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Here’s Every Johnny Depp & Tim Burton Movie Collaboration, Ranked

When you find something, or rather someone, that works for you, you just don’t let it go. And in movie making, when an actor and director develop a good relationship on- and off-screen, incredible things happen. Such familiarity is highly beneficial for actors and directors, because once they know and trust each other, they can empower one another to come up with increasingly better productions. Such is the case with the Burton-Depp duo. Tim Burton‘s fantastic cinematic vision first found its perfect match in Johnny Depp in 1990. Capitalizing on the influence he had gained from the success of his film Batman, the director embarked on the production of Edward Scissorhands, casting the young actor over all the other proposals the production company presented to him. Burton wanted Depp because he felt he had the potential to portray dark but tender characters, and indeed he was right: the movie catapulted Depp to absolute success.

From then on, and every few years, the duo has released mostly highly successful collaborations. Burton and Depp have been working together for twenty-two years now, with Dark Shadows being their last collaboration to date, a film that did not do so well with critics. After that movie, the director said that it would be the last production in which he would team up with the actor. However, we know that no door is completely closed in cinema, and in fact, there are speculations that Burton will be directing a reboot of The Addams Family in which Depp could star as Gomez. In the meantime, let’s take a look at all the movie collaborations of both artists ranked.

Related: 5 Best Tim Burton Movies, Ranked

8 Dark Shadows


dark shadows

In 1750, Joshua and Naomi Collins left England with their son Barnabas to start a new life in America and build a fishing empire in the coastal Maine town that now bears their name: Collinsport. Two decades later, Barnabas himself is a womanizer who breaks the heart of a witch named Angelique when he declares to her that he loves another woman. Angelique gets revenge by killing her, granting Barnabas eternal life as a vampire and burying him alive in a coffin.

After two centuries of imprisonment, the vampire regains his freedom in the 1970s, a completely strange period that he does not understand at all. Everything he used to know is gone, although there are some members of his strange family with whom he will have to coexist.

Dark Shadows is a movie infused with darkness and gothic horror, both elements that Tim Burton masters quite well, and starred Johnny Deep, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jonny Lee Miller, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Chloë Grace Moretz, Jackie Earle Haley and Christopher Lee. However, its killer cast and the director’s expertise were not enough to convince critics, and the film had fairly lackluster reviews.

7 Alice in Wonderland


alice in wonderland

Adaptations of Alice in Wonderland have been plenty, both in cinema and theater, but Burton didn’t want to stay behind. That is why in 2010 he teamed up with Walt Disney Pictures to release a movie about Alice (Mia Wasikowska), a young woman about to receive a marriage proposal at a party that she is not very excited about. Suddenly, Alice spots a white rabbit and, while chasing him, ends up in Wonderland, a place she visited ten years earlier, but doesn’t remember.

There she meets the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen), the Caterpillar (Alan Rickman), the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry) and the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), her childhood companions, who are in need of help in order to defeat the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), who currently controls the country. Alice and her friends embark on a dangerous journey to beat her, counting on the help of the country’s former ruler, the benevolent White Queen (Anne Hathaway).

This film was nominated for three Academy Awards and won two of them. Many critics disagreed, however, labeling it as one of the director’s least successful films.Despite the criticism Burton directed a sequel titled Alice Through the Looking Glass which performed very poorly with critics.

6 Sleepy Hollow


sleepy hollow

Several decapitated corpses appear one after the other in a New England village in 1799. But the heads have disappeared. The terrified villagers are convinced that these crimes are the work of a strange and wrathful horseman, who, according to the legend, is also headless. New York authorities send their best detective to solve this mystery: Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) doesn’t believe in legends or posthumous revenge. But, as soon as he arrives, he is seduced by the uncanny charm of the beautiful Katrina Van Tassel (Christina Ricci).

One of the reasons Burton agreed to direct Sleepy Hollow was that it happened to be the kind of production he enjoyed as a child, so he wanted to show it to his children, as well as paying homage to the classics of Hammer Productions. From the beginning of the project the director knew that Depp would be his leading man, and something curious about this particular film is that the production allowed the actor to play almost all the stunt scenes of his character, preventing injuries with special equipment underneath the costume.

5 Charlie and The Chocolate Factory


charlie and the chocolate factory

Another literature classic to which Burton offered a new interpretation. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 1964 book by writer Roald Dahl, which in 1971 was turned into a movie for the first time.Thirty-four years later, Burton reversed it to bring us this sweet classic, the story of an eccentric chocolatier, Willy Wonka, and Charlie Bucket, a kind-hearted boy from a low-income family. Surprisingly and after keeping his factory closed for many years, one day Willy launches a worldwide contest, so that five lucky children can spend a day in his magnificent chocolate empire. Once inside, they will have the opportunity to discover all its secrets, and will live an experience that will change their lives.

Actors such as Steve Martin, Nicolas Cage, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Robert de Niro and even Michael Keaton were considered to star in this film, but the director was quite clear about whom he wanted for the part. And surprisingly, it was Depp himself who proposed the young Freddie Highmore for the role of Charlie Bucket, as he had been very impressed by his performance in Finding Neverland.

4 Sweeney Todd


sweeney todd

This movie, inspired by Stephen Sondheim’s popular musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, follows the story of Benjamin Barrer (Johnny Depp), an Englishman unfairly imprisoned on the other side of the world, who escapes and returns to London with the promise of revenge. There he meets his devoted accomplice, Mrs. Nellie Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter), owner of a pie shop that was struggling. Embracing the guise of Sweeney Todd, Barker returns to his old barbershop above Mrs. Lovett’s place, and sets his sights on Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman) and his vile henchman Beadle Bamford (Timothy Spall), the men responsible for sending him away on a trumped-up charge, so he could steal his wife, Lucy (Laura Michelle Kelly), and their daughter when she was a baby. When Todd discovers that the judge abused his wife who later committed suicide, and that he is currently holding his daughter prisoner, Todd decides to get revenge, but there’s just one problem: the man has no trouble crossing boundaries to get his way. Using a razor, Todd slits his victims’ throats and then Nellie makes pies from the flesh of the corpses which become incredibly popular.

Fun fact about this film is that it was almost 25 years in production, as Sondheim didn’t want to hand over the rights. However, Burton convinced him by offering to be responsible for approving the casting. Sondheim initially doubted Johnny Depp’s musical abilities for the role, but Depp proved him wrong and ended up being nominated for Best Actor for his role in this movie.

3 Corpse Bride


corpse bride
Warner Bros. Pictures

Corpse Bride is one of Tim Burton’s most popular films, combining his already distinctive dark style with the Stop Motion technique. It was the first movie in which Johnny Depp lent his voice to an animated character. In it we follow the story of Victor Van Dort (Depp), a young son of a nouveau riche couple who must marry Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson), a woman he has never met. Fortunately, the couple falls in love immediately, but Victor is a bit nervous and screws up the ceremony rehearsal.Determined to get it right, he practices his vows in a lonely forest, with such bad luck that he pronounces his love promise in front of the corpse of a deceased bride, Emily (Helena Bonham Carter), who from that moment on considers herself his wife. Kidnapped by the underworld and accidentally married to Emily, Victor must find a way to escape and return to Victoria, but it won’t be that easy: Emily has been waiting for years to get married and will not give up on her new husband in any way.

Tim Burton earned rave reviews on this animated film with such a unique take on what happens after death. In fact, it won a few awards and was even nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards.

Related: Best Stop-Motion Animated Movies, Ranked

2 Ed Wood


ed wood

After directing Edwards Scissorhands, Batman and Beetlejuice, Tim Burton returned to the silver screen with this bizarre movie about Ed Wood, who is remembered as one of the worst filmmakers in history. In the film, Ed has one dream: becoming a renowned Hollywood director. He is a weird character who makes deplorable, low-quality films with very odd characters.

In this biographical comedy Johnny Deep plays the eccentric film director, and joining him in the cast are Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette and Bill Murray. Burton decided to work on this film because in some ways he admired Wood. Not for his obvious lack of artistic sense, but for his ability to dream, move forward and overcome all setbacks to accomplish his crazy goals and complete his films. This was the second collaboration of the director with Johnny Depp, and at the same time a critics’ favorite.


1 Edward Scissorhands


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Although Burton and Depp worked together on several projects, to this day their best work as a duo is their first collaboration: Edward Scissorhands. In this film we follow the story of Edward (Johnny Depp), an artificial man created by a lonely inventor (Vincent Price) who lives all alone in a castle and dies before finishing his project, so Edward is left with blades instead of hands. After his creator’s death, the young man lives in obscurity until he meets Peg (Dianne Wiest), who takes him to live in her house. Soon Edward is known in the neighborhood thanks to his gardening and hairdressing skills. However, trouble starts when Edward falls in love with Peg’s daughter Kim (Winona Ryder).

The main character was based on a drawing that Burton drew when he was a young high school student, and the soundtrack was in charge of Danny Elfman, in what would be the first of many collaborations with the director. Curiously enough, the beginning of the tight relationship between Burton and Depp almost didn’t happen: the main role of the film would be offered to Robert Downey Jr., Tom Hanks or Jim Carrey, but even back then the director saw something special in Depp, a quality that would allow him to represent all the qualities and emotions of his obscure characters. Fortunately he was not wrong, and after this first project many more successes followed.


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