Film Industry

Tim Burton Movies Top 10: What Are The Best Tim Burton Movies?

Photograph of the blog post author, Dylan Easton

Dylan Easton

27.4.2021

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Tim Burton movies are as stylishly designed as they are wacky! Every Tim Burton movie is unique in its story and characters. But, maintains that creepy yet intriguing Tim Burton gothic tone.

tim burton movies

Burton has had many projects with great actors and actresses. From main-stays in his arsenal such as Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, to the likes of acclaimed actors such as Christopher Lee and Michael Keaton. He has a diverse collection of films under his belt. Spanning from musicals to comic book adaptations while still maintaining his signature feel. Making him a champion of modern auteur cinema. 

Tim Burton started out as an animator for Disney where he developed his own unique style with elongated shapes and people with a healthy dose of the gothic. He released the short film Vincent in 1982, a story that displays Burton’s eye for aesthetics. As well as demonstrating his obsession with the macabre. Little did he know this short story would pave the way for his many films to come. 

So, what movies has Tim Burton made since then? In this article, we’re going to count down 10 of our favourite Tim Burton movies. Stay tuned to see where your favourite one ranked!

Top 10 Best Tim Burton Movies

For the most part, we’re going to stick with Tim Burton-directed movies. But, there is a little surprise at the end that you’re not going to want to miss out on!

Let’s dive in!

10. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

pee wees big adventure

Pee Wee’s Big Adventure is where the madness began! This is Tim Burton’s directorial debut and it’s not a bad start as this Tim Burton first film extravaganza stands the test of time.

While not being considered one of his deepest movies, Paul Reubens’ performance has left audiences in stitches with a film full of fun and mischief. The gags in this film are unforgettable. Particularly the bonkers Large Marge sequence!

With the addition of a masterful score from legendary composer Danny Elfman to accompany this classic, we consider this a worthy contender in the top 10 best Tim Burton movies.

9. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (2007)

sweeney todd tim burton movies

In this Tim Burton adaption of a Broadway musical brought to the big screen, Burton enlists the help of Johnny Depp to tell the horrific tale of a barber. This barber would slice the throats of his enemies and provide a meaty filling for his partner, Mrs. Lovett’s (Helena Bonham Carter), pie business. 

It is certainly Burton’s most violent film. But that doesn’t distract from his creativity and great storytelling. This film is a perfect example that, given the right director at the helm, a horror film and a musical can work perfectly together, despite not seeming possible.

Johnny Depp was nominated for Best Actor for his performance in this film. While the film itself won an Academy Award for Best Production Design. As well as a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy).

8. Frankenweenie (2012)

frankenweenie tim burton movies

Frankenweenie is one of many animated movies by Tim Burton, but this one has a bit of special history. In 1984, a young Tim Burton lost his job at Disney Animation after executives deemed his latest short film, a dog-themed reimagining of Frankenstein, too scary to play in front of a re-release of Pinocchio. 

Twenty-eight years later, Disney released Burton’s stop-motion-animated remake and received widespread acclaim. Frankenweenie retells the story of Frankenstein. But this time, it’s about a young boy who wants to bring his dog back to life after it’s hit by a car. It is a sweet and emotional tale of love and grief whilst maintaining Burton’s ghoulish aesthetic.

Fun fact, the film crew was invited to send the name of their deceased pets to the production design team to be implemented into the film. Many of the tombstones bear names of real pets and allowed the crew to pay homage.

7. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (2005)

charlie and the chocolate factory

While we love Gene Wilder’s charm in the classic Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, Tim Burton does a splendid job in this adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s novel. Like all Tim Burton films, we the audience are mesmerised. As we follow Charlie Bucket and other not-so-lovable characters into Willy Wonka’s haven of delightful treats. 

Since lightning rarely strikes twice, Burton takes a different approach in this film by sticking closer to the source material. As well as providing a sympathetic backstory for Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka. Depp puts on a bizarre yet captivating performance that brings the eccentric genius off the page and onto the big screen.

The film is everything you would expect from a Roald Dahl / Tim Burton crossover. Utter chaos with beautiful retro-chic production design truly captures a world of pure imagination!

6. Corpse Bride (2005)

corpse bride tim burton movies

As we previously mentioned, Tim Burton cartoon movies have a distinct, neo-gothic tone and Corpse Bride exemplifies this perfectly.

This fabulously designed stop-motion picture is set in a 19th-century village as we follow our protagonist, Victor, a young man who is taken to the underworld and married to a zombie while his real fiancé waits in the real world. Burton and Mike Johnson share directorial duties in this bittersweet story. 

Once again enlisting the help of an old friend, Danny Elfman’s score gives the film a dreamy atmosphere paired with what is ‘basically a love story’ as the filmmaker states. This is a great movie for young moviegoers and fun for the whole family!

5. Ed Wood (1994)

ed wood tim burton movies

Ed Wood is a Tim Burton film that has received a lot of love over the years. With Johnny Depp once again as the title character, Burton pays homage to ‘the worst director in history’ in this black-and-white shot biography. The film takes place during a time when director Ed Wood has a more positive outlook on his situation. But occasionally is riddled with bouts of doubt. 

In this film, Burton expresses his love for cinema and shedding light on supposedly ‘bad’ films and how they can still have as much an impact as ‘good’ films. Burton’s film style in this feels more restrained compared to his others. He lets the eccentric characters carry what is arguably his most personal film.

4. Beetlejuice (1988)

beetlejuice tim burton movies

Michael Keaton takes center stage as the title character in Burton’s 1988 freakish but fabulous film about the undead. It is equally hilarious as it is freaky.

It boasts a cast of some of Hollywood’s finest actors. Such as Alec Baldwin, Winona Ryder, Geena Davis, and of course Keaton. The film’s totally bonkers story is certainly something that only Tim Burton’s hyper-creative mind could envision.

Burton subverts the typical ghost movie that has the audience rooting for the ghost to scare the living daylights out of the Deetz family. Keaton’s excellent performance really brings the Burton wackiness to life with well-choreographed dance sequences. Making this film truly a timeless classic.

3. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

edward scissor hands

Edward Scissorands is the ultimate ‘outcast’ movie with once again, a touching performance from Johnny Depp. This was Burton and Depp’s first outing and, with the pairing of fantastic acting and meaningful storytelling, it is clear why they stuck together. 

Burton explores suburban sensibilities in this sharp satire about a man who has scissors for hands as the title suggests. While the townspeople are perfectly happy with Edward working on their hedges and provide haircuts for them, they turn on him after he is framed for a crime. Burton portrays an alienated character in the midst of psychological conflicts and while also exploring the concept of post-humanism. 

Using familiar tropes in cinema, Burton exemplifies his ability to create something entirely original from nothing with his signature style in this fairytale.

2. Batman (1989)

batman

Before Christoper Nolan’s trilogy there was Tim Burton’s Batman. While some of the younger audiences see Christian Bale or Ben Affleck as the caped crusader, for many people, Michael Keaton is the ultimate Dark Knight thanks to Burton’s telling of this DC noir character. 

Batman (1989) is widely considered the granddaddy of all modern comic book movies. This is because it changed the perception of superhero stories in the mainstream. It is more mature than its earlier revisions. As it explores the concepts of good and evil and the blurring of such things. Since such distinctions can not be made in the treacherous Gotham City.

With the fan favourite, Joker, as the primary antagonist, Jack Nicholson puts on a spectacular show with great acting chops and embodies the dark playfulness of the nihilistic supervillain. 

Burton depicts Gotham with his typical whimsical and moody setting whilst taking inspiration from Modernist German Expressionism. Giving it a truly dream-like setting. Batman once again shows how Burton can take any genre of movie and stamp it with his signature. While staying true to the source material and genre. 

1. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

the nightmare before christmas

Okay before we get shouted at, we know Tim Burton didn’t direct The Nightmare Before Christmas! But, if we’re having a conversation about what are the best Tim Burton movies, it would be criminal not to mention it.

Tim Burton provided the story and the characters and the entirety of the film were spawned from a poem entitled ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’. While Burton entrusted the talented Henry Selik to direct this film, the movie has that distinct Tim Burton tone. So we’re classing it as a Tim Burton movie!

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a very stylish stop-motion feature. Which we feel is the best of the animated movies by Tim Burton. Burton once again fuses two polar opposites and makes them work seamlessly together in this mashup of Halloween and Christmas.

Countless arguments have been made whether this is a Christmas film or a Halloween film. Which will probably continue until the end of time. But, what we can all agree on is that this film is a timeless classic which is to be watched in the holiday season every year. 

The score in itself is Danny Elfman at his best. Providing once again that whimsical, dreamy atmosphere he’s done so well for many other Tim Burton movies. The story of how Elfman wrote the score is fascinating as the music was written before any concrete script was produced. The music is as beautiful as it is catchy and fits the mood of the film perfectly. 

That Was Our Review Of The Best Tim Burton Movies

best tim burton movies

So, there we have our top 10 best Tim Burton movies! We’ve explored a multitude of different films in many genres. Which is a true testament to Tim Burton’s versatility as a writer and director.

From wacky Tim Burton animated movies to guiding stunning performers like Johnny Depp to critical acclaim, there’s enough to satisfy family audiences to film critics alike. 

We will forever be huge Tim Burton fanatics as there really isn’t anyone that does the moody macabre quite like him. In the Tim Burton last film remake of Dumbo, a live action re-telling of the Disney classic, it’s clear his signature style is alive more than ever and we look forward to his future projects. 

We hope that you enjoyed this article! Whilst you’re here, why not check out some more of our movie reviews? We recommend, The Best Movie Characters Of All Time, The Most Famous Movie Props, and the Best Movie Franchises to get you started! Most importantly, don’t forget to share this review across your socials and tag us @musicgateway! We love interacting with you all!

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