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Top 10 Tim Burton Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Emily Brayton. In his movies, not even death gets you down: Tim Burton has made a name for himself as a director with sensibilities that can only be described as weird. But that’s why we love him. As a writer, director and producer, he’s crafted some of the most bizarre and ghoulish flicks ever put to film – but somehow, even with the macabre motifs and creepy characters, his movies can be oddly uplifting. In this video, counts down our picks for the top 10 Tim Burton movies. Special thanks to our users LouisCampbell, jwiking62, Angus Calver, josh72456 and RatedCurioso for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page!

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Top 10 Tim Burton Movies

In his movies, not even death gets you down. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for Tim Burton’s top 10 movies.

For this list, we’ve included movies Burton either directed and/or wrote.

#10 – “Mars Attacks!” (1996)

It’s tough to find someone who liked this back when it was first released; but somehow those Martians phasered their way into our hearts and now it’s considered a cult classic. With a seriously star-studded cast, enough camp-factor and B-movie awesomeness for ten flicks, and some of the quackiest aliens ever put to film, “Mars Attacks!” is definitely…weird. But that’s what makes it a Tim Burton joint.

#9 – “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (2007)

Something about Tim Burton and musicals works… But like his other movies – and these pies – it’s unsettling. Adapted from a Sondheim/Wheeler musical, “Sweeney Todd” sees Burton tap the usual suspects to tell this tale of woe and macabre. Even though the story isn’t his, it embraces typical Burton motifs: love, revenge, a little dash of insanity, and a whole lotta blood.

#8 – “Big Fish” (2003)

After tanking with 2001’s “Planet of the Apes” remake, Burton bounced back big-time with this Daniel Wallace adaptation. With this film, Burton lets us in on a secret about his love of creating fantasy worlds out of the ordinary. A Southern fairytale about storytelling, death, betrayal, and familial rifts ultimately becomes a tale of understanding between a father and son – all told with Burton’s signature visual elegance.

#7 – “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” (1985)

Burton’s got a knack for cult films, and Pee-wee’s journey is the cult-iest. Written by and starring Paul Reubens, this flick served as the prototype for all Burton’s movies. With bold ideas, even bolder characters and a lack of maturity that appeals to young and old, Burton’s directorial debut is innovative, ingenious and incredible. And remember: keen fashion sense and stellar dancing skills can get you out of anything.

#6 – “Ed Wood” (1994)

It’s the story of a misunderstood director whose passion for filmmaking results in weird movies: nope, it’s not Burton’s autobiography. Not only the tale of a fulltime cult filmmaker and part-time transvestite; “Ed Wood”’s also a good-natured love letter to a fellow cinephile. Made by anyone else, this would’ve been a caricature; but Burton’s credibility makes “Ed Wood” a poignant character analysis that moves you to the final frame.

#5 – “Corpse Bride” (2005)

Burton nurtures his love of stop-motion animation with this characteristically dark, witty, but loose adaptation of Jewish folklore. Another foray into family-friendly fare, this surprisingly happy movie tells the story of a man who ends up in a grave misunderstanding when he gets cold feet on his wedding night and unwittingly marries a dead bride. Despite the morbid themes, it’s one of Burton’s more uplifting offerings.

#4 – “Beetlejuice” (1988)

When we think about it, we realize Tim Burton is the king of mixing horror and comedy. Nowhere is that more evident than in his second film as a director. With “Beetlejuice,” Burton aimed to make a flick similar in visual style to the campy B-movies of yore, spending comparatively little money on effects like stop-motion, prosthetics, puppets and more. It’s enough to make your head spin.

#3 – “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993)

What’s this: a Disney/Burton pairing? It’s hard to believe Burton didn’t direct this, but he was too busy with “Batman Returns” at the time. Even so, this critically and financially successful stop-motion movie positively screams Tim Burton, right down to the creepy character designs, Danny Elfman score and strange but endearing story. If these are the kinds of skeletons Burton’s got in his closet, we’ll allow it.

#2 – “Batman” (1989)

When Burton revealed he was not a comic book fan, you can imagine how fans of the Caped Crusader felt. They were even less impressed when usual-comedian Michael Keaton was awarded the cape and cowl. But the controversy disappeared when crowds saw the movie: dark humor, comic book-like visuals, and fantastically vile villains helped make Burton’s “Batman,” and its spectacularly sinister follow-up, a Bat-tastic success.

#1 – “Edward Scissorhands” (1990)

This is the director’s favorite film from his catalogue, and we couldn’t agree more – it has Burton written all over it, from the kitsch-factor, spectacular cast, Elfman soundtrack, and main character we both love and fear. Written, produced and directed by Burton himself, this film blends a quiet story with intricate makeup, costumes and sets, marking a turning point in the director’s career. We still think of Edward when it snows.

Do you agree with our list? Which do you think is Tim Burton’s best movie? For more top 10s about your favorite flicks, be sure to subscribe to

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