best performances to date.
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Ed Wood is a biographical comedy-drama that stars Depp as the titular cult horror movie filmmaker. Covering the period when Wood was at his peak career-wise, the movie dives into the man’s life and relationship with Dracula actor Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau). Despite its black-and-white visuals and meta-poetic approach to storytelling, the flick is never self-indulgent.
At its heart, Burton offered fans a fresh bio-pic experience, giving us a snapshot of Ed Wood’s life and the essence of his persona through an endlessly entertaining film.
That it for the best Tim Burton movies. If you want to know more about 2023’s cinematic offerings, we have a list of all the new movies coming out this year.