Tim Burton’s Movies, Ranked


I’m checking out Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a film which surprised and delighted me, to see if it holds up. It seems to. Burton’s strength has never been story, but production and grotesque characters (which is not necessarily the same thing as just “characters”). By sticking reasonably close to the Dahl book’s storyline, Burton had a nice playground in which to let his wild ideas play. It’s also one of the first times where adding a parental backstory to a fairy tale actually works.

This got me thinking, so I believe the following are the correct rankings of the Tim Burton film canon:

1. Ed Wood

2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

3. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure

4. Edward Scissorhands

5. Beetlejuice

6. Batman

7. Batman Returns

8. Sweeney Todd

9. Big Fish

10. Sleepy Hollow

11. Corpse Bride

12. Mars Attacks!

13. Planet of the Apes

(I haven’t seen Alice in Wonderland, but I’m guessing it’s not a threat for #1).


Some of this should not be surprising at all, as anyone who has seen Planet of the Apes can attest. That film holds the bottom rank simply by virtue of being the most irritating.

Ed Wood retains the #1 spot because it is simply the best all around movie.

The stuff in the middle is all academically ranked, really. I have my own preferences (such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), nearly all the others have their flaws you can’t get past:

Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands should be higher, but suffer from Burton’s trademark poor storytelling.

Big Fish, Sleepy Hollow and Sweeney Todd could interchange any time because they all have excitement, surprises and script problems.

-This blog is 1/3 Batman stuff, so the two Bat-films are going to go up the ladder, but not the top, since they ain’t thaaaaaaaaaat great. Furhtermore…

-Anyone who tells you one is better than the other is merely stating a preference. You either prefer the straight-yet-unambitious first, or the overly-ambitious mess of the second.

Pee-Wee gets a serious boost by being so damn funny without falling apart too much.

And that’s about it. Out of 13 films, you have one A, a couple B’s, a bunch of C’s and then Mars Attacks.


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